Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:00 pm

Jnana wrote:
Samsaric_Spiral wrote:It's cool, but this is outside of the scope of human experience or knowledge....

I can't speak for Bahnsen's views, but according to the Mahāyāna teachings knowledge of past lives and knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings are not considered to be outside the scope of human experience or knowledge. They are higher knowledges (abhijñā) which are developed on the bodhisattva path.

Do you have personal experienceof these higher knowledges ?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:02 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Jnana wrote:
Samsaric_Spiral wrote:It's cool, but this is outside of the scope of human experience or knowledge....

I can't speak for Bahnsen's views, but according to the Mahāyāna teachings knowledge of past lives and knowledge of the passing away and reappearance of beings are not considered to be outside the scope of human experience or knowledge. They are higher knowledges (abhijñā) which are developed on the bodhisattva path.

Do you have personal experienceof these higher knowledges ?


Would you believe him if he said he had?
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:10 pm

Would you believe me if I said yes ?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Jnana » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:17 pm

Simon E. wrote:Do you have personal experienceof these higher knowledges ?

Nope. However, I have taken refuge in the three jewels which entails, in part, renouncing poverty-stricken views of human potential. How about yourself?
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:28 pm

No, I have no personal knowledge of those states.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:32 pm

University of Virginia's Faculty of Medicine has a division which investigates, among other things, children who claim to remember past lives:

http://www.medicine.virginia.edu/clinic ... types-page

Scholars like Ian Stevenson did the founding research in this academic field, but others have carried on his research around the world and come to the interesting conclusion that they have many cases which are "evidence suggestive of past life recollection" (not proof, but nevertheless evidence).

Many children accurately recollect events, names, details and so on of people who actually existed before they were conceived.

Having ruled out the obvious reasons why these children would make such claims, it strikes any honest person that this is indeed evidence suggestive of actual recollection of past lives.

The interesting thing about most cases is that around five to seven years old the children forget these memories and later in life have no recollection of them anymore.

In the Buddhist model of mind it is quite possible for an adult to accurately recollect past lives. This kind of evidence that U of Virginia scholars have presented only demonstrates that highly plausible reality of past and future lives.

In that respect, past lives is not a religious belief so much as a calculated and quite reasonable view to hold. If you add in some logical arguments (which Dharmakirti skilfully did) for why rebirth makes more sense than post-mortem annihilation, you are no longer really "believing" in rebirth, but acknowledging a reality that can be demonstrated through evidence and inference. Take it a step further and hopefully with yogic cultivation you will recollect past life memories, which would only make such convictions all the more unshakeable.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:41 pm

Ah..the Emperors New Cloths Gambit variation 27...
" Any honest person "
I consider myself an honest person, and I am familiar with the research in question and could easily ( and honestly ) drive a coach and horses through its protocols and methodology.

Also, there are a range of possibilities in addition to reincarnation or annihilation.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 18, 2012 1:54 pm

Simon E. wrote:Ah..the Emperors New Cloths Gambit variation 27...
" Any honest person "
I consider myself an honest person, and I am familiar with the research in question and could easily ( and honestly ) drive a coach and horses through its protocols and methodology.

Also, there are a range of possibilities in addition to reincarnation or annihilation.


It is not just one case or even many cases by a single researcher, but many cases examined by many researchers.

We should recognize the existence of the phenomenon. If we lived in an age where materialism wasn't the dominant ideology, there would be much more interest and approval of such research as Stevenson's. Stevenson lamented how scientists wouldn't take his research seriously. There was clearly a bias against his approach.

The thing is that if this kind of research was taken seriously it would undermine the careers of many philosophers and researchers in the world who have staked their own intellectual lives on materialism. This kind of counter-evidence to their claims is probably unconsciously threatening to many of them.

That being said, Stevenson was not the only researcher. There have been many. They have found these kids in cultures which have religious ideas about rebirth and other places where they do not. The overwhelming numbers speak to the existence of the phenomenon. Having accurate memories of an existence before one was conceived is nothing really new in human experience.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby catmoon » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:03 pm

Hmmm. UFOS have also been examined by many researchers looking at many cases and the same can be said about yetis, sasquatches, poltergeists and my all time favorite, whale channeling. So having a lot of researchers looking at a lot of cases does not tell us a thing. What counts at the end of the day is community concensus, and it seems the scientific community is thoroughy unconvinced on the subject.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:06 pm

The "bias " is against piss-poor science.
If your religious belief includes a belief in things not personally experienced consciously like reincarnation, so be it.
Thats everyone's right.
At least in the west it is.
But dont fall back on bad science to justify it.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:14 pm

Simon E. wrote:Would you believe me if I said yes ?


Oh, I would take your word for it.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Indrajala » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:21 pm

catmoon wrote:Hmmm. UFOS have also been examined by many researchers looking at many cases and the same can be said about yetis, sasquatches, poltergeists and my all time favorite, whale channeling. So having a lot of researchers looking at a lot of cases does not tell us a thing. What counts at the end of the day is community concensus, and it seems the scientific community is thoroughy unconvinced on the subject.


Your examples are quite recent developments, while past life recollection is found in ancient literature and is attested by many yogis, both past and present.

Whether the scientific community takes it seriously or not, hundreds of millions of Buddhists clearly do. Moreover, a minority of them attest to having such memories.

For example see Drubwang Rinpoche's brief remarks here (see 1:28 specifically):



Most sceptics would write off such yogis as basically lunatics, but if, as I have suggested above, you generated a reasonable view of rebirth based on evidence and inference, these kinds of remarks from such figures is authoritative.

There is also the point, as the Buddha suggested, if you cultivate appropriate mental stamina you will recollect past lives.

Ajahn Brahm has stressed this as well. Here a jolly, cheerful, quite lucid and charismatic English bhikkhu. His testimony in Buddhist circles should be seriously considered.

If, however, you are a staunch externalist set in denying rebirth it really doesn't matter how many testimonies of adept yogis you are presented with as it will just come across as nonsense to you.

You can't equate UFOs and other such things to rebirth.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:29 pm

Huseng wrote:If, however, you are a staunch externalist set in denying rebirth it really doesn't matter how many testimonies of adept yogis you are presented with as it will just come across as nonsense to you.

You can't equate UFOs and other such things to rebirth.


Bears repeating. Once the mind is fixated on denying rebirth, no amount of "evidence" will convince.
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 2:38 pm

pueraeternus wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Would you believe me if I said yes ?


Oh, I would take your word for it.

You shouldnt. You dont know me. You know nothing about me. People believe all sorts of things and disbelieve all sorts of things for comfort.
In a Buddhist culture, such as the meat world ones, and forums like this, there is enormous reinforcement for towing the party line, and enormous negative reinforcement for not doing so.
When it comes down to it I have never ever heard any personal testimony of past memory from anyone I would trust. Including Lamas like Situ Rinpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche that I have great respect for and who admit to no such memory. I have been present when they and other prominent lamas were asked if they remembered their previous births and they said no..quite unequivocally.
Now THATS what I call honesty.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby pueraeternus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:19 pm

Simon E. wrote:
pueraeternus wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Would you believe me if I said yes ?


Oh, I would take your word for it.

You shouldnt. You dont know me. You know nothing about me. People believe all sorts of things and disbelieve all sorts of things for comfort.
In a Buddhist culture, such as the meat world ones, and forums like this, there is enormous reinforcement for towing the party line, and enormous negative reinforcement for not doing so.
When it comes down to it I have never ever heard any personal testimony of past memory from anyone I would trust. Including Lamas like Situ Rinpoche and Thrangu Rinpoche that I have great respect for and who admit to no such memory. I have been present when they and other prominent lamas were asked if they remembered their previous births and they said no..quite unequivocally.



Well, the question was just: "do you believe Jnana if he said he has the ability to recall past lives?" So if you said "yes", then there is no reason for me doubt that you might be lying, since it is just a simple question.

Simon E. wrote:Now THATS what I call honesty.

How about those who, when asked, quite unequivocally said they do recall past lives? Would you consider that honesty?
If you believe certain words, you believe their hidden arguments. When you believe something is right or wrong, true of false, you believe the assumptions in the words which express the arguments. Such assumptions are often full of holes, but remain most precious to the convinced.

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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 3:48 pm

I have never heard anyone reply that way . And I have heard the question put to many lamas including the Dalai Lama. They include... Situ Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Chime Rinpoche, Ato Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche and my first teacher Trungpa Rinpoche. All of them ( and it is a question lamas get asked a lot ) said they had no memory of previous lives.
I have also heard the same question put to Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho...who just wouldnt go there.
So we have a remarkable situation where advanced meditators have no memory of past lives...but random children apparently do...
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Astus » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:00 pm

Simon E. wrote:I have never heard anyone reply that way . And I have heard the question put to many lamas including the Dalai Lama. They include... Situ Rinpoche, Thrangu Rinpoche, Chime Rinpoche, Ato Rinpoche, Sogyal Rinpoche and my first teacher Trungpa Rinpoche. All of them ( and it is a question lamas get asked a lot ) said they had no memory of previous lives.
I have also heard the same question put to Ajahn Chah and Ajahn Sumedho...who just wouldnt go there.
So we have a remarkable situation where advanced meditators have no memory of past lives...but random children apparently do...


That is indeed an interesting point. Do you have their testimonies that they have no memories at all?

BTW, a couple of people I know say they have memories of past lives, including my mother.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:09 pm

No I have no written testimony's, ( although I believe both Situ Rinpoche and the D.L. have written that they have no such memories. ) I was there present.

In the deep South of the US you have the phenomenon of child preachers, five and six year olds in little suits preaching the bible. They are often from deprived backgrounds.
Its a the way for themselves and their families to get social role valorisation.
The same phenomenon occurs among Buddhists...
In both cases it may well be that no one is deliberately lying.
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:33 pm

Excerpt from “The Dalai Lama”, conversations w/ Rajiv Mehrotra, pg. 82:

“Reincarnation

(RM ?) Currently do you have any memories of your past life?

HH: Sometimes it is difficult to remember what happened this morning! However, when i was small---say two to three years old---my mother and some close friends noticed that I expressed some memories of my past life. That is possible! But if you are asking me for a definite memory, I must say it remains somewhat unclear.”

One of my own teachers, a Geshe Lharampa, explained some years ago that he knew of cases where very young children remembered past lives.

Of course anyone declaring such a thing must be a liar - apparently including HHDL's mother ?

And of course those responsible for identifying him as the Dalai Lama through his actions as a child. Maybe it was rigged and/or they also had a mass hallucination or lied? :

http://www.dalailama.com/biography/from-birth-to-exile

''The leader of the party, Kewtsang Rinpoche, then pretended to be a servant and spent much of the evening observing and playing with the youngest child in the house.

The child recognised him and called out 'Sera lama, Sera lama'. Sera was Kewtsang Rinpoche's monastery. The next day they left only to return a few days later as a formal deputation. This time they brought with them a number of things that had belonged to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama, together with several similar items that did not. In every case, the infant correctly identified those belonging to the Thirteenth Dalai Lama saying, It's mine. It's mine. ''

When you start with a conclusion as your premise, you tend to find out that you are right. It's not good science.

When you start with a position and then use inference and interpretation rather than fact to support it, it is not good science.

As for Dogen. Did he say that he KNEW. Is there an assertion to accept or refute ?

This thread may be firewood made from the ashes of past firewood LOL :) :
http://www.zenforuminternational.org/vi ... ?f=8&t=865
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Re: Soto-zen, Dogen and reincarnation

Postby Simon E. » Wed Jul 18, 2012 4:45 pm

" That remains somewhat unclear "Is what the present Dalai Lama actually said .
I suspect no one was consciously lying, and there are no indications of hallucination.
There are though extremely good reasons for any given group to see what it wants to see and hear what it wants to hear.

I have no premise. I have no opinion. I dont actually even think its a very serious question.
But I realise that it represents an emotional stance for some.
If Reincarnation could be shown to be true or false with no doubts at all, it would make no difference at all to my Dzogchen practice.
None.
And that my believing or not believing anything at all is a cause of interest to you Blue Garuda is a matter of bemusement to me.
Why on earth do you care what I think about a phenomena that I have no conscious memory of , and I doubt that you do either... :smile:
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