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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:i have been reading about buddhism for almost a year. before this i came across the idea that we choose our parents before we are born in order to learn certain lessons from them and learn from the situations that would come from being raised in that environment. this made alot of sense to me so i choose to adopt it as a type of belief.

recently while reading about rebirth i have come to understand that buddhism teaches that at death the body & mind disintegrates, but if the disintegrating mind contains any remaining traces of karma, it will cause the continuity of the consciousness to bounce back an arising mind to an awaiting being, thus rebirth.

therfore my question is does the idea of choosing our rebirth fit into buddhism in anyway? to answer my own question i would say, no

in order to choose our rebirth in anyway it seems that desicion would have to be made by an eternal self which i reject. feelings, perceptions, experiences, and consciousness are not permanent so the only thing that can decide your rebirth would be remaining traces of karma.

if there is anyone with experience on buddhist teaching that has information or an opinion on this subject i very much like your input. thanks

sage

sunny


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The Tea Fairy
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

The Tea Fairy

old hand
Location: Behind you...

Total posts: 853
Posted:This is very interesting, not sure if I can be much help though!

Your first point about choosing your parents before birth reminds me of the 'Akashic Record' idea, that when we die we (well, the 'soul' or whatever) sort of plan a blueprint of our next incarnation, deciding things like parents, where we're born and bigger events in life we wish to be exposed to. In the Akashic Records theory this is so that we can overcome certain obstacles in the physical world in order to balance our Karma, as in death we (or soul, higher conciousness or whatever) have a clearer idea of God/Nirvana/Brahman etc and more drive to purify ourselves in the quest to become one with it.

I'm not sure if I'm even trying to make a point with this, it sounds like I'm rambling! I like contemplating these questions though.

For reincarnation to work I think there must be some concept of an eternal 'Self'... otherwise, who/what is being incarnated? I agree that feelings, perceptions etc are not permanent, but we still have a sense of self when these things change (ego?)... Is Karma itself perhaps a permanent aspect of the self?

I don't know too much about Buddhism, but I've got a general interest in religion/spirituality and have read lots of books about it over the years... I've got a book somewhere at home that's got a wonderful explanation of karma in it, I'll have to dig it out and have another look some time.

hug Thanks for the philosophical musings, has kept me entertained for a good half hour at work!


Idolized by Aurinoko

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind....

Bob Dylan

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jackyneo
SILVER Member since Mar 2006

member
Location: singapore

Total posts: 48
Posted:i have to ask u one thing before i answer your question,can u choose to go haven or hell when u are died..

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.

Total posts: 242
Posted:I met a Buddhist teacher who said reincarnation was like when a pool ball hits another. Nothing of the first ball is transferred to the other but the energy and direction.

I had more to say on this point but I'm at work and can't really put my thinking hat on.

WIll post again soon.


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Posted:Hiya, try this link
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/walshe/wheel261.html
br>
its to a Buddhist site (theravada tradition) but to be honest mate what really matters is trying to live by The Four Noble Truths
good luck with it


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tillymoo


tillymoo

member
Location: Brisbane

Total posts: 107
Posted:this may not really answer the question but it is an example of what yu are talking about. to be honest, i grew up with buddhism and have attended teachings and met many amazing teachers, but i haven't formally studied much and this is really just what i have understood.

Lama Yeshe was one of the first tibetan buddhist teachers make buddhism accesible and teach westerners and when he died, his reincarnation was recognised as a young spanish boy. I would say this is a definite case of choosing the circumstancesof ones rebirth. however, for most people, buddhists or not, we have not reached spiritual level where we can determine where our next life will be. So it is therefore determined by our Karma - Karma we have created in this life, and other karma we have from previous lives still to be worked out. there is a story in tibetan buddhism about a nomad who was hiding in the bushes and throwing stones at the Dalai Lama one day. When asked why he was doing it, he replied "So I will have a Karmic connection to His Holiness. I will have to meet him in a future life to work it out"

i do however believe that human life is precious and all of us (i.e people who have access to information, freedom of expression and enough luxury time to enjoy spinning - pretty well everyone on HoP!) need to apppreciate that do the most that we possibly can with this amazing gift.


"A Thnead's a fine thing that all people need"
Dr Suess

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:IN general one of the main aims in Buddhism is to try to get a rebirth where one can continue living the sort of life (called *virtuous* or more accurately a 'perfect human rebirth') that keeps heading towards eventual enlightenment or Nirvana. Almost noone can choose 'their' rebirth.. only extremely advanced meditators who have done very specific types of meditations. It isn't 'yours' anyway. It's another identity imputation. But that's a bit advanced for now. The billiard ball analogy is great.

Samsara is the general word for the 'uncontrolled and endless cycle of suffering' that most of us get reborn into.
Hilarious they named a perfume after it, eh.


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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Posted: Written by: sagetree



i have been reading about buddhism for almost a year. before this i came across the idea that we choose our parents before we are born in order to learn certain lessons from them and learn from the situations that would come from being raised in that environment.





Theres seems to be a couple of contradictions in this view of rebirth. How can one 'learn certain lessons' if 'feelings, perceptions, experiences, and consciousness' die with your brain at death (which is likely), even if traces of karma remain?



Also, a lot of buddhism is centred around dissolving the illusion that we are seperate from the universe, and that true happiness can never be attained while living through the ego. Yet this view on rebirth would appear to indicate that our ego remains seperate even after death, and the point of our existance is to raise our level of consciousness after each life. But, isn't this, in itself, an egocentric goal?



Theories on rebirth such as the pool ball situation are a lot deeper, and the above contradictions don't apply.


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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted: Written by: psyrush

Theres seems to be a couple of contradictions in this view of rebirth. How can one 'learn certain lessons' if 'feelings, perceptions, experiences, and consciousness' die with your brain at death (which is likely), even if traces of karma remain?





maybe you didn't read what i wrote correctly. i said that i had the view that we chose our parents to learn lessons before i started reading about buddhism. my view has now changed. either way i wasn't making a statement i was asking a question. acctually i was pointing out the contradictions and why my view on the subject is/has changed.



 Written by: the tea fairy

For reincarnation to work I think there must be some concept of an eternal 'Self'... otherwise, who/what is being incarnated? I agree that feelings, perceptions etc are not permanent, but we still have a sense of self when these things change (ego?)... Is Karma itself perhaps a permanent aspect of the self?





very interesting questions. i would say that the one of the goals in buddhism is to let go/detach from the ego. karma is not a part of our ego but is a part of our higher self. by making noble desicions we can influence our rebirth. here is part of a response i got from someone from a buddhist forum on the same question:



"Finally while we cannot choose our rebirth we can most certianly influence the outcome of our rebirth. Thats is, this life is the effect of your actions in your previous life and your actions this life will determine your rebirth in your future life/lives. It's all your own responsibilities. Heir to your kamma, born from your kamma."











"I met a Buddhist teacher who said reincarnation was like when a pool ball hits another. Nothing of the first ball is transferred to the other but the energy and direction."



i very much like this metaphor, thanks









in addition i have also been told that the thought moment at our time of death can also influence rebirth and that bodhisattvas had a much stronger influence over their rebirth than mortals.





"Pure Land Buddhism would encourage their patrons to recite the Amituofo mantra at time of death for their wish to be reborn in Pure Land."



"In at least the Vajrayana (Tibetan) tradition, the high Lamas chose their own rebirth or more precisely reincarnated. There are many documented cases in that tradition that "traces" the death of a lama to a new being. eg 13th Dalai Lama reborn as 14th Dalai Lama, Lama Yeshe reborn as Lama Osel, Lama Luowado became Lama Zopa etc. These highly trained Lamas(aka bodhisattva) is able to chose where they wished to be borned. Hence except for 1 HHDL (born in Mongolia), all 13 HHDL were born in Tibet. (And in all likelihood, the 14th HHDL will chose not to be born in Tibet under Chinese occupation)."



i have studied the 4 noble truths extensively and i am currently learning the noble 8 fold path.



here is a link to the buddhist forum i am on. i've only been registered a couple of days but it is a nice site with some nice people if anyone is interested.



another good buddhist website for resources is this one



4 noble truths



thanks for the feedback, much appreciated



sage







sunny


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Posted: Written by: sagetree





maybe you didn't read what i wrote correctly. i said that i had the view that we chose our parents to learn lessons before i started reading about buddhism. my view has now changed. either way i wasn't making a statement i was asking a question. acctually i was pointing out the contradictions and why my view on the subject is/has changed.





Yep i was responding to the 'learn lessons after each life' view on rebirth, not your post specifically smile. I have edited my post to try to make this more clear.


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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:sorry i understand what you meant now. smile (nice avitar)

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:The pool-ball is a nice methaphore.

Sagetree, ask yourself: why do I want to know the aswer to this?

If you are to choose your reincarnation and you would have to do something in order to. Would you do that? For say, if I'd tell you now that you can choose your next incarnation, if you are travelling to the Himalayas, to Tibet, walk barefeet to the highest peak, on Dec 24th and you have to stand on your left leg for ten hours, put your right index finger up your left nostril and continuously hum the Tibetans national anthem, after which you'd have 10 seconds to choose your next incarnation - would you go on that quest - and when? And if you were to find out years later, that you might have done the wrong pick, would you do the same thing over again?

Or is the purpose of you question to find out whether or not, or why you chose THIS (CURRENT) incarnation?

Would it make any difference to you in the ways you move through (this) life? And if it would - why?

Maybe you let me address these questions just out of curiosity, before you now start questioning whether or not I know anything about the subject itself, am either a bodhisattva or a fool.

But just that much: IF "we" came to CHOOSE our reincarnations, a starving african child chooses to be this fate as much as a handicapped chooses to be a handicapped and a millionaire (by birth), or a Dalai Lama...

But why on earth would this Dalai Lama (given that this indication is fact) NOT choose to be born again in Tibet? You think he would NOT want to ever see his homeland again - as long and just because as it's currently under Chinese occupation? umm


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:The reason why is that, according to Buddhist thinking, a being who can control their rebirth will choose a situation in order to benefit the most beings, not to suit their 'own' convenience. So it is said that many such beings are reborn in the west at the moment because their is a receptivity to their teachings.

.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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The Tea Fairy
SILVER Member since Jul 2004

The Tea Fairy

old hand
Location: Behind you...

Total posts: 853
Posted:I like your point about Karma being an aspect of Higher Self rather than ego, that's pretty much my understanding of it. I do yoga and in texts I've read they talk about this ability of Indian saints to choose and be aware of their incarnations, much like the Boddhisatva.

Perhaps we cannot choose because we are so ruled by our egos and are unable for most of the time to relate to our 'Higher Selves' and the wisdom they hold for us? After all, it would be pointless for us to be able to choose if we are guided by a selfish ego rather than determining what incarnations would be most useful for our spiritual progress, however unpleasant for the ego these might be.

In Spiritist teachings, where the Akashic Record concept comes from, they believe the Higher Self is more prominent after death, thus allowing the choice to occur. Higher Self wants to be one with god/nirvana etc and knows it's karma, so can choose how it will try and make amends in the next lifetime. They teach that Higher Self becomes more prominent because the ego is motivated by the body and physical world, which cease to exist in death, thus giving us the opportunity for clearer judgement.

I'd also like to mention at this point that I do not adhere to any particular religion, but I try to 'listen to the words of the wise, and take what is good as my own'.


Idolized by Aurinoko

Take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind....

Bob Dylan

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newgabe
SILVER Member since Mar 2005

newgabe

what goes around comes around. unless you're into stalls.
Location: Bali

Total posts: 4030
Posted:Buddhism is quite different to other religions in that there is no 'Higher' or any other sort of 'truly existing' self. Karma literally means 'action', with the implication of re-action. Or what we call cause and effect. Once we have created a cause, sooner or later the result will *happen* though not necessarily to the *me* we think we are.



A Buddhist proverb says; *If you want to know what you were like in a past life, look at your life now. If you want to know what you will be in a future life, look at your mind now*



They say that as we are predominantly ruled by ignorance (of the 'unreal' nature of our 'real selves') craving and resistance (or aversion), most beings are on a downward path, not an upward one. Being a human in this life by no means implies a human birth next time. Quite the opposite.In fact they say that acquiring a 'perfect human rebirth' (ie one with the capacity for spiritual understanding and practice) is as rare as a blind turtle in vast ocean sticking his head out of the water once every (choose a number) years and putting his head through a golden ring that is floating on the water.



Buddhism is not a soft or particularly optimistic worldview! They do say that our parents are a karmic 'result' but not that we 'choose' them like choosing fruit in a supermarket, or some sort of benign kindergarten where the kids choose to play house cos they 'need' to.

(these are not necessarily my views but I can vouch they are mainstream Buddhism, from the TIbetan and most other schools)


.....Can't juggle balls but I sure as hell can juggle details....

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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:i have never heard of Akashic Record but it sounds very similiar to the Celestine Prophecy's and other james redfield books, where i got the idea from. to me his books were a great starting point but are works of fiction that are only meant to teach lessons. (i guess one could say the same about many spiritual/religious books) although he does have a non-fiction book i found it a bit boring to read especially if you have read his previous books. The Secret of Shambala was my favorite but i read them a long time ago and i feel that i have moved foreward from his message/s in some ways although many have stuck with me.

"I'd also like to mention at this point that I do not adhere to any particular religion, but I try to 'listen to the words of the wise, and take what is good as my own'. "

i feel the same way but in the past year most of the wise words that i feel the greatest connection to have been from buddhism.


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jeff(fake)


jeff(fake)

Scientist of Fortune
Location: Edinburgh

Total posts: 1189
Posted:Correct me if I'm wrong, but this is the view of "traditional" bhuddism, yes?

Just it seems we might be shoe-horning a very diverse faith/philosophy.


According to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle of Quantum Dynamics, we may already be making love right now...

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:(*Vaguely agrees with Jeff*)

I find it quite funny that so many claim to BE Buddhists AND indulge on life, whilst this religion in it's original context is merely based upon sacrifice and asketism. Personally I am more in a a pick and mix/ patchwork situation than in any of the current -isms, whose purpose not only is to enlighten others, but to have their temple joined and supported.

The idea of reincarnation appeals to me, as does the idea that I chose my incarnation myself vs. "I didn't ask to get born" (as in where, when and through whom). That takes a huge burden off my parents shoulders.

It's much about concepts, which I generally prefer to question. Nobody will be able to lift the terminal experience off our shoulders and assure us of anything, unless we want to believe in it. One of the views that come closest to what feels right to me, is what Osho said about life and death - no, I'm not a Sanyassin or want to be as this would somehow contradict his teachings.

I sadly feel ignored by you, Sagetree - but that in itself may have a purpose.


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:@ firetom - i didn't mean to ignore you i just didn't understand your question well enough to give an answer that i was happy with, i will try harder



@ jeff(fake)good point, by traditional do you mean Theravada? i don't know enough about buddhism to be able to distinguish all the differences so please inform me if i have grouped different types of buddhism together.



"When ever Buddhism has taken root in a new land, there has been a certain variation in the style in which it is observed. The Buddha himself taught differently according to the place, the occasion and the situation of those who were listening to him."



i have been mostly referring to Theravada buddhism because it is what i am most familiar with although i do not plan on limiting or focusing on any certain practises as of yet.



throughout all buddhism there seems to be an agreement on these aspects:



* The Four Noble Truths: that suffering is an inherent part of existence; that the origin of suffering is ignorance and the main symptoms of that ignorance are attachment and craving; that attachment and craving can be ceased; and that following the Noble Eightfold Path will lead to the cessation of attachment and craving and therefore suffering.



* The Noble Eightfold Path: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration.



* The concept of dependent origination: that any phenomenon 'exists' only because of the existence of other phenomena in a complex web of cause and effect covering time past, present and future. Because all things are thus conditioned and transient (anicca), they have no real independent identity (anatta).



* Rejection of the infallibility of accepted scripture: Teachings should not be accepted unless they are borne out by our experience and are praised by the wise. See the Kalama Sutta for details.



* Anicca (Sanskrit: anitya): That all things are impermanent.



* Anatta: That the perception of a constant "self" is an illusion.



* Dukkha: That all beings suffer from all situations due to unclear mind.



for anyone interested, the 3 major types of buddhism are:



Theravada



Theravada is Pali for "the Doctrine of the Elders". Theravada teaches one to encourage wholesome states of mind, avoid unwholesome states of mind, and to train the mind in meditation. The ultimate aim of practice, according to Theravada Buddhism, is the attainment of freedom from suffering. Theravada teaches that this experience of suffering is caused by mental defilements like greed, aversion and delusion, while freedom can be attained though putting into practice teachings like the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.



The Theravada school bases its practice and doctrine exclusively on the Pali Canon and its commentaries. The Sutta collections and Vinaya texts of the Pali Canon, are generally considered by modern scholars to be the earliest Buddhist literature, and they are accepted as authentic in every branch of Buddhism.



Theravada is the only surviving representative of the historical early Buddhist schools. Theravada is primarily practiced today in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia as well as portions of China, Vietnam, Malaysia and Singapore. It has a growing presence in Europe and America.





Mahayana



The Mahayana (Sanskrit: "Great Vehicle") branch emphasizes infinite, universal compassion (maha-karuna), or bodhicitta - the selfless, ultra-altruistic quest of the Bodhisattva to attain the "Awakened Mind" (bodhicitta) of Buddhahood so as to have the fullest possible knowledge of how most effectively to lead all sentient beings into Nirvana. Emphasis is also often placed on the notions of Emptiness (shunyata), prajna-paramita and Buddha-nature. The Mahayana can also on occasion communicate a vision of the Buddha or Dharma which amounts to mysticism and give expression to a form of mentalist pantheism or panentheism (God in Buddhism).



In addition to the Tripitaka scriptures, which (within Mahayana) are viewed as valid but only provisional or basic, Mahayana schools recognize all or part of a genre of Mahayana scriptures. Some of these sutras became for Mahayanists a manifestation of the Buddha himself. Mahayana Buddhism shows a great deal of doctrinal variation and development over time, and even more variation in terms of practice. While there is much agreement on general principles, there is disagreement over which texts are more authoritative.



Native Mahayana Buddhism is practiced today in China, Japan, Korea, Sri Lanka and most of Vietnam. The Buddhism practiced in Tibet, the Himalayan regions, and Mongolia is also Mahayana in origin, but will be discussed below under the heading of Vajrayana. Some of the sects of the Mahayana include the various schools and traditions within Chan/Zen and Pure Land.







Vajrayana



The Vajrayana or "Diamond Vehicle" (also referred to as Mantrayana, Tantrayana, Tantric Buddhism, or esoteric Buddhism) shares the basic concepts of Mahayana, but also includes a vast array of spiritual techniques designed to enhance Buddhist practice. Vajrayana Buddhism exists today in the form of two major sub-schools: Tibetan Buddhism and Shingon Buddhism. One component of the Vajrayana is harnessing psycho-physical energy as a means of developing profoundly powerful states of concentration and awareness. These profound states are in turn to be used as an efficient path to Buddhahood. Using these techniques, it is claimed that a practitioner can achieve Buddhahood in one lifetime, or even as little as three years. In addition to the Theravada and Mahayana scriptures, Vajrayana Buddhists recognise a large body of texts that include the Buddhist Tantras. Native Vajrayana is practiced today mainly in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, Mongolia, Kalmykia, Siberia, areas of India, and in the Shingon and Tendai schools in China and Japan.


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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:in response to your first post firetom i would agree with newgabe

"The reason why is that, according to Buddhist thinking, a being who can control their rebirth will choose a situation in order to benefit the most beings, not to suit their 'own' convenience."

"why do I want to know the aswer to this? "

it is something that interest me very much and i was unhappy with my past views untill i looked into what answers buddhism had on the topic, which not to my surprise, has given me a new direction that feels right.

"Or is the purpose of you question to find out whether or not, or why you chose THIS (CURRENT) incarnation?

i do not believe i choose this current incarnation but i do believe that my past lives have effected this one and so on.

Would it make any difference to you in the ways you move through (this) life? And if it would - why? "

yes it does, it is making a difference because i feel this is the next step in believing in karma and exploring one's higher self in a deeper way. to believe that everything has a cause and effect and that there is a way to end suffering.

i hope some of that makes sense

sage

sunny


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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Here's one out of the blue. I'm not a Buddhist, but I think re-birth is growing-up, being '"cause" in your own life, and actually taking responsibility for you OWN actions and behaviour, instead of being a victim. And, when we die, we become worm food.

cheers smile


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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ickleMatt


ickleMatt

enthusiast
Location: L.O.N.D.O.N.

Total posts: 242
Posted:mmmm drunken philosophy, ahhh well I'lll give it a go...

The great thing about karma is that you aren't really a victim of your circumstances, rather the victim of what happened in your past lives - essentially the repercussions of your past actions. I guess this has help countless people, who have found themselves in difficult positions, be more accepting.

The modern philosophy is to not accept the difficult position, but to work towards a better situation. However karma would decide if you are capable of achieving that better life.

But some would argue that only to try to work towards a better future is the true essence of life. Therefore is life struggle or acceptance?

Part of my says that I should accept life as it is, the other part says that, given all the advantages I have been given (W.A.S.P.) I should at least struggle and make the most for those more disadvantaged.


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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:Sage, you're making much sense. Thanks for lighting that one up and spending the time reading and replying to my post.



Personally I respect and honour the strife to "dig deeper into the higher meaning of a higher self". As far as my picture goes, there are theories (and not more) I would display only a rough overview in the following:



a) all lives are just repetitions - only in front of a different backdrop (a Dalai Lama has always been a good soul) - which would leave only little room for growth IMHO

b) every soul undergoes a "learning experience" (one life an apprentice - next life a scholar - next life an amateur - ...) which may provide slow, yet steady growth

c) every soul needs to experience the full range of possibilities to grow ("Hitler" - as the personification of the ultimate evil is a reincarnation of "Jesus" - as the personification of the ultimate good) - which leaves an infinite number of possibilities and combinations

d) that there is no individual, perennial self - but we're all just temporary windows of the ONE universal consciousness - including every living and lifeless being (as in different stages of consciousness) - when leaving this body, we all dissolve into the ocean - NO exemption. (much like what Marx' view might have been)



I avoid fortune tellers and I try to sharpen my cognition/ perception, pay attention to details in the present (with the emphasis on TRY) for a "higher" awareness. I reject the idea of a spiritual elite, which is only building another cast (of priests) and am not keen on any -ism anymore. I regard my (personal) world to be different enough, as to find generalised teachings universally applicable to it and aim to bring out the light, that shines within my self, rather than searching for it in other people - as we're all "In lak'ech" and each others reflections.



Reincarnation might be the one of the last and strongest, appealing theories that men created in order to hold on or create something that lasts - and may it be an idea or conception only.



Karma - which now overlaps with a different thread - to me is not only what results in "action" but also what results in "non-action" - just as a sidenote.



We will have no alternative as to explore into every possible direction and experience what is left there to experience - the ultimate experience: Death is left to us, as much as is birth (we come by ourselves - we go by ourselves) In the meantime we can only do as much as trying to live our lives in a way so we DIE HAPPY... wink



No reference, no literature, no books, no peered websites, just my 2Baht50 - dunno whether you can extract anything out of this for you(r self)...

EDITED_BY: FireTom (1161928129)


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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georgemc
BRONZE Member since Mar 2017

georgemc

Sitting down facing forward . . .
Location: Christchurch

Total posts: 2387
Posted:Hi all - if you haven't already read this book, try it. It would seem to be very relevant to the thread topic. I'm only about halfway through it but it rings a lot of bells with me so far.

http://www.amazon.com/Tibetan-Book-Living-Dying-International/dp/0062508342


George


Written by: Doc Lightning talking about Marmite in Kichi's Intro thread

I have several large jars of the stuff. I actually like it... a little. And don't tell anyone I admitted to it.
grin

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Fire Tom, wavehello I agree with your view on reincarnation. But then, Im not sure what you mean by soul. What is a soul?

I subscribe to the view that rebirth describes the cycle of death and rebirth in the context of consciousness rather than the birth and death of the body. I think much gets lost in translation, because according to wiki, there is no word corresponding exactly to the English "rebirth". A rebirth, that is, the state one is born into, is referred to as jati i.e. simply "birth".


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:wave Stone - language is soo limited... rebirth or re-in-carnation (as in "again receiving a body", or "becoming flesh") might be a myth only... maybe we're just like a random shot in the dark... shrug who KNOWS? or claims to?

What is a soul? That is a very good question, indeed. I't not physical, because soul cannot be found anywhere in the body, yet it's existance is whidely accepted...

Do we WANT to believe in something that remains? Like a straw in an ocean of life that otherwise appears like Kathrina? Is the idea of a soul and rebirth, or afterlife, the carrot, that makes us drag the chariot?

If one starts to aks these questions, one should remain cautious in order not to get lost.

Besides: This word "rebirth" does have it's counterpart - in German: "wieder" (re) + "geburt" (birth) - you anglos are not as unique as you might think tongue wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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Stone
GOLD Member since Jun 2001

Stream Entrant
Location: Melbourne

Total posts: 2830
Posted:Hi Fire Tom, the point Im making is rebirth could mean being reborn in the present, as an enlightened human being.

If we spend our whole lives waiting to die to be reborn, reincarnated or get a good spot in heaven. Then we probably dont create the possibility of having a full and rich life on earth. I think most people want to believe that something remains after we die because its difficult to accept that our ego can die; its a survival thing. Accepting that we are mortal gives us power in the present, and opens the road to enlightenment.

Indeed, belief in the soul and rebirth are the carrots that make us drag the chariot. I think its much better not to have to drag anything, and be free to live fully today. And not live some half life while waiting for something to happen when we die. Ive said it before, but to me that kind of life is like "waiting to win lotto" before we start living. To me, that is the hidden danger of the myth of reincarnation.

The argument that souls exist because the story that souls exist is widely accepted, is not very convincing. If I asked you to show me a soul - you couldn't, because they don't exist. Why would H. sapiens have a soul and not other animals? The big fraud here is that we think we are somehow better than all other animals because we have a big brain, but in reality we are just animals, and our bodies are recycled by worms and other saprophytes.

Cheers smile

Mr Stone


If we as members of the human race practice meditation, we can transcend our fear, despair, and forgetfulness. Meditation is not an escape. It is the courage to look at reality with mindfulness and concentration. Thich Nhat Hanh

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FireTom


Stargazer


Total posts: 6650
Posted:clap ditto

except for the part that animals do not have a soul (not indicating you actually believe that)

But there is more to the subject than I can put together right here and now - gotta life to live wink

*changes voice and accent* I'll beback wink


the best smiles are the ones you lead to wink

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sagetree
GOLD Member since May 2006

sagetree

organic creation
Location: earth

Total posts: 246
Posted:"Indeed, belief in the soul and rebirth are the carrots that make us drag the chariot. I think its much better not to have to drag anything, and be free to live fully today. And not live some half life while waiting for something to happen when we die. Ive said it before, but to me that kind of life is like "waiting to win lotto" before we start living. To me, that is the hidden danger of the myth of reincarnation. "

so are you saying the way to be free and to live fully would require someone to disbelieve in the soul and rebirth because i disagree if that's the case.

just because you believe in something doesn't mean it has to be a "carrot" you can accept something to be true and then let go of the concept because it just is. it doesn't have to be something that has a 'waiting around' effect on your daily life.

for me, rebirth is a concept that re-enforces the reasons for being a generous and loving person and to help others.

waiting to win the lotto and somewhat accepting a concept of afterlife are quite different to me and have different causes and effects.

"If I asked you to show me a soul - you couldn't, because they don't exist."

are you saying that any philosophical or spiritual concepts don't exist if we can't see them with our eyes?

"The big fraud here is that we think we are somehow better than all other animals because we have a big brain, but in reality we are just animals, and our bodies are recycled by worms and other saprophytes."

i don't think brains size is a good way to distinguish the difference's between animals and humans.

"Human beings can be seen as highly favored, in that they have an immediate reason to seek out the Dharma and yet also have the means to listen to it and follow it. Animals are intellectually unable to understand the Dharma in full."

"The human realm (Manushya) is the most favoured of the six realms because as a human being one has the motivation and the opportunity to practise the Dharma and to achieve enlightenment. One has this motivation and opportunity because the conditions conducive to practising the path are present. In the human realm, one experiences both happiness and suffering. The suffering in this realm, though terrible, is not so great as the suffering in the three realms of woe. The pleasure and happiness experienced in the human realm is not so great as the pleasure and happiness experienced in the heavens. As a result, human beings are neither blinded by the intense happiness experienced by the beings in the heavens, nor distracted by the unbearable suffering that beings in the hells experience. Again, unlike the animals, human beings possess sufficient intelligence to recognize the necessity to look for a means to achieve the total end of suffering."


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DeepSoulSheep
GOLD Member since Sep 2002

DeepSoulSheep

Carpal \'Tunnel
Location: Berlin

Total posts: 2617
Posted:I'd like to drop another book in that is very accessible and a good starting point to Buddhist ideas -The art of happiness.

It's written by a psychologist though so it's got western parallels.

Correct me if I'm wrong Buddhism is a religion based on the teachings of the Buddha. It has human imperfections but the original teachings are pure, such as the 4 noble truths etc.

So I reason it's conveniently appropriate to take and make what you like smile Then again humans an inately more likely to adapt their beliefs to come in line with the way we act, rather than to change the way we act, to come in line with our beliefs. rolleyes weavesmiley


I live in a world of infinite possibilities.

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