Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research by Bhikkhu Analayo

Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research

Title: Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research
Author: Bhikkhu Analayo
Publisher: Wisdom Publications
Language: English
Print Length:‎ 304 pages



Join a rigorous scholar and Buddhist monk on a rich tour of rebirth, from ancient doctrine to contemporary debates.

German Buddhist monk and university professor Bhikkhu Analayo had not given much attention to the topic of rebirth before some friends asked him to explore the treatment of the issue in early Buddhist texts. This succinct volume presents his findings, approaching the topic from four directions. The first chapter examines the doctrine of rebirth as it is presented in the earliest Buddhist sources and the way it relates to core doctrinal principles. The second chapter reviews debates about rebirth throughout Buddhist history and up to modern times, noting the role of confirmation bias in evaluation of evidence. Chapter 3 reviews the merits of current research on rebirth, including near-death experience, past-life regression, and children who recall previous lives. The chapter concludes with an examination of xenoglossy, the ability to speak languages one has not learned previously, and chapter 4 examines the particular case of Dhammaruwan, a Sri Lankan boy who chants Pali texts that he does not appear to have learned in his present life. Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research brings together the many strands of the debate on rebirth in one place, making it both comprehensive and compact. It is not a polemic but an interrogation of the evidence, and it leaves readers to come to their own conclusions. 


Contents:

Foreword by His Holiness the Dalai Lama
Foreword by Bhante Gunaratana
Acknowledgments
Abbreviations
Introduction

I. THE EARLY BUDDHIST DOCTRINE OF REBIRTH
Introduction

  1. Dependent Arising
    The Twelve Links
    Consciousness and Name-and-Form
    Dependent Arising and Rebirth
    Rebirth and the Underlying Tendencies
  2. Recollection of Past Lives and the Intermediate Existence
    The Buddha’s Preawakening Recollection of Past Lives
    The Buddha’s Preawakening Witnessing of the Rebirth of Others
    The Intermediate Existence
  3. The Principle of Karma
    Karma and Its Fruit
    Karma and Right View
  4. The Significance of Right View
    The Denial of Rebirth
    Different Types of Right View
    Speculation and Direct Knowledge
    Summary

II. DEBATES ON REBIRTH
Introduction

  1. The Undeclared Questions
    Right View and Speculative Views
    The Poisoned Arrow of Speculative Views
    The Reason for Setting Aside Speculative Views
    The Destiny of an Awakened One after Death
  2. Debating Rebirth in Ancient India
    Misunderstandings of the Teaching on Rebirth
    Experiments to Prove the Materialist Position
    Continuity without an Unchanging Agent
  3. Discussions on Rebirth in China during the Early Imperial Period
    Arguments against Rebirth and Karma
    Defending the Rebirth Doctrine
    Near-Death Experiences in Ancient China
  4. Debates on Rebirth in Modern Times
    Misinterpretations of Karma and Rebirth
    Confirmation Bias
    Summary

III. EVIDENCE CONSIDERED SUPPORTIVE OF REBIRTH
Introduction

  1. Near-Death Experiences
    From Ancient to Contemporary Reports of Near-Death Experiences
    The Case of Pam Reynolds
    Verified Information Apparently Obtained During Near-Death Experiences
    Children and the Blind
  2. Past-Life Regression
    The Workings of Memory
    Therapeutic Benefits
    Verified Information Apparently Obtained from Past-Life Regression
  3. Children’s Memories of a Past Life
    Specific Information Recalled and Behavioral Continuities
    Cases Documented Before Verification Attempts
    Birthmarks and Birth Defects
  4. Xenoglossy
    Recitative Xenoglossy
    Responsive Xenoglossy
    Summary

IV. CASE STUDY IN PĀLI XENOGLOSSY
Introduction

  1. The Case History
    Personal Contacts
    The Present-Life Story
    The Past-Life Story and a Verification of the Recordings
  2. The Chanted Texts and Their Background
    The Transmission of the Pāli Canon
    Textual Memory
    The Chanted Texts
  3. Errors and Variants
    Memory Errors
    Minor Variants
    Major Variants
  4. Omissions and Additions
    Loss of Text
    The Brain in the Listing of Anatomical Parts
    The Devas’ Acclaim of the Buddha’s First Sermon
    Summary

CONCLUSION


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