It occurred to me that the universe goes to great lengths to keep us from the knowledge of rebirth — our memories are wiped, physically we get a completely clean slate, there are no distinguishing marks, there don’t seem to be any trauma’s other than those of this life. Does this perhaps mean that we are not meant to know about it?
Friend there are many indications.
We all appear differently and have different life experiences, are born in different place amongst many other factors, indicating different causations collected previously.
According to the Tantras our mind is made up of three levels, Gross (Waking) mind, subtle (dreaming mind) and very subtle mind, it is this very subtle mind that goes from life to life blown around by the winds of our karma. This very subtle mind is currently selfless, our 'I' as it is now is imputed upon the collection of five aggregates and at death these dissapear and likewise so does the person of this life.
Friend, those who achieve a refined mind through the practise of concentration gain the ability to see past and futre lives amongst other abilities. To your ordinary person past and future lives and the subtle working of karma are hidden objects, but to those who attain the concentrations of the form and formless realms they are manifest.
Rather than not meant to know about it, I think instead our past I's and our future I's have an understanding, through no effort of their own, that our conscious, present I's don't have. Which is that none of those I's actually exist.
Because I have never been personally conscious of a past life that was anything more than the inherited inertia of someone else's unaddressed suffering, I tend to believe that enlightened action leaves no wake and correspondingly the only momentum continuing from past or future lives comes from unenlightened actions.
I don't think that that the universe goes to any length in wiping past memories clean so much as our natural identity development writes over top of whatever mixes of past karma has coalesced into this present body.
Whatever processes one employs to unwrap the layers of the identity code that we've written for ourselves (like a meditation practice) also risks uncovering any underlying related antecedents that helped pattern this psycho-physical body/mind.
There is nothing that meant us not to know about rebirth save our own identity's obfuscation of its own origins.
Thank god we have people who have been able to see past the vail yeah?
I'm not sure I can agree because I think we usually look at it in a linear fashion when it makes more sense to me from an omnidirectional perspective.
Ultimately in light of nonseperation, my "lineage" could have had to split from yours at some point and we could be different aspects of the same consciousness and my past lives are also your past lives.
We seem to love stories. Jataka you, Jataka me?
According to Buddhism, all that passes on to the next life is our imprints/karmas. Not our personality, and therefore not the memory of this particular life. Only out state of existing and the imprints that mold it.
@Kerome, if someone like the Dalai Lama can't remember past lives, why would you?
Yesterday was a past life; I'm sure you remember that... but do you remember what you were doing on any given day in your 4th year? Or the year you were 7?
Of course not.
If you can't even store those in your memory in THIS life - how on earth do you expect to remember any PAST existence?
Treat every day as a 'new Birth'. Without forgetting the day before, and the day before that, and the day before that... That in itself is the challenge to remembering actual Re-Birth...
Given what the average person like me now knows about science and biology, in my opinion this is the most probable reality. Our bodies are made up of trillions of cells which transform into soil, worm food, bird food, flower food, made into spores, released in gases, etc., etc., etc. It may take some time but "you" will be far beyond the site of your bones, in a million different directions. Even those who are cremated are released in gases and what remains is often given to the wind by your loved ones.
I wish I'd had this perspective when it was time to let go of ideas of heaven, because it gives me comfort to think that, though I miss all the people that are gone, "they" are not "somewhere else."
Apologies for liberal use of quotation marks and potentially veering off-topic.
This makes some sense when you think of the Buddha’s vision during his enlightenment, that he had had hundreds of thousands of incarnations. When you consider variations in the earth’s population of people and animals the whole idea of a linear lineage seems a little strange anyway.
But I think the view on rebirth is something that is formative to the whole attitude to cessation. If you think “I’ve had thousands of lives and I might have thousands more” then cessation is a lot more palatable than if you think “I remember just this life and my memories and personality will go elsewhere before my next life, if any”.
Also there is the question of what will indicate that that person in that next life will actually be me? That person might be heir to my karma, but a lot of the things that make me a unique individual will have vanished. Perhaps it might be more reasonable to call that next person a relative...
Could be, @Kerome, could be.
Even more reason to ensure nobody else has to suffer my consequences.
Same as the life we are living now, eh?
Buddhist cosmology does not limit beings just to rebirth on earth so the variations in the population on earth of animals and humans is fairly easily explained.
Hey look, I insightfulled and sent hugs to the same post!
Is that supposed to be able to happen?
Wow! I’ve wanted to do that before...jealous 😃
Even I can't do that!! Super-jealous!!
Are you sure? There were maybe 100 million humans on the planet at the time of the Buddha, while that has increased to 7 billion today, a factor of 70x higher. The number of wild animals has gone down, but the number of domesticated and farm animals has massively increased, so let’s say the size of the animal realm has stayed constant.
So where do all the new humans come from? A human birth was supposed to be precious, but they must be a lot more common now. Are there now suddenly a lot of hell realm inhabitants and hungry ghosts who have been promoted to being human in order to fill the human realm with beings?
Sure! Remember this has been going on through countless universal cycles across countless universes. You need to widen your scope and your mind.
The 2600 years since the Buddha is a click of the fingers in the greater scheme of things.
The Pali Canon also states humans will live for 80,000 years at the time of the next Buddha. Are any of us willing to accept that?
I have... the... POWER!
I think that no matter the source, extraordinary claims of what the future holds should be taken with a boulder of salt.
Imagine how many insects and the like there must be. And this planet is just a speck among specks.
A lot fewer then there used to be, if measurements of insect density are to be believed.
Some studies seem to suggest that we DO bring forth marks, traumas, personality traits, and even talents from one life to the next. How else to explain things like phobias or prodigy? How else to explain birthmarks where past life physical insult happened? How else to explain children speaking languages they've never been exposed to? How else to explain uncommon interest or knowledge of subjects unfamiliar to you. How else to explain deja vu?
I can remember a time as a child when I did remember. I'd tell myself stories about things I later found out to have actually occurred (not what happened to me personally, but contemporary events. I have a fascination and a certain understanding of sailing (age of sail) though I've never sailed anything larger than a rowboat. Same with submarines, although I'm mildly claustrophobic.
None of that is empirical, that I understand, but even the courts recognize a preponderance of evidence.
In the literal sense....Only now matters ...everything else (past...future) is just mind junk.....
In other words...
"When the intellect ventures into where it does not belong...It becomes lost in its own confusion"
Rebirth is one of a number of Buddhist teachings that seem to better tickle folks' intellectual curiosities than their meditative ones. Why do it at all?
Proving its truth or falsehood largely seems unhelpful so long as one's mentality demands and receives dominion over our other 5 sense gate inputs and so limits that understanding to whatever keeps their identity craft flying.
Except that sometimes these teachings can be likened to
teachers being airports that keep a students troubled aircraft burning off excess fuel while circling above so that when its flight inevitably falters, it will at least still be in proximity to a safe possible landing site when that happens....as opposed to ignoring troubled aircraft and having them fly off elsewhere in search of help where wilderness offers the most likely end of flight.
Much has been said about past lives and rebirth.
But it is the here and now that matters. This moment is really all we have. We can't change the past and we do not know the future. But we can act now. We can live now. If you are concerned about your Karma, now is the time to do something to better your Karma.
The Four sufferings of Birth, Old Age, Sickness and Death are only sufferings if we allow them to be. Instead of suffering, face each challenge and make it a source of happiness, growth, strength, Joy. The losses I have endured have made me stronger. They have enabled me to empathize with and help other to alleviate their suffering, They have enabled me to encourage others. They have enabled me to appreciate everything and everyone in my life.
We have all made the causes which have brought us here to this moment, as we are. It is up to each of us to make the causes to improve our lives and attain happiness in this life and good fortune in the next.
But the causes must be made now. For all we truly have is the now.
Peace to all
now that seems like a plan 💗🌈🦞🥳
I'll be dancing on the memories/graves of my passed and future boings and beings ... if any of the living dead or dead living ... or whatever the correct term is - 'the un-now'? need me ...
Free Enlightenment Now!