The Forest Moon | Reincarnation | Enlightenment

The Forest Moon in Thumb Butte, AZ (Click to enlarge)

I was recently talking to a friend over dinner and the subject of reincarnation came up. I said there is no reincarnation.

I know, some Buddhists (including the Dalai Lama) believe there is reincarnation. But if the Buddha explained that there is no “self,” who is reincarnating? Hindus believe in reincarnation. And Paramahansa Yogananda, a very respected spiritual master, stressed reincarnation, with proof. But Hindus do stress that only the “Self” exist; everything else is an illusion, a projection–including time and space. So, it would be an “illusion,” reincarnating into a bigger “illusion.” Right? It gets complicated, doesn’t it? I suggest that what we need to do is forget other lives until we master this life, our present challenge. Once we do that everything will be revealed to us, and there will be no more doubts or beliefs. We will know and be free.

This reminds me of an interesting question: Are you enlightened? “I” can’t be enlightened because “I” is the problem. In fact, everybody is enlightened but that “I” pulls the wool over our eyes and doesn’t let us know. If  “I” am looking  for enlightenment, “I” am missing the point and making enlightenment one more item on my “I want list.” All we need to do is drop that “I” with its incessant jabber and selfish wants, and . . . wake up!

The moon is a symbol of enlightenment in Zen Buddhism.

Death as an advisor!

F/A – 18 D Hornet

Yesterday a jet fighter plane, an F/A-18 D Hornet, crashed in a residential area of San Diego about half a mile from where I work in Town Centre Dr. It is said that both engines malfunctioned and the pilot ejected after trying without success to get to the Miramar base. Upon crashing the plane destroyed two houses, damaged three more and killed four people, leaving neighbors to fight the fire amid billowing ominous black smoke until the fire engines arrived.

Yesterday, Death came unexpectedly out of the clear blue sky. And it made me see clearly how true it is that there is no safe haven in this world. Death is lurking at every turn (even when we are “safe” at home) and it is unstoppable. What comes to be ceases to be, sometimes swiftly and suddenly. Nobody here gets out alive.

If we keep Death in mind, however, our life becomes richer and deeper, for we don’t take tomorrow for granted. Death’s advice is to live today, to live now! We must make our plans for the future while ready to die today.

Quote of the day: “Awareness of death is the very bedrock of the path. Until you have developed this awareness, all other practices are obstructed.” –The Dalai Lama

PS  The accident’s main victim was not at the crash site. He lost his home, his wife, his two daughters and his mother-in-law. I can’t  imagine his pain.  The price we pay for our war machine is sometimes too high. Will human beings ever realize how high a price we pay for war itself, or will we always be obtuse egomaniacs?

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