Sunday, April 3, 2022

How do I find the Dhamma in the next life?

How do I find the Dhamma in the next life?

kenteramin wrote: Fri Jan 07, 2022 10:56 pm
We are here in the human realm not remembering past lives. If I practice the Dhamma, lead a virtuous life but fall short of becoming a sotapanna best case scenario I'll be reborn as a human being or a deva. I know as long as you're not an ariyan there's no guarantee that your practice in this life won't go to waste. Is there a notion of inertia for your dhamma practice? Is there something I can do except for obviously becoming enlightened to make it more probable that I will meet the Dhamma in the next life?
I know that there is kind of a reassurance in the texts for non-realized followers that they won't be born in the lower realms. But it's not good enough, right . Is there similar reassurance that we probably will meet the Dhamma?

Frankk response:

AN 4.191 explains a lot.
If you're serious about this, then keep 8 precepts, pure celibacy, develop jhānas.
The stronger your samādhi, the more your jhāna battery is charged up, then the greater chance you have of retaining your memories clearly after your death.
The more you hurt your jhāna battery, the less chance you have of retaining your memories past death. Even virtuous celibate monastics do that by not doing sufficient physical exercises daily, talking and thinking too much about the Dharma drains the battery as well.

When you see precocious kids, prodigies, geniuses at an early age, it's no accident. If they're mentally swift and sharp, you can almost guarantee they were probably celibate and protected their jhāna batteries in the last portion of their previous life. Cupidity is the leading cause of stupidity. Nothing drains the jhāna battery faster than indulging in sexual and sensual desires, debuaching in the 5 cords of sensual pleasures. Debauchery hurts your mental sharpness right now, you can see it in short term memory loss or fuzziness in memory, so what do you think the prospects of carrying important memories past this life is if you're not protecting your jhāna and sati now? On Buddhist internet forums, I have a pretty good guess of how celibate some participants are based on the level of intelligence and rationality displayed.

karmic inertia

Even if you don't have clear memories of your past life, you can have a pretty good guess about what you were like your past lives, because of karmic inertia. That is, the actions we've reinforced the most over many lifetimes, those habits from previous lives, tend to manifest in our personalities now, and are not easy to change as anyone knows from personal experience.

Why do some people take to Christianity so quickly and easily? They have the qualification and disposition for it, probably honed for many lifetimes.
As a kid in elementary school, I went to church with my friends many times, I liked some aspects of it, the communal feeling of virtue, but in Sunday school they couldn't answer any of my questions on religion and I knew Christianity was not for me.
When I read books on Buddhism as a university student, I took to it easily, understood the main principles in one read.
Too easily to be a coincidence.
Whereas when I read the Bible, I could understand the English words and the sentences, but for the life of me could not make any sense out of the religion.
How did I narrow down which school of Buddhism to choose from, from the massive array of choices? Which one was suitable for me?
It's not a coincidence that I ended up where I am.
I know based on my personality now, I valued critical thinking and had no tolerance for sophistry and deceit in previous lives, and personalities don't change easily or quickly (unless one has really strong samādhi). So you can practically guarantee in my previous life I valued truth and detested sophistry and deceit.

Where do you want to go if we don't attain arahantship in this life?
Remember the lifetime of a deva in a brahma realm is one cosmic aeon.
And out of the millions of Buddha Gotama's disciples who attained stream entry and any ariya status short of an arahant, they're all out there in the deva realms, some of them who were nonreturner 2500 years ago now an arahant, so millions of living arahants and ariya from Buddha Gotama's time scattered in the various deva realms.

In this lifetime, if you had all the money in the world, could go anywhere you want, where would you go to live out the rest of your life?
How you answer that, tells you where you're most likely headed in your next life.

If you value the genuine word of the Buddha, if that's the most important thing in the world to you, that's where you'll head in your next life too.
Headed to some community where they value the genuine word of the Buddha. 
What kind of friends do you let in your inner circle? 
Those are probably the kind of friends that would help guide you at the time of death (if you need that help, and have the merit from being virtuous).

AN 10.60 Girimananda and the Raft , director’s cut

AN 10.60 Girimananda and the Raft 🚣, director’s cut

AN 4.191 and AN 10.60
What AN 4.191 talks about, is what happens to virtuous monastics when they die and are reborn in Deva realms. They get infatuated with the pleasures of the Deva realm, and forget about what they learned and practiced as a human monastic. But because of their good karma and association with virtuous spiritual companions, either powerful human monastics with psychic powers communicate with them, or other Devas in their community who remember the Dharma from their human life jog their memory and help them return to the Dharma path.
In AN 10.60, Girimananda is gravely ill, on his deathbed. The Buddha sends Ananda to talk to him and encourage him with 10 Dharma topics. What happens next, is surely a corruption, brought to you by the same Hollywood executive producers who corrupted
SN 46.14SN 46.15, and SN 46.16.
But if you study AN 4.191 carefully, you can reconstruct AN 10.60 to get a director's cut, what the original director had intended the sutta to say.
Clearly, if you connect the dots between AN 4.191 and AN 10.60, what the Buddha is actually doing is giving Girimananda a care package, instructions on what to do if he dies from his illness. He's saying, "look, obviously you haven't attained Arahantship in this life, so if you die, don't become infatuated with the Deva Nymphs and Deva pleasures. Memorize these 10 Dharma topics, and finish the job. The job is not finished until you attain Arahantship. Also, it's possible that hearing these 10 awesome Dharma teachings, the rapture and pleasure are so inspiring that it stimulates your immune system and it's possible you recover from the illness. But don't count on it! Assume you're going to die, memorize these 10 dharmas, and when you're reborn in the Deva realm, hit the ground running. Practice these 10 Dharmas and finish the job! (a-p-pamāda 🐘🐾‍-ena sampādethā!"
That's the original Director's cut, before the Hollywood Executive producers stepped in. They said, "We gotta sell tickets! We can't fill seats in the theatre if the hero in the story dies. We have to have a happy ending! Girimanda must have a miraculous recovery and live happily ever after. And people don't want to work hard. They want a quick magic mantra they can chant and get an instant magical cure!"
And so, that is how you end up with corrupted paritta suttas as they are recorded in Theravada canon today. But don't believe the corruptions. Trust your common sense and AN 4.191. There is no free lunch, no short cut, no magic mantra that cures fatal diseases. Every moment, give the Dharma everything you've got. Build your The Raft ☸🚣‍ and ride it to the island of Nirvana. Finish the job! (a-p-pamāda 🐘🐾‍-ena sampādethā).

Forum discussion

from this thread,

MN 120 goes into some detail on how to set aspirations for future rebirth

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