Past Lives

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Past Lives

Postby ronnewmexico » Fri Nov 04, 2011 2:05 am

Past lives are often not discussed as they may serve as a basis of egoism and extension of self, and or a form of eternalism expressing a soul.

While that may be true in certain contexts I would suspect for many that is not a problem especially if one had perhaps a more mundane :smile: sort of past life.
This is not to state our perceived past lives actually did exist in a inherantly existant fashion nor is this intended to get into a discussion on rebirth as opposed to reincarnation and all the rest...I think we may have enough of those discussions already.

This is just fun basically.

That said..... what do you see as a possible or probable past life, the last one.
I will start off:

I always had a karmic connection of sorts to cats. Having been attacked by one wild one at a very young age but not eaten or really harmed. But I had no aversion to cats ever. Cats in fact now really generally like me, even the wild kind. But I had some sort of a connection.
I had a aversion since my earliest recollection to the sound of loud eating slurping things of that sort. This has gradually eroded over time till now it is no aversion at all. Very strong though at a early age.
Peoples seem to have on occasion such recollections of a partial sort such as a person drowning in a past life may not like water in this one or a person who was perhaps crushed may not like a confined space things of that sort. I think perhaps that may be connected.
I have distinct recollections of pictures, not words, nor people, of scenery, wild places, trees, grassy planes, and such, that I know I have never been to. The pictures are not close to the ground as would be a rodent but of some height.

I though having a normal housholders life with success at all the normal things of human life always have had a affinity for wild places forests and do live next to forest. Spiritual practice is spend much in forest. I have always has this affinity even when not living next to forest from earliest days.

In may be hard at times to tell, is the a past event or a future event perceived. I take this or these things as past as life and death as human I think willl be in a human fashion I will remember or regret human things, friends family and all the rest or things of a more spiiritual sort. So I take these things as past life not future perceptions. The only angst I can recall related to this is the angst of a body being no longer what it was a finely functioning thing....no recollection of family or friends.

So my conclusion based upon these things pictures and such recollections tendency ...I suppose I was a deer eaten by mountain lion in the closest past life.
REcollections are at height so I suppose not a rodent.Not a squirrel as squirrels would probably just recall trees. Perhaps a moose or elk but something of size. Never word recollection or people recollection do I have. Deer in the wild seem to postively love me, so that is why I tend to deer.

On this sort of thing speaking to a accomplishment of a sort....I would discount that. Complete recollections I would suspect are. Partial recollections of this sort we may commonly have....I think they are normal and normally by mundane peoples just discounted. WE perhaps have them simply because we pay more attention to them...so I am certainly not equating these with any accomplishment.

This what sort of life we may have had(again in the empty construct context which is not the subject of this thread)
of course is not important at all.
But I thought it may be fun to describe and be familiar with such variances.
Perhaps we could learn a bit on how we think or see this thing working.
.... :smile:
So your presumption and rational:
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby mint » Fri Nov 04, 2011 3:59 am

I have seemed to gravitate towards India for most of my life. I first became aware of this connection when I was about 17 or 18 years of age. Since then, India is the one country I would like to visit, but I have mostly been discouraged by friends and relatives who have traveled there or nearby places. While the exotic-ness of India is always played up in movies or on the Travel Channel, I am truly interested and fascinated by the culture. There really isn't anything about Indian culture that seems alien to me. It all seems to make perfect sense. As I get older, I am further introduced to more and more aspects of Indian culture which I latch onto easily enough.

I have often wondered if I wasn't perhaps Indian in a past life, which may explain my exposure to Dharma in that past life. I've had dreams of a dark-haired woman on many occasions - is she Indian? was she my wife? - and I dreamt once of an Indian marriage ceremony with this dark-haired woman. Dreams are dreams, though, and nothing can or should be interpreted from them. All I know is that I find Indian women very attractive. ;)

For the record, I am now a caucasian American - so, I must've done something really bad in my past life. :lol:
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Re: Past Lives

Postby nirmal » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:15 pm

Buddha talked about his past lives too.We can see our past life in the holy light of our meditation and in our dreams.Interesting.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby zangskar » Fri Nov 04, 2011 5:25 pm

mint wrote:All I know is that I find Indian women very attractive. ;)

For the record, I am now a caucasian American - so, I must've done something really bad in my past life. :lol:

Not necessarily so. Your chances of marrying an Indian woman of your own choice, if this is really what you want and not just fantasy, is probably at least as good or even better than if you had been born in India. :)

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Re: Past Lives

Postby Nosta » Fri Nov 04, 2011 7:41 pm

I would like to know what was i in a past life...sometimes i think that i was one (if not all) of this:
- an animal like a bull: peaceful but wratful when attacked, like me or:
- a small animal always hiding from everything, like a rabbit;
- a bad person that used to control other people life, because in my life i had some overwelming people controling me and not giving me any space to breath, so i suppose thats i was bad on a previous life and now i am paying for it...
- someone or some animal or being who died from falling from a high place...since child i really dont like high places
- some kind of buddhist monk, but not one very well developed, but developed enough to find buddhism in this life...when i look to myself when i was younger (somewhere between 5 to 10 years old) i think i "knew" some Dharma teachings, but without knowing the name of them.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby Bonsai Doug » Fri Nov 04, 2011 11:40 pm

nirmal wrote:We can see our past life in the holy light of our meditation

Interesting to hear. I've felt for some time now that I see and hear snippets of another
life during long meditation sittings. I've never discussed this with anyone, but I've always wondered.
Now having obtained a precious human body,
I do not have the luxury of remaining on a distracted path.

~ Tibetan Book of the Dead
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Re: Past Lives

Postby wisdom » Sat Nov 05, 2011 12:29 am

In terms of past lives I'm not sure I accept the doctrine of rebirth into an animal form. I am not saying I reject it, but I only consider that I meet so many people who are like animals in human form. Horribly suffering far beyond what any animal I have ever seen. To be an animal wouldn't be so bad, but to be this type of human having the type of experience I am referring to would be literally like living in hell. To me it seems that negative karma will put you there if nowhere else. Being an animal wouldn't be so bad in many ways. They are simple creatures, emotionally based, or with a low level of intelligence. Many of them are quite happy or content most of the time. They are mostly non attached to things, they don't dwell on negative or positive feelings.

In my experience the less attached I become, the more I find friends in other creatures. I find that in some ways being unattached makes me more kin to birds and dogs than my fellow man, who might be horribly confused and suffering terribly. This is not to say I would ever turn my back on people, but its just been my experience and observation, and is the reason I question the doctrine of rebirth into an animal form.

Granted one can say that rebirth into a human form always provides an opportunity which rebirth into an animal form never does, which is Enlightenment. By this logic I could agree that animal birth could always be seen as worse, since a dog won't become Enlightened but a person born into horrible circumstances and suffering terribly very well may, even if the chance is low. Yet it could also be said that on another level being reborn as a bird might be considered a better birth than say being born with severe disabilities that make it impossible to comprehend the Dharma, and yet having to live an entire life in that state of suffering which the bird is not in. Its just a thought, I haven't read much on the cut and dry doctrine of how rebirth exactly works, and I'm not sure anyone has even tried to answer that question.

At any rate the only experience with past lives I've had was out of my body, I witnessed the flashing by of many faces and scenes, nothing detailed, but which the Inner Voice informed me was from my past lives. It was also overwhelming and I was wracked with sorrow at all the pain, but also wonder too. I experienced a number of deaths as well, which was interesting. One that stuck out in my mind was one that felt like ants devouring my body, but I get the feeling that perhaps it was being burned alive, I'm not sure. It was the least pleasant of them. It might have been a poison too. Some of them were really pleasant, almost welcome experiences.

Then I have my early childhood to consider. In this life, at the age of 5, I basically made the vow of the Boddhisattva without having any religious exposure to any doctrine at all, and having been raised in a suburb of America. When I saw how much pain people were in and inflicted on each other and towards me, I decided that my duty in life was to discover its cause and then having discovered it, help people free themselves with the knowledge I would obtain. Much later I heard of the idea of Enlightenment, and changed it to be that I was seeking Enlightenment for everyone. Only later still did I learn about Boddhisattvas, and realized that the ideal of that was what I really wanted to follow. Still, it wasn't until after I had an awakening of sorts that I was led into Buddhism itself ironically, despite the fact that my whole life and outlook pointed to it. I had even begun cultivating the Middle Way in myself prior to knowing that's what Buddhism is really about. I always held this belief that my beliefs don't matter, that I would master all beliefs, incorporate them all into me, accept as many points of view as possible, reject as few as possible, and seek the perfect middle ground in my outlook on all things because I thought that if I could achieve that, then I would achieve the most perfect outlook a human being can have. Apparently I was right, and not the first person to think that :)

Its an extraordinary thing to say really, but its been the purpose of my life and the memory of that vow at such a young age has reminded me of my quest in the darkest times in my life, its been my center, my rock and my foundation. I say it because perhaps it will give someone hope that even without direct knowledge of the Dharma, the Dharma not only exists but exists within everyone, and that even a white kid from the suburbs can choose the path of the Boddhisattva! So anyone who feels that they can't do it just consider this, consider the power of such a thing and that it really does independently exist, that the Dharma is truth.

Thats really partially why I'm here though, I'm trying to find my lineage and want to expand my knowledge of Buddhism, since I only really began my studies of Buddhism proper in May of 2011. I want to study/practice under a Guru but haven't narrowed down which school best suits me. I am drawn to Dzogchen and Tantric practices though so that helps. I sort of like Mahayana but I feel they are to externalized/ritualized for me, though I don't mind ritual itself. Perhaps in the end the choice won't be mine, which will be fine too.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby deff » Sat Nov 05, 2011 5:51 am

just as a quick reply...

i have had no past life recall that i can remember, but i had a mirror divination done by lama dawa about my past life, and he said i was a lay practitioner in northern india and gave me my name. i've always been attracted to india for as long as i've known about the culture, so i consider this a very possible scenario :smile:
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Re: Past Lives

Postby catmoon » Sat Nov 05, 2011 6:22 am

wisdom wrote:
I witnessed the flashing by of many faces and scenes, nothing detailed, but which the Inner Voice informed me was from my past lives.



I've seen a flash or two like that. What struck me was the alienness of the people, so different, suffering under completely different delusions, wrestling with completely different problems, while the things that I consider problems today never even occurred to them. Still don't know if it was past lives or not, so I try to avoid distraction by such things.
Sergeant Schultz knew everything there was to know.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Nov 06, 2011 2:25 am

As a aside of sorts....aside the topic in my own thread...oh my! :smile:

I think if one has or had several recollections of being human with various loved and loving ones, that would(no offense to loved ones presently) reduce the significance of that to this.
Not that they are not worthy of love or any of that but that a certain attachment as singular would become almost impossible
A beloved daughter or son in the 1700's would become another equally beloved daughter or so perhaps in the 1900's and on and on...I mean how much of that would we be able to take before we obviously saw the illusion of the attachment

Personally which is why I assume we disallow ourselves the memory of this. To do so deminishes the present. As this is all a construct of the me, we cannot allow that which overtly deminishes it or its perceived importance...So to my opinion it is not that we cannot but we surpress it for purpose, the recollection.

To deviate...continue... :smile:
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby Madeliaette » Sun Nov 06, 2011 7:37 pm

Interesting topic....

I am aware of the life before this one that i lived - I was a rich bitch living in an appt building above an indoor shopping mall. I used to spend my time fussing about coffee pots and gossipping to the neighbors. I wasn't anyone special, but was wed to a businessman who was fairly well off. I know it was in the US and that my current best friend was a security man who stalked me....

I am aware of my next life after this one - I will be reborn in NY as the second daughter of my best friend and have a relationship with the man i was wed to in my former life - when his current-life partner expires and he is alone. It may be some scandal as he will be a few decades older than me!! After this teenage-romance incident, I will take up my Buddhsit studies more seriously and make good progress.

I know of 3-4 other former lives, but am not wise enough yet to be able to know all of my future and past lives!! Knowing what I know gives me peace concerning death - no fear. I realize I have less than a decade less in my current life, and will die younger than most - but knowing what I klnow, I don't mind - I can prepare.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby ronnewmexico » Sun Nov 06, 2011 8:58 pm

interesting response...

Knowing such things of detail by my take would remove certain fears we all hold by virtue of being human. Some fears that predominate the lives of many seemingly.

So you reinforce my assumption....with your interesting tale.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Past Lives

Postby nirmal » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:15 am

One of my friends came for meditation for the first time.He could not read or write the Chinese language but at the end of the meditation session, he started reciting sutras in the Chinese language.He started reading Chinese on the spot. His good Karma? Did he get connected to his past lives?
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Re: Past Lives

Postby LastLegend » Fri Nov 11, 2011 7:54 am

The repetitive nature of what we think and do is karma.
NAMO AMITABHA
NAM MO A DI DA PHAT (VIETNAMESE)
NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Past Lives

Postby muni » Fri Nov 11, 2011 8:52 am

'In the rosary of my many lives
I have taken the form of every creature;
I remember it only darkly,
Yet I feel it was something like this:
Since now I thrive on chung,
Once I must have been bee;
Since now I am so lustful
Once I must have been a cock;
Since now I am so angry,
Once I must have been a snake;
Since now I am so slothful,
Once I must have been a pig;
Since now I am so mean,
Once I must have been a rich man;
Since now I am so shameless,
Once I must have been a madman;
Since now I am such a liar,
Once I must have been an actor;
Since now my manners are so rude,
Once I must have been a monkey;
Since now I have such blood lust,
Once I must have been a wolf;
Since now I have so tight an anal sphincter,
Once I must have been a nun;
Since now I am so punctilious,
Once I must have been a barren woman;
Since now I spend my wealth on food,
Once I must have been a Lama;
Since now I am so avaricious,
Once I must have been a steward;
Since now I am so self-esteeming,
Once I must have been an officer;
Since now I enjoy cheating others,
Once I must have been a business man;
Since now I am so loquacious,
Once I must have been a woman;
But I cannot tell you if this is really true.
Consider the matter yourselves.
What is your opinion?'

Drukpa Kunley.

At least there is the great guide line for crazy habits in this life. :tongue: :woohoo:
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Re: Past Lives

Postby zangskar » Fri Nov 11, 2011 2:26 pm

muni wrote:Once I must have been...

Thanks for posting. :applause:
best wishes
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Re: Past Lives

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Dec 05, 2011 12:45 am

If my current status is any indication I wish someone had slapped my previous incarnation and told him (or her) to stop being so lazy and practice. I have been told I did practice a certain deity in a previous life so he had no excuse. :juggling:
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Past Lives

Postby Willy » Sat Dec 31, 2011 6:17 am

It's really hard to imagine anyone in this forum, with the precious human opportunity, would have been an animal in their past life, unless they were already a Bodhisattva. Then again, who knows?

We've all been around so many times that every being has been our mother in a previous life.

It's safe to say I was pretty much doing the same thing in my last life that I'm doing now.

I was in India in 93 and a bomb went off in the building where I was going to satsang (with Papaji). I also lived in NYC in 2001 and watched the twin towers fall. I have a bit of paranoia around explosions. I was born in 1974, so maybe I died in the vietnam war; or maybe I lived out a long life in Tibet and saw a few bombs go off. I definitely have an aversion to monasteries and beaurocracy in general, so if I was Tibetan I was either a yogi or a lay practitioner.

When I traveled through India I very quickly picked up the language and Hindu and Advaita Vedanta stories, so I'm certain I had past lives in Northern India - just no certainty about when.

I also sometimes wonder if I was a neurotic stock investor in New York in the 20's who fell in love with the arts. Like I said, whatever it was, it was about the same as my life this time around.
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