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.

Steve Hagen | Buddhism | On Reincarnation

hagen_97x120The Wisdom of Seeing

Author Steve Hagen invites us to experience the truth that lies before us, but eludes the thinking mind.

Interview by Lisa Schneider

Excerpt: On Reincarnation:

“Reincarnation implies the persistence of a self. And this goes to the very heart of the Buddhist insight. There isn’t any persistence of any kind whatsoever. Everything is fresh, new in each moment. Already you’re not the person who called me a few moments ago. Already your mind is different, new thoughts have entered into it. Your feelings and emotions have changed.

Within a few months virtually all the material of our bodies will be exchanged with other material that’s now disbursed in the environment. This is a continuous ongoing flow. Even the electrons, the electrical exchanges between the materials in our bodies and the cabinet, the floor, or anything else that’s around you is in continuous flow and flux and change. Nothing is holding still.

So within this kind of world of total impermanence, where do we find permanence? We don’t find it anywhere. But that’s what would be required for the standard understanding of reincarnation: that there’s something called me, an “I” that will persist.

Well we can believe this and of course this would be one of those form things: something that we think, something that we believe. But as I understand the Buddhist teachings, the awakened wouldn’t buy this. They would go with what is actually experienced directly. What is experienced directly? Total flux and change, impermanence. So impermanent that we actually don’t find a thing there to be impermanent, such as a self.”

To read the complete interview please follow the link below:

http://www.beliefnet.com/Faiths/Buddhism/2003/11/The-Wisdom-Of-Seeing.aspx?p=1

On Reincarnation | Sri Ramana Maharshi

I found this website: http://www.hinduism.co.za/ and a really good interview with Sri Ramana Maharshi on reincarnation. Excerpt below: (The site is hard to navigate: Go to “Hinduism and Quantum Physics” and look for “Reincarnation”)
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Reincarnation exists only so long as there is ignorance. There is really no reincarnation at all, either now or before. Nor will there be any hereafter. This is the truth.

[Note: Comments by David Godman: Most religions have constructed elaborate theories which purport to explain what happens to the individual soul after the death of the body. Some claim that the soul goes to heaven or hell while others claim that it is reincarnated in a new body.

Sri Ramana Maharshi taught that all such theories are based on the false assumption that the individual self or soul is real; once this illusion is seen through, the whole superstructure of after-life theories collapses. From the standpoint of the Self, there is no birth or death, no heaven or hell, and no reincarnation.

As a concession to those who were unable to assimilate the implications of this truth, Sri Ramana would sometimes admit that reincarnation existed. In replying to such people he would say that if one imagined that the individual self was real, then that imaginary self would persist after death and that eventually it would identify with a new body and a new life. The whole process, he said, is sustained by the tendency of the mind to identify itself with a body. Once the limiting illusion of mind is transcended, identification with the body ceases, and all theories about death and reincarnation are found to be inapplicable]

Question: Are the past and future mere imagination?

Maharshi: Yes, even the present is mere imagination, for the sense of time is purely mental. Space is similarly mental. Therefore birth and rebirth, which take place in time and space, cannot be other than imagination.

Memorable quote: “You are not here merely to make a living. You are here in order to enable the world to live more amply, with greater vision, with a finer spirit of hope and achievement. You are here to enrich the world, and you impoverish yourself if you forget the errand.”–Woodrow Wilson

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