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re: Reincarnation Redux

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  • Gerry
    ... I should agree, Will, but based on your observations, I’d say that such a belief is no less significant than our own self-identity—but then, maybe
    Message 1 of 2 , Oct 25, 2002



      Reply to Will’s post #6808:


      >>Let me put my dux in a row: I was just sitting here musing over and under the notion of reincarnation when it occurred to me that the whole notion rests upon the ability of someone to have remembered a past life....Since my experience with the me remembered is that the me remembered is an artifact of memory, engendered by an identity with the image of a self created within the content of one's memory, it would not be difficult to create another identity by imagining my me as having been at another time; ....Since it is also my experience that the me remembered can be deleted through an understanding of the identity process, it seems to me that a belief of/in reincarnation based upon a remembered past life is a tad tenuous.<<



      I should agree, Will, but based on your observations, I’d say that such a belief is no less significant than our own self-identity—but then, maybe that’s exactly the point you are making.  If so, it works for me.  In pondering the nature of reality and existence, however, especially in their relationship to our belief and imagination, one could take the whole thing to an extreme:


      ….Simon replied:[1] "O thou who hast woven a web of many frivolities, listen now. It is impossible that anything which comes into a man's thoughts should not also subsist in truth  and reality. For things that do not subsist, have no appearances;[2] but things that have no appearances, cannot present themselves to our  thoughts." Then said Peter: "If everything that can come into our thoughts has a subsistence, then, with respect to that place of immensity which you say is outside the world, if one thinks in his heart that it is light, and another that it is darkness, how can one and the same place be both light and darkness, according to their different thoughts concerning it?"….  (The Duel Between Peter and Simon Magus—Chap. LXVI.—Existence and Conception)



      If Peter’s response is applied to this world rather than the “place of immensity,” it makes an even stronger case.  Can we not each imagine our own demise?  And yet, are we dead?  Well, from this crowd, I’d expect to hear a host of answers!


      The following two passages speak not only to our ability to perceive and conceive, but also of the transformation that occurs during a person’s awakening.  I think they portray quite nicely a point you made the other day when approaching the question of worldview and philosophy:


      Thou doest not vanish into Nirvana, nor does Nirvana abide in thee, for Nirvana transcends all duality of knowing and known, of being and non-being.

      Those who see thee thus, serene and beyond conception, will be emancipated from attachment, will be cleansed of all defilement, both in this world and in the spiritual world beyond.

      In this world whose nature is like a dream, there is place for praise and blame, but in the ultimate Reality of the Dharmakaya which is far beyond the senses and the discriminating mind, what is there to praise?….  (Lankavatara Sutra—chap. 1)





      ….The proposition that the human mind lives in a largely self-created world of illusion from whence only the enlightenment of a kind of Gnosis can rescue it finds powerful analogues in the two great religions of the East, i.e., Hinduism and Buddhism. The following statement from the Upanishads could easily have been written by Valentinus or another Gnostic: “This (world) is God’s Maya, through which he deceives himself.” According to the teachings of Buddha, the world of apparent reality consists of ignorance, impermanence, and the lack of authentic selfhood. Valentinus is in very good company indeed when he establishes the proposition of the wrong system of false reality that can be set aright by the human spirit….  (“Valentinus–A Gnostic for All Seasons,” by Stephan A. Hoeller)






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