Re: rebirth

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Posted by Tim ( on September 29, 2000 at 11:32:21:

In Reply to: rebirth posted by Bart on September 29, 2000 at 05:25:40:

I suppose you could look at it that way, that the love of life is so strong that you'd never want the cycle to end.

Many Buddhists answer that human life is a comparatively comfortable place for rebirth, and that other realms are much better examples of why you'd want to be freed of the cycle.

Life in a modern Western nation can also blunt the original understanding of rebirth as undesirable. We in the West have so many of our desires fulfilled that we actually believe for many years throughout our lives that we're benefited from this condition. It's only when we deeply appraise our lives that we find them wanting. Every quick fulfillment gives rise to the next. Nothing is ever good enough. For many of us, it takes decades before we realize that this is not only futile, but painful. We crave to not-crave, to be free of this seemingly endless vibration between craving and satiation. We grow tired to chasing phantoms, of having happiness always elude us by a hairs-breadth, so close to it sometimes that we can smell its breath, but never quite laying hold of it. After a time, all of life gets stale and we see it for what it is, a ride on a stationary bicycle that we pedal faster and faster in hopes of seeing something really different.

It's then that we are open to the idea of ending the cycle. Death won't do it; the whole thing just starts over again. Only extinguishing the craving helps. The end of rebirth is a byproduct. But that doesn't mean we go away. Only the painful karma that keeps us loosely strung together goes away. The "stuff" that makes us goes on. It's only the illusory "me" that vanishes, but it vanishes only because it never really was. We invented it. And when we face that, ultimately we never have to face it again.


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