Past Lives

Discussion in 'Alternative' started by foundationist.org, Mar 29, 2003.

  1. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Blue Heron,

    on the contrary... you could have led a merit filled life in the past or any of the other methods of death that would still permit you to recall past lives.

    in any case, the post does not stipulate that only Buddhists can do this... what it does say is that, by practicing the Buddhist tradition, if you formerly could not recall past lives, you would be able to depending on your level of realization.

    i hope that clears it up a bit :)
     
  2. littlemissattitude

    littlemissattitude Creative Thinker

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    What a fascinating thread. I've been interested in the possibilities of reincarnation ever since I first heard of the concept when I was about 10 or 11 years old. That was when I heard my mother make a comment to someone that when I was very young, I had her half believing in reincarnation becuase I came up with things that were so outlandish coming from a child.

    First of all, I have to say that reincarnation makes at least as much sense to me as a system as the usual Christian idea that you get one try and then you're stuck with either heven or hell, depending on how you behave and what belief you profess. It strikes me that the idea of reincarnation treats life as a learning process, while the Christian system treats life as a test - and the individual starts out with negative points due to original sin. Against all evidence, I tend to believe that the universe is essentially fair, if not always pleasant, and reincarnation seems to me to be the fairer of the two systems. (I'm not saying, of course, that there are only two possible systems of belief concerning the soul and how it works out its eternal progression. It is just that I grew up in a Christian paradigm, so I am using it as a contrast to the ideas surrounding reincarnation.)

    I am open to the idea of reincarnation, but as I've been known to tell people, I believe in it on alternate Thursdays, am sure it is a load of bunk every first Tuesday of the month, and think the jury is still out the rest of the time. Which is to say, I've had experiences suggestive of past life memories, but I'm not willing to state unequvoically that I think that is what those experiences were. I could have been tuning in to some sort of collective unconscious. It could have been my admittedly very active imagination. Those experiences could have been many things. I just don't know. I do know that I've had enough fringe-type experiences in my life - of a variety of kinds - that I am not willing to say that anything is impossible.

    Before I go (it is getting late here, and with daylight savings time just over and the time changed my sleep/wake rhythms are all messed up), I do have to make a comment about the photo that accompanies the link to this thread on the front page. The photo shows a sculpture, "The Dying Gaul", which is my favorite sculpture not by Michelangelo.:) It is actually a Roman marble copy of a Greek bronze. Anyway, the first time I ever saw a photo of him, I was reading a library book about ancient Mediterranean civilizations. I don't know what it was about that particular sculpture, but the moment I saw it I burst into tears. It just destroyed me. Now, I'm a fairly emotional person at times, but statues don't generally affect me that way. Ever since then, I have loved that sculpture. So, when I saw it on the front page here, I had to look in on this thread.
     
  3. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    The Dying Gaul is a brilliant work of art and human expression, chosen implicitly for representing this thread on the main site. I had to think of something that somehow represented both life and death. The Dying Gaul is both living and dying, alive and dead - somehow it seemed like the perfect powerful symbol for encapsulating the topic.

    And back on track...as has been quite emphasised, reservations about past life experience seems to be a very healthy attitude. :)
     
  4. Rev. LKKP

    Rev. LKKP Member

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    I find it rather ironic that I stumbled upon this forum and thread. This subject has been much on my mind this week, but today I was merely looking at a small business forum where I had just registered and saw someone's signature which led me here. (I thank you Brian)

    Having been fascinated by this subject for many years, I don't know that I could add any insight into the subject that has not already been covered by the many posts in the thread. But I guess sharing and comparing thoughts and experiences is what it's all about here, eh? :)

    I have really had some odd thoughts on this subject for many years. As a child, I was pretty much left to my own devices on a regular basis and rarely was told to hush about my imagination as few would listen to anything I said anyway! *L* However, I do recall much from age three on - and I had a very strong sense of my own identity as an individual - and often intuited things that even I knew at the time I was not old enough to understand. I just took it as a given that I would understand them when I was ready to.

    Being from a backsliding catholic family, we rarely set foot in a church, but I had a very strong sense of what spirituality meant to me in my life, and began my personal search very young - at age 7 I began going to different churches on my own to see what they offered and where I agreed and disagreed. And the one shot lifetime never made sense to me - not then and not now. How could anyone really learn anything of value in one lifetime? And why would I spend an eternity in hell for being what I was made? For what I did perhaps, but just for being born? That was a concept I just couldn't grasp.

    And over the years, the search became more of a knowledge quest. I finally found myself in too many different places spiritually, so I began to settle down and paganism and witchcraft became my choice as a practice - but I personally consider myself a Polytheistic Universalist Witch (yes, I made that up but it fits) being that I always been seriously drawn to more of a universal point of view than most Witch and Wiccan modern traditions subscribe to.

    And once I had really chosen my direction, some odd things began happening. People who I didn't even know seemed to know me - and would bring up a particular lifetime they knew me in. Up to that time I saw no real value in remembering past lives. As far as I was concerned there was a good reason to forget them - less baggage. I had a fear of ever being arrogant for some reason - always had - but I assumed I would figure out what was behind that if I needed to should that be related to a past life as I suspected.

    As the years went on, I ran into more people who had known me in this exact same past life. I never brought it up - they always did. I never asked questions - they always just told me what they recalled. Some things I had already remembered, some things others had brought up from a different perspective - but all the same.

    After roughly 40 or so people doing this - yes I kept count - I finally gave in and accepted it, though even now I am not the one to bring it up unless the people I am talking with are the ones who brought it to me first. I personally have no desire whatsoever to be labelled a crackpot, and no matter how much independent verification I have of these meetings and incidences, skeptics abound (which is healthy) and I can't blame them for being skeptical - but I also can prove none of this if they choose not to believe me. With most people out there, you could show them documented histories until you were blue in the face, and they would find another reason you knew these things.

    I will say several good things came of all of this. I understand my fear of being too arrogant - and finally realized that being confident is NOT the same thing *whew* I finally understand quite a few things about myself that I probably wouldn't have before, like my sense of responsibility to people that I don't even know and such. There are things that these different people have remembered about me that were not at all nice - and I still carry quite a sense of indebtedness for all that. (and no, I do not let myself be a doormat over that!) But I was also able to forgive myself for what I had done - and move on.

    Why I ran into so many I don't know - unless the Universe has decided I was particularly dense in my refusal to believe them! And while the number is currently 40 - that changed as late as last year - I doubt it will stop at that. But who knows?
    *long winded eh?*

    And as for the children remembering past lives, I had a friend's child years ago while I was doing a reading for her mother walked up to her mom out of the blue and said "I was a Lin (my name :) before." Her mom was startled and said "what??" Her daughter was only 3 at the time! She pointed at the cards and my pentacle and said again "I was a Lin - not when you were my mommy, but somebody else." You could have knocked us both over with a feather!

    I am still shaking my head in wonder at winding up in here tonight, but nice to meet you all!

    Lin
     
  5. Chronicles

    Chronicles Well-Known Member

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    Absolutely - and welcome to the comparative-religion forum! :)
     
  6. Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine Junior Moderator, Intro Moderator

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    First of all, zdrastvuitsye, hola, shalom, salaam, Dia dhuit, hej, namastar ji, konbanwa, squeak, meow, :wave: to Rev. LKKP.

    Second of all, I really don't know if I believe in reincarnation or not. I've had some eerie experiences and I've also come across a few "breakfast cereals" if you know what I mean. One "breakfast cereal" incident was when I went to check out some crystals at a local metaphysical crystal shop here in Milwaukee and the lady behind the counter said that she recognized me as a fellow Limurian (sp?). Needless to say, I kinda took her statement with a grain of salt. On the other hand, one eerie incident I had was when I first encountered this one instructor (even before I knew his name) and the two of us "recognized" each other. A few weeks later, when the two of us had quite a bit of time alone together before class, we chatted about cabbages and kings and the like when HE brought up the recognition. Alas, our long conversation on that topic was brought up short when some of the other members of the class entered the room (an hour later.)

    Needless to say, I'm going to try and sign up for next semester's offering of his class (again.) I'm hoping that it won't be cancelled (again :rolleyes: ).

    Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine
     
  7. Rev. LKKP

    Rev. LKKP Member

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    Thanks Fool and Phyllis Sidhe_Uaine for the wonderful welcome :)

    And you should definitely check out the class again - sounds to me like you are both approaching this carefully, as one must with all the 'Walking Cereal Boxes' out there LOL

    Lin
     
  8. Zazen

    Zazen Well-Known Member

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    yikes

    well, seems like people sure have alot to say about reincarnation heheheh

    ummm imho the subject is really just on a mass scale misunderstood, exploited and ignored or rejected

    the karmic cycle is one that if you really wanna study, takes awhile to fully comprehend and really i dont think its neccesary for a spiritual aspirant, because it is basically made clear in almost every major religion that to live in the here and now, and to practice devotional service to the lord(god) is the most important thing you can possibly do

    but there are other takes on reincarnation and karma and this and that, that are not always talked about. for one the chinese believe(as others do) that being born as a human is a blessing, no matter what status, no matter how dumb or deformed or whatever, it is a blessing in that human beings have the most probable chance of returning to gods kingdom, or attaining satori, nirvana etc

    on the subject of past reincarnations, according to buddhists and hindus alike no not every past life is as a human and infact it is more likely then not that you werent a human, but like it has been said previously it all depends on your actions which really mean your thoughts, buddhists and hindus believe that karma ultimately(kinda obviously to) comes down to the mind in that your mind controls everything you do, so for example if i kill I brian and take over his website, if i acknowledge this act on a concious and subconcious level as being "wrong" or "evil" then there will be a karmic imprint on my subconcious which will determine my next reincarnation, but if i were to perform the same act and i was purely aware of it yet i still on both a concious and unconcious level regarded it as nothing at all, then there would obviously be no reaction to my action, because really how could there be? if i dont regard this act as being evil, how can i be punished or how can i unconciously remember it as being punishable? i hope this isnt to confusing, but it all ties together with the idea set forth by the buddha(and others) that the mind creates reality, and therefore you have the ideas i talk about above

    and on another note, what vajradhara said about brahman i would like to clear up, when hindus talk about the "dream reality" its just another way of saying mundane reality is illusionary, but the universe we live in is a CONCIOUS creation of god, that is the vedic perspective anyway

    and whomever said before that the "universal mind" is the plane where all knowledge abounds well, your half right, but when hindus or whomever use the term "uinversal mind" they mean god, god is the wellspring off ALL knoweldge, he is the alpha and the omega, but he isnt a "plane of existence", he does however according to all major faiths, exist seperately from us on another plane of existence, or in another form of existence you could say commonly reffered to as "the kingdom of god"

    amitabha
     
  9. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Mind over matter?

    Sounds like Luther's "Pecca fortiter, sed crede fortius". Sin bravely, but believe even more bravely. Of course this pro salvation by faith axiom can be pure apocrypha; yet it is the logical conclusion.

    " . . . mind creates reality . . . ", I can accept that. Many things of science fiction are now realities, like the intelligent bombs much employed by the mighty U.S.A. to fight against terror from weapons of mass destructions hoarded by third world governments of starving nations.

    But I would not accept its interpretation and demonstration by Geller. He is an entertainer. If he is right about mind over matter, he should do something useful with that mind power; then Mohammed didn't have to move to the mountain but move the mountain to himself by mind power over matter.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  10. Zazen

    Zazen Well-Known Member

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    well

    well, what i should have added is that logically it is impossible to disregard an evil or good act on both the concious and subconcious levels

    its easy to do it on the concious level, for some anyway, but to accomplish both something is needed which is perfect intuitive understanding of the supreme godhead, or enlightenment

    according to how i percieve it anyway, so..just umm go ahead and get that out of the way and your all set, youll be a "perfect man" as the taoists say

    amitabha
     
  11. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Playing with words?

    I seem to have the impression, Zar, that you are playing with words.

    It is no wonder that 99% of Catholics and Buddhists don't or can't join in with their doctrinaires' concern about mental gymnastics. They just pray to Buddha, and Mary, and Infant Jesus for all kinds of needs, wants, and wishes.

    Maybe the masses are just plain idiotic; or they see through all the mumbo-jumbo of mind acrobatics which they don't have the luxury of time and idleness of a canoniture to indulge in.

    Mary Christmas and Happy New Year; and Namaste, Zar. Heheheh.


    Susma Rio Sep

     
  12. Zazen

    Zazen Well-Known Member

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    or

    well that or there is a gaping void in the universal mind

    amitabha
     
  13. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    My mother is still dead.

    For all the talk abot reincarnation and resurrection and communication with the dead, my dearest mother is still dead all these years.

    Several times a year I visit her grave and talk to her; she does not talk back.

    And all the reincarnation pundits will die and stay dead when their time comes. If they do reincarnate, there is no certifciation office that can vouch for their coming back to the world of the living, unlike the birth registry where they vouch for your original once in a time birth.

    Sorrow for my mom's death, yet happy for all the sweet memory with her. Thanks to memory, then. And no need for the consolation of reincarnation.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  14. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Susma,

    thank you for the post.

    it can be a troublesome thing when one loses a loved one, especially if the loss is unexpected.

    depending on what you are talking about, i.e. Hindu reincarnation, Buddhist rebirth, Jewish gilgul etc. you might be correct in your characterization, however, generalizations are hardly ever correct.

    there is evidence, the question is, what evidence would you accept?
     
  15. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Shall we see the evidence?

    Namaste Vaj:

    You say:

    "there is evidence [of reincarnation], the question is, what evidence would you accept?"

    In all sincerity and for my own personal concern, I do wish to have myself reincarnated after my death, if that is available for the doing of what will bring it about -- which I have got to see.

    The best evidence is a demonstration of reincarnation. Is that possible, a demonstration?

    Jesus was challenged about the resurrection, I think he skirted away from the challenge by alleging that even if the resurrection were demonstrated his adversaries would not believe it either.

    (I could be wrong about that incident, though; I mean the particulars.)

    Let's do it this way, Vaj: You present any piece of evidence you have in your possession; and I will see if it is convincing to me.


    Susma Rio Sep
     
  16. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Susma,

    fair enough.

    read the history of His Holiness the Fourtheen Dalai Lama.

    then... tell me if you believe him.
     
  17. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    I believe in reincarnation?

    Good friend Vaj, you say:


    I confess I have a rather adversarial regard for the Dalai Lama. On the same token, also for the Pope, and Billy Graham, Jerry Falwell, and similar personalities. So I would not be doing him justice as I read his history.

    The 14th Dalai Lama, is he the one who is in some conflict with another claimant to the dalai-ship?

    I hope our exchange here on evidence for reincarnation does not turn unpleasant the way their rivalry to the dalai-ship appears to have developed into.

    About the history of the 14th Dalai Lama, can a very short one do?

    Would it be all right with you, if I request instead that you give me the evidence of his reincarnation from previous existences, in brief sentences like the following:


    I hope that I don’t appear to be hiding behind subterfuge; but I really don’t maintain that reincarnation does not exist. It’s just that like God’s existence and maybe not so complicated as the God’s question, reincarnation seems to be neither here nor there in the realm of existence.

    If it is any consolation to me and to any friends of mine or even strangers, I can readily believe in reincarnation. So, here goes:


    As a good friend and fellow believer – if you also believe -- and have the evidence, please give me some evidence so that I can assure myself and make a case before unbelievers.

    Susma Rio Sep
     
  18. Vajradhara

    Vajradhara One of Many

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    Namaste Susma,

    thank you for the post.
    fair enough. at least you are honest :)
    never heard of such a thing. the Dalai Lama is the sole person that has the title of Dalai Lama. perhaps, you are thinking of the Panchen Lama problem? that is a political issue now. the Chinese took the present incarnation of the Panchen Lama and have kept him sequestered since he was 4. he hasn't been seen in nearly 6 years now.
    nobody has a "short" history, especially someone that is the public eye. :)


    i'll see what i can do, however, i do not believe that i will be able to provide what you request at this time.

    perhaps.. a movie would be better? there is a pretty good one called Kundun, that deals with his birth, life and escape from Tibet. it has some of the tests and so forth that he was subjected to.
     
  19. Quahom1

    Quahom1 What was the question?

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    What if...

    What about the possibility of ancestral memory? What if our genetic makeup also contains the memories of our ancestors (up to the point of the next conception, vis a vis I am defacto familiar with things about my father's past, until the point where I am conceived, including his father's past, and so on)?

    Just a thought.
     
  20. Susma Rio Sep

    Susma Rio Sep Well-Known Member

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    Reincarnation in the cells

    Namaste Vaj:

    I used to think in this manner:

    The first spark of life, if such there was once upon a time in space and time, travels and branches out in cosmic universe on and on; so all of us are so many reincarnations in a way of that original spark.

    My problem is with the conscious continuity of each identity like you and me, how do we recall that link back all the way to the original spak, or just to the immediately preceding one from where we derive?

    Vaj, you are much more knowledgeable about evidence for reincarnation, can you do me the favor of presenting the evidence for me even just briefly.

    About the movie, I saw some portion of it in cable tv and lost interest. It seems like the Nativity story without the placenta and the washing up and the details of birthing not being described in all its real specifics.

    Honestly, Vaj, do we not see that when it comes to religion or religious philosophy as I would consider Buddhism, I think we could consider it a privileged area of human knowing and feeling, and we might have to just abstain from questions of evidence, except of course the one of personal expeience however it is encountered by each person.

    Namaste, and I really appreciate your genuine Buddhist equanimity.

    Susma Rio Sep
     

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