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Four Tibetan arguments for rebirth (Jan Westerhoff)

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Jan Westerhoff asked where the arguments proving rebirth are found in the Tibetan commentarial literature.

Well, when I studied for nine years with Tibetan monks at the Karmapa International Buddhist Institute (KIBI) in India, we learnt these arguments in the context of the commentaries on the Pramanasiddhi chapter of Dharmakirti's Pramanavarttika, i.e., the chapter that establishes the Buddha to be 'reliable'.

In the case of KIBI, we were studying the commentary by the seventh Karmapa, Rigs gzhung rgya mtsho, but you will find such arguments in any commentary on this chapter.

For a summary in English, you can see Roger R. Jackson's book "Is Enlightenment Possible?", Snow Lion Publications, 1993, pp. 226ff., where the standard argumentation is provided on the basis of Rgyal thsab rje's commentary.

The overall context of the passage is that it is necessary to prove rebirth in order to prove that the Buddha developed compassion over many life-times, and that he therefore possessess the quality of exceptional compassion, which is one of the indications for that he is a reliable person (pramanabhuta).

With best regards, Tim

Dr. Ulrich Timme Kragh J. Gonda research fellow

Source

h-net.msu.edu