Alan McDougall;119639 wrote:
But let's assume that the soul does exist and inhabits a new body when the old one dies.
Why does the soul forget its past experiences? What would make the soul's memories stop when the old body dies?
Why would the self - the presumed soul - not be able to remember? Is the soul not the ultimate self?
Then why come into bodies at all? And then what if the ratio of bodies-to-souls is off, say more souls than bodies? Do the souls just hang out in soul-land waiting for a new body to inhabit? Or what if there are more bodies than souls? Are new souls born? Or are there some people who are just automatons - functioning robots without souls at all? Could we tell the automatons apart from the real people?
Now let's deal with animals, if you accept trans-special reincarnation. Clearly some animals have different sorts of mental functioning abilities. We can reason better, rats can discern smells better, bats can hear better. Different animals can see in different colors, very much a mental process of the mind.
How does the soul make up for these things? When we get transferred to a chicken, do we lose our ability to reason? When we are transferred out of a wolf, do we lose the knowledge of how to hunt?
Are our souls restricted in what they can express on their host? And then of course, what's the cutoff point of creatures imbued with souls? Do rats have souls? Bees? Roaches? Bacteria? Viruses? Replicating proteins like Mad Cow? Even if you restrict reincarnation to just humans; at what point in the human evolutionary chain was the first soul imbued?
Now how about the idea that the creature you get to inhabit depends on how good you were in your past life. Who keeps track? Who is the great record-keeper that sends you to your new body? What criteria are used? Is it objective - could it be objective? Does it make mistakes?
How does it force our souls into the hosts? Could the soul refuse? And you have to wonder; is your fate graded on a curve? What if everyone in one generation acts perfectly and kindly and loving to everyone? Surely the less desirable bodies are still being born and need to be inhabited. Would a couple of hugs be the difference between a hawk and a slug?
The annoying thing here is that I answered all of these questions for you Alan, in the past you made a post similar to this and I answered them and now that you are restating them, you are pretending as if you don't have something to go on. I know I am not an authority on the subject, but you can't pretend as if these questions are unanswerable. The fact is you have limited understanding of Buddhism to begin with, that your understanding of rebirth is misled because of your lack of understanding. You are going off someone else's cultural misunderstanding and making it your own.
The Buddha never says that you go from one life to another, this was something added later. When he was questioned about a being living in the past or living in the future, he remained silent. He was pressed further and forced into answering it. When he did finally speak, he said, "Since I do not adhere to the idea of a permanent self entity, there is no past becoming nor future becoming."
What does that mean Alan? It means there is no soul, no permanent identity that you want to believe there is. Since there is no soul, talking about it being born in the past, or being reborn in the future doesn't make any sense. How can you be reborn, if the self is a misunderstanding? You can't. It would be like suggesting that movies breed movies. They don't because movies are not real.
Please Alan, do some investigation into a subject before you try and reduce it with your lines of questioning. Here is a link I feel you could benefit from.
buddhaweb - Doctrine of Anatta (Not-self/No-soul)