Reincarnation

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Reply Sat 29 Apr, 2006 05:10 pm
This thread is for the discussion of reincarnation if indeed there is such a thing. Many millions of people all over the world believe in reincarnation from most sects of buddhism to hinduism etc.
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Thu 5 Oct, 2006 08:24 am
@andykelly,
Just to add my thoughts to this descussion I would like to say, firstly that hinduism (or a form of)is possibly the first and longest existing form of organised belief in human history. If i recall correctly it has and continues to accumilate deities which number around thirty three million. There is an ancient shrine depicting all (at the time of completion) of the deities together in India. Jesus is also considered as one of the 'newer' deities that they include, ive heard it said by a guru that one more wont hurt! This being said as a type of back ground, the first known monotheistic beliefs of god actually derives from a lone priest (i think he was hindu) who left his people and set up in the persian desert to seek this god to worship him. I cant remember his name but it predates even the cult of yahwah (the followers of abraham), and has surprising simularities. He changed his docrine and dropped the reincarnation aspect of his beliefs. his cult flurrished, im not sure about anything else to do with him,but later i think it was persicuted and disappeard or merged with other beliefs. I wonder if it was adopted by the people of 'ur' in messopitamia (sp) later to form into abrahams following.

Im of the point but I think somewhere it may be relivent.

The consept of reincarnation may have all types of ruites in the past, even maybe in the human mind, but people still are sure there is truth in it (not saying there isnt). Usually people find truth in it through the so called 'evidence' of regression brought on by hypnotism. This has flaws as it can generate 'false memories' as can be seen in research into alien abductions, with the use of test subjects. More people claim to be the same person from history also. Then there is the problem with if Humans a born over and over again in this cycle then why is there more people alive today than collectivly in the whole of history?. Maybe we werent always human,but this causes more obvious problems. Then what about personality, does this carry over, but are we not affected by this life. Why is our formiluarity with things not apparent if we have been afected by them many times already? But if it does carry over then who are we really? am I who I once was A hundred times ago, or was i a cat so it doesnt have much consiquensis anyway? I dont mean to sound flipant, im just disscussing this topic.

But as always in a thing like this the human imagination unlike science can fill the gaps faster than I anybody can think of the problems. I think an affective approach to all things of this nature is to examine them along side ALL things that are relivent that also have a monopoly in this field and could provide a larger picture to the actual truth.
 
linux user
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 04:02 pm
@pilgrimshost,
In regard to reincarnation and the evolution of spirit, I have a question to offer close scrutiny.

Why are some innocent children born severely mentally and physically handicapped, with the inclusion of autism and severe epilepsy?

Why choose to incarnate yourself on this plane to have nothing but a life of sorrow and hurt?

All replies welcome, as always....
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 04:23 pm
@andykelly,
Hello Linux user. Im not a supporter of reincarnation as you may guess so I would say it is unfortunatly a genetic thing in some way,im not an expert, and i dont want to cause any offence. But on the other hand what would a supporter of 'God' say as in that case would he be responsible for it? It had been argued by religious types that it was down to some sort of 'unclean spirit' that causes this-which is ludicrus. So my original statment stands I would think.

You really need a supporter to put his argument over, cos they have the advantage of delussion.
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 04:55 pm
@linux user,
linux_user wrote:

Why choose to incarnate yourself on this plane to have nothing but a life of sorrow and hurt?


Buddhism refers to "rebirth" rather than reincarnation precisely because of the possibility of different ways to begin again, with Six Realms of existence proposed.

--- RH.
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 04:59 pm
@perplexity,
Thats a good proposal, So would it be relivent to ask if interlect is conducted as well as the spirit?
 
perplexity
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 05:36 pm
@andykelly,

"The educated brain is the wreckage left after the experiences of training."

(W Ross Ashby)


-- RH
 
pilgrimshost
 
Reply Sun 8 Oct, 2006 05:43 pm
@perplexity,
I think ive heard it said something like, 'schooling ruins any possible creativity'
 
boagie
 
Reply Sun 21 Jan, 2007 03:11 pm
@pilgrimshost,
Hi everybody!

I find it hard to believe in reincarnation,but I would like to understand how others find it reasonable.My own feeling is that there is something else happening.Every individual takes up a position of time and space and each though shareing in a great commonality,experiences the world differently.Is it not the experience which is different,which then gives the impression of a uniqueness,in other words,that which is,is a common self-----------------indistinguishable,that which is distinguishable is the experience,and we tend to call this experience,our-selves.My experience is then the defineing principle of my individuality.If context defines,how is it that we experience the same context differently? Does the history of experience partly determine how we will experience something in the future? Is this a lost highway,or can we take a turn off in another direction[experience].I guess what I am questioning is,is the popular idea of self as individual,singularly dependent upon experience.This is ware the Buddhist idea of no self begins to make sense to me.
 
ninja pirate
 
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2007 02:13 pm
@linux user,
linux_user wrote:


Why are some innocent children born severely mentally and physically handicapped, with the inclusion of autism and severe epilepsy?

Why choose to incarnate yourself on this plane to have nothing but a life of sorrow and hurt?

All replies welcome, as always....


Karmic causal laws. Karma and rebirth go hand-in-hand.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Wed 4 Jul, 2007 10:32 pm
@andykelly,
There's a lot here that suggests that we have a choice when it comes to reincarnation.


What brings you to this conclusion?
 
boagie
 
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2007 01:26 am
@Aristoddler,
Aristoddler wrote:
There's a lot here that suggests that we have a choice when it comes to reincarnation.


What brings you to this conclusion?



I agree with Aistoddler,the subject is a delightful one but I would like to hear of a rational explanation as to why so many peoples of the world believe in the premise of reincarnation.Is it as unfounded as Christianity or something reason can cope with,in other words, do these people who believe in reincarnation simply will their belief?
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Thu 5 Jul, 2007 11:51 am
@andykelly,
If reincarnation truly exists, then I believe that karma would dictate our next form.

The purest of people would be (in my opinion) reincarnated as sea tortoises, so they could live the for the longest time, with little obligations to surround themselves with.
The vilest of people would return as scavenger beasts, to feed off the decaying carcasses of discarded prey.
 
ninja pirate
 
Reply Fri 6 Jul, 2007 11:34 am
@Aristoddler,
Actually, Buddhists believe the most honorable birth is that of a human being because it is only humans who have the potential to seek enlightenment. One of the lowest births on the hierarchy is that of a preta, or "hungry ghost." Should one be born a preta, their only source of food and drink is blood, urine, puss, and feces. It is precisely karma that dictates how one is to be reborn, and said karma is determined by the intent behind one's actions.

And no, there is no proof for karma and rebirth outside of one's own experience. Some say that through meditation, memories of past lives can be revealed. Though, there is much to be skeptical about. Simply because I can fly in a meditative state does not suggest I was a god in a past life.
 
Aristoddler
 
Reply Fri 6 Jul, 2007 03:18 pm
@andykelly,
It depends how you fly.
As a mosquito, an eagle, or a hummingbird...there's a world of difference.

It's also...as you said...unproven, nor shall it ever be proven in our lifetimes.
 
ninja pirate
 
Reply Fri 6 Jul, 2007 07:34 pm
@Aristoddler,
Actually, if one believes the soul is eternal (and most spiritual folks do), then rebirth begins to make sense. After all, where was the soul prior to birth in this life? Eternalism stipulates that the soul is without beginning, so there must have been something prior to this life. Though, if this is true then one would have an infinite amount of past lives. In fact, ALL of us would have already lived infinity lives. Hell, if none of us found enlightenment after an eternity, it's safe to say we won't be finding it any time soon.

I think the Buddhist would have a more difficult time explaining rebirth, given that he/she would not accept the premise that there is an eternal soul.
 
boagie
 
Reply Fri 6 Jul, 2007 09:11 pm
@ninja pirate,
ninja pirate,Smile

ninja pirate wrote:
"I think the Buddhist would have a more difficult time explaining rebirth, given that he/she would not accept the premise that there is an eternal soul.


That is very true,even a mortal soul is difficult to prove An eturnal soul is a powerful religious concept and typically unfounded,its power I believe is in remaining undefined.Even the mortal soul is in danger now from the science of neurology.I believe they will find the self a process which the religious will find difficult to incorporated as soul.Being presently undefined however,they just may take a crack at it.
 
pmd
 
Reply Wed 11 Jul, 2007 06:24 am
@andykelly,
Belief in the soul ties you to Cartesian dualism (or some brand of substance dualism) which leaves you with all the issues of Cartesian dualism.

(Skip to the dashes if you don't want to read the objections)

I'll put up two primary objections to the dualist position:
(1) How can an immaterial substance interact with a material substance, since both are supposed to be completely different kinds of substance?
(2) As Boagie says, neuroscience has demonstrated that much of personality is tied in to the physical brain. What exactly comprises the soul if memory, desires, beliefs, and character traits can all be altered by altering the physical brain? Is it simple consciousness with no attached beliefs, thoughts or perceptions? If this is the case, we have two more problems, (1) this doesn't seem like very much of a thing for a soul to be, and (2) this attempts to answer the question "how do I experience things?" with an homonculus, that is to say, by positing an experiencing entity and declaring the problem solved. The problem with that is that we already are experiencing entities, and we don't get any closer to figuring out how conscious experience occurs by suggesting that an experiencing entity exists in our brain to have conscious experiences.

A further, though less convincing objection is as follows:
(3) Dualism violates the closed causality of the material world by introducing immaterial<->material causality (which, as indicated in the first objection, is a major hurdle) and immaterial->immaterial causality. According to Ockham's razor, we should not accept these two additional forms of causality without good reason to suppose that we cannot explain mental phenomena without them. Thus, if a substance monist account of the mind adequately explains mental phenomena, it is more desireable than the dualist account.

---------------------------

All that said, soul theory (and dualism) are really the only way for reincarnation to be possible it would seem. The fact that millions of people believe in reincarnation lends no strength to its reality - appeal to the masses is an argumentative fallacy.

Why appeal to the masses doesn't work
After all, a billion people believe that Christ will welcome them into heaven when they die, another billion believe they will lie in the ground until judgement day, when they will walk over a fiery pit into Allah's paradise, and another billion are avowed atheists and believe that death will mean simple extinction. If we are to appeal to the opinions of the masses, we wind up either with many instantiable claims to the "afterlife" (what should we consider to be the minimal amount of popular support for a viable afterlife, a million believers? a billion?) or we have the content of the afterlife (reincarnation vs. heaven/hell vs. extinction) being decided essentially democratically. All this seems patently absurd.

Other issues with reincarnation
Someone else has already mentioned this, but why are there more humans now than ever before? Significantly more!

What exactly carries over from previous incarnations? Memories supposedly are, though they are "suppressed" until drawn out by meditation, hypnosis, or quackery. What about morality and personality traits? This seems harder to verify, but at least in the case of morality, the effects of similar moralities ought to be visible in the successive generations of humans. For example, a human with good karma ought to reincarnate as a human of higher standing. Are all humans of highest standing accumulating good karma? If not, then morality doesn't seem to carry over between incarnations (or maybe it too is "suppressed") which seems a rather difficult and absurd moral code (constantly trying to make up for the unknown sins of a past life while trying not to overburden your future self, both of whom may be very different from your current self) or humans of high standing simply aren't reincarnated from decent humans of lower standing.
 
Doorsopen
 
Reply Fri 13 Jul, 2007 02:40 pm
@pmd,
I propose that the mind is a material substance which organises the components of the body. Mind and body have different functions, but they are not seperate. Thoughts and ideas, on the other hand, are the immaterial results of the material mind, but they are not, as Descartes may have believed the mind itself.

Neuroscience, in seeking to explain the physical functioning of mind, does not disprove the existence of the soul, it seeks to explain how the material mind is capable of creating the immaterial (thoughts and ideas). Material substance is at the origin of the immaterial (Read Vishnu Purana, Genesis, the Big Bang Theory...) But the inverse is also true.

Thoughts and ideas, through action (dynamics) are manifested into material reality. These actions constitute our individual nature (our soul!), and create our karma. Karma is a system of causality in which every action has a cause and an effect.

To respond to your terms: The soul is the collection of memory, desires, beliefs, and character traits which can be altered by altering the physical brain. A simple consciousness can have no attached beliefs and be the reactive mind of a sea turtle swimming peacefully in the sea, but consciousness exists through thoughts and perceptions, even in a sea turtle. The difference here, and the reason why human consciousness is "honourable" as suggested below, is due to the human capacity for moral choice. Life (the flux and flow between immaterial and material) is sacred because it is the vehicle which allows the soul to reunite with the everlasting and resolve the dualistic objections you have raised.

To summarize:
1. The soul exists as the immaterial manifestation of our material existence. Its qualities are present in our thoughts and in our actions.
2. The soul continues to exist after our death in causality (karma).
3. The soul may seek enlightenment as a means of arresting the cycle of karma and rejoin its origin, the eternal soul which has created all of existence.

OTHER THOUGHTS
STATEMENT:
If this is the case, we have two more problems, (1) this doesn't seem like very much of a thing for a soul to be.
RESPONSE:
This would depend on one's spiritual progress, no? Must the soul be complex to be the opposite of "not very much of a thing"?

STATEMENT:
(2) this attempts to answer the question "how do I experience things?" with an homonculus, that is to say, by positing an experiencing entity and declaring the problem solved. The problem with that is that we already are experiencing entities, and we don't get any closer to figuring out how conscious experience occurs by suggesting that an experiencing entity exists in our brain to have conscious experiences.
RESPONSE:
It took me a while to un-tangled this concept, so forgive me if I restate your premise to be sure that we agree: Is consciousness intrinsic to our conscious experience?

STATEMENT
A further, though less convincing objection is as follows:
(3) Dualism violates the closed causality of the material world by introducing immaterial<->material causality and immaterial->immaterial causality. According to Ockham's razor, we should not accept these two additional forms of causality without good reason to suppose that we cannot explain mental phenomena without them. Thus, if a substance monist account of the mind adequately explains mental phenomena, it is more desireable than the dualist account.
RESPONSE:
We must accept this duality, as well as its monist counterpart, in order to understand this mental phenomena. The one begets the other and forms a whole.

STATEMENT
All that said, soul theory (and dualism) are really the only way for reincarnation to be possible it would seem. The fact that millions of people believe in reincarnation lends no strength to its reality - appeal to the masses is an argumentative fallacy.
RESPONSE:
I entirely agree with your statement concerning appeal to the masses as an argumentative fallacy. But one may argue that conscious awareness determines the experience and therefore for each individual, that which he believes is necessarily true. Which is true: a single concept supported by a single self-awareness, or a universal truth as experienced by a given "mass"

STATEMENTS
All this seems patently absurd.

Other issues with reincarnation
Someone else has already mentioned this, but why are there more humans now than ever before? Significantly more!

What exactly carries over from previous incarnations? Memories supposedly are, though they are "suppressed" until drawn out by meditation, hypnosis, or quackery. What about morality and personality traits? This seems harder to verify, but at least in the case of morality, the effects of similar moralities ought to be visible in the successive generations of humans. For example, a human with good karma ought to reincarnate as a human of higher standing. Are all humans of highest standing accumulating good karma? If not, then morality doesn't seem to carry over between incarnations (or maybe it too is "suppressed") which seems a rather difficult and absurd moral code (constantly trying to make up for the unknown sins of a past life while trying not to overburden your future self, both of whom may be very different from your current self) or humans of high standing simply aren't reincarnated from decent humans of lower standing.

RESPONSE:
It strikes me that you are judging the concept of karma against a different belief structure. Rather then argue against it philosophically you are attacking it as absurd without investigating the sources. Your arguments here seem to rely on the Western concept, or rather misunderstanding, or karma.

Consider the question on a collective scale:
Will the experience of my lifetime have an effect on the spiritual progress of a future generation? If you believe that a disrespect for nature or killing resulting from a struggle over natural resources will not have an effect on some future soul I would argue that you are mistaken.

As a conscious beings with moral choices to make we are responsible for the outcome. This is more akin to karma then your concept of moving up through a hierarchy based on individual merit.

It is not a valid arguemet to state that re-incarnation cannot exist because the population has increased. This suggests that a predetermined number of souls, with a specific shelf life exists and therefore precludes re-incarnation.

I admire your arguments, and hope that we can continue this thread until it has achieved its ultimate purpose...
 
freelight
 
Reply Tue 24 Jul, 2007 06:43 pm
@Doorsopen,
Greetings all!

Newbie here. Apparently the Russells believed in reincarnation....at least Walter did. I am open to some form of it, but have always left it 'open', holding to a MLE(multiple life experience) format...for the progress of the soul in its spiritual evolution. MLE could include souls re-embodying or just continuing on in the spirit worlds...whatever the soul needs for its 'experience' to evolve, advance and fulfil its purpose for being.

So while 'being on the fence' with 'rebirth'.....as I've gleaned from teachers that endorse it and some that do not....some nuanced forms of rebirth must exist if the soul is subject to transformation along its evolutional journey. If consciousness exists beyond the physical death of the body....it must continue thru some form/body/medium. If the Universe is one eternal dynamo of infinite Light-waves....then there is no limit to formations or bodies a soul may use as vehicles.



paul
 
 

 
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