Birthmarks and Reincarnation

An open and inclusive investigation into Buddhism and spiritual cultivation

Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Aloka » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:21 pm

polarbuddha101 wrote:Sounds like superstition...http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tXsxvdF4 ... re=related

It is also inappropriate attention...

"This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'


The birthmark and reincarnation thing also reeks to high heaven of confirmation bias.

Things like this are best put aside in my opinion.

:soap: :anjali:


Great Stevie Wonder track, polarbuddha101!

Is your sutta quote from MN2 ?
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Yana » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:33 pm

SamKR wrote:
But to try to understand about "reincarnation" or rebirth is not inappropriate attention, although that is not essential for the practice of Dhamma.
Those who don't believe and want to put this question aside while practicing Dhamma, that's totally fine. But there are people who find the rebirth doctrine essential to their Dhamma practice. Therefore, I think it might be better not to dissuade believers from believing in things that have been stated many times by the Buddha.


Well said.

Understanding rebirth is not inappropriate attention.

The replies sound to me like:

I believe in rebirth but thinks its absurd that anything supports it"

I personally,would not have even accepted the dhamma if it weren't for having first accepted the concept of rebirth.So i won't even begin to pretend that Rebirth is not relevant to my daily dhamma practice.I see it in every minute detail to grander scale such as physical rebirth.And I don't have a problem if it's not relevant to you but it's relevant to me,not so i can sit around for tea and chat about who i was to you in your past ten lives,I mean who in their right mind would like to recollect their past lives.One life's harder enough to manage as it is...And yet accepting rebirth was what helped me see the arising and passing away of phenomenons,my personal story about my birthmark and the fatal wound really helped me contemplate death and impermanence.Imagine looking at something that made you realize death isn't a dream.It's real.It got to you.And it will still get you.Every time.without fail.How is that inappropriate attention..concentrating on that birthmark was to me in ten minutes an hours worth of reading a dhamma book.

so could you as fellow Buddhists keep this in mind.Not everyone neither believes or disbelieves...
..some of us just plain as day believe given to our different conditioning,maybe through direct experience etc.Instead of "dissuading us from believing in things that have been stated many times by the Buddha'-Sam-KR maybe try and be a little more understanding or not so judgmental and quick to dismiss it as reeking of superstition or inappropriate attention..It all comes down to intentions.:anjali:
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby daverupa » Sun Nov 18, 2012 5:49 pm

Yana wrote:..Then I thought well if I did die because...


How is this not "how was I in the past"?

For my part, I'm not antagonistic, but I am thoroughly confused.
    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting oneself one protects others? By the pursuit, development, and cultivation of the four establishments of mindfulness. It is in such a way that by protecting oneself one protects others.

    "And how is it, bhikkhus, that by protecting others one protects oneself? By patience, harmlessness, goodwill, and sympathy. It is in such a way that by protecting others one protects oneself.
- Sedaka Sutta [SN 47.19]
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby gavesako » Mon Nov 19, 2012 7:06 pm

For a contemporary inspiration with birthmarks see:

Cloud Atlas - epic film about karmic relationships and reincarnation spanning many lives

See the trailer of this promising new film made by the same directors as The Matrix which already had some Buddhist themes in it:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1371111/

Cloud Atlas

'Souls cross ages like clouds cross skies ...'

An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.

It's a fantastic book. It tells six stories from six separate time-lines however, each story is mentioned in the story that follows it. Each story ends suddenly and then the author revisits each story to give us each it's closing.

http://cloudatlas.warnerbros.com

http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/filmblog ... -inception

http://www.youtube.com/user/cloudatlasmovie


Mitchell having expressed an interest in Buddhism, and having stated that the protagonists of Cloud Atlas were intended to be the same soul reincarnated,
as signified by 'the motif of the comet-shaped birthmark'.

Mitchell has said of the book: "All of the [leading] characters are reincarnations of the same soul ... identified by a birthmark. ... The "cloud" refers to the ever-changing manifestations of the "atlas", which is the fixed human nature. ... The book's theme is predacity ... individuals prey on individuals, groups on groups, nations on nations."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cloud_Atlas_(novel)


On its simplest level, Cloud Atlas is a set of six sharply
contrasting stories, each one capable of standing alone
as a complete tale, but only revealing its full resonance
when viewed in the context of the total work. ...

Yet the concept of a
“cloud atlas” appears elsewhere—for example, as a
symbolic representation of the transmigration of souls
—or in a rare recording of Frobisher’s composition that
figures as a plot elements in a separate story. The
multivalent meaning of this one element is an example
of the many prefigurings and reverberations that give
depth and suchness to this ambitious novel.

As a result, the linkages between the six narratives are
difficult, perhaps impossible, to summarize. But let me
propose a (Philip K.) Dicksian way of approaching this
interconnectivity. Imagine that the defining stories of
our lives are not rooted in reality, as many critics
assume, but in other stories. ...

On top of this intriguing structure, Mitchell
superimposes echoes of Nietzsche’s theory of eternal
recurrence. You may recall that this odd and seemingly
implausible philosophical concept proposes a universe
that does not advance chronologically, but merely
repeats itself, over and over again. This cyclical concept
of history does not presuppose any theistic doctrines,
but can be made congruent with a belief in
reincarnation. Mitchell clearly draws on this
metaphysical angle, and sets in motion story elements
that imply that the characters in his six tales may be
reincarnations of each other.

Of course, none of this is presented in the blunt, point-
by-point way that I have just outlined it. Mitchell
works his changes subtly, and even at his most
philosophical, he “clouds” his points in a fog of
ambiguity. He is, after all, a storyteller and not a
theoretician, and the narrative is never dislodged by
the higher order meanings. They merely float above
the action.
http://www.conceptualfiction.com/cloud_atlas.html

What you can see when a reader is looking ahead like this is the appetite for a narrative structure: a plan. What the reader gets in Cloud Atlas are intimations of some large scheme of things. From comet-shaped birthmarks that distinguish characters in the different stories, to accidents of recurring names and dates, connections keep being sensed - even more on a second reading. But do the connections belong to the narrative structure? By his own account, Mitchell's method involved immersing himself in the different narratives one at a time, even keeping them in different "folders". He then dovetailed them together at a late stage in the novel's composition. He is not the only novelist to have worked like this. Most famously, Franz Kafka's The Trial is a novel put together, after the novelist's death, from chapters or episodes that were composed discretely and whose sequence is not self-evident.
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2005/ap ... idmitchell



Drops in the ocean: Buddhist reflections on David Mitchell’s “Cloud Atlas”
Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, is a ripping good read with plenty of action and suspense. It’s also a cautionary tale of karma-vipāka (how our actions set up complex results, short- and long-term) and how failing to choose is itself a choice just as much as a conscious decision is. ...
Though Cloud Atlas is not a Buddhist book, I found certain Dharmic themes reflected in the prose. The strongest of these is the Three Characteristics of Conditioned Existence (impermanence, non-substantiality and unsatisfactoriness), which seem woven throughout the narratives. Or maybe, like when I first fell in love with old Volvos, I just see them everywhere. In one brief scene, from a time maybe 200 years from now, a humanoid fabricant being, somni-451, is being shuttled from safe-house to safe-house, avoiding the corporate/government authorities. She is being hunted down as the (reluctant) figure-head in an emerging revolution of the have-nots against their ‘beloved masters’. She is taken to what had been, centuries before, a monastic complex with many temples and shrines somewhere in Korea, perhaps. Visible across the river gorge is a carved, serene, seated, cross-legged figure, the worse for wear and tear, in huge bas-relief. Somni-451 comes out just before dawn, and sees the elderly headwoman who is sitting, contemplating this figure. She is the abbess, who, as a young girl, had trained briefly as a nun and is the only survivor from the time of rehabilitation (or death) of those who practiced the old, now-banned, religions. She tells somni-451 about this Siddhartha and how he taught freedom from suffering. But she can’t really tell her the stories, because they have all been lost. Nonetheless, she abides, and helps those who come to this place seeking freedom.
http://www.wildmind.org/blogs/book-revi ... -the-ocean
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Kusala » Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:50 am

http://haigobaigo.hubpages.com/hub/rein ... onevidence

* James LeiningerObsessed with airplanes from the age of 2, James fascinated his parents by recalling very specific information about aircraft, from the names of different war planes to the names of specific parts on the vehicles. He had frequent nightmares of crashing his plane into a mountain that would wake him up in panics. The Leiningers became very engaged when their son began to tell them about his life as James M. Huston Jr., a fighter pilot who was supposedly killed in air combat. His parents did some research only to find that Huston really did exist and that his plane was shot down at Iwo Jima during the Second World War. The child was taken to Anne Barron, sister of the killed pilot, who verified the boy’s details about her brother.
---------------------------
*Born in Delhi, India, Gopal, a three year old boy, spoke about living in a city called Mathura which was 160 miles from where he lived. Among other details, he claimed to have owned a medical company and to have been shot by his brother. It was researched and found that the name Gopal had provided as that of his company, Sukh Shancharak, was in fact the very name of the shot man he had been describing.

---------------------------
* In Beirut, a young boy described in detail his past life of being a mechanic killed by being thrown from his car. The specific facts he provided, including his age and family members’ and friends’ names, checked out to be true. He was even able to recall the exact location of the accident which took his life. There was no reason to suspect the two families had ever come into contact with one another.
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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby barcsimalsi » Wed Nov 21, 2012 12:48 pm

Kusala wrote:http://haigobaigo.hubpages.com/hub/reincarnationevidence

James Leininger, Obsessed with airplanes from the age of 2... a fighter pilot who was killed in air combat
Born in Delhi, India, Gopal, a three year old boy... have been shot by his brother
In Beirut, a young boy ... being a mechanic killed by being thrown from his car

Nice articles to support reincarnation.
I wonder why every story of reincarnation is about past life as human, [[except for the Buddha]]no one ever remember their past as hungry ghost or deity or chimpz or roaches. Is there a brief explanation to this stupid question?
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby santa100 » Wed Nov 21, 2012 5:27 pm

There's no way to verify those cases where folks reported experiences from non-human realms and so they probably got eliminated from the candidate list for investigation. It's kinda tough to verify someone's claim that s/he used to be a deva ruling from above... :tongue:
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Dmytro » Wed Nov 21, 2012 9:35 pm

barcsimalsi wrote:I wonder why every story of reincarnation is about past life as human, [[except for the Buddha]]no one ever remember their past as hungry ghost or deity or chimpz or roaches. Is there a brief explanation to this stupid question?


In Vimuttimagga (p.223) it is said that:

"Having found out the way he should not recall to mind his states of existence in the animal world and in the formless realm, and, because of inconscience, births in the plane of the unconscious deities."

As for the past life as a deity - people won't talk about this for several reasons. Human births are relatively acceptable.
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Kusala » Thu Nov 22, 2012 11:35 am

Yana wrote:Hi Everyone,

I just came back from the library where i stumbled on this interesting book about reincarnation. I read that in some Asian cultures they mark a dying person so that when they are reborn they’ll bear the same markings and they’ll be able to recognize them. Have you heard of such practices,are they common in Buddhism? It also says that birthmarks were actually fatal wounds we got in our past lives,that it affected our relinking consciousness or our last moments of consciousness, to the point that it got carried into our present lives.

That book kind of surprised me because I remembered this memory when I was in junior high and I was waiting for the bus at school,I use to have this sharp pain like I got stabbed but not with a knife or anything big.It was an isolated pain,and it was on my chest. I grabbed my chest and held it in knowing the whole time that there were no wounds or anything physical but I could still sense pain vibrating from that spot and it made me grit my teeth.It was cold.And I could taste blood and metal in my mouth.The pain was like a cold vibration on my chest. Felt like a small thin metal and sharp like object went right in. When my mother checked the spot that I pointed at, she just said it’s a silly little birthmark ,I was born with it she remembers. It’s a small perfect circle on my chest that I have managed to ignore,I experience this pain maybe 4 times a year since as long as I can remember but now it's fading away. Never really gave it much thought. The circle just looked like you used an instrument to draw it because it looks very precise. A perfect circle.
Then I thought well if I did die because of a fatal insertion(an entry wound) to my chest then It should come through on the other side of my body. And it should leave another birth mark quite naturally. so I went to the bathroom used two mirrors to check my back for any signs.I thought there would probably be a few on my upper neck or lower back but to my great surprise there was ONLY ONE RIGHT BEHIND the one on my chest!and I froze! I studied it carefully it was just an inch to the left and it was not a perfect circle a bit oval but the same overall size and colour. After searching i realized those are the only two birth marks I have.And the only two i have are both in the same angle.

So it really gave me something to think about..especially about death and rebirth ..for a weird moment it doesn't seem like a distant thought ..it seemed quite real and tangible now even natural..which is interesting because if it is true birthmarks could serve as a handy reminder of death and rebirth much like a tattoo would in many ways now that i think of it.

But i'd like to know if you do have similar experiences?
What does Buddhism say about this?According to Buddhism could there be any truth to it? Or could it be pure coincidence? Is there anywhere in the sutta that tells a story of a deformity or birthmark that was a product of a previous life.(I forgot to mention it also says deformity).

Thank you! :anjali:


Hey Yana, this Dhamma talk by Ajahn Nyanadhammo might be of interest. Ajahn Naynadhammo is an Australian monk with years of experience living in the forests of Thailand. His understanding of Buddhism is deep and profound.

Buddhism And Psychic Phenomena

http://www.dhammaloka.org.au/component/ ... omena.html

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Homage to the Buddha
Thus indeed, is that Blessed One: He is the Holy One, fully enlightened, endowed with clear vision and virtuous conduct, sublime, the Knower of the worlds, the incomparable leader of men to be tamed, the teacher of gods and men, enlightened and blessed.

Homage to the Teachings
The Dhamma of the Blessed One is perfectly expounded; to be seen here and now; not delayed in
time; inviting one to come and see; onward leading (to Nibbana); to be known by the wise, each for himself.
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby C J » Fri Nov 30, 2012 9:51 am

santa100 wrote:There's no way to verify those cases where folks reported experiences from non-human realms and so they probably got eliminated from the candidate list for investigation. It's kinda tough to verify someone's claim that s/he used to be a deva ruling from above... :tongue:


Even-though I haven't heard of any deity(deva) related reincarnation cases, there were some animal related reincarnation cases reported in Sri Lanka. I though they might be interesting.

One boy remembered been a rabbit. He said he remembered living in the woods behind his present house and one day he was killed. He had pointed at the a location too. His parents recalled a rabbit which was always in those woods. And reporters had identified a hunter who said he had killed a rabbit on that same location.

Another boy remembered been a white cobra and living in a tree hollow situated in a temple. When researched according to his descriptions they had found out that temple. Head monk in the temple could remember this white cobra. At that time people had treated this cobra as a special animal, it had been around the temple for a while but had not harmed anyone. Head monk could remember this cobra been dead one day, while hanging his head out of the tree hollow. People even had performed Buddhist burial customs (Sri Lankan) on this cobra.

Above are some news reports I had read.
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby C J » Fri Nov 30, 2012 10:37 am

Hi Yana,

Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

It's really amazing how this reincarnation works isn't it? You still get a pain from a previous life, wow.
Even I was amazed by Dr. Stevenson's research finding that you can get marks or anomalies from previous life's.

One can explain all these using karma. You had to face that tragic incidence as a karma vipaka. But until you suffer your bad karma fully, it follows you (like a wheel on a bullock cart follows the bull) to your next life too.

Even-though I was born as a Buddhist, I had my doubts on reincarnation and karma until I read about Dr. Stevenson's research. At last a medical doctor, a professor, someone practice modern science had found real life evidence, how could anyone deny that? I don't understand.

One day, hundred years or may be thousand years from now science will accept reincarnation as a fact. That day, people will laugh at those who didn't believe reincarnation at our time. Same as we laugh at people who didn't believe that Earth is a globe. They laughed at the idea and asked, if earth is a globe why not people at the bottom fall down :rofl:

Philosophy professor Dr. Robert Almeder of Georgia State University says "It's irrational to disbelieve it [Dr. Stevenson's research and reincarnation]".
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hZhMDU9GcVg
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Mr Man » Fri Nov 30, 2012 6:45 pm

Hi CJ
Have you read this interview with Ian Stevenson?
http://whitecrows.davidsmuse.co.uk/ian-stevenson-omni-interview/

Omni: Your new book discusses some misconceptions about the idea of reincarnation. What is the most common?

Stevenson: The idea that reincarnation must include what Hindus call Karma, especially retributive Karma.

----

Omni: In your new book you speak reprovingly of people easily persuaded by your evidence. Is your position that reincarnation can never really be demonstrated?

Stevenson: I don’t think I rebuke anybody for being convinced by the evidence. All I say is that maybe they shouldn’t believe on the basis of what’s in that particular book, because the detailed case reports are in my other books. Essentially I say that the idea of reincarnation permits but doesn’t compel belief. All the cases I’ve investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it’s more likely that more and more people will see its relevance.
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby C J » Sun Dec 02, 2012 6:14 pm

Mr Man wrote:Hi CJ
Have you read this interview with Ian Stevenson?
http://whitecrows.davidsmuse.co.uk/ian-stevenson-omni-interview/

Omni: Your new book discusses some misconceptions about the idea of reincarnation. What is the most common?

Stevenson: The idea that reincarnation must include what Hindus call Karma, especially retributive Karma.

----

Omni: In your new book you speak reprovingly of people easily persuaded by your evidence. Is your position that reincarnation can never really be demonstrated?

Stevenson: I don’t think I rebuke anybody for being convinced by the evidence. All I say is that maybe they shouldn’t believe on the basis of what’s in that particular book, because the detailed case reports are in my other books. Essentially I say that the idea of reincarnation permits but doesn’t compel belief. All the cases I’ve investigated so far have shortcomings. Even taken together, they do not offer anything like proof. But as the body of evidence accumulates, it’s more likely that more and more people will see its relevance.


Thank you for mentioning, I had read it.

I think you are trying to imply that Dr.Stevenson did not favor karma.

But it is clear that through his research Dr.Stevenson came to believe in reincarnation. (That's why he kept a locked cabinet when he died http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/boz ... -stevenson).
That is what important here, scientific evidence supporting (not necessarily proving) reincarnation.

As Buddhists we don't expect him to prove karma. Buddha himself pointed-out that precise working out of results of karma as something that we can not be exact about and something we should not be worried about (AN 4.77 http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an04/an04.077.than.html).

I think Dr.Stevenson's research is the beginning of new scientific era in psychology. There will be many to follow in due-course.
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