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Life after Death — 8 Comments

  1. It doesn’t, of course, ultimately matter what I think or believe, but there is a sense in which it does matter what I profess to believe, if I am to be credited as a sane and rational human being. Now, I’m a newcomer to Buddhism, and most of what I have experienced so far is rooted in clear sense and considered wisdom. But rebirth? There seems to be precious little supporting evidence in the observable universe (unlike the evidence for the existence of Australia, which I’ve found to be fairly convincing!). 🙂

  2. Hi,

    Yes, it seems clear to me that rebirth is a core part of the teachings. The Buddha himself, as part of his attainment, saw his previous lives and spoke of the future lives of his followers.

    However, this is also, isn’t it, one of those topics that we are advised can never be fully worked out until enlightenment. Thus it is open to a whole variety of interpritations.

    A good many positions can be adopted on this question, and perhaps each one of them has some inkling of ultimate truth to it.

    So I love your formulation here: “It does not have to be a clear belief, but simply that one acts not just with a view to the present life, but to the next life too. Just enough belief to look after your karma. The details and mechanisms can look after themselves.”

    And then we realise that, even if we do have a position on this question, it can not encompass the entire truth, and going on to argue about it or try to defend it would be both useless and unskilful!

    May all dwell in peace and happiness.


  3. Yes, you put your finger on the issue.
    For meditators, it is not an important issue, and at the end of the day the only correct response must be “I don’t know”, rather than fixating on strong beliefs EITHER way.
    And yet, it is a common and real thread in the teachings, and so deserving of some attention – too often Buddhist schools brush over it, or air-brush it out altogether.

    So I liked the Telegraph take on it : The results indicate that people have a very diverse and unorthodox set of beliefs

  4. The candle flame analogy troubles me. How can something I do in this lifetime be passed ion to the next…of who? All flame is one. It seems to me the concept of rebirth has to smuggle in the concept of atman while denying it. For karma to work, there must be something of me to transcend death, so that this me is rewarded or punished in the next rebirth. But the doctrine of no self says there is no me. I’m comfortable setting rebirth and karma aside and confessing ignorance, but I cannot profess belief.

  5. I’ve enjoyed all of your illuminating comments. I’m going to carry on meditating and just let this one go without getting bogged down, I think. I’m getting much better at not getting tied up in ultimately unresolvable debates, either with myself or others.

  6. Rebirth is ‘YES’. I know about my previous birth. My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab.

    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.

  7. Life is a process and your spiritual growth depends on your understanding of this foundational principle. There is spirituality information in this article that explores this process and illuminates small but often overlooked pieces of the life puzzle. Let us start with the premise that you are in the realm of the absolute and you once again choose to take on the form of a human body and play once again at this game called Life on Planet Earth.