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  1. #121
    full of love Kingfisher's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2009


    you guys have some really cool ideas! i like reading it all.
    i remember having a metaphor told to me once, about how your self and rebirth is like a wave in the ocean;

    you are like a wave in the ocean - and you can choose to see yourself as one individual wave, and there is nothing wrong with that. but where does the wave end and ocean begin? the wave is in constant motion, and constantly changing. sometimes the wave gets bigger and incorporates more of the ocean into itself, and sometimes the wave gets smaller and sheds part of itself back into the ocean.

    and when the wave disappears completely, when it dies, it falls back into the ocean. so it doesn't exist in the same way that it existed before - as an individual wave - but it still exists as a part of the ocean. and it can be reborn again as a new wave.

    Quote Originally Posted by bananatrombones View Post
    Which is a reference to the Ship of Theseus
    i didn't know that idea had a name, thanks for posting that!

  2. #122
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2007


    Quote Originally Posted by lowtech redneck View Post
    ^So, if there is no individual soul (either in the Western sense or the Hindu sense as an aspect of an all-encompassing over-soul), what is reincarnated?
    (A translation into western philosophy)

    If you are trying to understand Buddhist conceptions and ideas, remembering that they believe there is no self is a fundamental part of that. They usually believe that there is nothing that makes anything an individual, and that everything is just a series of causes and effects.

    For example, Karma reduces to cause and effect if you incorporate the no-self idea into it.

    If "you" create bad karma, it causes suffering on "you". Bad karma means something that causes suffering, then remove the "you"s and you have the result. If something is done which causes suffering, suffering is caused.

    There's no actual distinction between you and them, so causing either suffering is simply causing suffering.

    For reincarnation it's a similar concept, there is no "you" that can die, it was never alive to begin with. The causation chain referenced by that word continues as they all do. It simply changes form with death as it has been doing the whole time in life, and usually continues causing suffering.

    It all links in with the distinction between something's parts and it's whole, a key idea in Buddhist philosophy. Take a chariot. The parts of the chariot exist if they cannot be broken down further, but the wholes made by the parts have no existence of their own and are just a convenient reference point for people. The self is a whole, and so supposedly holds no existence of its own.

    I think some excellent arguments have been made against this idea and other Buddhist concepts, but in so far as simply understanding those conceptions, one needs to remember the fundamental ideas they held in the first place that brought a lot of Buddhists to these conclusions.

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