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Past lives

Has anyone remembered or claimed to remember past lives? Not just attention seekers but someone of monk status or similar?

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Comments

  • You mean, besides the Buddha?

  • Yes

  • sovasova delocalized fractyllic harmonizing Veteran
    edited September 2015

    Yes.

    (edit: what @woods93 said!)

    woods93
  • i have seen 3 lives

    it is not a miracle

    just calm your mind (with meditation) and ask the mind to go back and show the previous birth/births

    this is worthwhile because afterwords one doesn't have doubt about rebirth and one firmly believe what in Buddha's Teaching and one willingly practice dhamma

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator

    Yes. But it's rare that they talk about it to a great degree because seeking higher levels of spiritual development is not meant for showing off as "tricks."

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

    I've had dreams about past lives and one in particular was so vivid that it was hard to discount it as merely a dream.

    I don't bother having faith that it was anything more than a dream but then again I don't think the lesson changes either way.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran

    @woods93

    Yes, too many times to count, but past lives are really little more than the experiences of ones own potential karmic proclivities.
    &
    Such lessons should also be just as descernable to the serious meditator, who has never had past life experiences.
    &
    The Sangha is littered with practitioners who have built ego based edifices off such experiences.
    &
    Be careful what you wish for.
    Past lives are usually the inherited essence from some other fools experience of ignorance, and as such, can be pretty raw and uncomfortable to witness.

    ShoshinNerimalobster
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Moderator
    edited September 2015

    Yeah, I don't worry about it too in-depth. All of my children have recollected extremely vivid life details of places and cultures they couldn't have possibly known ever even existed at the ages they were (4 and under). My youngest told me a couple years ago that he will always appreciate our home because his last family didn't have one. That his parents died in a fire and he lived with an older sister, but couldn't pronounce her name because of the language difference. He talked in great detail about the city they lived in and other things, and he spoke with great emotion about the whole thing.
    My oldest son, when he was 3 (and barely talking because he was autistic), looked at a page in a college textbook (a murder scene) and told me "I saw a lady get murdered when I was watching from heaven once, 2 guys stabbed her and left but they only ever caught the one and he didn't even get in trouble." It was the murder scene of Nicole Brown Simpson. And he was born 2 years after the murder and trial happened.

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @woods93 said:
    Has anyone remembered or claimed to remember past lives? Not just attention seekers but someone of monk status or similar?

    Well Adyashanti says he remembered many of his but they occurred shortly after awakening. He was awake and they came at him one at a time. He says it was his karma working itself out.

    There was an American seven year old I think, who claimed to remember himself crashing his plane in the sea. He knew the name of the aircraft carrier.
    They made a documentary of his life. He even spoke with his "sister" who was like 80 now.
    She sent him a picture that his former "mother" had painted of him. The boy asked his sister where hers was?
    The sister had never told anybody that her mother had painted a picture of her.
    The boy also allegedly pointed on a map where the plane went down.
    And pointed himself out in a picture of the pilots.
    He was taken to to the spot of the plane going down. Japan helped him.
    This was all documented. The boy is James Leininger.

    I think it's also worth noting that sages like Sri Ramana would never answer people who asked about past lifes. He would say things like "your looking out at me and asking about your past life yet you don't even know who you are, go back in and find out who is asking the question"

    I love this sort of answer, the mind reels at this. Haha.

    karasti
  • @upekka said:
    i have seen 3 lives

    it is not a miracle

    just calm your mind (with meditation) and ask the mind to go back and show the previous birth/births

    this is worthwhile because afterwords one doesn't have doubt about rebirth and one firmly believe what in Buddha's Teaching and one willingly practice dhamma

    My concern is the fact that it may strengthen the sense of selfhood in some individuals. The past is a memory. Memories can be unreliable. If one takes ownership of that memory, we become that memory.

    As Ramana said, we are definitely not memories.

    BuddhadragondantepwMenandros
  • @pegembara said:

    this is not to strengthen the sense of self-hood

    no one of this forum knows 'me'

    so i wrote the experience because i do not give vague answers anymore

    actually i saw 'me' as
    a mother of three children, i was a fat woman
    a skinny mother of an infant
    a young typist in an army office

    and then i saw many many dead bodies and i tried to see the faces of the dead bodies, but i couldn't
    at the same time it came into my mind what is the use of reborn again if the result would be a dead body

    after that i didn't try to see 'my' previous birth

    anyway those are past lives, my experiences also past, i thought it would be benefit to someone if i talk about it and i don't want to talk about it again in this forum

    sorry, if i troubled anyone by writing the previous post, my intention was not that

    pegembara
  • rohitrohit Maharrashtra Veteran
    edited September 2015

    Dalai lama told in his interview but he did not explained in detail about his past life experience.

    But my personal experience of dreams is that they tell us about future.

  • @upekka said:

    You have not troubled me in any way. In fact it is quite consistent with the scriptures despite what some secular Buddhist may have said.

    Joseph Goldstein mentioned that one of the teachers remark on past lives was " It's true but you don't have to believe it" which is a rather good point to make.

    The Buddha clearly saw his past lives and the past lives of others according to the scriptures. But most importantly he saw a way out of this predicament which gave rise to the teaching of the 4 Noble Truths. This is where his focus was in nearly all his teachings subsequently towards the ending of mental fermentations.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/buddha.html#bodhi

    Metta

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

    One of my nieces when she was about 4 announced to her folks that she wasn't always Abby. I don't know where she got the idea.

    She turned vegetarian at 6 after finding out she was eating a chicken like the one she saw running around earlier.

    silverEarthninjadantepw
  • 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

    I like Abby...... ;)

    Daviddantepw
  • “…and rebirth kind of makes sense when I look at all the cyclical patterns in the natural world.”

    Human life looks a lot like one of the many complex forms of life on this planet. These complex forms of life already have a cyclic pattern - without need for rebirth. It’s the pattern of reproduction. The genetic information in our genes is born again and again – with minor mutations.

  • So, can you remember having been a bug if you used to be a bug in your past life?
    Not to be cheeky but I imagine knowing about your past lives takes a whole lot of practice and isn't something you can do by sitting down for a bit.
    I know I'm being that guy again; let's just not be too esoteric (or if that's what we're going for, let's not take it seriously).

    rohit
  • 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

    Lama Surya Das finds it amusing that so many people 'remembering past lives' come up with such details, and usually, they're quite industrious and productive. But, he goes on to comment, it's amazing that nobody remembers being a duck. Or a rabbit.

    rohitmockeymind
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @zenff said:Human life looks a lot like one of the many complex forms of life on this planet. These complex forms of life already have a cyclic pattern - without need for rebirth. It’s the pattern of reproduction. The genetic information in our genes is born again and again – with minor mutations.

    Yes, that's one way of looking at it. I was thinking more of the cyclical patterns in nature, like the way plants shed their leaves in winter then get "reborn" in the spring, or the weather, or those aspects of nature lined to planetary movement like night and day, the seasons, the tides.
    What I find interesting ( puzzling? ) is the nature of consciousness. Can it be regarded as a form of energy, and if so does the conservation of energy principle apply to it?

  • What I find interesting ( puzzling? ) is the nature of consciousness. Can it be regarded as a form of energy, and if so does the conservation of energy principle apply to it?

    @SpinyNorman
    Consciousness - to me - is like scent. According to the dog my scent is unique. It probably changes over time. Sometimes I’m self-aware of my scent (eek).
    When I die maybe the genes that produced this scent play a part in the life of some other human being. But this particular unique scent is lost. It doesn’t float away from this body to incarnate in another womb.

  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @federica said:
    Lama Surya Das finds it amusing that so many people 'remembering past lives' come up with such details, and usually, they're quite industrious and productive. But, he goes on to comment, it's amazing that nobody remembers being a duck. Or a rabbit.

    i know two persons, one is a monk talks about known dead persons become animals in their next birth and other one is a lay person who practices meditation and teaches Buddha's Teaching talks about one of his previous birth he was a spotted iguana (monitor/kabaragoya) and he knows the reason for it and he says he could see his 40 previous births

    one should use 'as far as i know' when one says 'nobody knows, remembers, says etc' otherwise it would be a ...

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2015

    The only discussions on past lives that help assist anyone towards suffering's cessation are with those currently in the midst of having one.

    The crux of any advise for such a person is that past lives, like any phenomena in meditation, when grasped after, pushed away or ignored, simply results in more of suffering's cause. Here belief or disbelief in past lives becomes a moot point.

    I think the relevant point to watch for in believing in past lives or not believing in past lives, is really whether such a belief or nonbelief results in a hardening or a softening of our identity/ego or selfish self.

    Earthninja
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @federica said:
    Lama Surya Das finds it amusing that so many people 'remembering past lives' come up with such details, and usually, they're quite industrious and productive. But, he goes on to comment, it's amazing that nobody remembers being a duck. Or a rabbit.

    That is because ducks and rabbits don't have memories that humans have. Try asking them what they ate yesterday. Just saying.
    =)

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    The idea of an afterlife is often how we deal with the inevitability of death. Be it rebirth or even heaven.
    I often meditate on the fact that when I die, that's the end of me. Game over.
    I watch how the body/mind reacts to this and what beliefs I have about it all.
    You would think it's depressing but it's actually liberating.
    Alan Watts puts it as something the Ego can't deal with. So it helps you let go.

  • I am so happy that I don't remember any of my past lives. That is more easier to live in the present moment. It's not that irrelevant, but there is a possibility to trade what is here and now of what is past or even the future. I was trained in the tradition to just breathe, and be there for it. But maybe when I got full enlightenment I will come across every life I've been. It really sounds cool.

    EarthninjaBuddhadragon0student0
  • 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
    edited September 2015

    @uppeka said: .....a lay person who practices meditation and teaches Buddha's Teaching talks about one of his previous birth he was a spotted iguana (monitor/kabaragoya) and he knows the reason for it and he says he could see his 40 previous births.

    one should use 'as far as i know' when one says 'nobody knows, remembers, says etc' otherwise it would be a ...

    and

    @pegembara said: That is because ducks and rabbits don't have memories that humans have. Try asking them what they ate yesterday. Just saying.

    Yers.... I think his comment was a tongue-in-cheek one, gently poking fun at those who actually attached a major significance to their past lives, as if it denoted some kind of importance in the present one...

    He represents an approachable and 'user-friendly' Buddhism, and talks in terms most people will find amusing and encouraging, while still being deeply knowledgeable.
    He's not a boring, staid Lama in any sense. He uses humour to put his points across, with great success....

    I think he also insinuates that those who seem to have an extraordinary ability to see so many past lives should simply be viewed in light of what they do and say today, without relying on any testimony of past existences... As @how pertinently states, past lives are largely irrelevant. It's what the life is like in the present that matters....

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Ehipassiko & Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I usually think that my leanings, affinities and aversions may be strongly connected to stuff from past lives, since they are too strong to be rationally explained or to stem from this present life.

    But then... do they matter? How relevant are they to cessation from suffering?

    When I get into that line of thinking, it's back to here and now, one breath at a time again.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @how said: I think the relevant point to watch for in believing in past lives or not believing in past lives, is really whether such a belief or nonbelief results in a hardening or a softening of our identity/ego or selfish self.

    Yes, good point, and a principle we can apply to all our beliefs and assumptions.

  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @zenff said:When I die maybe the genes that produced this scent play a part in the life of some other human being. But this particular unique scent is lost. It doesn’t float away from this body to incarnate in another womb.

    Sure, though that would be more like the Hindu belief of reincarnation. The Buddhist view of rebirth doesn't involve this unique "scent".

  • Ajahn Brahm talks about it.

  • Discussion at global Buddhist conference.

    dantepw
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @Earthninja said: I often meditate on the fact that when I die, that's the end of me. Game over.

    Yes, it's a useful practice to reflect on the inevitability of death. I sometimes imagine my own funeral. ;)

    Earthninja
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2015

    The suttas don't go into much detail about the actual process of rebirth, but from what I can gather it would be like waking up one morning with complete amnesia and a different personality, but being in the same situation and having to deal with the consequences of past actions by the previous "you", both good and bad ( kamma, basically ).

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    I've heard it explained as that which is completely formless, the sense that we "know we are alive" is what is reborn.

    This is caused by clinging to life. Don't know if past life karma transfers over?
    Some explain that your genetic makeup is karma past on by your parents.
    Karma is a memory system that continues. Both physically and mentally. But it seems to me that rebirth is a clean slate. Don't know?!

    See you all next generation!
    I'd like to be a bird!

  • A bird is a nervous wreck because it has to always be on the look out for its many natural enemies eg snakes, cats etc.
    Do you wish to change your mind? lol

  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @hermitwin said:
    A bird is a nervous wreck because it has to always be on the look out for its many natural enemies eg snakes, cats etc.
    Do you wish to change your mind? lol

    I disagree, we are nervous wrecks because we worry about mortgages, job satisfaction, what someone said about us. We are even aware we are on the way to the grave.
    I'm sure birds don't go around thinking about past and future.
    If birds were nervous wrecks they would commit suicide.

    Humans do this all the time. :)

    I don't know why people don't like the idea of animal rebirth.

  • 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

    I keep saying, if I come back, I'd love to come back as an eagle...or an owl......

    Earthninja
  • Being reborn as a pigeon is good enough for me.

    Earthninjasilver
  • EarthninjaEarthninja Wanderer West Australia Veteran

    @federica said:
    I keep saying, if I come back, I'd love to come back as an eagle...or an owl......

    But then you wouldn't be vegetarian anymore :(

  • 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

    Very few birds are....

    We all have our cross to bear....
    I don't think birds of prey are prone to killing for sport... they 'kill' because they need to survive.
    I don't think it would mean negative Kamma...

    If that's what you mean.....

    Earthninja
  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @federica said:
    ..... they 'kill' because they need to survive.
    I don't think it would mean negative Kamma...

    it is

    that is why we should avoid become an animal of any sort (one of the bad birth- thirisan apaya)

    an animal has to kill to survive or get killed (as kamma vipaka) and most of them have short life span

    that is why we should try to get Noble Right View before we die

    it says once one gets Noble Right View (enter to the Path) it is confirmed that one does not go to any of the four bad births (four apaya)

  • 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

    @upekka said: it is

    Thanks.
    Could you cite a source where it is indicated that an animal killing to survive and feed, because it has no other option, is generating negative kamma?

    Thanks.

  • howhow Veteran Veteran
    edited September 2015

    As far as the path towards sufferings cessation is concerned, I usually think...

    An animals intent to kill, results in the continuation of animal like killing karma.
    A sentient life's intent to kill results in the continuation of sentient based killing karma.
    An animals intent not to kill, results in no continuation of animal like killing karma.
    A sentient life's intent to not kill results in no continuation of sentient based killing karma.

    The point is simply about all intent imbuing itself with it's own momentum of consequence.

    Karma itself does not actually seem to recognize much of a distinction between beast and man.

    upekkapegembara
  • Will_BakerWill_Baker Vermont Veteran

    @woods93 said:
    Has anyone remembered or claimed to remember past lives? Not just attention seekers but someone of monk status or similar?

    -Wu

    Menandros
  • upekkaupekka Veteran
    edited September 2015

    @federica said:

    i am not a sutta expert so i can not provide any sutta

    but in Abhidhamma manual
    talks about 12 Akusala Cittas

    1). one consciousness, unprompted, accompanied by pleasure and connected with wrong view
    suppose a tiger see a deer (tiger's mind is like number 1.)
    (Greed with Delusion)

    2). one consciousness, unprompted, accompanied by displeasure and connected with illwill
    at the time of killing the deer (tiger's mind is like number 2.)
    (Hate with Delusion)

    tiger is creating a kamma (cause) , deer suffers as kamma vipaka (resultant of a previous cause)

    there is no person or animal involve but cause (kamma) and effect (kamma vipaka)

    for worldling there are two animals, one kills and other get killed

  • @upekka said:

    The tiger's mind is not accompanied by displeasure and ill will at the time of killing. It does not hate the deer. The deer looks like food. It is acting on instinct. It doesn't want to hurt the deer. It wants it dead as quickly as possible. Safer that way.
    It does not hold wrong view. The mind of the tiger is empty.

    Also, you can't overlook the fact that the health of the deer population is dependent on predation.
    Deer evolved to be killed by predators, just as predators evolved to kill deer.
    Do we want to see clearly or not?

    Earthninjasilver
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran

    @federica said: Very few birds are....

    The seagulls here mostly seem to live on chips and ice-cream, which they pinch from unsuspecting tourists. It can all get a bit Hitchcock ( The Birds ). ;)

  • personperson Don't believe everything you think the liminal space Veteran
    edited September 2015

    An animal killing another animal for food still has the intention to kill motivated out of hunger (craving for food/existence). Just because its a necessary part of animal life doesn't mean there aren't repercussions.

    All actions have consequences, so its you don't have to reach the "bad" threshold then an action creates negative karma otherwise there's no result.

    When you get into malice or ill will that is more about the severity of the action, so killing out of malice is more negative than killing out of hunger. Or if say you ruminate and plan a murder it would have greater force than one committed in an instant of blind rage followed by regret.

    In regards to rebirth an animal is overwhelmed by ignorance and thus has little ability to alter the course of its decisions and thus life.

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

    @person said:
    An animal killing another animal for food still has the intention to kill motivated out of hunger (craving for food/existence). Just because its a necessary part of animal life doesn't mean there aren't repercussions.

    All actions have consequences, so its you don't have to reach the "bad" threshold then an action creates negative karma otherwise there's no result.

    When you get into malice or ill will that is more about the severity of the action, so killing out of malice is more negative than killing out of hunger. Or if say you ruminate and plan a murder it would have greater force than one committed in an instant of blind rage followed by regret.

    In regards to rebirth an animal is overwhelmed by ignorance and thus has little ability to alter the course of its decisions and thus life.

    There's something that rings true about all this, albeit unsettling...

This discussion has been closed.