Do you believe in life after death?

Do you believe in life after death?

  • Yes

    Votes: 87 39.9%
  • No

    Votes: 91 41.7%
  • I don't know

    Votes: 40 18.3%

  • Total voters
    218
Status
Closed

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
P1 The many instances of possible rebirths have been researched by a number of researchers , among them Dr.Ms.Pasricha of the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences. P2 She has found that quite a few are true.
P3 The number of Near Death Experiences reported in the concerned literature point to the possibility of Consciousness being active though detached from the body.
P1 valid

P2 unsubstantiated claim: mechanism for falsification of tests not present: possible belief claims posited as true: red flag for weak argument

P3 unsubstantiated claim: mechanism for falsification of tests not present: possible belief claims posited as true: red flag for weak argument


Truth claims that cannot be substantiated are proselytizing techniques.

Again, I am not attacking your beliefs. There is no way to know the accuracy of the truth claims. However, it is not a fair debate tactic to employ unsubstantiated claims as facts.

The claims that are being made here have to be presented for verification and every aspect of the research has to be available for inspection.
 

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
Buddhism had a different kind of re-birth, but people in earlier ages had many beliefs which do not now stand in the light of science. It is your choice if you still choose to believe in them or reject them. Hinduism also has 'advaita', in which there is no creation, no dissolution, no birth, no death. :)
The ancients had some very particular views on this as well. No re-birth, but, there was a "soul" which was made of atoms.

RE: Democritus' atomism
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,489
New Delhi, India
I'm unclear on how rebirth is supposed to work. Don't all organism have souls according to Buddhism? So are new souls constantly born out of nothingness? For example in the time of the first organism, what were all the trillions and trillions of souls that reside now a days in all the Earth's lifeforms doing? And this applies even if it's strictly for humans. Since the time of the first humans, were souls just floating and waiting for new humans to be born so they can enter a body? That would mean that there are still billions of souls who never ever possessed a human vessel since the human population is still increasing.
Buddhism does not believe in existence of souls (Anatta - non-substantiality). Your questions has many answers in Hinduism depending upon what a person believes.

1. There are people who would say God creates souls (He is omnipotent and create or destroy as many souls as and if he wants).
2. Others will say that soul is a part of God, arises from him and dissipates into him).
3. There are still more who would say that there is only one Supreme soul and seeing or believing in many is just an illusion.
4. Lastly there may be more people like me who would say that only Brahman (which is not a God) exists in the universe and it is unchangeable. The world and different people, different things, all are illusions.

Hinduism leaves it free for its adherents to form their own opinion. These opinions are personal, so no question of them being wrong. The opinions apply only to the persons holding them, leaving others to have their own opinion.
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
Consciousness is biochemistry ? You mean all the composite thoughts and all the feelings of a person, all his longings and the hurts that he/she feels in the struggle to achieve these longings, his /her individuality are proteins and amino acids ? If that would have been so, there would exist no difference at all in the minds of all humans. All have the same proteins and amino acids in their brains, after all. Even in lower level animals like cats and dogs, there exist differences in the ways they struggle to live. They have individualities.
Please do describe how one can conclude that consciousness is biochemistry.
Standard classical atomism. It was part of a larger explanation of the individual as a free agent. They required "independence" from outside influences. Their argument was that even the soul was made up of atoms. Upon death the "soul atoms" dissipated.

IOW, the soul had to have an independent "attribute" for any ethical system to make sense.

RE: Epicurus, Democritus, Diogenes Laertius (Lives of the Philosophers, Letters to Herodotus)
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
As most of you probably know I'm a Soto Sect Zen Buddhist, worked on a PhD in Oriental Philosophy & Religion, and have lived most of my life as a Lay Buddhist Householder. "Please ask a Buddhist?"

Well, that depends on which Buddhist you ask and the where/when the question is posed, so my thoughts on the subject are not universal among Buddhists. The earliest texts are from the Theravada Pali texts which are the oldest record we have of what the Buddha taught. The texts date from about a hundred years after the Great Decease, while the Sanskrit texts of Mahayana are more a product of Buddhist thought that came later ... largely as a result of Buddhist Universities like Nalanda. Today, most Buddhists are of the Mahayana School which are further sub-divided into Tantric (Nepal, Tibet, Mustang, etc.), Zen (S. China, Japan, etc., and the largest group that follow teachings that seem to me very far from Buddhism's beginnings. Oh well. The Tantrics are Buddhism laid over the Demon/Spirit native religion of the area. One dies and spends time within the Bardo World where the residual effects of our life choices and behavior are tested. Almost everyone fails, falls into ever increasing fearful illusions, and then is reborn to try again. Reincarnation, a principle feature of Hinduism long before the the 6th century BCE when the Buddha began his ministry at the Deer Park in Northern India, is also a central element in most other Mahayana Schools though much less so in Chan/Zen.

In the Theravada Texts, the Buddha almost invariably avoided the question of "what happens after a person dies". Rather than worry over the end of life, the Teaching centered on how to deal with the central problem of suffering in This life. The "road-map" laid out by the Buddha as he spread his message across Northern India, made each of us responsible for our own struggle with Suffering. It was a very strict discipline, even if called "The Middle Way", and required a level of focus that only a few could follow. Look to the Eight-Fold Path, which is sorta like the Ten Commandments. The Buddha in his life-time provided additional commentary defining the meanings of each of the Eight "commandments" that provided later Buddhist thinkers fodder for transforming Buddhism into a popular religious movement that we know today. Buddhist clergy of most of today's schools/sects also strictly follow over 200 more teachings of Buddhist discipline, beyond those expected of laymen.

Mahayana Lay Buddhists who haven't the time, inclination or opportunities to become a Monk, or priest can hope for release in some future life/existence by following Buddhist Teachings to the best of their ability and by supporting the Monks/Priests who devote their entire lives to making that possible by their own devotions and discipline. Zen is the most notable exception, and only just barely. American Soto congregations of our home temple in LA has pews for folks to sit while singing Buddhist Hymns while the children attend Sunday School. Away from the larger congregation a few join the Monks in a more traditional Zendo where sitting meditation (Zazen), chanting and other traditional forms are continued. Attending my grand daughters graduation from USC this last May, my youngest son came with me to the Temple for a visit. Of course all of the Monks and Priests we knew over 25 years ago are gone, but several of the old congregation still live and one old lady ... a very advanced person in the Dharma was sitting Zazen along with five Anglos ... more than were in the entire congregation when last I was at temple. Progress is being made, I think toward the growth and development of a truly American Buddhist community. BTW, the primary Soto Temple in the US is still in San Francisco where I was an Buddhist Student and follower of Roshi Suzuki way back at the beginning of the 1960s ... before meeting my wife who took me by the collar and moved me from "monastery" to Commune before I could blink.

From my perspective things like what happens after death are more of a distraction from the discipline of overcoming suffering than even marginally worth the effort. As a follower of Zen I'm technically a Mahayana Buddhist, but in actuality my guideposts are the Theravada Texts, but with major effort given to sitting meditation, Zazen. Meditation is continual whether sitting or walking, or buying a pound of hamburger. It becomes a part of one's life and should be seamless, but that is clearly impossible even inside the strictest monastic communities. Living in the Lay World, one is constantly challenged to practice the fundamental concepts we find in the Buddha's Teachings. Our mission: reduce the Suffering in the world as we find and experience it. Recognize that civility, humility, and all the other virtues fall short of what the Buddha, or Bodhisattva(s), tell us we are capable of. We are captured by our perceptive illusions, of craving and wrongful notions about the nature of Reality. Mahayana Buddhism has been essential to the spread of Buddhism and its prescription for "curing" Suffering, but in my belief it is still flawed as mostly interpretations developed long after The Great Decease.

Questions? This will be on the Mid-terms.
Awesome post sir ! Thank you for that.

Did you ever do any research on possible connections between Buddhism and Zoroastrianism ?

Of course, I would posit that Zoroastrianism is more foundational for the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism and Hinduism appear to be more independently formatted in this regard. However, there does seem to be some links that were incorporated into these spiritual practices later on such as the development of "gods", reincarnation and after life practices. This of course has a direct bearing on the subject of this thread.

Any thoughts on this ?
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,489
New Delhi, India
Did you ever do any research on possible connections between Buddhism and Zoroastrianism ? .. Any thoughts on this ?
IMHO, no. Though Zoroastrianism and Vedic religion arose from the same culture, they have too many things common, e.g., Soma/Haoma, Sacred thread, Yajna/Yazata, etc. (Even Asuras and Daevas, the Athravan priests). Buddhism and Jainism arose mainly out of the Indigenous religious thought. Since by then, Sanskrit was the language of religious discourse and had percolated even to the villages, so the religious terms in Pali and Prakrit are derived from Sanskrit.
 
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Likes: Cepheus

Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
P1 Our bodies are unquestionably made up of cells.P2 But there is something more there than mere biochemistry et al. Life, Consciousness, name it any way you like. P3 Something not yet fathomed by Science.
As an example of a belief by a particular religion, if identified as such, this would be an appropriate faith statement.

As a projection of fact it is false.

P2 cannot be concluded from P1 or P3, the inference is invalid.

If P3 were completely true, P2 would still not be warranted.

This is a form of argumentation from ignorance. The invalid inference is that P2 is "true" because of P3.

Again, I am not attacking your faith. What you believe could be perfectly true. However, it is not appropriate to project a faith statement as a fact when the validity of the proposition cannot be determined.
 
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Cepheus

Ad Honorem
Dec 2011
2,222
IMHO, no. Though Zoroastrianism and Vedic religion arose from the same culture, they have too many things common, e.g., Soma/Haoma, Sacred thread, Yajna/Yazata, etc. Buddhism and Jainism arose mainly out of the Indigenous religious thought. Since by then, Sanskrit was the language of religious discourse and had percolated even to the villages, so the religious terms in Pali and Prakrit are derived from Sanskrit.
That was my inclination as well.

I don't want to equate similarity and historical timelines with actual relatedness. RE: post hoc ergo propter hoc
 

Aupmanyav

Ad Honorem
Jun 2014
5,489
New Delhi, India
RE: Democritus' atomism
Yeah, we had our atomist theory in Kanāda's 'Vaisheshikā' (But we cannot date Kanāda, a recurring problem in Hinduism. We just ignored that aspect as unimportant).

"Vaisheshika school is known for its insights in naturalism. It is a form of atomism in natural philosophy. It postulated that all objects in the physical universe are reducible to paramāṇu (atoms), and one's experiences are derived from the interplay of substance (a function of atoms, their number and their spatial arrangements), quality, activity, commonness, particularity and inherence. Everything was composed of atoms, qualities emerged from aggregates of atoms, but the aggregation and nature of these atoms was predetermined by cosmic forces."
Vaisheshika - Wikipedia
 
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Asherman

Forum Staff
May 2013
3,249
Albuquerque, NM
As Aupmanyav noted above, Buddhist theology dismisses the idea of individual "souls" as only an illusion. That presents a problem for anyone who believes in the transmigration of souls, doesn't it. In 6th century BCE what came to be called Hinduism recognized suffering, how could they not given the conditions then and now. Suffering was "explained" as a by-product of who or what you were born into. Everyone suffers, but at the top of the heap were the Priests, followed by society's War Lords, and so on down to the "lowest" lifeforms. Folks were expected to fulfill their destiny, and if they failed they might be born into even greater suffering, but re-births were essentially as endless and static as Indian Society at the time believed. The idea of that form of re-incarnation, Transmigration of Souls basically, was endless and eternal, though those at the top might step off the Wheel and spend a season with the Gods. BTW, ancient Indian notions about "God" were quite different than those we associate with the Abrahamic religions. The Jains', who preceded Buddhism, challenged the commonly held beliefs by questioning the notion of "souls" who play out their inescapable destiny. Buddhism is born out of the ancient culture of India, and the Buddha became a "Man of the Forest" in an attempt to deal with Suffering using what were at the time the only means a mortal might have of escaping destiny and social solidification. That didn't work for him, and he moved on until his final Enlightenment in a last-ditch effort to overcome human suffering. When He arose, legend tells us that he pronounced "The Middle Way", and went down to the Deer Park where he laid out the foundations for Buddhism. As I mentioned above, the Buddha generally avoided questions about death as irrelevant to his primary message that Suffering exists, it has a cause, and can be overcome by following the Teachings. In Buddhism we have Three Jewels, The Buddha, The Dharma, and The Sanga. The Sanga is that community of Buddhists pledged to the defeat, or mitigation of all suffering. Originally, that was limited to Buddhas disciples who gave up everything including family to follow the Buddha and learn from his lips how they too might escape the endless turning of the Wheel. Only later when Mahayana began to spread out across the sub-continent, Eastward toward Greece, Northward and East along the Silk Road across the Taklamakan Desert into Western China (where many believed that The Buddha was really only Lao Tze's finally message to the world, Northward into Tibet, and Eastward across the seas to SE Asia where Theravada remains strong even today. Buddhist iconography began with no images beyond the simple depiction of an Eight-Spoked Wheel, a teaching tool for the Eight-Fold Path. Greek notions about the Gods and how they are sculptural depicted was adopted by emerging Mahayana. Early statues of the Buddha don't begin appearing until quite late, or occasionally a Lotus flower Westerners often falsely believe that the Chinese Taoist Deity, Ho-Tai, is a depiction of the Buddha. In actuality, Ho-Tai was a kitchen helper for a Chan Buddhist community in Southern China who loved food, cooking and children, but was generally regarded as ... slow. Ho-Tai became so popular with the locals that after his death he was "adopted" as a Taoist Saint like the Immortals. So a Buddhist Monk became the Good Luck God of Chinese Taoism. The original Buddhist sculptors of the Buddha show him as a bag of bones.

Curb desire, let go of our "need" to build up our egos, or let compassion be trampled in a fruitless effort to avoid ... Suffering. There are not Universal Values that apply everywhere and at all times; the Universe is infinite without beginning or ending, but we sentient beings make up our own rules as we go along. We are ultimately only dream creatures existing no where, and time itself is confined to a single point .... the point where the Big Bang happened.

Remember the Mid-terms, and that our reality is fleeting and filled with mis-understandings.
 
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