Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Reincarnation / Rebirth | Signs

1.
Reincarnation

"Krishna taught it; Plato believed in it; the Buddha revised it; Augustine considered it; Emerson wrote about it; Freud rejected it; Tolstoy was passionate about it; Sagan was curious about it.

All of these great minds were fascinated, entranced, or troubled by one powerful idea: reincarnation. Of the many ways in which humans have tried to understand what happens after death, reincarnation is one of the most common and most enduring. Contrary to popular belief, it is not merely an Eastern notion but one that has flourished in cultures around the world.." - WIE magazine

on this subject, sometime back i read a special issue of What is Enlightenment (WIE) titled, Death, Rebirth, and Everything in Between which presented extra-ordinary scientific and philosophical exploration of reincarnation idea.

[>] Read for yourself the full cover story.

2.
Cases of children who "remember" past lives
when it comes to adult who might have psychological projection in terms of past life recollection, but there are mind blowing evidences of many children (as little as only few years) across the world, across culture who have powerful past lives memory and are studied. Memory of such children alone are great signs of reincarnation.

William was born with a birth defect, a serious heart condition in which the main pulmonary valve has not formed completely, keeping blood from flowing properly into the lungs. Aside from this he was an ordinary, healthy boy. When he was 3, he started spontaneously talking about the life of his grandfather. He related details he could never have known. For instance, William told his mother the names of the pets she used to have when she was young. Once, when his mother warned him she would spank him if he didn’t behave, he said, “Mom, when you were a little girl and I was your father, you did much worse things and I never hit you!” And William remembered details about the death of his grandfather, a policeman in New York who was shot six times during a robbery. The deadly bullet entered his body through his back where it cut open an artery… in his lungs.

Was William the reincarnation of his grandfather?

In his office at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, assistant professor and psychiatric clinic director Jim Tucker keeps files filled with such stories. But proof? No. He won’t call it evidence; rather, signs of reincarnation. Tucker is extremely cautious when he talks about his research into the stories of William and more than 2,000 other children in Asia, Africa, Europe and North America, all of whom report memories of a previous life.

WIE Senior Editor Carter Phipps spent almost a year in the field examining the data on reincarnation. Phipps noted striking similarities:

· Most children start talking about past lives at the age of 2 or 3
· Those lives often involved people who lived fairly close by
· When they talk about it, their tone is factual and much calmer - almost like an adult - compared to when they talk about everyday things
· They have specific knowledge that other children of their age don’t have, such as the 2-year-old girl from Sri Lanka who knew curious details about making incense, including brand names not available in her area
· Over 70 percent of these children talk about a life that ended suddenly, often in a violent way, such as a suicide, murder or traffic accident about which they appear to remember every ghastly detail. (credit)

3. Who Reincarnate really?
Responding in a discussion at an event where people raised the question of Reincarnation to Father Thomas Keating, himself a Cistercian monk and priest, made a wonderful comment which i will never forget and which has very deep esoteric implication. I paraphrase from my memory about which he said, 'Even if reincarnation happens, its not "us" or "I" who reincarnate.'

sitting and listening it came to me that Father Keating made a very powerful remark right there. The realm of soul and its journey is one of the most mysterious one. He was pointing to that mystery because part of it is really in the identification of who "we", our "sense of self" is? can we really claim that the soul belongs to us? Perhaps the answer to this great mystery is hidden in this mystical statement of the Quran:

Kullu man AAalayha fanin;
Wayabqa wajhu Rabbika, zul al-Jalali waal-Ikram.

Everyone that is thereon shall pass away;
remaineth but the Face of your Lord, Master of Majesty and Generosity.
( Quran, ar-Rahman, 55:26-27)

4.
Kabbalistic Jewish wisdom tradition has reincarnation ideas embedded in it one way or another. Reincarnation is mentioned in numerous places throughout the classical texts of Jewish mysticism. "As long as a person is unsuccessful in his purpose in this world, the Holy One, blessed be He, uproots him and replants him over and over again." (Zohar I 186b)

Gnostic and early Christians also believed in reincarnation; only later on church removed all such texts and branded those heretic. History records that the early Emperor Justinian in 545 A.D. was able to apply the full power of Rome and his authority to stop the belief in reincarnation. He forced the ruling cardinals to draft a papal decree stating that anyone who believes that souls come from God and return to God will be punished by death. The actual decree stated: "If anyone asserts the fabulous preexistence of souls, and shall assert the monstrous restoration which follows from it: let him be anathema. (The Anathemas against Origen), attached to the decrees of the Fifth Ecumenical Council, A.D. 545, in Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, 2d ser., 14: 318)." credit

There are sayings of Jesus that points directly to his knowledge on this subject in gnostic gospels. In the Secret Book of John, written by 185 A.D. at the latest, reincarnation is placed at the center of the discussion concerning the salvation of souls. Jesus says, "This soul needs to follow another soul in whom the Spirit of life dwells, because she is saved through the Spirit. Then she will never be thrust into flesh again." (Secret Book of John 14:20)

"His followers said to him, 'When will the rest for the dead take place, and when will the new world come?' He said to them, 'What you look for has come, but you do not know it.'" (Gospel of Thomas, saying 51) (credit)

5.
In the next post God willing, i would like to post something about the idea of reincarnation from Islamic wisdom tradition. One thing needs to be cleared that Quran or Islam doesn't reject the idea of reincarnation. The subject is simply not discussed and that doesn't mean its rejected. Though not explicit, yet there are certain verses of Quran which esoterically point to rebirth cycle and human journey from stage to stage. There are certain sufi schools of thought who talk about reincarnation.

Also there are certain higher wisdom in not making it explicit and i would love to share my two cents of thought on why the knowledge of reincarnation / rebirth is not made explicit and common knowledge.

if you happen to know / aware of other material related to this subject, will appreciate pointing to such resources in comment / email.

# WIE, Issue 32 / March–May 2006
Death, Rebirth, and Everything in Between
# How Reincarnation works?

# via Youtube
. Reincarnation, children remember past life, Part 1, Part 2
. Reincarnation, the amazing story of a scottish child, Part 1,
part2, part3, part 4, part 5

# Reincarnation
# Reincarnation in Early Christianity
# Does Judaism believe in reincarnation?
# Universal Law of Reincarnation Pin It Now!

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