13498Re: [Buddhism_101] Rebirth & the logical transformation of selfishness into altruism
- Feb 27, 2013
Great and insightful, ken.
----- Original Message -----
Sent: 02/27/13 09:44 AM
To: buddhist wellnessgroup, Northeast Ohio Buddhists, Buddhism_101@yahoogroups.com
Subject: [Buddhism_101] Rebirth & the logical transformation of selfishness into altruism
A husband and wife bring their young son to a child psychiatrist. They
believe their child is delusional because he keeps saying he wants to go
back to his "other family". The psychiatrist also believes this young
boy is suffering from a delusion and treats him as best he can. Aside
from having a Ph.D. in psychology, the psychiatrist is also an M.D. and
this particular psychiatrist is also a professor at a major university.
So he not only can prescribe drugs, but he is also current with the
latest research in the fields of psychology and medicine. But he does
not know of, and further research does not make mention any such delusion.
A couple years later another married couple bring their son to the same
psychiatrist. Oddly (for this psychiatrist) this child too has been
insisting to his parents that he wishes to go back to his "other
family". This time, with this child, the psychiatrist doesn't simply
assume that the young boy is delusional. Over several sessions with him
the psychiatrist asks the boy about that "other family", who was in that
family, their names, what those family members did, where they lived,
and numerous other very detailed questions. From the information
supplied by the boy, the psychiatrist is able to find the family the boy
has been talking about. Moreover, this being a few years before the
advent of the internet, a time when such details about a particular
family were practically impossible even for an adult to gather-- and
much much less for a six-year-old boy who is first learning to read--
the psychiatrist must conclude that the boy's stories are not a delusion
but actually true, that somehow this boy was previously very close with
members of that other family.
This began for that psychiatrist a scientific journey that lasted many
years and entailed much research, many interviews with thousands of
people, and not little expense. As a professional psychiatrist and a
university professor, he had a reputation to uphold. So his research
and his expressed thoughts and his conclusions had to comply with, and
even exceed, the highest of professional and scientific standards. Else
he would be laughed out of both his professions and quite likely lose
his livelihood along with that.
This story, along with much more evidence and quite fascinating results
of many of his interviews and research, are described in a book entitled
"Life Before Life" authored by Jim B. Tucker. All but the most
closed-minded and cynical non-believers will find this work persuasive
and the idea of rebirth at least plausible. And even those people who
have already read-- and even taught-- about rebirth will in all
likelihood find in "Life Before Life" something new, some facet of
rebirth which previous texts and teachers did not tell of.
Buddhism teaches that, if we do good in this life, afterwards we may
reach nirvana, or-- almost as good-- Pure Land, or-- still pretty good--
have a better next life. But like most everything else, there is no
certainty here. We can't know how much bad karma lies waiting from our
infinite past, waiting to effect its results on this life, in our bardo,
and upon our next birth. We can't know with any certainty at all what
or where our next life will be.
So I ask myself, and ask often, if I were to be reborn into another
human life, what kind of human world would I want to be reborn into? As
I think of this, I also must admit that I don't know who I might be in
my next life: what gender, what race, rich or poor, tall or short,
whether I'll be healthy or whole or intelligent or not. It's nigh
impossible for anyone to know any of that. In my next life I could be
the son or daughter of anyone anywhere.
So even if my major and overriding concern is for myself, and if I think
at all about my future self, I find it is in my own best interest to
make the world a better place for everyone. Even the most selfish and
self-interested person should realize that it is very much in his or her
long term self interest to make the entire world a better place for
anyone and everyone who will be born into it anywhere. Because in that
next life I could be anyone anywhere. What kind of world do I want to
give to that person...? to that future but unknown me?
To make an apple pie from scratch, first create the universe.
-- Carl Sagan
The greatest obstacle preventing us from understanding the world
today is ourselves.
-- K. Fisler
The only thing necessary for evil to triumph is for
good men to do nothing.
~ Edmund Burke ~
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