A Western Buddhist's Travels

Sightseeing & detours on the path of enlightenment

Reflections on life and rebirth

Yesterday  I took a day to celebrate my birthday. I can happily say I am 52, or I have been blessed to spend 52 years experiencing this life. When I die there will not be another me. I can hear the gasps out there, as non-Buddhist and some western Buddhists wonder if I believe in rebirth. Yes as I have had too many instances of déjà view which could not be explained, as oh you have been here before, or you have been in the same situation before. I also have an ease with which I can adapt to the culture around me and yet still retain my identity. As I explained to a friend in another country, the goal is acclimation not assimilation. To be familiar and comfortable with the customs, morals, lifestyle and foods around me, so as not to give offence or imply judgement. While at the same time be able to maintain those values I hold sacred, to enjoy foods that are pleasing to my palate, adjusted to that which is locally available, etc. So this life essence or energy will carry on into the next life, just as it did from my previous lives. Science tells us that energy and matter are indestructible, so the energy that animated this body will transfer into another form. Buddha said we can be reborn in different realms, so perhaps next time I might not be human, or perhaps I will be female, to learn something or to use up retributive karmic energy from this or a past life. Modern science has measured the electrical voltage and amperage of the human body. They can even tell you when that energy is gone. Ask any scientist and they will tell you the latest hypothesis on where that energy goes. For the last few decades there has even been a discussion of a few grams of weight disappearing at the moment of death, this however still has not been verified repeatedly. The reason I point this out, is the Buddha mentioned this life force leaving, this energy going into another form 2600 years ago. It is only less than a century that science has found this to be true, perhaps in another 2500 years they will be able to answer where this energy goes. Another possibility a lot of scientists mention as feasible, and science fiction has used as a plot for about a century, is the transference of a human’s life essence, thoughts, feelings being placed in an android body, in order to accomplish this, something has to be transferrable, or all we will have left is a pale copy.

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