Reincarnation- The Purpose, Some Evidence and My Thoughts
- ATMA JYOTI ASHRAM - May a Christian Believe in Reincarnation?
Goes over If a Christian can believe in Reincarnation.
- "Why I Believe in Reincarnation" by Ingrid Van Mater
Essay on Reincarnation
Reincarnation Proof- Living a Past Life
Philosophical Arguments- Regarding Reincarnation
Commentary on Book: Life Before Life
It is no more surprising to be born twice than once; everything in nature is resurrection. – Voltaire
If you are serious about the pursuit of your spiritual nature you must consider the purpose of the soul. What is the plan? It seems simple at first to assume that you are born and then die. But if you are an intelligent thoughtful being it will not be enough. If you have had deep complicated, profound relationships and experiences this will start to influence your pursuit of finding the truth. I will assume my audience are those who believe that they are spiritual beings and that they have a soul. The conversation then turns to what is the nature of the soul and it's purpose. Are we meant to be born once and die? As a fairly healthy individual I could say yes- and be done with it. The problem arises when I think of those who are not healthy, not rich and seem to be victims of this life. My other problem is that I assume that there is a fair, loving and intelligent source that I come from.
I know big assumptions for those atheists out there. And just to address your need of proof- I think their is too much unexplained experience and mystery to this thing called life. It is not the strongest argument but exluding mystery, a long history of humanities belief in a higher power, our position in our galaxy and the universe all leads me to a conviction that there is a source in which all life is created. For me to think that their is just a scientific evolution of nothing happening and randomness is a very small amount of brain activity to maintain this worldview. I have convictions and think these rest on a level of consciousness of the perceiver. What you believe is what you see. What you see is what you believe.
The purpose of the soul is not hard to understand once you think deeply on your arrival and journey through this life. The purpose is related to evolution, but it is more of an evolution of spirituality or consciousness. We are pursuing a life of specific purpose to accomplish understanding. The only way to accomplish this lesson it to be faced with extreme limitation. Assumption #4 or so- is that we are spiritual beings first, thus we have every faculty in our natural state- freedom and infinite grace, but how do we evolve if we are perfect? We must be limited with a tiny bit of negativity to progress past where we were. But why evolve at all? Now one major assumption of all religions is that God/Source is perfect- but what if God/Source was also evolving and this was part of the perfection. So if God/Source was progressing itself, it would need us to help him a long so to speak. We must think deeply on each element of the grand picture. Do you want only to return to a garden of perfection or were we created from souce as beings who are interested in achieving that which has not ever been achieved before? Do we have in our nature the will to become more- is that our sole purpose- assuming that more means benevolent- grace- compassion- love?
Here is the Hindu view of the soul and it's purpose and nature.
The natural limitations of the soul caused by Avidya are called Upadhis. They are simply the physical and mental conditions under which we have to work in this life. Their exact analysis is a matter of science, of physiology and psychology. According to our ancients, the soul of man is enclosed in two bodies-the gross body and the subtle body. The gross visible body is made up of various elements and has the various organs of action and perception. It is cast off by the soul at what we call death.
But the destruction of this physical body does not bring freedom to the soul. For even after death the subtle body containing the subtle organs of action and perception, the mind, the intellect and the vital breaths encloses it. The soul wanders through the mazes of births and deaths always with this psychic equipment, its course being determined by the moral re actions of its thoughts and deeds on earth. Till the constituents of the subtle body, which are imposed upon it by avidya or ignorance, are removed by means of vidya or spiritual insight each soul imagines that it is separate from other souls and separate from God.
Maybe the purpose helps you understand why a soul might have to travel back into limitation. The evidence for the concept of reincarnation is plenty. There have been many unexplained events that only reincarnation can explain. You can refuse the idea and seek scientific explanations but you are just ignoring your intelligent reasoning and looking for another silly explanation of an event. The case where young children who remember the past life and can describe many details and events of past existence. This one is one powerful piece of evidence. Most religions have begun with this essential teaching. It is only in modern life that we ignore such claims because we need proof. Manipulation of past teaching in all religions is done so to prevent one from understanding it's own nature and thus it's true purpose. Religion we know on some level keeps us in a particular postion and prevents the rapture of the mystery. If a person could be confident and empowered to act upon the idea that they had a purpose here that they themselves created, and that they would judge themselves later for their misadventure then this paradigm would shift. The paradigm of victimization, helplessness, and fear is not the reality but only a facade created by misinformation and ignorance. If one Buddha, Christ, Krishna, Ghandi, Moses or Muhammad ever lived on this Earth in flesh then there is no reason that we all cannot pursue these spiritual journeys.
Here is the religious proof and or some perspective that give you an explanation of the history of reincarnation.
"Reincarnation-also known as the transmigration of souls-is not some exotic idea of non-Christian mysticism. In ancient orthodox Jewish and Christian writings, as well as the Holy Scriptures, we can find reincarnation as a fully developed belief, although today it is commonly ignored.
A Catholic Cardinal Speaks
Just what do we mean by reincarnation? Cardinal Mercier (1851-1926) of the Roman Catholic Church, an eminent scholar and theologian of the conservative Christian Tradition, in his book Psychologie gives this definition of three views of reincarnation: "Under the term Wiedermenschwerdung, metempsychosis, or the transmigration of souls, a great variety of ideas may be understood: either a series of repetitions of existence under the twofold condition that the soul maintains consciousness of its personality and that there is a final unit in the series of transmigrations; or a series of repetitions of existence without any final unit, and yet with the presupposition that the soul maintains consciousness of its personality; or, finally, an endless series of repetitions of existence with the loss of consciousness of personal identity....So far as concerns the first assumption, we do not see that reason, if left to itself, would declare this to be impossible or certainly false."
Three Views Of Reincarnation
Perhaps that heavy nineteenth century prose should be restated, though I did want to give you the Cardinal's exact words so you would know I was not putting a forced interpretation on them. What the Cardinal indicates is this: there are three possible beliefs about reincarnation: (1) that there is an immortal soul which goes from birth to birth until it attains salvation, which ends the rebirth process, (2) that the immortal soul is reborn eternally with no ending of rebirth, and (3) that there is no immortal soul, but only a kind of force or energy which keeps creating a chain of rebirths. In A Manual of Modern Scholastic Philosophy, Cardinal Mercier again enumerates the three views on reincarnation and this time states that the first view "cannot be shown either to be impossible or even to be false" (I, 326)." (http://www.atmajyoti.org/sw_xtian_believe_reinc.asp)
For me relationships with certain souls on this Earth are too mysterious for me to understand in my limited capability. I have experienced grand things at only 5 years old. I mean magnificent adventure. It is a gift. Why did I recieve this gift? I must ask these questions. It cannot be fate- radomness that created my life, that let me be lucky. And at the same time three blocks down the road a woman sufferes great abuse. The abuse seems easy to justify in a world without grace or a source. It is the triumph, the hero's, the grace, the strange pursuit of excellence that convinces me of contracts with souls that have been going on for a long time. My mother is not like your stereo-typical mom. She was an advocate for sports, for right action, and for excellence. I was completely in love with her as a child would be. But it was more than that. I wanted to impress her, I wanted her to love me more. I don't know what strange thing it was. It was a relationship of opposites. It was very difficult for me for a long time. I cannot explain the mystery of it. It is like the Grand Canyon. It is a jagged, beautiful, harsh desert, emptiness and color and power all wrapped up in a 500 million year process. If you go down into that canyon you will not make it out alive. The temperature ranges from 20 below to 115. The river will kill you if you do not respect it. It is one of the most awsome, mysterious places on Earth. I would join the Church of the Grand Canyon if their was one. It is the utlimate mystery manifested. It reminds me of my relationship with my mother. It is so much more than this life, we have been together before, I know it instinctively. She loved me so much that she did not listen to my stupid false attitude, and stayed with me and I became empowered with excellence- I became realized- with her help- as in a very good athletic performer- and she was a partner and I would not be who I am today if it wasn't for this long standing contract/partnership/ relationship.
People who say we have free will must go all the way with this idea. If we have control here we also have it elsewhere. If we are intelligent and do not use our full capacity then we have a long way to go to be fully what we are. We are only at a 20% functional level. We are not operating our faculties at the highest level, so therefore their is something else going on, or we have other natural abilities. Using your logic with one idea, you are bound by the form of taking the idea or concept completely to it's end. We are evolving and if we have a soul- it must continue it's journey to complete realization. Yes this is still unknown- but we are in the middle and getting closer to the destination.
So many will find ways to discount all theories and assumptions here. For those who are on the edge- just think and respect the experience you have. Do not discount any part of your journey here. It is beyond anything we understand. There is much mystery to be had, there is much to move beyond and we are doing it whether you think it is random or not- we are evolving with our consciousness. Why, how and where is upon the horizon, and we will be there soon.