Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Examples: Monday, today, last week, Mar 26, 3/26/04
Welcome home! Please contact lincoln@newbuddhist.com if you have any difficulty logging in or using the site. New registrations must be manually approved which may take up to 48 hours. Can't log in? Try clearing your browser's cookies.

Do you believe in reincarnation/rebirth?

If so what is your argument for it?

I think to truly know what it like to be dead or if there is an afterlife you have to know what it is to be alive.

If life is just a series of senses and thoughts and no self behind them then I'm afraid the evidence points to there being no continuity of life after they are gone.

How do we know near death experiences aren't just a display given by the release of DMT before our brains really shut off for good?

I generally do believe in reincarnation though as I think of our consciousness as not coming from a single point in our minds but more like an essence of the grouping that is our body. I dont believe it is our matter that makes us who we are rather the glue that holds us together. After all I learned an interesting fact a few years back on how because our matter is constantly dying and being replaced we aren't even physically the same person we were 10 years ago. Also if you and I were to start swapping our brain cells one at a time with each other at what point will you become me and I become you?

Also as it is with plants and some animals it is possible you can create two organisms by cutting up one. We've all done cuttings haven't we to propagate new plants? Well I would say this is a kind of reincarnation, it certainly is if a plant has a consciousness. If it does we can take a look at the seeds they produce. At what point does the seed stop being one plant and becomes another?

Personally I like to think that we are all waves arising from a sea of matter. We are born we express ourselves we may even give ourselves a name and identity as a wave only to age and slowly return to be as one with the sea. Perhaps the sea as a whole is conscious and we are merely an expression of that consciousness, perhaps like a thought in our own minds and the sea has identified with us. Perhaps I'm just being silly now but I really think though to know more about death you have to know about life.

«1

Comments

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Do you believe in reincarnation/rebirth?

    No.

    Have no credible evidence for it.
    If a cremated brain is not required for experience, then my experience may change.

  • shanyinshanyin Novice Yogin Sault Ontario Veteran

    @lobter

    Could you explain that more?

  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Besides the usual NDE testimonies, I usually refer to two people's work, first Pim van Lommel, a Dutch doctor who wrote several books, including a major investigation into non-local consciousness. And also Raymond Moody, another doctor who has been writing recently about shared NDEs, where multiple people participate in an experience and so can corroborate eachother. Neither of these would be possible if consciousness didn't extend beyond the brain or if something like DMT was responsible.

    That just provides a strong case for the continuation of consciousness after death, or some kind of afterlife. For proof of reincarnation you should look into the cases where children report having memories of past lives. These can be quite compelling and are well beyond the possibility of coincidence.

    Ultimately the case for the view of scientific materialism, "it is all in the brain" is quite weak. It only takes one case to disprove the theory. I recall reading one NDE case where an old man had had a heart attack and afterwards asked if he could have his false teeth back, and he directed them to a storage room on another floor where "he had seen a nurse put them away" which happened while he was 'dead'.

    silverrocaladukkha
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited May 2016

    Sure @shanyin.

    Yesterday after chanting to Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), the well known emanation or dharmakaya of the Dalai Lama, came to pay me a visit in a dream, for a spot of oral transmission and Amrita. Cheers dude.

    Now do I believe this is auspicious or the usual brain farts? Answers to the usual prayer beads.

    In a similar way devout believers/practitioners from various traditions have visions, dreams and waking visitations, preludes of past or future hells, heavens, lives or volcano gods. Do I trust their certainties? No.

    Call me old fashioned but I trust my experience increasingly or more accurately not at all.

    The mind of us deluded types, angry or otherwise mad is not trustworthy. However it is important to immerse onself in healing, in practice AND if it helps, hope for rebirth in the Lobsterian Purelands were fish grow on trees ... :3

    howVastmind
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran
    edited May 2016

    Hmm, how trustworthy ones own experience is depends on ones reasonableness, ones sanity and the clarity of ones vision. Achieving these things is no small feat :)

    lobsterVastmind
  • seeker242seeker242 Zen Florida, USA Veteran

    Yes but I've never had an "argument" for it. It's simply a matter of faith.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I do, yes. Why? I guess because even before I became a Buddhist or started studying Buddhism, it has always been the only thing that "makes sense" to me. I'm open to that changing, it has evolved over many years. I think about it fairly often, why we have a need to assign so much value to our lives that we think we simply HAVE to be here for a reason behind just being organic beings that live, die and become part of the cycle of life the way a trees leaves do every year. It just doesn't make sense to me that we (or any other being) are just organic matter. But when you think farther, it doesn't always make sense that we are spiritual being having an experience where we then seek to stop having that experience because it's pretty unpleasant. It's a strange thing, lol.

    I've had interesting/strange experiences with my children when they were very little that also suggested to me that there was more to it than simply dying and becoming compost.

    Last fall when my grandmother died, she, or her essence, was gone a full day before her body completed the death process. You could sense the exact moment it happened. She was there, then she was gone. I've never had a sense that she was "out there" somewhere, but I've had that sense about others who have passed away. That could just be part of my brain processing their deaths, but it seems different.

    To me, the after life isn't something I really put a lot of focus on. I think whatever happens to one person happens to us all. Belief is not required, so there is no point to focus on it or not. I try to focus on what I am doing each day in my life with a back-burner understanding that it could impact what happens when I die. or it might not. But what I do today does matter to everyone else I interact with and that is all i really focus on.

    herbertodukkha
  • MingleMingle Veteran

    @Kerome said:
    Besides the usual NDE testimonies, I usually refer to two people's work, first Pim van Lommel, a Dutch doctor who wrote several books, including a major investigation into non-local consciousness. And also Raymond Moody, another doctor who has been writing recently about shared NDEs, where multiple people participate in an experience and so can corroborate eachother. Neither of these would be possible if consciousness didn't extend beyond the brain or if something like DMT was responsible.

    That just provides a strong case for the continuation of consciousness after death, or some kind of afterlife. For proof of reincarnation you should look into the cases where children report having memories of past lives. These can be quite compelling and are well beyond the possibility of coincidence.

    Ultimately the case for the view of scientific materialism, "it is all in the brain" is quite weak. It only takes one case to disprove the theory. I recall reading one NDE case where an old man had had a heart attack and afterwards asked if he could have his false teeth back, and he directed them to a storage room on another floor where "he had seen a nurse put them away" which happened while he was 'dead'.

    Yeah I've seen those child cases and a pretty convincing adult one about a policeman. It's what sparked my interest in reincarnation. Can't help but feel there's a chance they could be fake though.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    I can't say either way about documented cases. But I can tell you 2 of my 3 children talked about places and languages at very young ages that they had no exposure to. Details about families and homes and cities and what written language in places on the other side of the world looked like when they were toddler to preschool age. They were barely able to articulate about the town and family they lived in at the time, yet were able to give great detail about ones they should have known nothing about. One of them explained in detail their death in a former life. That could have been chalked up to imagination, but it would have been unusual for a mostly non-verbal 3 year old to suddenly discuss such things.

  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited May 2016

    We crave for something make us to take existence into life which suits our desires or energy level. We are waves which holds material to become body. Death of body occurs and again countinuity of life in next form. Final death of a body without rebirth in material must be liberation.

    Every composite things have an end as per buddha. It means there is something pure non composite which is the core.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited May 2016

    I can't say I believe it but I can't say I disbelieve it either. The way I see it, beliefs are more a hindrance than anything in these matters.

    To tell the truth it makes more sense to me that we are all aspects of the same process and are all different reflections of each other.

    It could be that your past lives are the same as mine in light of non-separation.

    It could be that we are nothing more than a Jataka tale.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Oh i wish my life were fun enough to be a Jataka tale! That would be awesome, lol. ;)

    rohitVastmind
  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited May 2016

    I have plenty of reasons to think that rebirth is true, some of them personal, and I have reasons to doubt it, at the very least to doubt many of the explanations for the mechanics of it.

    In the end I think it is true but lack the conviction needed to make it an important part of my practice.

    Bunks
  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited May 2016

    @genkaku said:
    Since no one to my knowledge has returned after death to either complain or extol, it seems sensible to let death, like life, take care of itself. Of course if there's nothing interesting on the telly, maybe I could concoct a soap opera of my own.

    PS. As a matter of associative interest: If death is the worst possibility from the point of view of the living, is living the worst possibility from the point of view of the dead?

    Death is not a defeat. Death is the cure.
    -Socrates

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    Death is not a defeat. Death is the cure.
    -Socrates

    @techie -- From a fortune-cookie point of view, that's pretty kool. But from a practical standpoint it strikes me as self-deluding drivel. If death were, as stated, a cure, that would presuppose that the one holding the opinion knew there was a disease and further that it needed a cure. But if anyone actually knew the disease, would it any longer be a disease? And if not, what use would a "cure" be?

    In Buddhism, the words "attachment" or "deluded" are sometimes bandied about. The subtext is that something needs fixing/curing ... pronto! But assuming anyone dug down to the roots of "attachment" or "delusion," what else could there possibly be. Or, put another way, is the one who is so all-fired sure about "attachment" or "delusion" attached and deluded or not?

    I like fortune cookies as well as the next person, but compared to the meal that frequently precedes its arrival, it's a bit thin.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited May 2016

    The thing about quotes from philosophers is that it dumbs down their immense works into a few cookie-worthy notes. To know what any of the quotes really means, one would have to study someof their work rather than take snippets. The same goes for most random quotes, of course. Socrates wasn't actually that far off of Buddhist belief. He was one who focused on virtue and people/community over material wealth. He encouraged people to examine their lives for matters of ethics. And his death quote is more a sense of "life is hard, when we die our souls are freed from the torment of it" which isn't all that different from the whole "life has suffering, but you can follow this path so you aren't reborn into it anymore."

    It's kind of funny, because the end point of most belief systems, Christianty, Islam, Buddhism and even just thoughts of thinking people like Socrates all basically end in "life sucks, we gotta get out of it." Which is really all kind of an avoidance of accepting what is and a focus on getting out of what is and onto something else, no matter what that something else is.

    JeroenpersonKundo
  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2016

    While I have had numerous experiences of past lives, that in itself provides no more proof of reincarnation/rebirth, than believing that any movie that I'm watching, represents reality because I've seen it.

    I think that the most interesting question about the concept of reincarnation/rebirth
    lies in how we can approach this question without having our ego/identity or selfish self
    do all the answering.

    If all that separates one being from another, is a dream of our ego/identity or the selfish self, then the teachings of reincarnation/rebirth simply challenges the isolation upon which that dream depends.

    lobster
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran

    @karasti said:
    Oh i wish my life were fun enough to be a Jataka tale! That would be awesome, lol. ;)

    Don't sell your story short as there are those that can benefit from the right chapters.

    @karasti said:

    It's kind of funny, because the end point of most belief systems, Christianty, Islam, Buddhism and even just thoughts of thinking people like Socrates all basically end in "life sucks, we gotta get out of it." Which is really all kind of an avoidance of accepting what is and a focus on getting out of what is and onto something else, no matter what that something else is.

    That's why I think it's best to focus on here and now instead of "a better place". As far as we know this is as good as it gets and it's beautiful in the right context.

    WalkerVastmindKundo
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    @David lol I was just kidding :) I enjoy reading Jataka tales to my kids, and we sometimes talk about "What if that happened to us!?" All our lives can offer such tales or fables if we pick up the lessons and can tell a story about them :)

    On your second point, i agree. I really do not focus my practice on rebirth or aiming for a particular rebirth. I don't want my life to be a focus on the end. We don't even know what happens, seems like a waste of life to live it with a focus on the endpoint. As the saying goes, it's about the journey not the destination.

    WalkerVastmind
  • Tara1978Tara1978 UK Veteran

    I do believe, partly because of my buddhist faith and education and partly because of experiences in this lifetime that I can't otherwise explain. I don't do any particular practice to aim for a good re-birth, just trust in karma and try to be kind and compassionate.

    howBunks
  • namarupanamarupa Veteran

    These types of questions I have come to categorize them playful leisurely fun. Similar to asking about astrology and fortune telling. Can't really believe in something that I have not yet experienced. I guess my meditation right now is not advanced enough to know about these things yet. Perhaps one day.

    lobster
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I'm really not sure. I'm more drawn to the Advaita model these days, our individual consciousnesses beings aspects ( expressions ) of something larger ( transcendent? ) sort of, maybe. ;)

  • whether we believe or not does not change the truth. for example the law of gravity, it does not matter you believe it or not. so, we either are reincarnated or we are not. the fact does not change because we believe it or not. and no clever argument is going to change the fact either. so do i believe ? well , it does not matter does it?

  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    Huh?! O.o

  • genkakugenkaku Northampton, Mass. U.S.A. Veteran

    FWIW -- Once upon a time, a magazine called Psychology Today used to run little contests for its readers. And there came a time when the magazine invited readers to submit the best scam they could think of. And the winner was: A company in (where else?) California that invited customers to turn over all their worldly goods to the company. In return, the company would issue customers with a number written on a slip of paper. The idea was that after a person was born, all s/he needed to do was turn in the slip of paper and retrieve all their worldly goods from an earlier life.

    I was never entirely sure that such a company didn't exist.

  • LionduckLionduck Veteran

    Darn! I had a nice piece worked up on the subject and it just vanished into the cyber Black Hole. :(

    Back to my cocoa.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @silver said:
    Huh?! O.o

    silverBunksRowan1980Kundo
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    Also if you and I were to start swapping our brain cells one at a time with each other at what point will you become me and I become you?

    We would never really know....because we would be continually swapping brain cells....

    person
  • TorTor California New

    My argument for rebirth/re-becoming? Well, of the theories out there I've examined, it seems to match the paradigm already well observed in the universe; that things are cyclic. Stars form, die, form again. They say whole universes might spring into being from nothing, then, like ours, age and finally end.

    I had an aversion to even considering this whole rebirth/re-becoming thing as a viable theory until I admitted that my prior beliefs (which have the notion of an immortal and immutable soul) could be considered even more far-fetched.

    So I guess I've accepted rebirth/re-becoming on a provisional basis; for me it's a theory that seems to run compatibly with the grain of the universe. Also, after letting go of the die-and-get-judged idea of my past beliefs, I'm much less frantic about getting my beliefs of the afterlife "correct". So pondering about it is a minor part of my practice. But what the idea of re-becoming does do for me is provide me with an element of faith -- an element which I particularly need because I'm one of those very hyper-rational computer-nerd guys who tend to overthink anyway.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    I can't see any problems when it comes to 'recycling' ...
    The science is already there...

    So here's a theory of sorts......(based in part upon meditative experience and science)

    like all matter, we are made up of vibrating subatomic particles which are in a continuous state of karmic flux, propelled along by cause condition effect ie, 'recycling' moment to moment so to speak...and this karmic flux also applies to the mental factors of the aggregates ie, Consciousness, perception, sensations, mental formations/impulses....So we are broken down and reassemble according to the cause (whatever that might be) conditions and effect (the next cycle...pun intended)...and when all karmic patterns are exhausted, we are free ...free at last :)

    Much of this is experienced through meditation practice...

    It's a somewhat simplistic description, but still I think it fits in quite nicely with Buddhist philosophy...

    how
  • federicafederica Seeker of the clear blue sky... Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    A boss asked one of his employees, "Do you believe in life after death?"
    "No, sir." replied the new employee.
    "Well I damn well do," said the boss. "Because last week, you took a day off to go to your only brother's funeral, and I'll be blowed, he stopped by to see you yesterday!"

    Rowan1980Kundo
  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    ^^^ good attitude @Toraldris :)

    Some Buddhist algorithms (I speak fluent computer-nerd) have a malware feature focussed on purelands, or rebooting in a new computer when the old hard drive freezes beyond repair.

    The mysterious transfer of data, without any connection to the original source and the wifi and power gone is how can I put this politely ... vapourware.

    Skilful use of ones known and existing hardware is sufficient for this nerd. :glasses:

  • DakiniDakini Veteran

    I think it's for every individual to decide where they stand on the question, and to work out how they feel about it. For some people, it takes some kind of unusual insight or occurrence, before they'll accept reincarnation as true. For others, it's ok to take it on faith. There are some Buddhist authorities who say that rebirth is ongoing, as we go through life, and learn and grow. So that's another way to go on the issue.

    As long as we don't get into huge fights about it, it's all good. ;)

    lobsterRowan1980
  • Rowan1980Rowan1980 Keeper of the Zoo Asheville, NC Veteran
    edited May 2016

    Outside of the idea that we're reborn every moment of our lives, no. I did at one time, but after my Dad's death last summer and personal reflection and research, I can't really say that anymore. I'm one who needs to see the evidence these days. Personal anecdotes don't do it for me. shrugs If I'm wrong, well, I'll eat whatever hat I'm wearing in my next rebirth. ;) Until then, I'm focusing on using the current life that I'm living to try my best to improve things.

  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Past life. current life. future life. Are any of our daydreams/reverie productive of anything useful in the present moment?

    how
  • silversilver In the beginning there was nothing, and then it exploded. USA, Left coast. Veteran

    @grackle said:
    Past life. current life. future life. Are any of our daydreams/reverie productive of anything useful in the present moment?

    Yes....entertainment. :grin:

    Fosdick
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    I would like to be reborn as a dolphin and annoy tuna fish. So there. :p

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Sometimes I wonder if we don't have it backwards. We tend to believe because of our reasoning that we are the highest of the beings but I think we just confuse ourselves a lot as a result. We consider being "reborn as an animal" to be going backwards but perhaps it's not. They live in the moment because it's all they have. most of them don't know to worry about the past and future and be as neurotic as we are. Maybe they are the ones who have it right. I'd like to be reborn as an otter, myself, lol.

    silverTara1978nakazcid
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    I wouldn't mind being a whale, filtering krill and singing songs and occasionally diving deep to have it out with the giant squids sounds like fun.

  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    edited May 2016

    If time isn't too stagnant for a tree I wouldn't mind experiencing that.

    Thing is, I have a feeling it won't be this me that experiences it and for all I know I have already been all the trees.

    Maybe I'll just live this life for now and let the next life fall where it may and be enjoyed by whoever inherits it.

    Every now and then I think it would be a neat idea to try and aim for something at my time of dying but I can't decide whether I should bother with volition or just go where the wind blows without effort.

    Even if it means to be snuffed.

    namarupasilver
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited May 2016

    It doesn't have to be limited to this planet, we could be reborn on a galaxy far, far away....

  • nakazcidnakazcid Somewhere in Dixie, y'all Veteran

    I'm, um, agnostic on this. For years I was I believe what is termed a 'rational materialist', believing that consciousness and 'self' could be explained by still unknown physical processes. Now I'm not so sure, but I'm still not convinced either way. I've come to have a lot of faith (or perhaps confidence would be a better word) in the traditional Buddhist teachings, but I don't have any direct (or even second hand) experience of past lives. Perhaps I'll come over to the mystical, supernatural side yet.

    silverpersonherberto
  • FlowerFairyFlowerFairy Portsmouth New

    I believe in it, a sightly different way though.

    I feel that our energy is reincarnated, this is actually scientifically proven. I mean we are all recycled stars. Energy can't be created or destroyed. That is my view on this matter. Our energy is recycled and reborn in to something else. We are not.

    Tara1978
  • JeroenJeroen Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter Netherlands Veteran

    Have you never wondered if consciousness is like another type of matter? That like the carbon atoms that make up a coal can also become a diamond, so the consciousness that makes up a human being at the moment of death can make a new being?

    Certainly if you look at near death experiences there are hints that we become something other after we pass death's threshold, but that the essence of what we are is not lost but transformed.

    FlowerFairy
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Kerome said:> Have you never wondered if consciousness is like another type of matter?

    I have wondered whether consciousness is like another element, and indeed there are some suttas which describe it as such.

    herberto
  • JeffreyJeffrey Veteran

    Chemistry is very interesting to me. Only like 80 common elements and even fewer common in our bodies but there is such intricate systems and examples of structure and function.

Sign In or Register to comment.