My general comment in the series:
May 25, 2011 at 6:19 am · Edit
Thanks for all your good comments. Please continiue.
I find some of this commentary alarming: every phase of real buddhism has made the question of rebirth central. It is part of the essence of Buddhism, inherited from the Jainism that came before.
That the issue should now be under attack in the decade of the New Atheists is symptomatic of what is afoot with the propaganda of scientism. More than that there is an attempt to penetrate and revise Buddhism in this fashion to destroy it, so be wary.
The issue is one of great sadness, because real Buddhist schools are rare. As Rajneesh noted Tibet has been dead since Milarepa in not producing enlightened men. If the Tibetans can’t manage small wonder the pitiful last gasps of pseudo-buddhism in the west should amount to nothing.
Real Buddhas always have a sense of their previous births, the latest example being Rajneesh, who spoke clearly here only to be gainsaid by the deceitful Christopher Caldwell (cf discussions at The Gurdjieff Con) who tried to muddle the record. I am a little puzzled by statements attempting to state what the real early Buddhism was, or what
buddha really said. It is not clear at all what Buddha really said, since nothing was recorded til after he died. In general though Gautama seems to have thought, not in terms of ‘religion’, a later term, but of setting the great wheel of dharma in motion, a spectacular project only now phasing out. It was a complete cycle of the ‘dharma’ in action. Part of the confusion now is this ‘end of the cycle’ decay of the original vision or format of Buddhism as such. .
I certainly don’t think that belief in rebirth should be entailed on faith for anyone. That’s not the point. But to try and strip it out of the Buddhist canon is a baffling development. The behavior of the people in the cult of the New Atheism is suspicious here. In general we can see that Stephen Batchelor et al. are being supported and promoted behind the scenes, no doubt to coopt and destroy real buddhsim. People like Batchelor et al should be wary here. Once they have wrecked Buddhism, the job of being done with buddhism will be accomplished: it will be a joke.
In fact this has nearly happened already, and Rajneesh a generation ago tried to renew the field by starting over.
Anyway, the current state of creative confusion can lead to a real new beginning. The classic cycle of Gautama is falling apart right on schedule (check out my ‘eonic effect’ material). But the path forward is already coming into existence.
Lots more to say here, but I would say that current science has induced a kind of stupidity in people and they see the need to rewrite Buddhism to satisfy the fanatics of reductionism (who falsely call themselves ‘secularists’). My interest in science is second to none, but I never take scientists seriously on such questions, and when they start tampering with buddhism, the joke ceases to be funny.
Max Weber called it the ‘Iron Cage’.