Reincarnation

  • 25% of Americans believe in reincarnation Paid Member

    In "Remembrances of Lives Past," an article that appeared in the New York Times this weekend, Newsweek's religion editor Lisa Miller takes a look at our nation's growing belief in reincarnation. According to data released by Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, a quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation (interestingly, according to the Times piece, women are more likely to believe in reincarnation than men, and democrats are more likely to believe than republicans). This emerging belief in reincarnation is a steep departure from the traditional Judaeo-Christian narrative that most Americans are familiar with: More »
  • Video: Watching Dilgo Khyentse Yansgi Rinpoche grow up Paid Member

    Filmmaker Mark Elliott is making a movie about Khyentse Yangsi Rinpoche and has been visiting him every three years. He takes time out on his fifth trip to talk about his work. Great footage of Khyentse Yangsi as a playful and fearless toddler and of his training as he approaches adulthood. More »
  • Ponlop Rinpoche takes a stab at "the question that won't go away" Paid Member

    One year ago I wrote a post I called, "Is Buddhism a Religion? The Question that won't go away." I think it's clear now that the question will come round again and again. Along with "religion vs. spirituality," it seems to be a perennial favorite. Now, the esteemed Buddhist teacher Ponlop Rinpoche takes on the question in his recent Huffington Post column "Is Buddhism a Religion?" What he describes (as opposed to Stephen Batchelor's "Buddhism without beliefs") is a "Buddhism beyond religion." Since I tend to think of Buddhism as religion, I was very interested in reading his post and found it useful. More »
  • Dalai Lama: My Reincarnation Will Appear In Free Country Paid Member

    VIA P. Vijian at Bernama.com, DHARAMSALA, July 20 (Bernama) -- Exiled Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama believes his next reincarnation will be in a "free country", if the Tibetan crisis prolongs without a cordial solution. "If I die as a refugee and the Tibetan situation remains like this, then logically, my reincarnation will appear in a free country, because the very purpose of reincarnation is to carry on the work which began in my previous life. "And, there is some contribution, some fulfillment in work started in the previous life. Then, that is truly reincarnation," he told Bernama in a recent interview at his exile-base in Dharamsala in northern India. He said, if obstacles were created against carrying out the tasks of the Dalai Lama's previous life, than the "reality is not reincarnation." More »
  • Stephen Batchelor in Insight Journal: You don't have to believe in rebirth to be a Buddhist Paid Member

    Not many things in life are free, but there are exceptions. One of them is Insight Journal, the Barre Center for Buddhist Studies publication edited by the center's co-director Andrew Olendzki. You can either order the hard copy or, if you're eco-conscious, download it. Of course, it's always a great help to offer dana—a donation—when you do. The organization supports itself through its paid courses and the generosity of its members and friends. This issue features a piece by Stephen Batchelor on his doubts about (or nowadays, his outright rejection of) rebirth—and he finds what he feels is support in Pali Canon. Years ago we featured a debate between Stephen and Bob Thurman on the topic—Stephen played skeptic, of course, and Bob the true believer. But nowadays Stephen isn't particularly interested in arguing the point and is more likely to reflect on how he came to his beliefs and his ever-evolving understanding of the Buddha's teachings. Here's an interesting excerpt from the Insight article: I am not in any way suggesting that the Buddha rejected the idea of rebirth, or did not believe in it..there is just too much in the Canon to say the Buddha was even agnostic about this. But there is another strand of text that seems to not quite fit that very well. I think the Pali Canon actually has multiple voices within it, not a single, monolithic voice. You get contradictory perspectives introduced all the time, which is part of the very richness of that literature. In the Kālāma Sutta the Buddha says, don’t just accept what I say because I am your teacher, because the tradition says it, or because it seems to be reasonable. At the end of that text, he speaks about the four solaces, or rewards, that come from the practice of the Dhamma. One solace says, if there is indeed another life, if there is, indeed, a law of karmic cause and effect, then, after death, you will be reborn in a happy realm and benefit from the results of your present karma. The second solace says, if there is no future life, if there is no law of karma, then, too, by practicing the Dhamma you will live happy and content, here and now, in this world. That is very striking: the Buddha seems to be saying what really matters is not what may or may not follow after death, but the quality of your experience, here and now in this very life. Admittedly, this passage occurs once, whereas rebirth and karma occur everywhere. Nonetheless, it looks oddly out of place. For that very reason, it is probably original: It would have been in no orthodox tradition’s interest to have added it later. Even more to the point is “the declared and the undeclared” in the Mālunkyovāda Sutta, Majjhima 63: More »