Sunday, April 24, 2016

In which I tell you about R for Reincarnation which I forgot.

Honestly, it seems like I can't get through the A-Z fest without screwing up at least once. The sad thing is I totally thought I had R taken care of. I knew R was for Reincarnation. And then I saw that everyone was writing about S and it looked like I was on T. Which told me something was wrong, and that something was likely me!

As you know by now, my theme for this years A- Z Blogfest is DEATH (who I hope is like DEATH in Terry Pratchett's Discworld series): "...tall, thin (skeletal, as a matter of fact), and ALWAYS SPEAKS IN CAPITAL LETTERS. Generally shows up when you're dead, or just when he thinks you ought to be." Today we have R, completely out of order, for Reincarnation.



Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, can begin a new life in a new body. Known as Punarjanma – it is one of the core beliefs of Hinduism that is generally accepted by many of its practitioners. Reincarnation is the natural process of birth, death and rebirth. Hindus believe that the Jiva or Atman (soul) is intrinsically pure. However, because of the layers of I-ness and My-ness, the jiva goes through transmigration in the cycle of births and deaths. Death destroys the physical body, but not the jiva. The jiva is eternal. It takes on another body with respect to its karmas. Every karma produces a result which must be experienced either in this or some future life. As long as the jiva is enveloped in ignorance, it remains attached to material desires and subject to the cycles of births and deaths (Samsara).

There is no permanent heaven or hell in Hinduism. After services in the afterlife, the jiva enters the karma and rebirth system, reborn as an animal, a human or a divinity. This reincarnation continues until mokṣa, the final release, is gained.


This makes the most sense to me except for two very small problems. One I mentioned before, which is that the laws of physics do not support the idea of a soul or consciousness that can exist separately from the body. But, as the Dalai Lama said, it would also be difficult to disprove reincarnation. The other problem I have is math. In 1682 the estimated world population was at 320 million. There are now approximately 7.4 billion people on this earth. So where did all the new souls come from?

Setting those issues aside (because who wants to dwell on anything that might quash the idea of any sort of after life, right?), reincarnation makes sense to me because of evolution, which is the natural order of things. This world, all of us, the animals, plants, insects, everything is continually evolving and maybe reincarnation is part of how we evolve, become better people who are more concerned with the good of all than all the good we can gather for ourselves.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Excerpt from Reaper Man, by Terry Pratchett

“SEE! I HAVE TIME. AT LAST, I HAVE TIME."
Albert backed away nervously.
‘And now that you have it, what are you going to do with it?’ he said.
Death mounted his horse.
I AM GOING TO SPEND IT.”




 

11 comments:

  1. You skipped a letter. That's funny.
    Sorry, don't believe in it. We do have a soul and it only exists here on earth once.

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  2. I do believe in reincarnation. Even The Bible supports it if you read closely. When Jesus talks about John the Baptist he says that John was Elijah (a prophet from the Old Testament), "but you didn't recognize him."

    I don't think we can be reincarnated as anything but people. Not animals. Not plant life. I do think that we are here to learn our lessons and that karma plays out in the lifetime or the next. I don't think we live them back to back. I think our souls do ascend to heaven (which is vibrating at a much higher frequency than this, so we can't see it, but I don't think it's in the sky above the clouds). And we make decisions about how we want our souls to learn while we're there. We may decide to never incarnate a human body again or we may decide to do so fairly quickly. As for population, I guess this is a time in history when a whole bunch of people were there thought they could learn a lot here. That's why I think.

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  3. Proofread, Robin, Proofread!

    I don't think we can be reincarnated as anything but people. Not animals. Not plant life. I think that we are here to learn our lessons and that karma plays out in THIS lifetime or the next. I don't think we live them back to back (NECESSARILY). I think our souls do ascend to heaven (which is vibrating at a much higher frequency than this, so we can't see it, but I don't think it's in the sky above the clouds). And we make decisions about how we want our souls to learn while we're there. We may decide to never incarnate IN a human body again or we may decide to do so fairly quickly. As for population, I guess this is a time in history when a whole bunch of people were there thought they could learn a lot here. That's WHAT I think.

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  4. I can't say that I believe in it, but it made for an interesting read :)

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  5. I believe in reincarnation, and did read a lot about it while in university. It fits with the spirituality of believing everything has a soul (plants and animals). Spirituality is more prevalent here in the Pacific Northwest than say the southern Bible belt where traditional beliefs prevail. (I'm from that region, grew to adulthood there and left to explore other areas). Karma - we must remember it, as it reminds us to go good rather than evil or the piper will have to be paid. . .BTW, missing a letter - no big deal, especially if you catch it up.

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  6. Sorry you skipped on. I know that I clicked in my dashboard on one of your posts but it showed, no post. Anyway, Happy Sunday :-)

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  7. "There are now approximately 7.4 billion people on this earth. So where did all the new souls come from?"

    Great question! So let's continue with an explanation. If we assume that each soul is somehow composed of a finite resource (say, cheese) then clearly there must be a limit to how many souls there can be. It doesn't have to be cheese, of course. It could be photons or anything, really - but if a soul is composed of something finite, the number of souls must also be finite.
    But what if the souls are composed of consciousness? And, if we like, we can give that consciousness a name, because we silly humans LOVE to give things names. So just for fun, let's call "consciousness" God. Odd name, but hey, we're an odd race.
    So if God/Consciousness is the collective consciousness of the Universe, and the universe is effectively infinite (because you can't have anything outside of the universe, can you? So it must be effectively infinite) why couldn't you divide that consciousness into an infinite number of parts? It doesn't matter how small they are, after all. And then (the name thing again) call those parts of the God/Consciousness "souls"?
    So that's how I see it. Yes, I believe in something akin to Reincarnation - it's the only system that makes sense to my perception of reality. The one thing I'm absolutely positive of, though, is that any "system" that humans create to explain and categorize God (we call those religions) is wrong by definition. I think it's the height of hubris to think we're capable of assigning God/Consciousness a comfortable cubbyhole where "He" goes each Sunday for our convenience. We are - collectively - God, every smelly one of us. And I salute the God in each human I meet, though I have no religious faith with with to corral "Him". Nice post!

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  8. I side with Alex. We're one and done here on Earth and then the afterlife. So make it count here and now because we won;t have a second chance to determine what happens next.

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  9. I was going to say something about the missing letter, but I thought better of it ;)

    I've believed in reincarnation since I was a small child. I grew up New Age, so I believe all the woo-woo things. As for having lots of people around now--if we think about how many people existed at all points in history, and then we assume those souls all decided to incarnate now... It's a thought.

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  10. I'd like to but I'd probably be reincarnated as a earth worm!

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  11. I goofed up my letters too, so no worries! I think I skipped L and had to do a backtrack.

    Have you ever read the book Memory by Linda Nagata? You might enjoy it if you like the idea of reincarnation. It's one of my scifi favorites.

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