Do there is a great desire to

Do there is a great desire to

Do human beings live only once, or are we granted the opportunity to returnafter death and experience many different lives? The question of reincarnationhas been examined for thousands of years and has been embraced in variousdegrees by numerous religions. Scientists speculate that even the people wholived during the New Stone Age (10,000B.C.E – 5,000B.C.E.

) believed that once aperson died, their journey had not yet concluded (Christie-Murray p.16). Becauseideas about a society that lived so long ago are frequently not concrete and canbe difficult for present day culture to grasp, many scholars point towardsHinduism as being one of the earliest religions to offer explanations ofreincarnation. Hinduism, originating sometime during the fourth millennium BCEis the most ancient of the surviving great religions (Christie-Murray p.30).

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Theadoption of the belief of rebirth can be found in Hindu scriptures dating around600 BCE As time progressed, suggestions of reincarnation began to be found inBuddhism, Taoism, Judaism, and Christianity. While this is certainly not acomplete list, or a statement that each of these religions embraces and in turnteaches the theory of rebirth, it does shed light to the fact that among verydiverse beliefs and lifestyles there is a great desire to know what happensafter death. In addition to the search about what transpires posthumously, manypeople see reincarnation as an explanation for many of the great questions aboutlife.

Such as, why is there suffering in the world? is there a meaning to life?how can child prodigies be explained? and are memories about past lives valid?Following is a discussion of how the theory of rebirth can answer some oflifes most difficult questions and provide supportive evidence collectedthroughout the years for Western minds who find the idea of multiple livesdifficult to grasp. Religion in the Western region of the world is predominatelyChristian. Among the people practicing Christianity, the idea that God isomnipotent is very prevalent. However, the idea of the all-powerful God bringsup and interesting dilemma. If God is responsible for all that happens in theuniverse, why is there widespread suffering? Is this God an unsympathetic Godand does he feel the need to punish some people? Many people cannot accept theidea that the center of their worship would have cruel tendencies. Therefore,many are of the belief that God is a loving and kind God. But if God controlsthe universe with a loving hand, why have there been floods, deadly famines,children born into poverty or deformed, and why do some people seem to live suchdifficult lives? There are no clear answers to any of these questions.

However,reincarnation suggests the idea that there is in fact justice in the world.Ancient wisdom teaches that divine justice does rule the world and that thereis a meaning and purpose behind human life. Despite the appearance of injustice,perfect justice is in fact insured to every human being by the operation of acompensatory law, the law of cause and effect known in the East as Karma (Hodson,p.5). The Law of Karma is the law of causality extended in the world of humanaction. More simply stated, every human action, mental, emotional or physical,produces and exactly appropriate reaction. However, the reaction may not bereceived in during the current life (Hodson, p.

56). Therefore, suffering is anexpression of past deeds and a entrance to pending life experiences and is not aresult of Gods hatred or indifference, but rather a definite universal law.Reincarnation offers the hope for a better future because it suggests that witheach life we gain more knowledge and are more prepared for the next life.If suffering is an unavoidable part of life, many people cant help but ask islife worth living? Is there a purpose to human existence if it can be extremelypainful or just end suddenly? In broad terms, it can be said that the purpose oflife is the evolution of the human soul (Hodson).

The process of growth throughphysical experience continues until death and is continuous throughout differentbodies. The time and how the death occurs is governed by the Law of Cause andEffect. The final stage of the cycle occurs when the soul is free from desireand is perfectly happy with life and everything that has been experienced.

Atthe end of the journey, the soul is reabsorbed into the higher self fromwhence it came (Hodson p.53).This is often referred to nirvana orenlightenment in Eastern religions. In Christianity this idea is expressed bySt. Paul in Ephesians 4.13, Till we all come in of the faith, and of theknowledge of the Son of God, into a perfect man, into the measure of thefullness of Christ(Hodson p.

5). This attainment is represented for everyperson in the Bible, Be ye therefore of perfect, even as your father which isin Heaven is perfect Matthew 5.48 (Hodson p.5).

Christianity does not embracereincarnation and teaches that once a person dies, their soul can go to Heaven,Hell, or in some cases Purgatory. However, a single life span, even when thereare a variety or experiences of, the attainment of physical, intellectual, andspiritual perfection would be impossible. A person would need toexperience both the life of an animal and a human as well as both sexes anddifferent races and lifestyles to be able to grasp the vast diversity of theuniverse (Hodson). Therefore, the reaching the fullness of Christ would beimpossible in a single life. When a child is born, it is a time for family andfriends to guess what is in store for this new life and what kind of person thechild will grow to be. But, does this child begin with a blank slate or is itfull of experiences of past lives.

This question come into the foregroundespecially when dealing with the issue of child prodigies. How could a child of8 conduct an eighty piece orchestra or a poor, uneducated boy of the age of 13discuss complicated mathematical theorems with top mathematicians? Reincarnationoffers the idea that the inexplicable skills are the result of the incarnationof people who had mastered the skills in a prior life and they are now beingexpressed at an early age in the child (Hodson). Among children withoutextraordinary talents, there are questions about what accounts for thepersonality differences between children of the same parents, living in the samehousehold. Genetics and environment play a huge role in who we are, but there isalso the issue of what we have experienced in our past lives. Every decision wemake, even if considered instinct, is a result of prior knowledge stored in theself-conscious (Algeo). Another striking endorsement for reincarnation is theexistence of people who have memories of events completely unrelated tothemselves which are considered to be recollections of their past lives.Accurate memories of a past life are due to transference of experiences from onebody to the next.

The validity of the accounts are very controversial because itis often difficult for scientists to prove whether or not a person is actuallyhave a memory or are creating the memory. However there have been hundreds ofdocumented cases where the only explanation is reincarnation. One such case isthe widely publicized account of a Colorado housewife named Ruth Simmons.Simmons began to have memories of her past live as a woman living in Irelandnamed Bridey Murphy. Simmons was put into a trance known as hypnotic regressionby well-known hypnotist Morrey Bernstein and gave an account of her life. Shenamed her hometown of Cork, her husbands name and people she worked with.

Because Bridey Murphy was not a famous or well-known individual it was difficultto find corroborating evidence, but enough was found to be accurate to deem herexperience most to be most likely a remembrance of a past live (Algeo). Thereare many objections to reincarnations in the Western world in addition to thosewhich have religious connotations. The statement, I dont want to come hereagain is often said by people when the idea of rebirth is spoken of. However,this statement is made without the consideration that you do not return to thesame life and are not even in the same body. The true self cannot die, only thebody. The body has a beginning and an end but the soul is eternal. Sir EdwinArnold expressed this idea in his translation of The Bhagavad Gita: Never thespirit was born; The spirit shall cease to be never; Never was time it was not;End and Beginning are Dreams; Birthless and deathless and changeless remaineththe spirit forever; Death hath not touched it at all, dead though the house ofit seems (Hodson, p.

10). While the memory of past lives can be used as evidenceto support the idea of rebirth, those that do not have the memories ask how canpast lives exist if I cannot recall them? To that question, one can answer thatthere are many things that have existed that we do not remember. Memories ofones own birth, first steps, and learning to read and often not present, butone cannot deny that those events occurred. If every mundane detail of every dayand life was recalled our brains would be so cluttered. The lack of memoriesalso allow for new experiences. Even though one may not remember their pastlife, the experiences are forever ingrained in their soul. To reach thisknowledge, one must be able to separate from the physical self and attachmentsand when this separation occurs, one can become aware of their past.

Thefruits of the past lives are expressed however, in each new personality asinstinct and inherent gifts as sympathies and antipathies and as the voiceof conscience (Hodson p.29). According to Carl Jung, the fact that peoplespeak about reincarnation means that it exists. The question of rebirth willmost likely always remained unanswered but there is enough evidence to embraceit as a possibility. Reincarnation is widely excepted as a fact in Easterncultures and it will be interesting to see if the Western biases can beeliminated.

If Western culture accepts the ideas of karma and rebirth theeffects on society could be very drastic. People would become aware thateverything they do has an effect on there life, both current and future.Hopefully, each member of society would appreciate how everything isinterconnected and strive to act in a just manner and gain valuable experiencesas they continue of the journey of lives.Religion

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