Cappuccino Club: Rebirth

Saturday 20th April
at Ariyasom Villa, Sukhumvit Soi One

‘Cappuccino Club’ 

Eschewing the usual Dhamma Talk format, sometimes we like to meet for a more open discussion of the principles of Buddhism and meditation as they relate to ‘real’ life – how we deal as humans with the various issues of daily life.  Topics can be anything, so feel free to suggest a topic yourself. We meet for coffee, chat and gentle philosophising on what it means to bring the lofty ideas of Buddhism into practical living. 

You don’t have to be an expert in anything except staying alive – so feel free to come along and join in. Try to do the ‘homework’ (below) first though, so we have a launch point for discussion.

We will be joined in this event by special guest Ajahn Pannyavaro, Abbot of Bodhi Tree Monastery in Australia

A couple of posts have been added on this topic:
A discussion between two famous Buddhist writers here
Some incisive comments from Sir Charles Eliot from 1912 

Topic: Rebirth

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This is one topic that many Westerners have difficulty with – is rebirth real, what is reborn, where is the evidence etc… Whatever your view on the issue, feel free to join the discussion and see how others see the topic.

If you are a modern ‘mechanist’ then your view is that the body is a machine, operating according to physical laws, and the feeling of life, consciousness, is just an interesting effect of DNA and hard wired neurons. On the other hand, if consciousness is something different, something more refined and independent of the physical body, is it possible that the death of the body is not the great ‘dial tone from God’.

Buddhism, like it or not, does teach that there is rebirth, and your destination depends on the Kamma (actions) that you have done in your life. It does not depend upon what you believe to be good or bad, or what initiation (baptism) you have used to enroll in a group.

In a slight distinction from the term ‘reincarnation’ however, Buddhism does not teach that there is some kind of eternal soul, that transmigrates from life to life, but only the changing effects of Kamma.

It is helpful (but not a requirement) to do a little research before the event. There are lots of good and bad clips on Youtube for instance:

or an audio Dhamma talk on the Buddha’s teaching connecting rebirth to your kamma here.

Thanissaro Bhikkhu has a study guide on the topic, from the point of view of Theravada Buddhism here. And Bhikkhu Bodhi has a short article “Does Rebirth Make Sense?”

If you come across interesting (or just plan amusing!) media on the topic, let us know in the comments below.

 Ariyasom Villa is at the end of Sukhumvit Soi One, close to Ploen Chit BTS Station

2 replies on “Cappuccino Club: Rebirth”

  1. Who (or what) runs the conscience storehouse. That is, who keeps score of one’s karma from one life to the next? If Buddhism does not include transmigration of something, how does the new life get the karma load from the earlier lives? If the karma from everyone all goes into one pot upon each’s death, how does YOUR karma get pasted onto you at your new birth?

  2. I’ve found Ahahn Thanissaro’s short book (link above) “The Truth of Rebirth
    And Why it Matters for Buddhist Practice” to be an especially clear explanation of rebirth, and I highly recommend the read. The challenge for us will be to stay focused on what does matter, and not become lost in proliferation! See you there, I hope.

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