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Switch to Forum Live View Reincarnation? Interesting Article
10 years ago  ::  Jan 30, 2008 - 10:52PM #1
MatisyahuSk8er
Posts: 52
I have never believed in reincarnation, I respect those who do as I respect all with differing beliefs but I personally am just not able to accept it. But even though I do not believe this I have learned a lot from Buddhism, specifically Zen. Now, the concept of rebirth I believe in, as I understand it rebirth is when one is enlightened and the ego self dies, I suppose it can be likened to what Jesus says in the Bible, to be "born again". Now until recently I thought all Buddhists believed in reincarnation, that it was a belief held by all schools, but the more I read about Zen the less I read about reincarnation so I began to wonder and began researching which is when I found this article:
http://www.hsuyun.org/Dharma/zbohy/Lite … ation.html

I would love the opinion of Zen Buddhists on this, is the belief stated in the article typical of most Zen Buddhists? Is reincarnation really not thought much of in Zen? The idea that I could practice without having to believe in past lives was interesting. I hope to learn from your responses. Thank you.

Namaste
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 6:36AM #2
Cinorjer
Posts: 124
The opinions expressed by Rev Fa Jian in the article are very common in the Zen world, if one can judge by the discussions and lectures I've listened to over the years. 

If I were able to respond to the excellent article, I would only add that belief in some sort of life-after-death is not so much about our own deaths for most people, but about the grief we feel over the death of people we know and love. 

But as you penetrate the "What am I?" question, Zen leads you on the path to understanding and then accepting that we are being constantly reborn, that there is no permanent "me" to continue on in another life or walk through the gates of Heaven or be punished for eternity.  What you are right now is built around a human life and composed of elements such as memory, habits, thoughts, and even body.

Sever all connection to your current life.  No history, no family or people who know you in this life.  Now also take away memory, and that includes the few examples of fuzzy  "past lfie regression" memories that have been proved to be more in the imagination of the patient and therapist.  So what is left of the self that has been reincarnated?  What part of the person reading this can be said to "be" anyone else in some past life?
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10 years ago  ::  Jan 31, 2008 - 7:45AM #3
MatisyahuSk8er
Posts: 52
Wow that is truly interesting, so one can really be a Zen Buddhist and not believe in reincarnation and "past lives"? I found your response very informative Conorjer thank you very much.

I personally belive that we are who we are, present in this life then go on to some sort of after-life when we die but while we are alive it is our duty to try and understand ourselves in order to understand others for I am you and you are me.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 01, 2008 - 7:54AM #4
Cinorjer
Posts: 124
[QUOTE=MatisyahuSk8er;253980]Wow that is truly interesting, so one can really be a Zen Buddhist and not believe in reincarnation and "past lives"? I found your response very informative Conorjer thank you very much.

I personally belive that we are who we are, present in this life then go on to some sort of after-life when we die but while we are alive it is our duty to try and understand ourselves in order to understand others for I am you and you are me.[/QUOTE]

You're welcome, but remember I said not-belief is common in Zen Buddhism, not universal or required. 

Your last statement is a good starting point if you want to walk the Zen path.  I would ask you to think about the statements, "we are who we are" and "I am you and you are me", and meditate on the fundamental Zen question of, "What are we, then?"  You don't need brain twisting kong-ons or koans for Zen, only meditation on this basic question. 

Peace and happiness your way.
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10 years ago  ::  Feb 20, 2008 - 2:31AM #5
Silverada
Posts: 1,338
[QUOTE=MatisyahuSk8er;253482]I have never believed in reincarnation,

Long before I encounter buddhism (I was born into a catholic faith)  I was extremely intrigued about the notion of eternal soul, and all the stories about going into paradise or inferno. But very deep within me, I have the urge to believe that some part of us, transcended  the  death doors after we have departed. But which part of us? This is an unsurpasable mystery  that many saints and sages  never made sufficiently clear for us to understand.

Sakyamuni  Buddha talked about  the Nirvana, Jesus about a Paradise in his father kingdom.  We read about the Soul, the Atma, the Being. My perception of all of this is, that we probably  are in the possesion of some atomic matter that is indestructible, and perhaps that invisible matter survive the anihilation of death and carry within it all our experiences through life after life.   When is time, due to the desire of emerging once again,  for whatever reason or karma, that matter becomes  part of some kind of tangible life .  I don´t know how long it takes after death to come back or emerge within a new life and body. in buddhism  is read  that the process of emerging once and again and again  takes as much as thousands of kalpas which is an inmensurable  quantity of time, until whatever we are  comes to the realization of no more emerging. That´s when the Nirvana or paradise comes into the game .

In the meantime, I also believe that we  must do whatever is posible to do in this life as much goodness as we can and others permit it.  Namaste.
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4 years ago  ::  Aug 05, 2013 - 1:10PM #6
Piobair_Paganach
Posts: 291

Personally, I don't believe a priori in reincarnation or an afterlife, but I feel no need to. Thus have I heard (ref. Kalama Sutta); if you believe in reincarnation, you should practice the Eightfold Path, as it accrues spiritual merit leading to an auspicious rebirth. If you do not believe in reincarnation, you should practice the Eightfold Path, as it demonstrably leads to the extinction of suffering in this life (which I do truly believe). I'm entirely capable of creating Heaven or Hell myself without any magical thinking or hocus-pocus. All arises from my mind. If I think with a pure mind, happiness follows me like a shadow which never leaves me. If I think with an impure mind, sorrow follows me like the wheels of a cart follow an ox. That I can believe a posteriori.

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