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Reunited after death?

Are we ever reunited with the souls of the loved ones we have lost after we die? If we are reincarnated do our paths ever again cross with theirs?

RIP Eddie Guerrerro (Latino Heat)
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Comments

  • edited November 2005
    Windwalker said:
    Are we ever reunited with the souls of the loved ones we have lost after we die? If we are reincarnated do our paths ever again cross with theirs?

    RIP Eddie Guerrerro (Latino Heat)
    we're not reincarnated, at least not in the sense your'e thinking. you may want to read up some more on the buddhist concept of rebirth.
  • edited November 2005
    Windwalker said:
    Are we ever reunited with the souls of the loved ones we have lost after we die? If we are reincarnated do our paths ever again cross with theirs?

    RIP Eddie Guerrerro (Latino Heat)

    No.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    I don't believe anyone can truly give you a definitive reply. They can give you their opinion, or belief, but this is not a question that can be answered in Life....

    You can only explore the different writings, scriptures, beliefs and teachings of every faith or philosophy going - but then you would still have to come to your own conclusion.
    IMO, FWIW, I would lay this question aside and be not too concerned with what happens next... It's what happens NOW that's important..... :)
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    I don't believe anyone can truly give you a definitive reply. They can give you their opinion, or belief, but this is not a question that can be answered in Life....


    I just did and it's neither an opinion nor a belief.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    How do you know?
  • edited November 2005
    [QUOTE=federica]How do you know? [/QUOTE

    I know through practice, the same way that one knows the taste of water through drinking it. At some point in your practice, you will know in the same way.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    Not so my friend. Through practise, you have come to a conclusion that is right and true for you. This I accept. But that you propose that it is therefore a Truth for everyone else, is an error in your View. You cannot prove to me an afterlife does not exist, any more than I can prove to you it does.
    I say again, This is not a question that can definitively be answered in Life. :)
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    Not so my friend. Through practise, you have come to a conclusion that is right and true for you. This I accept. But that you propose that it is therefore a Truth for everyone else, is an error in your View. You cannot prove to me an afterlife does not exist, any more than I can prove to you it does.
    I say again, This is not a question that can definitively be answered in Life. :)

    Because you don't know something doesn't mean it isn't known by others. Any Zen teacher will give you the same answer. It is neither a belief, a conclusion, nor an opinion. As for proving to you that there is no afterlife - I have no interest in doing so, as you will find out for yourself if you practice consistently and attain realisation.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    You're missing the point....
    To know something is one thing. to be able to prove it is another.
    Until proof exists one way or another, what you 'Know' doesn't have to be true for others.
    I could sit in Zazen for an eternity, and what I know would still be wrong if in the afterlife I'm proved wrong....! So I leave myself open to whatever might be. I do not strive to 'Know' anything for sure.....
    I think you're a bit attached to your opinion...... best to just let it go, really, don't you think......? ;)
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    You're missing the point....
    To know something is one thing. to be able to prove it is another.
    Until proof exists one way or another, what you 'Know' doesn't have to be true for others.
    I could sit in Zazen for an eternity, and what I know would still be wrong if in the afterlife I'm proved wrong....! So I leave myself open to whatever might be. I do not strive to 'Know' anything for sure.....
    I think you're a bit attached to your opinion...... best to just let it go, really, don't you think......? ;)

    You still seem to think it's a personal opinion. It's not. As for proof - As I said, I have no interest in proving it to you, as that you will discover for yourself if you practice. Buddhism's teachings about rebirth and annata are after all not beliefs but descriptions of how things are in reality. If you choose to view them as beliefs then you misunderstand that the Dharma is not about beliefs, opinions or personal ideas of how things are.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    Even the Dalai Lama has not discounted an afterlife. And if you read the Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche has much to say about the possible existence of an afterlife.

    Just because you don't believe in something, it doesn't make it untrue. That's all I'm saying.
    I too have no interest in proving anything to you. I'm just suggesting that regarding the belief in there being no afterlife or Spirits after Death, there can be no definite, final 'yes' or 'no'. There are many things of mystery we don't have answers to..... to merely dismiss them as being 'not so' is not logical.
    A lifetime's meditation with a Zen master does not bring about perfection or 'Sunyata'. it can bring about stagnation and intransigence..... why are you so determined that what you say is 'So'?
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    Even the Dalai Lama has not discounted an afterlife. And if you read the Tibetan Book of Living & Dying, Sogyal Rinpoche has much to say about the possible existence of an afterlife.

    Just because you don't believe in something, it doesn't make it untrue. That's all I'm saying.
    I too have no interest in proving anything to you. I'm just suggesting that regarding the belief in there being no afterlife or Spirits after Death, there can be no definite, final 'yes' or 'no'. There are many things of mystery we don't have answers to..... to merely dismiss them as being not so is not logical.
    A lifetime's meditation with a Zen master does not bring about perfectuion or sunyata. it can bring about stagnation and intransigence..... why are you so determined that what you say is 'So'?

    Both Sogyal Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama agree that there is no soul that continues from life to life. That is simply how things are. It is neither a matter of belief or disbelief. Buddhism is not about belief, but about how things are.

    And Sunyata by the way is not perfection, it's a term that points to the the experience of things as they are in themselves, before they are interpreted, analyzed and thought about. If you are seeking Sunyata, you don't have to wait your whole life, simply look at what's in front of you.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    They may agree that there is no soul. But they don't say that that is the same for everyone. They don't try to convince others of this, they permit them to find the facts, truth evidence, for themselves. They are open to the suggestion that if things are proven or disproven, then things will have to change. (the dalai lama said as much in a recent interview;) But they never answer 'yes' or 'no' as a final 'be all and end all' to questions of this kind, from others. ......They know better.
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    They may agree that there is no soul. But they don't say that that is the same for everyone. They don't try to convince others of this, they permit them to find the facts, truth evidence, for themselves. They are open to the suggestion that if things are proven or disproven, then things will have to change. (the dalai lama said as much in a recent interview;) But they never answer 'yes' or 'no' as a final 'be all and end all' to questions of this kind, from others. ......They know better.
    Actually lol, yes they do. Buddhism doesn't teach that some people have souls and some don't. You are of course welcome to disagree, but that's not what Buddhism teaches and this, after all, is a site for those trying to learn and practice Buddhism. This might help clarify the issue for you:


    "Buddhism stands unique in the history of human thought in denying the existence of such a Soul, Self, or Atman. According to the teaching of the Buddha, the idea of seld is an imaginary, false belief which has no corresponding reality, and it produces harmful thoughts of 'me' and 'mine', selfish desire, craving, attachment, hatred, ill-will, conceit, pride, egoism, and other defilements, impurities and problems. It is the source of all the troubles of the world from personal conflicts to wars between nations. In short, to this false view can be traced all the evil in the world.

    Two ideas are psychologically deep-rooted in man: self-protection and self-preservation. For self-protection man has created God, on whom he depends for his own protection, safety and security, just as a child depends on its parent/ For self-preservation man has conceived the idea of an immortal soul or Atman, which will live eternally. In his ignorance, weakness, fear, and desire, man needs these two things to console himself. Hence he clings to them deeply and fanatically."

    - Walpola Rahula - What the Buddha Taught


    "The Buddha described what we call "self" as a collection of aggregates - elements of mind and body - that function interdependently, creating the appearance of a woman or a man. We then identify with that image or appearance, taking it to be "I" or "mine," imagining it to have some inherent self-existence. For example we get up in the morning, look in the mirror, recognize the reflection, and think, "Yes, that's me again." We then add all kinds of concepts to this sense of self: I'm a woman or a man, I'm a certain age, I'm a happy or unhappy person -- the list goes on and on.

    When we examine our experience, though, we see that there is not some core being to whom experience refers; rather it is simply "empty phenomena rolling on." It is "empty" in the sense that there is no one behind the arising and changing phenomena to whom they happen. A rainbow is a good example of this. We go out after a rainstorm and feel that moment of delight if a rainbow appears in the sky. Mostly, we simply enjoy the sight without investigating the real nature of what is happening. But when we look more deeply, it becomes clear that there is no "thing" called "rainbow" apart from the particular conditions of air and moisture and light. Each one of us is like that rainbow - an appearance, a magical display, arising out of our various elements of mind and body."

    - Joseph Goldstein - Tricycle Vol. VI, #3


    "When we look at a wave, we see that the wave is revealed through many characteristics. The wave seems to have a beginning and the wave seems to have an end. The wave seems to have an "up" and a "down". The wave can be seen as this or that, more beautiful or less beautiful than that, more intelligent, more spiritual or less spiritual than the other waves. And these ideas, such as birth and death, beginning or end, high or low, more or less beautiful, make the life of the wave miserable. If the wave is caught into these notions, the wave does not seem to understand impermanence and non-self. In fact, the wave is made of all the other waves. You can calculate that wave is born from the movement of the water, and looking into the wave, if you make a study of it, you can understand what is going on in the ocean. It is like the nuclear scientists who said that one electron is made of all the other electrons. One electron can be simultaneously here and there, everywhere. That language cannot be easily understood by those of us who do not know anything about nuclear physics.

    Those of us who have practiced looking deeply into the nature of no-birth and no-death, who understand the kind of language that the Buddha used, have heard that the wave, while living her life as a wave, can learn to live the life of water at the same time. If she can go back to herself, and touch the water within herself, she will get rid of all these notions: beginning and end, high and low, more or less beautiful. Once she knows that she is water, then all the fear, all the jealousy, all the discrimination will vanish, and she will have peace. We are also like that."

    - From The Island of Self; The Three Dharma Seals - A Dharma Talk by Thich Nhat Hanh
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    You seem to think I disagree with you; I see perfectly well what your discourse is, and the reasons behind it. And I have never said I disagree with you.

    What I find 'wrong' in your discussion is the argument that others are wrong to think or believe in "something "else. You believe that what you say is definitive and final and can broach no discussion.

    If we wish to discuss nuclear physics, what about The law that states 'Energy can neither be created nor destroyed.' ? If this is the case (and has been so proven by Physics) where does the 'Energy' that drives the Human Body during its' life, then go at death?

    I would also venture to point out that the Buddha requested that nobody take his word as final on the matter, but to seek the truth for themselves. The Kalama Sutra further emphasises this point.

    Scientists tried, on a recent broadcast of a 'Horizon' Programme on British television, to disprove the after-feath experiences several people had had.
    After exhaustive studies, research, diagnostic interviews and examinations.... which incidentally took many years.... they were unable to disprove or explain any of the experiences these people had gone through. They were left with an unknown. And to their credit, they were open-minded.

    THis is indeed a forum on which those new to Buddhism can come and learn. But I would never state to them that my opinion is the only one, because years of meditating have made it so.....

    I cannot ascribe to your 'my way or the highway' attitude. Flexibility - the openness to see that things may or may not be - is what for me, makes life so much more interesting. I would hate to wear boots of concrete and refuse to even entertain the notion that I may - just may - have got it ever so slightly wrong....
  • edited November 2005
    Frederica, you still seem to think this about beliefs and opinions. It's not. It's not some idea that I came up with, nor is it a personal opinion or a point of view. The original question asks if our souls are reunited after death. The answer is no. Try as you might, no Buddhist teacher will tell you anything else.

    The Buddha was quite clear that to hold that there is a self that continues from life to life, that is independant of the aggregates of body and mind, or is some sort of unseen essence behind things, is deluded. If you want to maintain that this is just a belief, then the Buddha too was incorrect in asserting that any idea of a self as some sort of essence is what he called 'wrong view' or unskillful understanding. The Buddha was not talking about a belief, but about how things actually are, which is something that each of us can come to direct insight into through practice. That same insight has been verified by thousands of men and women from the Buddha's time until now. It is no more a belief or an opinion than that the earth revolves around the sun.

    This is not to say that you and I don't exist as separate individuals. The Buddha was not saying that there isn't provisionally a self, merely that what we call the self is a convenient fiction, useful for very limited purposes. It does not continue from one life to another, and once the causes and conditions that bought a person into being cease, that person also ceases. Our 'souls' do not reunite with the souls of others simply because there is no such thing as a soul. Notice that the Buddha didn't say that he didn't believe there was a soul or that he did believe there was no soul - simply that there is no thing that we can point to as ourselves that continues from life to life or even from moment to moment. Two sighted people talking about a color can be misunderstood by someone overhearing who cannot see to be talking about a belief. They're not, they're simply talking about something that they themselves have experienced and that can be experienced by all others who see. Buddhist teachings are the same. They are not to be taken on faith but experienced. That is not the same however as saying that one doesn't know when one does, or that others don't know because we don't.

    Now, you might want to continue to maintain that's a belief, and, without realisation - that's exactly what it would be. But it is also a way of pointing out how things are, regardless of what we think, believe or want things to be. With practice each person comes to know this directly for themselves, not as an opinion and not intellectually, but directly and concretely.

    This is what the Buddha said, what Buddhism teaches and what I'm pointing out to you, not a personal view, nor a thought, nor an idea. Buddhism asks us to let go of any point of view and the Dharma, though it can be expressed in intellectual terms is not about ideas or points of view. I keep reiterating this point because you seem to find it difficult to distinguish between what Buddhism teaches and can be verified by each of us through practice and personal opinions and beliefs, but Buddhism is never a matter of either believing or disbelieving. Both miss the mark in Buddhist terms. What it is about is seeing things directly and clearly as they are. When we do that, we too can affirm that there is no soul that continues from life to life and that reunites with the souls of others.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    No. I'm just saying that there are other beliefs, views and opinions other than our own.
    There are many schools of Buddhism, and there are different faiths. and to ride roughshod over the beliefs, opinions and possibilities associated with other mind-frames is not constructive.
    If this is what other faiths, other belief-systems other cultures and other dogmas or creeds teach, we cannot, as compassionate human beings walking our own path, deny them point blank, that what they choose to believe is absolutely, concretely, definitely wrong. Wehave no right to do that.

    This, whatever I might practise and know as a Buddhist, is not Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Effort, Right Awareness or Right Mindfulness.

    In my View.
    I'm very glad that you're on this forum though.
    A belated welcome - !! :D :)
  • edited November 2005
    federica said:
    No. I'm just saying that there are other beliefs, views and opinions other than our own.
    Sure there are but I'm not talking about beliefs, views or opinions so that's irrelevant.
    federica said:
    There are many schools of Buddhism, and there are different faiths. and to ride roughshod over the beliefs, opinions and possibilities associated with other mind-frames is not constructive.
    All schools of Buddhism teach the same thing in this regard - that there is no such thing as a soul. It's not a case of riding rough shod over anything but simply pointing out how things are. What's not constructive is thinking that Buddhist teachings are a matter of belief or opinion
    federica said:
    If this is what other faiths, other belief-systems other cultures and other dogmas or creeds teach, we cannot, as compassionate human beings walking our own path, deny them point blank, that what they choose to believe is absolutely, concretely, definitely wrong. Wehave no right to do that.
    The Buddha though did just that. Neither he nor any teacher took the position that all beliefs are equally valid. They're not and to pretend otherwise is not helpful, it's delusional.
    federica said:
    This, whatever I might practise and know as a Buddhist, is not Right View, Right Intention, Right Speech, Right Action, Right Effort, Right Awareness or Right Mindfulness.
    Right View is understanding the Four Noble Truths, that there is no soul and that all is impermenant. It is not stating that other faiths are equally valid when they're not.
    federica said:
    In my View.

    This is really the nub of it - it's not about my view, your view or even the Buddha's view. What it's about is seeing things as they are and being honest about that. The way things really are is that there is no such thing as a soul.
    federica said:
    I'm very glad that you're on this forum though.
    A belated welcome - !! :D :)
    Likewise and thank you for the welcome.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited November 2005
    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.... I can see we're getting nowhere with this one....
    What a shame. I was rather hoping we could meet somewhere in the Middle.... as in Way..... but you're a bit extreme for my tastes. If this is a true example of Zen Buddhism, then it's a different Path to the School I feel is right for me.....
    Thank you for this engaging talk anyway.

    It's taught me a great deal. :)
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2005
    Then Ven. Ananda went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As he was sitting there, the Blessed One said to him, "Ananda, every precept & practice, every life, every holy life that is followed as of essential worth: is every one of them fruitful?"

    "Lord, that is not [to be answered] with a categorical answer."

    "In that case, Ananda, give an analytical answer."

    "When — by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life that is followed as of essential worth — one's unskillful mental qualities increase while one's skillful mental qualities decline: that sort of precept & practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is fruitless. But when — by following a life of precept & practice, a life, a holy life that is followed as of essential worth — one's unskillful mental qualities decline while one's skillful mental qualities increase: that sort of precept & practice, life, holy life that is followed as of essential worth is fruitful."

    That is what Ven. Ananda said, and the Teacher approved. Then Ven. Ananda, [realizing,] "The Teacher approves of me," got up from his seat and, having bowed down to the Blessed One and circumambulating him, left.

    Then not long after Ven. Ananda had left, the Blessed One said to the monks, "Monks, Ananda is in still in training, but it would not be easy to find his equal in discernment."

    - Silabbata Sutta: AN III.78
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited November 2005
    Once the Blessed One was staying among the Bhaggas in the Deer Park at Bhesakala Grove, near Crocodile Haunt. Then early in the morning the Blessed One put on his robes and, carrying his bowl and outer robe, went to the home of the householder, Nakula's father. On arrival, he sat down on a seat made ready. Then Nakula's father & Nakula's mother went to the Blessed One and, on arrival, having bowed down to him, sat to one side. As they were sitting there, Nakula's father said to the Blessed One: "Lord, ever since Nakula's mother as a young girl was brought to me [to be my wife] when I was just a young boy, I am not conscious of being unfaithful to her even in mind, much less in body. We want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    And Nakula's mother said to the Blessed One: "Lord, ever since I as a young girl was brought to Nakula's father [to be his wife] when he was just a young boy, I am not conscious of being unfaithful to him even in mind, much less in body. We want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    [The Blessed One said:] "If both husband & wife want to see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come, they should be in tune [with each other] in conviction, in tune in virtue, in tune in generosity, and in tune in discernment. Then they will see one another not only in the present life but also in the life to come."

    Husband & wife, both of them
    having conviction,
    being responsive,
    being restrained,
    living by the Dhamma,
    addressing each other
    with loving words:
    they benefit in manifold ways.
    To them comes bliss.
    Their enemies are dejected
    when both are in tune in virtue.
    Having followed the Dhamma here in this world,
    both in tune in precepts & practices,
    they delight in the world of the devas,
    enjoying the pleasures they desire.

    - Samajivina Sutta: AN IV.55
  • edited November 2005
    Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear.... I can see we're getting nowhere with this one....
    What a shame. I was rather hoping we could meet somewhere in the Middle.... as in Way..... but you're a bit extreme for my tastes. If this is a true example of Zen Buddhism, then it's a different Path to the School I feel is right for me.....
    Thank you for this engaging talk anyway.

    It's taught me a great deal.


    Federica, if you view this as extreme, then all schools of Buddhism are extreme. All Buddhist teachers will tell you the same thing - there is no soul in Buddhism. The Middle Way is not about adopting a position wherein all ponts of view are equally valid. That is more appropriate for New Age thinking.

    A friend of mine, who is also a Buddhist teacher and author, put it this way:

    The point is that whole life after death thing is terribly seductive. And it's dangerous too. Our friend Mohamet Atta couldn't have completed his deadly mission if he hadn't believed he'd be rewarded after he died. I, for one, often hope there is an afterlife so that people like him can spend eternity with their testicles being smashed by sledge hammers against red hot anvils. You can get hooked on after-life ideas just like a drug. The reason to avoid ideas about life after death isn't because they couldn't possibly be true. It's because these ideas can never really be accurate. They promote a kind of dreamy fantasy state which distracts us from seeing what our life is right now. It's also because the question doesn't fit the case. Life after death is not what we are experiencing right here and right now. Or, if you really want to believe in reincarnation, then this is life after death. Do you think you understand it?...


    Notice how the only way we can believe in any description of the afterlife is if it comes from some kind of mystical source - something drastically removed from our real lives. It has to be based on some terribly ancient book, on the words of some venerable old guru, on the testimony of people who've "crossed over to the other side" and returned to tell the tale. I'm safe. Look at my picture on the top page and ask yourself if anybody in their right mind would believe that guy's ideas about life after death. The things we believe about life after death are never based on our real experience right now. Even if you've personally survived a near death experience or have gone through a past life regression, the important question is: Where is that experience now? It's floating around in your head somewhere. But it's not real...


    - Brad Warner
  • edited November 2005
    Those of us who have practiced looking deeply into the nature of no-birth and no-death, who understand the kind of language that the Buddha used


    You appear to believe in quoting this text to support your argument. Elsewhere the same man said this:

    "When we hear a Dharma talk or study a Sutra, our only job is to remain open. Usually, when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. if it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. in either case, we learn nothing. If we read and listen with an open Mind and an open Heart, the Rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness."

    Thomas Merton, a Christian Monk who wanted "to become as good a Buddhist as I can" stated
    "Thich Nhat Hanh is more my Brother than many who are nearer to me in race and nationality because he and I see things in exactly the same way."

    Elohim has used other texts and quotations to illustrate the diversity of thought on this subject. He too has quoted what the Buddha taught.
    At my stage of learning, I prefer to adopt the same level of open-mindedness as illustrated and recommended by Thich Nhat Hahn.
  • edited November 2005
    Abraham said:



    You appear to believe in quoting this text to support your argument. Elsewhere the same man said this:

    "When we hear a Dharma talk or study a Sutra, our only job is to remain open. Usually, when we hear or read something new, we just compare it to our own ideas. if it is the same, we accept it and say that it is correct. If it is not, we say it is incorrect. in either case, we learn nothing. If we read and listen with an open Mind and an open Heart, the Rain of the Dharma will penetrate the soil of our consciousness."
    Quite so and Thay is also very clear that there is no soul in Buddhism. If you'd like to confirm that with him personally feel free. Open mindedness is not the same as accepting that which is inaccurate as accurate.
  • edited November 2005
    Oh dear. I seem to have started something I didn't mean to. In many faiths and cultures people find solace in their loss in the belief that they will be reunited one day and that nobody is ever really 'gone'. You die and you rot in the grave. Is that it? I can see I have a lot of reading to do here but in the end I will decide where my path leads by following my heart. Thanks for your interesting contributions.
  • edited November 2005
    Hi Windwalker,

    LOL yes something was started but that's okay, it may well be of use to some. I completely agree that such beliefs provide comfort for many people. The point in Buddhism though, as the Buddha himself made clear, is that belief is not reality and Buddhism is concerned with how things are, not how we believe or want them to be. We might be comforted by belief but that in itself does not liberate us or lead to greater insight and is ultimately a form of delusion that causes further suffering.

    The Buddha wasn't saying this as a matter of belief then, but out of the direct experience of reality, and all those who have themselves practiced and walked the same path, find the same thing for themselves. The idea of a soul or essence in fact is at the root of human suffering.

    "I do not see a soul theory which, if accepted, does not lead to the arising of grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, and tribulations...Since neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly be found, is not the speculative view that the universe is atta wholly and completely foolish?"


    - The Buddha - Majjhima Nikaya

    An important point though is that Buddhism is not simply nihilism or materialism. The subtle point that the Buddha was making, which is difficult for many to understand, even today, is that all belief is seen as a hindrance in Buddhism. Belief in soul or belief in no soul come to that. This point bears emphasising as the Buddha emphasised it - belief is a hindrance, a way of covering up reality. Buddhist practice is concerned with direct experience of how things actually are, and at some point that entails letting go of belief and seeing directly for oneself. Don't think though that this point is something particular to Buddhism. All of the great mystics of all faiths have made the same point. For example, the great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart pointed directly to this when he said,

    If I say that "God is good", this is not true. I am good, but God is not good! In fact, I would rather say that I am better than God, for what is good can become better and what can become better can become the best! Now God is not good, and so he cannot become better. Since he cannot become better, he cannot become the best. These three are far from God: "good", "better", "best", for he is wholly transcendent. If I say again that "God is wise", then this too is not true. I am wiser than he is! Or if I say that "God exists", this is also not true. He is being beyond being: he is a nothingness beyond being. Therefore St. Augustine says: "The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches." Be silent therefore, and do not chatter about God, for by chattering about him, you tell lies and commit a sin. If you wish to be perfect and without sin, then do not prattle about God.
  • edited November 2005
    oh brother, difficult territory here!

    sometimes it's better to remain silent and perhaps appear a fool, than to open one's mouth and prove beyond all resonable doubt..
  • edited November 2005
    I didn't know fundamentalist-Buddhists existed.

    I guess I will abandon my previous notion. :-/
  • edited November 2005
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    snip...
    The Buddha wasn't saying this as a matter of belief then, but out of the direct experience of reality, and all those who have themselves practiced and walked the same path, find the same thing for themselves. The idea of a soul or essence in fact is at the root of human suffering.

    "I do not see a soul theory which, if accepted, does not lead to the arising of grief, lamentation, suffering, distress, and tribulations...Since neither self nor anything pertaining to self can truly be found, is not the speculative view that the universe is atta wholly and completely foolish?"

    Even though this "discussion" went on longer than I thought it would - I found these statements very interesting.

    How many times have we heard of Christian beliefs either "dazzling us with Heaven or damning us to Hell" being used to control the masses.

    It is interesting that viewing the idea of something that continues on after us truly can become an object of suffering.

    This isn't new - Jason has been working on me regarding this issue for a long time now :)

    -bf
  • edited November 2005
    zenmonk_genryu said:
    You still seem to think it's a personal opinion. It's not. As for proof - As I said, I have no interest in proving it to you, as that you will discover for yourself if you practice. snip...

    But maybe if you would take the time to prove it - it might render all of these discussions obsolete.

    Being that Buddhism isn't a religion or belief that is based upon the hearsay of prophets or statements made by a diety - stating something to be fact and then refusing to either prove or disprove it doesn't fly in any school of "thought".

    Be a bud! Help us out! Please?

    -bf
  • edited May 2008
    zenmonk_genryu;12701 said:


    If I say that "God is good", this is not true. I am good, but God is not good! In fact, I would rather say that I am better than God, for what is good can become better and what can become better can become the best! Now God is not good, and so he cannot become better. Since he cannot become better, he cannot become the best. These three are far from God: "good", "better", "best", for he is wholly transcendent. If I say again that "God is wise", then this too is not true. I am wiser than he is! Or if I say that "God exists", this is also not true. He is being beyond being: he is a nothingness beyond being. Therefore St. Augustine says: "The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches." Be silent therefore, and do not chatter about God, for by chattering about him, you tell lies and commit a sin. If you wish to be perfect and without sin, then do not prattle about God.

    I love this. Not sure if you wrote it, or got it from somewhere, but I'd like to quote it on my semi-private blog. Thanks. :)
  • NirvanaNirvana How about It ? `    `     `     ` `     `     ` Quiet Places `      ` Veteran
    edited May 2008
    Hey There, Nia_Nymue! Interesting to read your posts. I hope you will continue to explore. Stay and peruse and make us think! Unless the forum managers have locked a thread, apparently, it's OK to bring any old nugget up to the surface again.

    For my part, I find this a friendly online Sangha that is open to anyone of goodwill. We are certainly not interested in proselytizing just our own narrow or personal creeds, and find new or different perspectives refreshing.

    You certainly found an interesting one here in our archives.
    (Wonder what was going on back then with all the quotes and what-have-you in BLUE text. Several posts in that thread were like that.)
    zenmonk_genryu;12701 said:
    The great Christian mystic, Meister Eckhart pointed directly to this when he said,

    If I say that "God is good", this is not true. I am good, but God is not good! In fact, I would rather say that I am better than God, for what is good can become better and what can become better can become the best! Now God is not good, and so he cannot become better. Since he cannot become better, he cannot become the best. These three are far from God: "good", "better", "best", for he is wholly transcendent. If I say again that "God is wise", then this too is not true. I am wiser than he is! Or if I say that "God exists", this is also not true. He is being beyond being: he is a nothingness beyond being. Therefore St. Augustine says: "The finest thing that we can say of God is to be silent concerning him from the wisdom of inner riches." Be silent therefore, and do not chatter about God, for by chattering about him, you tell lies and commit a sin. If you wish to be perfect and without sin, then do not prattle about God.
    Nia, any meaning this one has eludes me entirely. Expound on it for me if you can, please.
  • edited May 2008
    HI Nirvana.

    Thanks for the welcome. You're very kind. :)

    Actually, I understood it. It kind of encapsulates what I've been trying to say (and in my eyes, unsuccessfully) for a very long time.

    I hope I can explain it properly. This was what I originally put in my blog, quite a while ago, and censored. ;)

    it's hard. i know. being atheist isn't easy, especially for us. i think one of the reasons is because humans don't want to take responsibility. if something doesn't happen right, they'd give God as an excuse. they say "oh. He's making us wait for something greater in the future. testing our patience & faith." etc.

    you sick pervert.
    how DARE you claim to know something like that?
    i hope, for my sake, that i'm not already assuming a vain God when i reply you with this - that you shouldn't even try to understand something as independent of us as God.

    God is an Idea.
    don't you ------- dare touch it.

    even if there is a God, i won't claim to know or understand why he created us. it could be he really is vain - wants to see us worship him and adore him.


    See. I'm not really good at explaining. lol.
    Although I didn't understand why the dude said "but God is not good!" Coz from what I've seen people believe, God is Good, with a capital 'G'.

    In a way, he's the best, so I don't really understand that part.

    Oh yeah, when I say a vain God, I really hope I don't offend anyone, but what I mean is that the God who creates in order to be worshipped. :o

    Or rather, the belief of such a God.

    I think,
    what we're both trying to say (in very long words)
    is that God is beyond words.
    For trying to inflict and categories something that is supposed to be perfect will be oxymoronic, for language is fallible and is not perfect, because one word doesn't just mean one thing, but also many things.

    Like the word 'God' for example.
    lol.

    Did I help or just confused things more?
  • NirvanaNirvana How about It ? `    `     `     ` `     `     ` Quiet Places `      ` Veteran
    edited May 2008
    Windwalker;12511 said:
    Are we ever reunited with the souls of the loved ones we have lost after we die? If we are reincarnated do our paths ever again cross with theirs?

    RIP Eddie Guerrerro (Latino Heat)
    Somebody answered this question back in the day it was asked on this site with a simple, "No."

    That sort of dogmatic, ready-on-the-spot sort of answer runs contrary to everything I believe. I grew up a Catholic Christian and was taught the three theological virtues, namely Faith, Hope, and Love. Although St. Paul claims in I Corinthians 13 that Love is the most vital of the three, I've always been inclined to believe that Hope is the underpinning on which the other two depend. Take Hope away, and the soul festers and, having no reason to pursue a right path, turns away from its brother and sister souls to criminal and immoral inclinations.

    A person without any hope is as dead as sin.

    Wherein doth hope lie, if not in the imagination? Close off too many avenues of that place and the good faith and morale of its denizens will be curtailed also. With such narrow alleys left to wander in, the denizens will lose sight of the wide-open spaces that are left, and will no longer experience the love and the excitement they had come to share in the more open squares.

    The Lord Jesus [Matt 18] says that it is better for a millstone to be hung around a man's neck and for him to be drowned in the depths of the sea, than for him to offend (break the faith) of a "little one." There is a point at which faith and hope become so entangled that you cannot fairly separate them. Who would be so cruel as to tell a small child (or the child within) that the object of his deepest affection, be it human, was destroyed for all time?

    For my part, I think that Hope means always hoping for the best. Hope, for me, means that "final Goodbyes" are only final in the sphere in which we happen to live now. Who has plumbed the heights and depths of every other possible sphere?
  • edited May 2008
    "as dead as sin"

    Well.. There's still a lot of sinning around. It's just that one does not view it as a 'sin' if one is no longer a believer in the particular religion.

    better for a millstone to be hung around a man's neck and for him to be drowned in the depths of the sea, than for him to offend (break the faith) of a "little one."

    Yup, which is why I'm not a devangelical atheist. I've come to realise that it's better to leave people to be happy - in their own way, rather than imposing my version of happiness on them.

    I've always envied Christians for their faith and fervour. The Jews have too little, and it seems at times that Muslims have extremes of too much and too little.

    Nirvana..
    I have the tickling feeling you're agnostic?

    Ach ach.
    I think I will forever be agnostic, whatever noun that adjective is accompanied by - Muslim, atheist, Buddhist.
  • NirvanaNirvana How about It ? `    `     `     ` `     `     ` Quiet Places `      ` Veteran
    edited May 2008
    Hey, Nia_Nymue! Sorry about the intermittent post, but I thought I might address the subject of the thread, which I had not yet done. I hope you don't mind me selectively re-posting part of what you just wrote:
    Nia_Nymue;51664 said:
    [just trying to reflect certain mentalities she has encountered]


    how DARE you claim to know something like that?
    i hope, for my sake, that i'm not already assuming a vain God when i reply you with this - that you shouldn't even try to understand something as independent of us as God.

    God is an Idea.
    don't you ------- dare touch it.


    even if there is a God, i won't claim to know or understand why he created us. it could be he really is vain - wants to see us worship him and adore him.


    I think,
    what we're both trying to say (in very long words)
    is that God is beyond words.
    For trying to inflict and categories something that is supposed to be perfect will be oxymoronic, for language is fallible and is not perfect, because one word doesn't just mean one thing, but also many things.

    Like the word 'God' for example.
    lol.
    Well, Nia, I'm beginning to think I understand you and Meister Eckhart in part. I'll let it sink in awhile.

    On another note, when I say "Dead as Sin," I don't mean it in a narrow sectarian way. It's more like, "As EVIL as Sin," or whatever. I mean, I believe that Goodness is Like A Magnet that PULLS us to the Good, the True, and the Beautiful, and that Hope and Love and Faith are essential components of the fabric of that Magnet. You may call that Magnet "God," "Buddha," or some other Exalted thing. I agree with you in that the name is unimportant, as we are all, ultimately, Agnostic, or "Unknowing."

    It is incumbent, I think, on all reasonable people to examine their beliefs and habits and behaviours critically, and those who hold their morals or patriotism or whatever else suspect because they do so are no less than petty tyrants.

    Best of Regards to a Citizen of a New Dawn!

    Nirvy
  • edited May 2008
    Hey, guys.

    You're conversation reminds me of something I read when I was still a Christian. I'm afraid I don't remember who wrote it or where I read it but it went something like this; God cannot be described by human language or known by the human intellectual mind. Therefore any attempt to do so actually places a mask over the face of God, a mask of our own making in our attempt to understand and thus we push that understanding even further away through the distortion of our human-made mask.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited May 2008
    What you describe, Boo, has a name in Christian theology. It is called apophasis and, more recently, the via negativa (a shift from Greek to Latin which may be significant). Apophatic writers are giants like Meister Eckhart of Saint John of the Cross. I think that Saint Francis was 'apophatic' when he told his brothers to teach the good news and use words only if absolutely necessary.
  • edited May 2008
    Is that like apoptotic? Oh wait, that's programmed cell death. Sorry, I'm writing a book on colostrum...

    Palzang
  • edited May 2008
    Brigid;51692 said:
    Hey, guys.

    You're conversation reminds me of something I read when I was still a Christian. I'm afraid I don't remember who wrote it or where I read it but it went something like this; God cannot be described by human language or known by the human intellectual mind. Therefore any attempt to do so actually places a mask over the face of God, a mask of our own making in our attempt to understand and thus we push that understanding even further away through the distortion of our human-made mask.

    Yes, exactly. We cannot describe the Infinite, so we reduce it to a size that we can cope with. Hence the very recognisable gods and goddesses of various pantheons which are totally human in their characters and usually appearance.

    This belittles the nature of the Infinite - it is showing a child a cut out paper moon and saying - this is the moon without taking them outside to gaze up and see it.
  • edited May 2008
    Nirvana;51672 said:
    Hey, Nia_Nymue! Sorry about the intermittent post, but I thought I might address the subject of the thread, which I had not yet done. I hope you don't mind me selectively re-posting part of what you just wrote:

    Well, Nia, I'm beginning to think I understand you and Meister Eckhart in part. I'll let it sink in awhile.

    Nirvy

    Nope, I don't mind. You did a great job with the font size by the way. :grin:" alt=":grin:" height="20" />
  • edited May 2008
    Knitwitch;51720 said:
    Yes, exactly. We cannot describe the Infinite, so we reduce it to a size that we can cope with. Hence the very recognisable gods and goddesses of various pantheons which are totally human in their characters and usually appearance.

    This belittles the nature of the Infinite - it is showing a child a cut out paper moon and saying - this is the moon without taking them outside to gaze up and see it.

    Plato's Shadows! On a more solemn note, I feel sympathetic towards the Fritzl family in Austria over what happened.
    • 'Who am I?' has to be answered in terms of different levels, and only within a fairly narrow band of size and complexity will the individual appear
      [LIST]
    • At microscopic level, I vanish in hectic activity of millions of individual cells
    • At macrocosmic level, the human species is little more than interconnecting network of fine dust grains, spread across the thin film of biosphere, on a tiny planet
    • Only at the level in which my whole self can perceive and respond to other creatures at that same level can we start to have what we call mental life. Only in terms of those relationships do I start to become a self.
    [/LIST]
    I got that idea from Mel Thompson's Philosophy of Mind (teach yourself series), although it may not be an exact wording because I took it from my notes of that book.

    And I notice that most threads tend to meander randomly, lol. :p So just one quick random thought, if I'm permitted: do I look at the clouds because I'm human, or am I human because I look at the clouds? Coz I have close to a hundred photos of clouds I took myself, and I still don't tire from it. I like it how it always changes. I think it's the sublime feeling that I get, that by looking up, I can forget everything that's going on down here - desirable or not - and just enjoy this.. feeling. :)
  • edited May 2008
    Windwalker;12511 said:
    Are we ever reunited with the souls of the loved ones we have lost after we die? If we are reincarnated do our paths ever again cross with theirs?

    I would only hope that I have to bare company of those in my life but once. Thank You.
    I spare everyone further rehtoric.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited May 2008
    Nia_Nymue;51729 said:
    .......................

    And I notice that most threads tend to meander randomly, lol. :p .................. :)
    The lightness of touch of our moderators permits 'conversation' as much as topic-led threads, a whole tapestry rather than a skein :)

    This is one of the things that makes this such a fruitful site.

    When I was at college, doing a post-grad teaching diploma, we had a wonderful lecturer who gave a term's talks entitled "How to remain sane despite teaching". He was asked what we should do about "red herrings" raised by pupils. He thought for a moment and then replied something like this:
    "We should follow where the red herring leads us. Coming from the student, it means something to them which may be far more interesting than the lesson you have laboriously prepared."
  • edited May 2008
    Indeed!

    Some of the best places I have found in my wanderings around Europe in my van have been due to just bumbling off down a road to see where it went. Or being struck by a name and thinking - hmm, industrial town or sleepy village? Let's go look.
  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Somewhere in the UK, Central-Southern.... Moderator
    edited May 2008
    Simonthepilgrim;51740 said:
    The lightness of touch of our moderators permits 'conversation' as much as topic-led threads, a whole tapestry rather than a skein :)

    * Simon hits the nail on the thread... If a person has led a discussion down a different route, it must mean something to that person, to be permitted to express themselves...
    It's all very well coming the big "please keep on topic" or "if you'd like to discuss the lesser-known mating habits of the Peruvian blue wombat, please start a new thread"... but it clutters the place up.
    I've already had to scrabble under the sofa for threads on the whys and wherefores of having five toes, and what Pally did exactly with that large marrow and the three sheets of dried tofu he was sent.... and just what the male bull elephant had to do with it....

    All dust gatherers.....

    Much better to let those who wish to say something, come out with it.... It's far more friendly and genial... it is after all, the way friendly chats go... as opposed to serious business committee meetings round a large oval table, that are so-o-o-o-o boring.... and in essence get you nowhere.

    Rudeness, insolence, foul-mouthed comments, unwarrantred arrogance, baiting, trolling flaming, being antagonistic...?

    On it like a ton of bricks, whumph. Like a shot.
    *

    So... whenever you see any comments I make, 'framed' by my little red asterisks.... you know I'm on the case......;) :D
  • NirvanaNirvana How about It ? `    `     `     ` `     `     ` Quiet Places `      ` Veteran
    edited May 2008
    As for me, I thought this was the Reunited after thread thread-dearth stringy-yarn earthy thing. But perhaps my mind scrambles things too much.

    One more word, though, on reuniting with loved ones after death: It's important, I think, not to assert one's own beliefs about any possible afterlife on people who are not prepared for that sort of thing.

    I have a different temperament from those who claim they wouldn't like to partake of any future companionship with those they've already known. I guess I just can't get the Catholic belief in the Communion of Saints out of my system.

    Different strokes for different folks.

    But, first and foremost, I don't want anyone's hopes or spirit to be crushed with dogmatic truisms. Although I believe it's OK to subscribe to Dogmas, I don't believe it's particularly helpful to anyone to be dogmatic and narrow. Better to have one's heart in the right place than to be a partisan of Absolute, Pure Truth.

    And then the occasional Red Herring, too! Thanks for that one, Kind Pilgrim!

    Best regards to all,
  • edited May 2008
    Well I am going to meet up with all my old pets again.

    Anyone else can join the queue ........... but I am for sure going to be met by a host of dogs, cats, ferrets, hamsters, slow worms and a Noah's Ark of silent folks I have loved.

    No matter where I am going, I will pass by the Rainbow Bridge first and pick up all my friends.
  • edited May 2008
    Knitwitch,

    My sister uses that same expression, Rainbow Bridge, when talking about her pets that have died. Where does it come from?
  • edited May 2008

    I first read it posted on a Pagan site and it causes me to howl my eyes out whenever I read it but I know it exists and I have so many old friends waiting for me there - perhaps that is why I have no fear at all of dying - if this is how it is going to be, how could I?


    Rainbow Bridge

    Just this side of heaven is a place called Rainbow Bridge.

    When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to Rainbow Bridge.
    There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together.
    There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.

    All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by.
    The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind.

    They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster.

    You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart.

    Then you cross Rainbow Bridge together....

    Author unknown...
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