Famous Quotes on Reincarnation

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by Nick the Pilot, Mar 1, 2007.

  1. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    InLove,

    You said,

    "It's still dark out there, but the moon is big and the stars are showing."

    --> As a matter of fact, when I first read this, I was sitting in the San Diego Airport terminal, watching the sunrise. (I am an airline pilot.) We shared the sunrise!

    "... But I'm working on it."

    --> I appreciate your effort. It really looks like you are giving this your best shot.

    "I would think that the comment attached to Twain's would find its source in the Bhagavad Gita, not the Bible."

    --> I was merely making a connection between the Twain remark and the "reverse spin" to the Scripture from John 9 as you stated in your post, not saying that the Twain remark is Biblical in origin.

    "I'm not being argumentative, Nick, just inquisitive...."

    --> You are not coming across as argumentative. Rather, I wish more people had your inquisitiveness. Most importantly, your open-mindedness is easy to see.

    "...if you would like to share how your belief in reincarnation as helped you, I would love to read about it."

    --> I would be happy to. When a person considers reincarnation, they eventually have to consider how the cycle of reincarnation ends. This leads them to eventually consider the idea of karma. As you may know, the burning off of bad karma is one of the requirements to stop the cycle of reincarnation.

    Unfortunately (for Christians), this flies right in the face of the forgeiveness of sins. Both forgiveness and karma just cannot happen. Any Christian who even thinks about reincarnation must be aware of where it can lead them. (I guess I am saying this only as a warning to you.)

    Now to the main point of my post. I am reminded of a guy at work who steals pens from the company. Will he have to pay back for each and every pen he steals? According to karma, yes, he will. Does it matter if he steals seven or nine pens in a week? Yes, it does. Each pen will carry its own karmic penalty.

    On a slightly different topic, I am reading a book about a great religious man who lived in India. I am impressed by the holiness he had, but I am also stunned by how he was forced to live with horrible health problems. The questions always arises -- why?

    I believe he was paying back karmic debts from other lifetimes. He had some kind of asthmatic condition, and each painful breath he breathed was another debt repaid. As much as I hate to hear about his physical suffering, I am glad that each breath meant another debt was gone forever.

    I am reminded of the warts that I get on the bottom of my feet from time to time. The last wart was yuccky -- I had to freeze it off with dry ice. However, no matter how hard I tried, it just would not go away. Then, one day, it was just gone. I firmly believe I got that wart to burn off a particular piece of bad karma. Once the bad karma had been burned off, the need for the wart had run its course, and the wart disappeared.

    Now, back to my co-worker, the small-time thief. I believe that each pen he steals may cost him one more painful, asthmatic breath in a future life. Bad karma is quantifiable, as I am afraid he may find out one day.

    Which brings me back to the original point I was making. Yes, reincarnation has changed the way I look at life -- I believe I will held accountable for everything I do. And, yes, it does make a difference if we steal seven or nine pens.
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hey Nick – there is a Buddhist story that I think fits with your line of thought ... ?

    A young monk is captured by a demon or three. To escape, he is given three choices, to make love to a woman, to eat a goat, or to drink alcohol.

    The monk thinks, "I have taken a vow of chastity, so I cannot lie with the woman. I have sworn to protect all life, so I cannot harm the goat. I have sworn not to touch alcohol, but of the three, this is surely the lesser evil, no great harm can come of it." So he elects to drink the alcohol.

    The liquor is strong, and the monk unused to strong drink. He quickly becomes intoxicated, loses self control, slaughters the goat, and rapes the woman.

    +++

    To balance that, there is the story, which you probably know, about an old monk and a young monk who come to a river crossing, where a woman is waiting, too frightened to cross. The young monk ignores her, but the old monk says "Hop up," and gives her a piggy back across the river.

    Along the road, the young monk is obviously distressed. After a while, the old monk says, "what is it?"

    The young monk shakes his head. "We have taken a vow to have nothing to do with women. I just don't understand your actions?" The old monk smiles. "I put her down on the riverbank. When are you going to put her down."

    +++

    I'm not challenging your views (on this occasion ... give me a break!) ... but as I understand it, there is room for grace in Buddhism? Does not heaven sometimes smile on us? ... I was inclined to say 'cut us a little slack', but I think we're both wedded to the idea that the Law/Dharma must be worked through[/], not around?

    I see karma much in line with 'original sin' – I have argued that it's simply the Christian views is subjectivity (sin) whilst the Buddhist outlook is objectivity (karma) and that is why the teaching seems so radically different, if not opposed ... yet both teachings holds the opposite – there is sin in Buddhism and karma in Christianity ... it's just how they're positioned in the scheme of things ... ?

    Thomas
     
  3. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    I've only just now seen this thread and I am quite distressed. I had no idea there was this back story going on behind the thread on reincarnation in the Christianity forum. I'm sorrowful that Andrew feels he has been stomped upon and so has withdrawn again from our company :( , and I regret that my somewhat scolding post to him in the Christianity forum may have added to that.



    I'm pretty slow on the uptake so please bear with me, but it seems to me Nick that here you are making more or less the same point Thomas does, and that I did in the other thread, that reincarnation and resurrection are not compatible ideas...at least not within the orthodox dogma of Christianity. Am I understanding your point here correctly? Is the implication then that if you accept evidence of reincarnation that pretty much throws all of orthodox Christianity out the window?


    Don't be concerned about answering yes to that question as I am not one to lose sleep over doctrine. As I said before we all see through the glass darkly. My sister often talks of her past lives but it's still not clear me how literally even she understands this kind of belief. As for myself, I have just as much trouble thinking too literally about either reincarnation or resurrection...both are metaphysical things beyond proof I think. Doctrine is like a living dove. If you hold it too firmly you crush the life out it.

    I made a thread in another forum a while back titled "My karma ran over your dogma." I think I may have even first heard that line somewhere here on this forum, but I can't remember for sure. Actually, I made the statement somewhere in that thread that grace breaks the cycle of karma. Karma (you reap what you sow) is conventional wisdom, and we all know that we don't see that actually pan out in this life (because bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people), so the idea that it takes several lifetimes to balance all this out makes sense...to a degree. Mea culpa, I know next to nothing about reincarnation in Hinduism or Buddhism...I have what are probably kindergarten understandings from what is 'popularly' known in this country. My rudimentary (mis?)understanding leads me to ask: how did the first bad karma happen?

    There is a lot of conventional wisdom in the Bible, like, say, all of Proverbs! But there is also unconventional wisdom...such as in Job, and Ecclesiastes, and I think also in the Gospels. Yes, you reap what you sow, but things don't always perfectly work out that way. Life IS. The unconventional wisdom says: love your enemy. Forgive. Judge not, for as you judge you shall be judged. It is not quid pro quo, it is being loved in spite of the fact that we are unlovable (to paraphrase Paul Tillech). It is to know that God takes our mess and makes it beautiful. OK, before you get on my case about this, I have to share an amazing insight I got from an old friend (AdD) as a result of my statement about grace breaking the karmic cycle.

    In a rather pointed manner, AdD replied to this: Exact. Same. Thing. And I've been pondering this ever since. It means you and I are both 'wrong' and both 'right.' :)

    Karma and grace. When we judge, we judge each other, ourselves, Creation, and ultimately God. Grace, according to AdD, is that state of not judging good and evil because when we judge good and evil we judge (and condemn) ourselves and God. We really do reap what we sow (karma) and we really do experience grace when we withdraw from the illusion of judging good and evil (grace).

    Grace, Love, Forgiveness. Karma. Whatcha think?
     
  4. earl

    earl ?

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    Hi everyone. That "karma ran over my dogma" line I'd posted here somewhere but I didn't invent it. Saw it on a bumper sticker in the 70's & it obviously stuck with me 'cause I think there's alot of truth along with amusement to that line-i.e., life experiences don't always fit our current theories about same.:D I, too, am sad to see Andrew go. Now as re that grace & karma thing-in Buddhism their notion of karma is not only independent of "doing good," but also to some degree independent of degree of spiritual realization. That is, karma is indeed "sow as you reap," be it seeds of karma from this lifetime or others. But, no matter how much you may be enlightened, you may still need to deal with karma "seeds" still ripening in your life, (yeah Buddhists do like to use that metaphor). The difference though relates to suffering. That is to an enlightened Buddhist there is pain when pain arrives but no suffering-no agonizing because they have gone beyond any actual "self-" interest. Similarly, from my perspectve, if one can fully surrender one's self, (that's the big "if"), to the Christ, we may experience pain, but not "suffer." I'd say that if you are at that point to use Christian lingo you are going to feel grace in your life and feel as if you've truly been "saved" & "sins" are forgiven. I owe much to Tariki for prompting dialogue as re Pure Land Buddhism as they do such a wonderful job of describing how faith, surrender, and grace work together in their perspective and I see those issues as working the same way within a Christian perspective, (though admittedly as you know I don't hold a traditional view on the subject either;) ). take care, earl
     
  5. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Thomas,

    Those are great stories. Thanks for sharing them.

    I guess you could call the first one a Buddhist story. Perhaps his karma was to get all three....?

    The second story is definitely a Buddhist story. It deals with two key Buddhist (and Theosophical) concepts, one called mindfulness, and the other called non-attachment. (The first story could also be interpreted as a story on non-attachment.)

    I want to point out that I am a Theosophist and not a Buddhist. There is a difference.

    Did you hear the one about the fellow who bought something at a store, but the Buddhist clerk refused to give change? The clerk said, "Change comes from within...."

    How many software technicians does it take to change a lightbulb?

    You asked,

    [Is] "...there ... room for grace in Buddhism?"

    --> Technically, no. When something unexpectedly good happens to someone, you call it Grace. I call it the ripening of good karma.

    "Does not heaven sometimes smile on us?"

    --> Yes, it does, but only because we have already earned that good karma. You and I are a good example of this. Both you and I work very hard at understanding and teaching our respective belief systems. This (positive) hard work will lead to an eventual cause and effect. I would not be surprised at all if you become a great Catholic leader in your next lifetime. (This is assuming you are not already one. I am not any kind of Theosophical leader — I am just a guy who reads books.) I believe you may be elevated to a position of Catholic leadership in your next lifetime, and (I am sure) you will say to yourself, "How did I get so lucky? Why has heaven smiled on me?" This is how "grace" happens — it is earned, and only through hard work.

    "...we're both wedded to the idea that the Law/Dharma must be worked through, not around?"

    --> I agree.

    "I see karma much in line with 'original sin' "

    --> Now we are getting into a huge subject. The subject is so huge I cannot respond with a simple answer at this time.

    "...there is sin in Buddhism and karma in Christianity...."

    --> It depends on your definition of sin. My definition is, sin is that which goes contrary to the flow of evolution which the universe is going through. Using that definition, I agree, and I definitely see "sin" happening around me. (However, I do not call it sin, I call it "making bad karma".) Regarding karma in Christianity, no, there is no such thing as karma, because the forgiveness of sin negates the very idea of karma. The two ideas of forgiveness of sin and karma cannot exist together in the same belief system.
     
  6. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Luna,

    You said,

    "I had no idea there was this back story going on…."

    --> Sorry about that. (Maybe I should sent out a PM to certain people whenever I start a new thread….)

    "I'm sorrowful that Andrew feels he has been stomped upon and so has withdrawn again from our company…."

    --> Andrew gets angry easily. Unfortunately, he wants to be a religious pioneer, which is a brutal Path to follow. I hope he finds equanimity, and rejoins us.

    "… you are making more or less the same point Thomas does, and that I did in the other thread, that reincarnation and resurrection are not compatible ideas..."

    --> I agree.

    "Is the implication then that if you accept evidence of reincarnation that pretty much throws all of orthodox Christianity out the window?"

    --> Unfortunately, I agree.

    "My sister often talks of her past lives but it's still not clear me how literally even she understands this kind of belief."

    --> I would love to hear more about your sister’s situation.

    "I made a thread in another forum a while back titled "My karma ran over your dogma." I think I may have even first heard that line somewhere here on this forum, but I can't remember for sure."

    --> I think I remember seeing a bumper-sticker like that.

    "…grace breaks the cycle of karma."

    --> See my response to Thomas’ post.

    " I know next to nothing about reincarnation in Hinduism or Buddhism."

    --> Feel free to ask questions. I have spent many years studying both religions.

    "I have what are probably kindergarten understandings from what is 'popularly' known in this country."

    --> As a matter of fact, Theosophy takes credit for popularizing reincarnation and karma in the western world. One hundred years ago, reincarnation and karma were absolutely unheard of in the western world. Thanks to Theosophy, all of us have heard the two words, and we all have a rudimentary understanding of the concepts.

    "… how did the first bad karma happen?"

    --> The first time we intentionally hurt someone.

    "Forgive. Judge not, for as you judge you shall be judged. It is not quid pro quo, it is being loved in spite of the fact that we are unlovable (to paraphrase Paul Tillech)."

    --> Master Po, the Buddhist master in the TV series Kung Fu, said, "Some people receive injury, but return kindness."

    You quoted Luke 6. Being non-judgmental is a key Theosophical teaching.

    "Grace, Love, Forgiveness. Karma. Whatcha think?"

    --> I hope my post to Thomas has answered your question.
     
  7. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Earl,

    You said,

    "Saw it on a bumper sticker in the 70's…"

    --> So did I.

    "Now as re that grace & karma thing-in Buddhism…."

    --> Karma is also a Theosophical concept.

    "But, no matter how much you may be enlightened, you may still need to deal with karma "seeds" still ripening in your life…."

    --> I would like to clarify that an Enlightened person no longer has bad karma. It has all been burned off.

    "… to an enlightened Buddhist there is pain when pain arrives but no suffering-no agonizing because they have gone beyond any actual "self-" interest."

    --> I agree. When a person becomes enlightened, the sense of separateness between us and them is removed (for them). Whenever they see something bad happening, they can immediately see the bad karma that caused it. They can see the entire cycle of cause and effect that concerns this particular bad thing happening now, so a self-centered view of what is happening has become impossible.

    "I owe much to Tariki for prompting dialogue as re Pure Land Buddhism as they do such a wonderful job of describing how faith, surrender, and grace work together in their perspective…."

    --> I need to say the Pureland philosophy is quite different than other forms of Buddhism. Many Buddhists reject the Pureland concept entirely.
     
  8. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Prober,

    You said,

    "You were born in...well, nevermind...you wouldn't believe me..."

    --> The place Boston comes to mind for me.
     
  9. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi,

    I think the prevailing culture in the time of the Buddha included belief in an eternal "soul" (Western word I know) that passed on to another life and this is known as reincarnation. I suppose it goes with a view of the universe / time being cyclical rather than linear.

    The Buddha rather heretically said that there is no unchanging "soul" that passes on, which is why the (Hindu) notion of reincarnation cannot really be said to be the same in Buddhism (where it is more usually termed rebirth). However, whether or not rebirth occurs is not an impediment to making a useful understanding of the teaching of the Buddha.

    s.
     
  10. earl

    earl ?

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    To clarify Nick-an elightened person in Buddhist thought no longer accumulates karma period, but that does not stop such a person from having to deal with karmic "seeds" still ripening from prior acts. And yes the only place you will find notions of grace and surrender is in the Pure Land school of Buddhism. You say many Buddhists don't accept this approach. Well true, that's why there are many schools of Buddhism-many would not accept other schools as well. But all schools accept the basic tenets of Buddhism, which includes notions of karma. Now ask a Buddhist which school of Buddhism is best hmmm...think that might be like asking a Christian which denomination is truly Christian.:) earl
     
  11. Prober

    Prober Give Us This Day...

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    For China's birthplace?
     
  12. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Snoopy,

    You said,

    "I think the prevailing culture in the time of the Buddha included belief in an eternal "soul" (Western word I know) that passed on to another life...."

    --> I agree, although I believe almost every Buddhist in the world would disagree. Modern Buddhists do not believe in a soul. As a matter of fact, Buddhists do not use the word reincarnation, as you point out below. They only use the word rebirth, to distinguish their non-belief in a soul from those who do.

    This is a key difference between Buddhism and Theosophy, as Theosophy teaches the idea of a soul, and Buddhism does not.

    "I suppose it goes with a view of the universe / time being cyclical rather than linear."

    --> The idea of cycles is an important Theosophical/Buddhist idea.

    "The Buddha rather heretically said that there is no unchanging 'soul' that passes on, which is why the (Hindu) notion of reincarnation cannot really be said to be the same in Buddhism (where it is more usually termed rebirth)."

    --> This always turns into a heated debate, one side saying Buddha did not deny the existence of a soul, the other side saying he clearly taught against it. To me, this is as big a controversy as whether the Bible supports reincarnation. I think the debate will not end we reach Enlightenment (or all become psychic....)

    "However, whether or not rebirth occurs is not an impediment to making a useful understanding of the teaching of the Buddha."

    --> As I said, there are two sides to the question, and the debate continues.
     
  13. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Earl,

    You said,

    "...ask a Buddhist which school of Buddhism is best hmmm...think that might be like asking a Christian which denomination is truly Christian."

    --> There are different kinds of people, so we need different kinds of people. Theosophy strongly supports the idea of different kinds of religions, and says one religion will not work for everyone.
     
  14. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Prober,

    You said,

    "For China's birthplace?"

    --> That is just a wild guess. (Let's see how close I get....)
     
  15. earl

    earl ?

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    What you've just said, Snoopy, is indeed the Buddhist party line. But am not sure how much difference exists really beween the notions of reincarnation & rebirth when you look at how those concepts are embraced in Tibetan Buddhism in their tulku system. Afterall, they typically think of a tulku as a reincarnation of a Buddhist master. I had recently posted a link to an article that I though gave a good overview of how their thinking works as re tulkus as well as how they go about identifying tulkus at an early age on the reincarnation thread in the "regular" Christianity forum:

    The Tribune - Windows - Featured story

    have a good one all, earl
     
  16. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Huh? Maybe a mis-communication on my part? By soul, I meant Atman. This indeed is a fundamental rejection by the Buddhist teaching I believe, so I'm not sure how the "every Buddhist in the world" disagreeing bit comes about?

    s.
     
  17. lunamoth

    lunamoth Episcopalian

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    Oh silly, of course you don't need to do that. I only saw Andrew's post in the C forum and did not understand why he made it...now I understand. I probably would have still answered his post in much the same way, except with greater understanding and acknowledging his hurt and sense of injustice having been done.


    My hope is for all of us to find peace and live in love and respect, and I too hope he rejoins us.

    What's unfortunate about it?

    Perhaps I will ask her to join us and explain it herself. We've not talked about it in any detail, but she refers to it sometimes.

    Thanks to earl for that one I see. :p

    I may reply to some of that post as well, if that's OK.

    It seems to a pretty big field of inquiry, with almost as many answers as there are schools of thought on the subject. But I will ask for clarification when I don't understand something in particular, thank you. :)


    I think my question is related to Thomas' about 'original sin,' how did the big wheel of karmic debt and payment get spinning. I probably have a heterodox view of the Fall and 'original sin'...I'm not sure. Actually I think I'm close to Eastern Orthodox in much of my interpretation of these things, and EO does not accept original sin.

    Thank you Nick, I'll go to your reply to Thomas next.

    luna
     
  18. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Snoopy,

    I agree. Hinduism teaches the Atma, while Christianity teaches the soul. There is a big difference between the two. Theosophy teaches both concepts, and distinguishes the two.

    You said,

    "I'm not sure how the 'every Buddhist in the world' disagreeing bit comes about?"

    --> This may just be a confusion of terms. Almost every Buddhist in the world disagrees with the idea of a soul/Atman, and fundamentally (as in dogmatically) rejects it. I agreed with you that Buddha did teach the idea of Atman.

    (Atman is the dictionary form, Atma is the bound form.)
     
  19. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Hi,

    Thanks for that.

    "The tradition of the reincarnation is a peculiar feature of Vajrayana. It is connected with the concept of bardo, the intermediate period between birth and rebirth." - from the article.

    It doesn't help when the two words are used interchangably (as often occurs).

    I do still see a difficulty in the idea of reincarnation when set against some of the fundamental teachings of the Buddha. Possibly my failure in understanding...

    s.
     
  20. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    Luna,

    You asked,

    "What's unfortunate about it?"

    --> It is unfortunate because Theosophy rejects a great deal of orthodox Chrisitian teachings — the more we disagree, the more difficulty there is for the two of us to communicate.

    At present, the gap between the two sets of teachings is huge.

    "I'm close to Eastern Orthodox in much of my interpretation of these things, and EO does not accept original sin."

    --> Please explain your belief regarding Original Sin.
     

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