I just had an interesting exchange on Twitter, regarding rebirth. There seemed to be three camps. The believers, the agnostics, and the skeptics like myself. It all started with one innocent question to @ZenDirtZenDust and @DrumsofDharma, in response to one of their tweets alluding to the possibility of rebirth:
MindDeep: I do not believe in rebirth, do you?
bitterrootbadge: @MindDeep You seriously don't accept rebirth, or am I missing an inside joke?
bitterrootbadge: @ZenDirtZenDust No, good to be a skeptic, Buddha recommended. But the goal is to move from doubt to certainty, no?
bitterrootbadge: One big question: do we accept the Buddha's enlightenment as authentic and complete? And what he taught from that POV? Rebirth, karma eg.
DrumsofDharma: @MindDeep Of course, karma, rebirth, nondual reality, core Buddhist doctrines.
ZenDirtZenDust: @MindDeep I am a skeptic so I can't say I believe since it is far past my range of experience but possible.
ZenDirtZenDust: @MindDeep I am told that I am a bad buddhist sometimes b/c I refuse to take thing at face value.
ZenDirtZenDust: @bitterrootbadge Yes, A person should move if the evidence moves them. A static skeptic is sad. To be a skeptic is to strive to understand
MindDeep: question for Buddhist 'believers' - would you still practice if you did not believe in rebirth?
OhioBuddhist: @ZenDirtZenDust @MindDeep Remember the Law of Conservation of energy; nothing is destroyed. The microcosm reflects the macrocosm.
OhioBuddhist: @MindDeep Nature tends to repeat itself. It's an extrapolation- but we WILL find out the right answer some day!
crazywizdom: @MindDeep even for those with a belief in rebirth,it's still a late realisation that most practitioners will have no direct experience of
crazywizdom: @MindDeep I am agnostic regarding rebirth - I just don't know - but currently I'm very interested in what rebirth can mean without self :-)
OhioBuddhist: @MindDeep wouldn't call myself a 'believer', but I treat it like the weather report- it's probably going to happen but maybe not.
Ogamu: @MindDeep I don't care about rebirth. Someone once said I'd lived 311 lives. If so, I've been around long enough to get with the program!
Ogamu: @MindDeep Belief always implies a degree of doubt. Believe nothing, only know what you've experienced.
Whether rebirth is true or not, is almost irrelevant, as far as I am concerned. More important I feel, is to remain true to my own experience deep within, and to not fall into the trap of blind belief. For this is how I understand the teachings of the Buddha, as stated here in his own words:
Do not go by oral tradition, by lineage or teaching, by hearsay, by a collection of texts, by logic, by inferential reasoning, by reasoned cogitation, by the acceptance of a view after pondering it, by the seeming competence of a speaker, or because you think, 'The ascetic is our teacher.' But when you know for yourselves, 'These things are unwholesome; these things are blamable; these things are censured by the wise; these things, if undertaken and practiced, lead to harm and suffering,' then you should abandon them - from 'In the Buddha's Words', by Bhikkhu Bodhi -
What is your view?