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Backstory: I have recently taken up meditation (2-3 months ago) and even more recently, a budding interest in buddhism. I was initially drawn in by the fact that the vast majority of the dhamma could easily be verified in my day to day life; I was taken aback by how much it resonated with me. I felt it to be true. So I decided to start applying it. Radical life changes ensued not out of desperation, but because I could finally see these the things that no longer served me.

I have been doing a lot of reading lately and have hit a bit of a wall on the first item of the eightfold path: right view. I understand that as part of right view, which precedes all other steps, I need to embrace the cycle of death and rebirth - particularly as it applies to individuals consciousness - as an ultimate truth.

It is not that I disagree with this, my brain just sees it as another theory.. same as the theory that death is the end. I want to believe, but I just can't seem to force my brain to do it. I would guess this is a defensive mechanism I have in place thanks to western religions and conspiracy theories. I am afraid that I will never be able to verify this to myself, and thus I will never fully see it as truth. I feel partly ashamed by this.

Has anybody else struggled with internalizing this view? Should I continue with my studies past right view even if I'm still struggling with this? Thanks

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It's great that you're questioning these things. In Buddhism you don't have to accept anything just because the Buddha said it or its written in a book. You should practice vipassana and see for yourself.

The doubt of whether rebirth exists or not is based on our misunderstanding of reality. We believe that objects, people, entities exist. But reality is just moments of experience. Moments of hearing, seeing, smelling, tasting, touching, and thinking. These experiences are constantly arising and passing away. If we look at things from this perspective then the idea of rebirth makes sense. When one experience ceases another arises. This is true rebirth. What we call a life is a stream of these experiences.

Once you see this clearly by practicing vipassana you will come to understand that what we call death is just another set of experiences. And based on your own experiential knowledge you will come to understand what we find after every experience is more experience. So the idea of this stream of experiences continuing after the experience of death will make more sense.

But don't accept this even if it makes sense intellectually. Go practice and see for yourself.
by (170 points)
Thank you for your wise words, I will reflect on them.
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I have been doing a lot of reading lately and have hit a bit of a wall on the first item of the eightfold path: right view. I understand that as part of right view, which precedes all other steps, I need to embrace the cycle of death and rebirth - particularly as it applies to individuals consciousness - as an ultimate truth.

Don't worry about it. Practically speaking it works the other way around.

Right view is developed after someone has reached stream entry. And then one will know and understand that rebirth is not a far fetched idea, but reality. Nothing needs to be embraced in that sense. It'll happen naturally after stream entry.

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