This Life and the Next

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Aussie Thoughts, Jun 24, 2017.

  1. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    Knowing for certain is one thing, but conveying that knowledge to those firmly engrossed in the opposite paradigm is quite another. I liken it to trying to explain your symptoms to a doctor who just stands there with his arms folded trying to make clinical sense out of what you're saying.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  2. A Cup Of Tea

    A Cup Of Tea An ordinary cup of tea

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    This.
     
  3. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    Along this line, the example is given as to how we acquire knowledge:
    "How do you know who your real father is? Ask your Mother"
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2017
  4. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    From the web:

    Christianity on the Afterlife

    Christian beliefs about the afterlife vary between denominations and individual Christians, but the vast majority of Christians believe in some kind of heaven, in which the deceased enjoy the presence of God and loved ones for eternity. Views differ as to what is required to get to heaven, and conceptions of heaven differ as well.

    A slightly smaller majority of Christians believe in hell, a place of suffering where unbelievers or sinners are punished. Views differ as to whether hell is eternal and whether its punishment is spiritual or physical. Some Christians reject the notion altogether.

    Catholic Christians also believe in purgatory, a temporary place of punishment for Christians who have died with unconfessed sins.


    Afterlife Beliefs by Christian Denomination

    To illustrate the differences and commonalities on Christian beliefs about the afterlife, following is a selection of doctrinal statements from several different denominations and organizations.

    Assemblies of God:

    There will be a final judgment in which the wicked dead will be raised and judged according to their works. Whosoever is not found written in the Book of Life, together with the devil and his angels, the beast and the false prophet, will be consigned to the everlasting punishment in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is the second death. We, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.

    Christianity Today Magazine:

    At the end of the age, the bodies of the dead shall be raised. The righteous shall enter into full possession of eternal bliss in the presence of God, and the wicked shall be condemned to eternal death.

    Evangelical Free Church of America:

    We believe in the bodily resurrection of the dead; of the believer to everlasting blessedness and joy with the Lord; of the unbeliever to judgment and everlasting conscious punishment.

    Friends United Meeting (Quaker):

    We believe, according to the Scriptures, that there shall be a resurrection from the dead, both of the just and of the unjust.... We sincerely believe, not only a resurrection in Christ from the fallen and sinful state here, but a rising and ascending into glory with Him hereafter; that when He at last appears we may appear with Him in glory. But that all the wicked, who live in rebellion against the light of grace, and die finally impenitent, shall come forth to the resurrection of condemnation. And that the soul of every man and woman shall be reserved, in its own distinct and proper being, and shall have its proper body as God is pleased to give it. ... We believe that the punishment of the wicked and the blessedness of the righteousness shall be everlasting.

    Lutheran Church (Augsburg Confession, 1530):

    Also they [Lutheran churches] teach that at the Consummation of the World Christ will appear for judgment, and will raise up all the dead; He will give to the godly and elect eternal life and everlasting joys, but ungodly men and the devils He will condemn to be tormented without end. They condemn the Anabaptists, who think that there will be an end to the punishments of condemned men and devils. They condemn also others who are now spreading certain Jewish opinions, that before the resurrection of the dead the godly shall take possession of the kingdom of the world, the ungodly being everywhere suppressed.

    Mennonite Church in the USA:

    We believe that, just as God raised Jesus from the dead, we also will be raised from the dead. At Christ's glorious coming again for judgment, the dead will come out of their graves"--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." The righteous will rise to eternal life with God, and the unrighteous to hell and separation from God. Thus, God will bring justice to the persecuted and will confirm the victory over sin, evil, and death itself. We look forward to the coming of a new heaven and a new earth, and a new Jerusalem, where the people of God will no longer hunger, thirst, or cry, but will sing praises: "To the One seated on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever! Amen!

    Presbyterian Church in the USA:

    If there is a Presbyterian narrative about life after death, this is it: When you die, your soul goes to be with God, where it enjoys God's glory and waits for the final judgment. At the final judgment bodies are reunited with souls, and eternal rewards and punishments are handed out. As the Scots Confession notes, final judgment is also "the time of refreshing and restitution of all things."And it is clearly the case that both the Scots Confession and the Westminster Confession of Faith want to orient the present-day life of believers around this future. But the Bible spends more time focusing on new life here than on life after death. So do all our more recent confessions. Although the Confession of 1967 mentions life after death, it does so only briefly. Its focus is on new life now and on the church's ministry of reconciliation.

    Southern Baptist Convention:

    God, in His own time and in His own way, will bring the world to its appropriate end. According to His promise, Jesus Christ will return personally and visibly in glory to the earth; the dead will be raised; and Christ will judge all men in righteousness. The unrighteous will be consigned to Hell, the place of everlasting punishment. The righteous in their resurrected and glorified bodies will receive their reward and will dwell forever in Heaven with the Lord.

    United Church of Christ:


    God promises to all who trust in the gospel forgiveness of sins and fullness of grace, courage in the struggle for justice and peace,the presence of the Holy Spirit in trial and rejoicing, and eternal life in that kingdom which has no end.


    United Methodist Church (on purgatory):


    The Romish doctrine concerning purgatory, pardon, worshiping, and adoration, as well of images as of relics, and also invocation of saints, is a fond thing, vainly invented, and grounded upon no warrant of Scripture, but repugnant to the Word of God.

     
  5. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    From the web:
    Islamic Beliefs About the Afterlife
    Islamic beliefs about the afterlife are very important. Muslims believe in the continued existence of the soul and a transformed physical existence after death. Islam teaches that there will be a day of judgment when all humans will be divided between the eternal destinations of Paradise and Hell.

    A central doctrine of the Quran, and one of the most important teachings of Muhammad, is the Last Day, on which the world will be destroyed and Allah will raise all people and jinn from the dead to be judged. The Last Day is also called the Day of Standing Up, Day of Separation, Day of Reckoning, Day of Awakening, Day of Judgment, The Encompassing Day or The Hour.

    Until the Day of Judgment, deceased souls remain in their graves awaiting the resurrection. However, they begin to feel immediately a taste of their destiny to come. Those bound for hell will suffer in their graves, while those bound for heaven will be in peace until that time.

    The Nature of the Day of Judgment
    The resurrection that will take place on the Last Day is physical, and is explained by suggesting that Allah will re-create the decayed body (17:100: "Could they not see that God who created the heavens and the earth is able to create the like of them"?). On the Last Day, resurrected humans and jinn will be judged by Allah according to their deeds. One's eternal destination depends on balance of good to bad deeds in life. They are either granted admission to Paradise, where they will enjoy spiritual and physical pleasures forever, or condemned to Hell to suffer spiritual and physical torment for eternity.

    The day of judgment is described as passing over Hell on a narrow bridge in order to enter Paradise. Those who fall, weighted by their bad deeds, will remain in Hell forever. The Quran specifies two exceptions to this general rule:


    1. - Warriors who die fighting in the cause of God are ushered immediately to God's presence (Surah 2:159 and Surah 3:169); and - "Enemies of Islam" are sentenced immediately to Hell upon death.
     
  6. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    From the web:
    Buddhism on the Afterlife
    According to Buddhism, after death one is either reborn into another body (reincarnated) or enters nirvana. Only Buddhas (those who have attained enlightenment) will achieve nirvana. The Buddha said of death:

    Life is a journey. Death is a return to earth. The universe is like an inn. The passing years are like dust. Regard this phantom world As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream, A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp - a phantom - and a dream. {1}

    Reincarnation (Transmigration)
    Based on his no-soul (anatta) doctrine, the Buddha described reincarnation, or the taking on of a new body in the next life, in a different way than the traditional Indian understanding. He compared it to lighting successive candles using the flame of the preceding candle. Although each flame is causally connected to the one that came before it, is it not the same flame. Thus, in Buddhism, reincarnation is usually referred to as "transmigration."

    Nirvana
    Nirvana is the state of final liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is also therefore the end of suffering. The literal meaning of the word is "to extinguish," in the way that a fire goes out when it runs out of fuel. In the Surangama, the Buddha describes Nirvana as the place in which:

    it is recognized that there is nothing but what is seen of the mind itself; where, recognizing the nature of the self-mind, one no longer cherishes the dualisms of discrimination; where there is no more thirst nor grasping; where there is no more attachment to external things. But all these descriptions only tell us what is not Nirvana. What is it like? Is it like heaven, or is it non-existence? The answer is not clear, due in large part to the Buddha's aversion to metaphysics and speculation. When he was asked such questions, he merely replied that it was "incomprehensible, indescribable, inconceivable, unutterable."

    References


    1. - Vairacchedika 32.
     
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  7. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    From the web:
    Hinduism on the Afterlife

    According to hinduism, Your afterlife totally depends upon your 'Karma'

    Hinduism believes in the rebirth and reincarnation of souls. The souls are immortal and imperishable. A soul is part of a jiva, the limited being, who is subject to the impurities of attachment, delusion and laws of karma. Death is therefore not a great calamity, not an end of all, but a natural process in the existence of a jiva (being) as a separate entity.

    If you have good Karma and you lived an ideal life as per hinduism then you will attain moksha(free from all births).
    But if you have bad karma and a life full of sins you have to take rebirth again and again.

    Also if you die through a suicide,accident,murder(Akal mrityu) then your soul have to roam here and there for years as a ghost(preta yoni).

    For example, meat eaters inculcate a sense of violence, uncaring, and anger around them because of their choice to eat meat, resulting in their own development as more violent, uncaring, and angry individuals. Furthermore, other people respond to that negative energy in equally negative manners, beginning a chain reaction of bad karma. Yet karma extends far beyond the individual lifetime, where an individuals' karma would lead them to rebirth in states of violence, uncaring, and anger. They might be born as animals on factory farms destined for a lifetime of suffering and death, but it is also possible that they would be born as a carnivore, or even as a human being destined to work in a slaughterhouse.

    As that example shows, although one can make general suppositions about the law of karma, in its specifics one cannot foretell the law of karma. For this reason, it behooves a person to avoid the vagaries of karma.

    We are eternal, the soul never dies. At the time of death we are placed in the womb of our next mother according to our consciousness. There are 8,400,000 species of life all designed in such a way so we can enjoy something or suffer in some way. So it depends on what you are thinking of at the time of death, what your consciousness is at the time of death. If you are in human consciousness you get another human body, if you are in animal consciousness you get an animals body, if you have lived a sinful life you go to hell, if you have been very good you go to heaven, but if you are Krishna conscious then you go back home, back to Godhead, there you can see Krishna, hear Krishna and play with Krishna... That is the highest perfection.

    There are heavenly planets within this material world, they are much better than this earth. You can live for millions of years there, the people are much more beautiful, they don't get old, the food is better, etc.. But it's still the material world. Eventually the people in the heavenly planets have to die also, even if their life is for millions of years. Then generally they come back to this earth again. But the Kingdom of God Jesus talks about is not these material planets. There is a spiritual sky, far beyond this material sky, and as there are many planets in the material sky so also there are many spiritual planets in the spiritual sky. They are all predominated by various forms of Krishna and the supreme planet is called Goloka Vrndavana. It is a lotus-shaped planet and it is the destination of the pure devotees after they leave their material bodies.

    Rather than experience an earthly rebirth defined by past karma, a devotee who dedicates his or her life to a relationship with Krishna is reborn into Krishna's divine realms. Readers of the Bhagavad-gita understand these realms as spiritual planets that exist on a higher plane of the universe. Numerous such planets exist, and all serve as eternal abodes of Krishna where devotees can experience the peace of rejoining their creator.

    Devotees of Krishna (known as Vaishnavas) who engage in the highest forms of worship and love (known as the path of Bhakti-yoga) experience rebirth into the highest of Krishna's spiritual realms, Goloka. Vaishnavas look to the Bhagavata Purana, to describe the nature of Goloka. The Bhagavata Purana explained it as a heavenly realm of perfection. Its inhabitants are eternal, content, and always at peace. In Goloka, Krishna exists in his form as the Supreme Personality of Godhead, Krishna the young prince who frolicked in the forest of Vrindaban. Devotees born into Goloka engage in the highest rasas, or modes of devotion (bhakti), frolicking alongside Krishna as his friends, playing with him as the love-struck gopis, or caring for him as parents.
     
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  8. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    But I shall keep looking.

    Actually, just found this: Reincarnation and Buddhism: Here we go again and his text confirms what I have been led to believe by the Perennialists, that the commonly-expressed notion of the self 'getting another chance' is a misunderstanding of the doctrine.

    And similarly, having looked into 'what reincarnates in Hinduism' we have Atman – the principle of selfhood as such, beyond identification with forms, phenomena or individualities; it is the essence of being, and transcends all forms and modes of being personality.

    Atman is other than and distinct from the ever-changing individual personality described by Ahamkara (the egoic self, psychic I-ness, Me-ness, identification of self as an autonomous being, etc.). Ahamkara is a conglomeration and aggregation of habits, prejudices, desires, impulses, delusions, fads, behaviors, pleasures, sufferings, fears, etc., etc...

    Again, it seems to me that when we look at reincarnation, when we see 'A' in 'B', it's stuff passed on much like our dna, much in the way we might resemble a parent or relative, it's not that A is reborn in B (if so, then B would carry on talking where A left off, as it were), it's rather that 'B' inherits the world, microcosm and macrocosm, that A bequeaths to him/her ... and characteristics, traits, actions, tastes, distastes, etc., are all part of that outer psychic shell that can pass via resonance within families and across continents ...

    I actually think they're all preaching the same thing: Christ talks about 'the light' and John says "that life was the light of men" (John 1:4).

    Life goes on. Atman goes on.

    We, on the other hand, that which we constitute as 'ourselves' have our entrances and our exits, and we leave the residue of our passage for those who follow, but we do not repeat ourselves in another body, nor is our 'me-ness' repeated, given another go round or another bite of the cherry, that, I firmly believe, is a misreading of the doctrines. In all traditions there are the popular and often sentimental expressions of the doctrine, believed in all good faith, but erroneous. An all traditions will find a way of putting off until tomorrow that which needs to be addressed today ...

    The aim of Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, the aim of all the Great Traditions, is to transcend the individuality, the egoic consciousness, to realise one's true nature which can only be realised by giving up that nature we cling to so religiously as me, my rights, my freedoms, my autonomy, my self-determination, my self-direction, my individuality ... in realising we are nothing we can realise all that is; in clinging to who we are we blindfold ourselves to everything we could be.

    In the end the message is a tough one. I'm sure each tradition has its expression, but the one I know is from my own. Christ to the mystic, Katherine of Sienna: "I am He Who Is, you are she who is not."

    Each life has its chance, to attain metanoia, a change of heart, deliverance, salvation, to burst out of the karmic bubble and ascend. Another life is not another chance, it's just another life undergoing the same trials and tribulations, all the lives all around us are undergoing, in their way, the same thing.

    We no more lived in the past nor live in the future any more than we live concurrent and simultaneous existences here and now ... and yet we do.

    In Atman, of course, there is no past nor future, no here nor there ...

    When 'it' ascends, the residue of all those lives is burnt up, is blown away like chaff on the breeze, abandoned to hell, be it Hindu or Buddhist or Christian or whoever, like the dead in gehenna (Christianity) or the lost souls who dwell in samsara, in hades (Greek) or sheol (Judaism) or yomi (Shinto), or wherever ... take your pick, they're all the same ...
     
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  9. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Thanks, Bhaktajan II!

    (We posted concurrently, or simultaneously, or spookily, at a distance ... perhaps at this point we should both be dancing round the room going 'whoo-hoo' is our best mwuha-ha-ha-ha 'I know more than you know' voices!)
     
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  10. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    Atman is distinct from the personality described by the word EGO (Me-ness) [Ahamkara in Sanskrit].

    But We EGOs do not repeat our Ego in another (future next births) body, nor is our 'me-ness' [individuality] repeated, given another go round.

    The Pure Self does not retain and material functions.
    To transcend the concomitant aspects of EGO [temporary individuality, temporary Ego, temporary nature, temporary religiosity, temporary rights, temporary freedoms, temporary autonomy, temporary self-determination, temporary self-direction,
    temporary family, temporary fame, temporary fortune, temporary pleasure, temporary works] ... in realising we are none of these thing eternally we must seek out the Original Person that is absolute. By practicing the etiquette of "service" to others ---as a stand-in substitute for when we meet the personage of Godhead face to face.

    This is an erroneous definition.
    We dwell, We dwell, We dwell, We dwell life after death after life ad-infinitum [in a place where time exists] ---each time we encounter family, friends & spouses--- each time we have a chance to examine the depths of interpersonal exchanges...but always baffled by death!

    Each Life-time we have a chance to practicing the etiquette of "service" to others in our of interpersonal exchanges...but then we are baffled by death.

    The practicing of etiquette of to others is a SELF-LESS endeavor.
    The SELF-LESS practicing of etiquette of to others is perfect when it is applied in it's original context...face-to-face with the personage of Godhead [in a place where time DOES NOT exist].

    Bad folks and lower species of life and megalomaniacal demagogues all want to serve their own interest and sense-gratificatory pleasures.

    We Souls are part and parcel of the First Soul ---and the etiquette of "service" to HIM can be fostered by first practicing proper etiquette to others...and upon arrival back-home, back to Godhead ---all our time spent in Samsara will have transpired in the time it takes a clock to go tick.
     
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  11. wil

    wil UNeyeR1

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    Good stuff....

    Becoming a medium for contemplation and growth is good enough for me.

     
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  12. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    From the web:
    Judism on the Afterlife

    What happens after we die?

    Judaism is famously ambiguous about this matter. The immortality of the soul, the World to Come, and theresurrection of the dead all feature prominently in Jewish tradition, but the logistics of what these things are and how they relate to each other has always been vague.

    Jewish conceptions of heaven and hellGan Eden (Garden of Eden) and Gehinnom — are associated with the belief in immortality and/or the World to Come, and were also developed independent of these concepts.

    Most Jewish ideas about the afterlife developed in post-biblical times.

    What the Bible Says
    The Bible itself has very few references to life after death. Sheol, the bowels of the earth, is portrayed as the place of the dead, but in most instances Sheol seems to be more a metaphor for oblivion than an actual place where the dead “live” and retain consciousness.

    The notion of resurrection appears in two late biblical sources, Daniel 12 and Isaiah 25-26.

    Daniel 12:2 — “Many of those that sleep in the dust of the earth will awake, some to eternal life, others to reproaches, to everlasting abhorrence” — implies that resurrection will be followed by a day of judgment. Those judged favorably will live forever and those judged to be wicked will be punished.

    Resurrection and the Messiah
    Later Jewish tradition, however, is not clear about exactly who will be resurrected, when it will happen, and what will take place.

    Some sources imply that the resurrection of the dead will occur during the messianic era. Others indicate that resurrection will follow the messianic era. Similarly, according to some, only the righteous will be resurrected, while according to others, everyone will be resurrected and — as implied in Daniel — a day of judgment will follow.

    The Daniel text probably dates to the second century BCE, and at some point during the two centuries that followed, another afterlife idea entered Judaism: the immortality of the soul, the notion that the human soul lives on even after the death of the body. In the Middle Ages, Jewish mystics expanded this idea, developing theories aboutreincarnation — the transmigration of the soul.

    The World to Come
    The World to Come (olam haba) is the most ubiquitous Jewish idea related to the end of days. It appears in early rabbinic sources as the ultimate reward of the individual Jew (and possibly the righteous gentile). The Talmud contains scattered descriptions of the World to Come, sometimes comparing it to spiritual things such as studying Torah, other times comparing it to physical pleasures, such as sex.

    However, not surprisingly, it is not obvious what exactly the “World to Come” is and when it will exist. According to Nahmanides, among others, the World to Come is the era that will be ushered in by the resurrection of the dead, the world that will be enjoyed by the righteous who have merited additional life. According to Maimonides, the World to Come refers to a time even beyond the world of the resurrected. He believed that the resurrected will eventually die a second death, at which point the souls of the righteous will enjoy a spiritual, bodiless existence in the presence of God.

    Still, in other sources, the World to Come refers to the world inhabited by the righteous immediately following death–i.e. heaven, Gan Eden. In this view, the World to Come existsnow, in some parallel universe.

    Heaven and Hell
    Indeed, the notion of heaven and hell may be the most ambiguous of all Jewish afterlife ideas. References to Gehinnom as a fiery place of judgment can be found in the apocalyptic literature of the Second Temple period. The Talmud embellished this idea, claiming that Gehinnom is 60 times hotter than earthly fire (Berakhot 57b).

    The earliest reference to Gan Eden (the Garden of Eden) and Gehinnom as a pair is probably the rabbinic statement of the 1st century sage Yochanan ben Zakkai: “There are two paths before me, one leading to Gan Eden and the other to Gehinnom (Berakhot 28b).”

    Many questions remain, however. If the sources that refer to the World to Come are referring to Gan Eden, then what is the world of the resurrected? And if judgment immediately follows death, then what need is there for the judgment that will follow the resurrection?

    Though some Jewish scholars have tried to clarify these ideas, it would be impossible to reconcile all the Jewish texts and sources that discuss the afterlife.
     
  13. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Ahamkara is a term I only came across yesterday.

    This is the single stumbling block I've always had with understanding the doctrines, the Perennialists point elsewhere and now I see more and more evidence for what I understood, that this idea is one of those popular notions based on a misunderstanding.

    I think it's more prevalent in the West than the East, the West being the more egocentric (or was, the east is catching up). It's almost a given in the so-called 'esoteric' schools, Theosophy and such.

    Amen to that.

    A key to understanding this for me was realising that as the one and undivided Original Person incarnates successively through time, the selfsame one and undivided Original Person is incarnated simultaneously in all beings in any and every given moment ... its this that helped me escape the notion of the EGO reincarnating.

    Music to mine ears! There is an apocryphal statement attributed to the Fathers: "Love God and love your neighbour, for there is God."

    OK.

    Can I clarify then. When you say 'We dwell', 'we encounter', 'we have' and so forth, you mean the 'we' of the Ahamkara, the karmic residue that aggregates in a kind of envelope around the Original Person and comprises all that the Ego views as 'I' or 'me'?

    Ahh ...
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    From the Perennial Philosophy perspective:

    "Metempsychosis: "Transmigration" ... (is) not to be confused with metempsychosis, whereby psychic elements – perishable in principle – graft themselves upon the soul of a living person, which may give the illusion of a 'reincarnation'. The phenomenon is benefic or malefic according to whether the psychism is good or bad; that of a saint or that of a sinner." (Frithjof Schuon, "Universal Eschatology", Survey of Metaphysics and Esoterism)
     
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  15. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Stumbles across this on YouTube...

     
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  16. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    'bout time I started. :D

    Been acquainting myself with the principles of non-dualism of Advaita Vedanta, through an English commentary. Wow, I forgot how inspiring that stuff is! Time to dig out my Guénon commentaries: Introduction to the Study of the Hindu Doctrines, Man and His Becoming according to the Vedânta, and The Multiple States of Being (and maybe something by Shankara, whom the Perennialists regard as a their primary reference).

    And, of course, there's nothing better than going straight to the source.
     
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  17. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Active Member

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    For Thomas:

    This Gita verse and it's commentary address simultaneous one-ness and individualism [Achintya-bheda-abheda-tattva*].

    HHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH


    Never was there a time when I did not exist, nor you, nor all these kings; nor in the future shall any of us cease to be. (Bg 2.2)


    Commentary by A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami

    In the Vedas, in the Katha Upanishad as well as in the Svetasvatara Upanishad, it is said that the Supreme Personality of Godhead is the maintainer of innumerable living entities, in terms of their different situations according to individual work and reaction of work. That Supreme Personality of Godhead is also, by His plenary portions, alive in the heart of every living entity. Only saintly persons who can see, within and without, the same Supreme Lord can actually attain to perfect and eternal peace.


    The same Vedic truth spoken in the Bhagavad-gita is given to all persons in the world who pose themselves as very learned but factually have but a poor fund of knowledge. The Lord says clearly that He Himself, the readers of Bhagavad-gita, the prince Arjuna and all the kings who are assembled on the battlefield are eternally individual beings and that the Lord is eternally the maintainer of the individual living entities both in their conditioned and in their liberated situations.


    The Supreme Personality of Godhead is the supreme individual person, and the prince Arjuna, and all the kings assembled there are individual eternal persons. It is not that they did not exist as individuals in the past, and it is not that they will not remain eternal persons. Their individuality existed in the past, and their individuality will continue in the future without interruption. Therefore, there is no cause for lamentation for anyone.


    The Hindu impersonalists’ philosophy is that after liberation the individual soul, separated by the covering of material elements composing the cosmos, which is pejoratively refered to as mäyä, or illusion, will merge into the impersonal Brahman and lose its individual existence is not supported herein by the Bhagavad-gita as spoken by Lord Krishna, the supreme authority.


    Nor is the philosophical theory that we only think of individuality in the conditioned state supported herein. Krishna clearly says in the verse above, that in the future also the individuality of the Lord and others, as it is confirmed in the Upaniñads, will continue eternally.


    This statement of Krishna’s is authoritative because Krishna, as the Supreme Personality of Godhead cannot be subject to illusion. If individuality were not a fact, then Krishna would not have stressed it so much—even for the future.


    The impersonalists may argue that the individuality spoken of by Krishna is not spiritual, but material. Even accepting the argument that the individuality is material, then how can one distinguish Krishna’s individuality? Krishna affirms His individuality in the past and confirms His individuality in the future also. He has confirmed His individuality in many ways, and impersonal Brahman has been declared to be subordinate to Him. Krishna, the Supreme Personality of Godhead, has maintained spiritual individuality all along; if He is accepted as an ordinary conditioned soul in individual consciousness, then His Bhagavad-gétä has no value as authoritative scripture.


    A common man with all the well-known four defects of human frailty** is unable to teach that which is worth hearing. The Bhagavad-gita is above such literature. No mundane book compares with the Bhagavad-gita. When one accepts Krishna as an ordinary man, the Gita loses all importance.


    The impersonalists argues that the plurality mentioned in this verse is conventional and that it refers to the body. After condemning the bodily conception of the living entities, how was it possible for Krishna to place a conventional proposition on the body again? Therefore, individuality is maintained on spiritual grounds and is thus confirmed by great Gurus like Ramanuja (1017–1137 CE) and others.


    It is clearly mentioned in many places in the Gita that this spiritual individuality is understood by those who are devotees of the Lord. Those who are envious of Krishna as the Supreme Personality of Godhead have no bona fide access to the great literature. The non-devotee’s approach to the teachings of the Gita is something like that of a bee licking on a bottle of honey. One cannot have a taste of honey unless one opens the bottle.


    Similarly, the mysticism of the Bhagavad-gita can be understood only by devotees, and no one else can taste it. Nor can the Gita be touched by persons who envy the very existence of the Lord.


    Therefore, the impersonalists’ explanation of the Gita is a most misleading presentation of the whole truth. We are forbidden to read commentations made by the impersonalists and warns that one who takes to such an understanding of the impersonalists philosophy loses all power to understand the real mystery of the Gita.


    If individuality refers to the empirical universe, then there is no need of teaching by the Lord. The plurality of the individual soul and of the Lord is an eternal fact, and it is confirmed by the Vedas as above mentioned.

    *
    Achintya-bheda-abheda-tattva = refers to the inconceivable oneness and difference of the Supreme Person and His energies. This is one of the key points of theistic philosophy. As parts of God's energy, we're also equal in quality with God, but there's a vast difference in quantity. We're each infinitesimal sparks of spiritual energy, and the Supreme Person of Godhead, is the infinite, supreme source of all energies.

    Some parts of the Vedas say that all beings are one with God, and others say that God is different from all beings. Vedanta philosophers have long argued back and forth about this.

    **
    The first defect of conditioned souls is that he must commit mistakes.

    The second defect is to be illusioned.

    The third defect is the cheating propensity.

    Lastly, our senses are imperfect and imperfect.
     
    Last edited: Aug 12, 2017
  18. Aussie Thoughts

    Aussie Thoughts Just my 2 cents

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    Had to laugh the other day. The Aboriginal community is still going on about my baby niece being the reincarnate of our Nanna Gymea. Well, my brother just sort of shrugs if off, but the other day he's changing his daughter's nappy when she starts throwing a right fit. So my brother says, "Ahhh shut up. You changed mine!" Man, I about cracked up. Funniest part, as soon as he said that she got quiet.
     
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  19. Namaste Jesus

    Namaste Jesus Praise the Lord and Enjoy the Chai

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    That's funny. Reminds me of when we were in Fiji last. My grandniece, (the one they say is my mom's reincarnate), was about 3 I think. She was half asleep and her mom was taking her to bed. I pointed my finger at her and joking told that I knew who she was. She looked in my direction with half shut eyes and said, "I know." Mind you, at that age she barely spoke legible Hindi let alone English. Does make you wonder...
     
  20. Thomas

    Thomas Well-Known Member

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    Interesting snippet on the radio.

    UK Actor Simon Williams was spoke to a clairvoyant in his early twenties. She said he's a twin. Her informed her she was wrong. She said he should check, so when he got home to the UK, he spoke to his mother, who informed him that 'it's no big deal', but she was carrying twins, losing one at five months, he being born premature two months later ...

    He then went on to say this news came with: "Such a feeling of extraordinary relief, I've always had this companion, I always thought everyone had a companion, an invisible companion, sharing things with you ... " He went on to speak of the Lone Twin Network, where many recount experiencing a similar sense.
     

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