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Reincarnation; Questions

To: soc.religion.eastern
From: tyagi nagasiva (
Subj: Reincarnation; Questions (
Date: unknown

Reincarnation is a very complex thing.  It resides both in Eastern Religions
and Western Occult systems.  Christian Mysticism is said to have contained
the idea of reincarnation prior to the Council which artificially designed
Christianity for the vulgar political moguls.

It is seen as both punishment and reward, and largely as a simple fact of
existence.  Is gravity a punishment when one is falling from a 10-story
building?  Well, that depends on if the person WANTS to be falling such a
height.  If so, perhaps a reward, if not, perhaps a punishment for folly?

Memory is a tricky thing.  What do we remember that we can be SURE happened?
How do we establish such validity?  Consensus?  How much of consensus is simply
group-behavior, how much of it comformity for security?  If I remember that
I had 'a past life', then what, exactly, AM I remembering?  What is this
'memory' and what sort of 'evidence' can I use it for?  These are decisions
which each person must confront, especially if one has such memories.

The theories surrounding reincarnation are very complex and varied.  I'd
suggest, reluctantly, that it would take a fairly comprehensive research in the
Eastern traditions with which it is associated.  If you really want to know
what it means, you'll probably have to face a long quest.

But then again, you asked a rather specific question which I'll attend to right

If reincarnation IS a punishment, then why can't some of us remember our past

This is an important philosophic point.  It would depend upon the model of
reincarnation one used to describe it as a 'punishment'.

a) If reincarnation is a punishment for some past PERSONAL deed, then
maybe I can't remember because I have to get through what I've got for THIS
life before I'll be able to remember past lives.  Perhaps the fact that I
can't remember it is part of the PENALTY.

b) Perhaps reincarnation is a punishment in general and no memory is a 
byproduct of the process.  Some people say that they CAN remember their past
lives, so if they are in fact doing so, we might be faced with a process which
leaves some memories intact, some erased or taped over.  Perhaps the fact that
I can't remember is part of the PROCESS.

c) If reincarnation is a punishment for someone ELSE's deed(s), then maybe I
can't remember them so that I won't have to get confused by their life.
Perhaps the fact that I can't remember is a BENEFIT.

While these three may cover a lot of the perspectives I've encountered, there
are so many other ways to look at reincarnation that these hardly seem fair.

Other questions to ponder when considering the one you asked:

What is sin?
What is birth?
What is incarnation and how does it relate to birth?
What is punishment?
Does God punish?
Where do 'souls' come from?


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