Burning Questions re: Souls

Discussion in 'Reincarnation Questions' started by Raj, Jun 13, 2006.

  1. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    I have a question(Yes another one) Actually I have questions. I can't stop thinking about it, and when I do think about it, I get a headache. There are just so many questions that pop up in my head at the same time. Allow me to share some:

    Is there a soul? When I say soul, I mean an individual soul, that transferrs from one body to the other. When we say "my past life" and "my future life" who and what exactly is the "I" they belong to? When did "I" come into being? Why did "I" come into being?

    If there was no individual self, as Buddhists say, then how can I have a past life or future life? This revokes the Rebirth vs reincarnation debate.

    If at one time "I" was a single celled organism, that split up it into many other "I's" which further split up into more "I's" then wouldn't we all be the same "I" then? In that case wouldn't all our past lives and futue lives belong to the same I?

    I've read all kinds of ideas on this(and still reading) but am none the wiser, but I do think I am starting to untie it.

    I am interested in the ideas others have to share on these age-old questions. (Kris, Atman or Atmans?)
     
  2. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    I say there is a soul. In order for reincarnation to happen, there must be an object that reincarnates.

    I believe that the Buddhist teaching of no soul or no Atman has become distorted over the centuries. When pushed into a corner, they have to admit "something" travels from birth to birth, but their dogma prevents them from admitting it.

    The rebirth vs. reincarnation debate has gone on for centuries with Buddhists, and will continue. Do not attempt to talk a Buddhist out of such a belief -- attempting to remove such dogma is often a waste of time.

    Why does this give you a headache? Are you trying to justify a dogma that is unjustifiable? (That would give anyone a headache.)
     
  3. Deborah

    Deborah Executive Director Staff Member

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    HI Raj,

    You might be interested in The Spiritual Universe by Fred Alan Wolf Ph.D. "How Quantum Physics Proves the Existence of the Soul." ;)

    Excerpt-

    He addresses the Buddhist perspective and relates it to science. Now - mind you - I do not promise a lesser headache. :laugh: : angel :butbut: But I do highly recommend the read.
     
  4. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    What, you don't have a headache? You probably have not thought about this deeply enough yet then! It's causing my head to swirl, honestly I feel if I go any deeper, I might go mad - insufficient resources to understand mysteries of the universe!

    I think it is dogmatic, how you think Buddhist "No Atman" is a dogma that is unjustifiable. It is actually reasonable. If the universe is a dichotomy of the object and observer, and in absolute, is non-dual and objectless. Then there can be no self, otherwise there would be duality.

    Suppose, that the void when we close our eyes is non-duality. When I open my eyes, there is duality. The idea of "self" implies an observer, and an observer implies observing an object i.e, the eyes are open and there is duality. t

    There can only be true non-duality, if there was no self. This is consistent with Nirvana. I don't think it is fair to translate "Atman" to be self. The Atman is this state of existence that is beyond comprehension, beyond existence and non-existence, beyond duality(hence the headache)

    You're right, for there to be reincarnation, there must be an object that has reincarnated. The question is, who and/or what is that object, when and why did it come into being, where is it heading etc

    I think there is a very intimate relationship between evolution and reincarnation.... I am just trying to work that out :D
     
  5. casey

    casey New Member

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    raj you've basically just said everything i've been thinking about for the past few months and believe me it's giving me a headache as well!!I have so many thoughts going around in my head about life,death,life after death ,reincarnation etc etc just can't my head around it all
     
  6. jackh

    jackh Senior Registered

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    Raj and Casey

    Another view point maybe:butbut: I see it as soul exists because God loves it. That said Michael Newton has a regression experience in his 2nd book I believe ,where the client described where souls "came" from. She was an attendant of new souls when they came "through". This is about the best description I have heard. Shortly after I learned how to do OBE's I had this same question of where do souls come from. What I saw was a wall, I don't have the words to describe it.:confused: What I saw was balls of light popping out. I knew they were new souls. That was the end of the experience. This took place before Michael's book was printed.

    My own understanding of the process of rebirth is soul puts energy into the new physical body and regains it upon death of the same.

    Jack
     
  7. kris0503

    kris0503 Senior Registered

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    Have you ever asked the question - is there a xangopango? :)
    I don't think reincarnation happens. It just seems that way.
    Isn't a belief in a soul a dogma?
     
  8. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    Raj,

    Ah, the ability to think about all this stuff and not get a headache! I suppose it is because I think about this stuff all the time, and I have been doing it for decades. Practice makes perfect...?

    No, it is not a matter of practice makes perfect. It is a matter of putting all the pieces together, and coming up with a belief system that is 100% consistent, with no paradoxes. I have been able to do that, and others have not. All I can do is urge you on, keeping adding and taking ideas away from your belief system, until it is solid, as mine is.

    I guess whether the Atman exists or not depends on the person's belief system -- it works for me, it does not work for you. It sounded like you were pro-Atman, now it sounds you are anti-Atman. Oh, well....

    You said,

    "If the universe is a dichotomy of the object and observer, and in absolute, is non-dual and objectless. Then there can be no self, otherwise there would be duality."

    --> What you say is true. But you make take it to its obvious conclusion -- I do not exist, you do not exist, this computer in front of me does not exist, etc. Nothing exists in the true sense of the word. Thus, there is no self -- or anything else.

    "When I open my eyes, there is duality."

    --> We are here for one purpose -- to have experiences. Without duality, we would be unable to experience anything. For now, duality works just fine. The day will come when duality is no longer necessary, and it will disappear.

    "There can only be true non-duality, if there was no self. This is consistent with Nirvana."

    --> That is the true nature of things. However, I see Nirvana as the absence of separation while maintaining our individuality. It has been said that all separation between you and me disappears in Nirvana, yet I am still me and you are still you. (Unless Nirvana is anihilation, which I reject.) Actually, it is an experience I am very much looking forward to.

    "I don't think it is fair to translate "Atman" to be self."

    --> If you mean millions of separate, non-connected souls, no it does not. If you mean that we will all merge with the one Self, yes it does.

    "The Atman is this state of existence that is beyond comprehension, beyond existence and non-existence, beyond duality(hence the headache)."

    --> This gets back to the definition of non-existence, which we seem to disagree about.

    "You're right, for there to be reincarnation, there must be an object that has reincarnated. The question is, who and/or what is that object, when and why did it come into being, where is it heading etc."

    --> This gets into a point of concentration I always like to point out -- it is not our job to comprehend the incomprehensible, it is our job to only make progress to the next level. Trying to comprehend the incomprehensible would definitely give me a headache, and I avoid it.

    "I think there is a very intimate relationship between evolution and reincarnation.... I am just trying to work that out."

    --> Yes, there is! I have worked it out for me, I hope you can work it out for you.
     
  9. Redgod

    Redgod New Member

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    I'll repost this bit I wrote in another thread:

    So in that sense there wouldn't actually be souls as such. There'd just be 'consciousness'. A single, indivisalbe self-awarness. An analogy I thought up is sunlight shining through stained glass windows. We think we're the colorfull reflections on the floor but we're really the sunlight. When you break the window that patern is lost but the sun keeps on shining.

    Now, honestly, I don't actually find that terribly appealing. I'm a bit fond of being 'me'. Still, if you put together all the various things religions say about timelessness, interconectedness, ominpresence of 'god', karma, etc etc, it makes an awful lot of sense.
     
  10. shield

    shield Registered User

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    Redgod, that´s a really nice and, I believe, accurate analogy, I think:thumbsup:!
    ... now what´s so terrible about believing it a little?;) ;)

    Well, like you already said: to the ´me´ it can be perceived as not very appealing (ranging to intensly threatening). Logical, if we identify with the ´me´ then the possible dissolution of it, might seem equal to the death of our whole self... While in reality, I believe anyway, it´s really the other way around.

    So, there´s the question: to be or not, but where... and where´s the being; in the´me´or the or in the sunlight?
     
  11. Redgod

    Redgod New Member

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    It's almost certainly not true. ;)
     
  12. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    I think this is what scares people. The idea that nothing really exists, that it is just some projection of an infinite void, and there is no self. I've come to the same conclusion, that the universe is just existence. It is definitely mysterious though, there is some power that underlies it. However, it cannot be a personal god IMO.

    If we said that Brahman or Nirvana, is the non-dual universe, where the observer and the object collapse into one, then this state is neither existence or non-existence, neither conscious or non-conscious. It is some peculiar state.

    When in objectless Samadhi(meditation) the mediator experiences the same peculiar state, which lies beyond existence and non-existence. This state is called Maha Nirvana by Buddha.

    Those that have experienced this ultimate state of existence, have called it Sat-Chit-Anand(Existence, Consciousness and Bliss) and Buddha called it Maha Nirvana. They are both describing it as a state of experience, not as an entity.

    Now, I need to ask, how can there be consciousness and no self? We can only use the term "self" if there is duality. That is if there are two or more. If there is only one, then there is no self. For example, if we could only see one colour, we would not know what "colour" was If we could only feel cold, we would not know what temperature was. Self-awareness only comes into being when there is duality.

    So what is consciousness, devoid of self. A conscious devoid of self, would be the experience of everything as one. Like an ocean, devoid of waves, exists as an ocean.

    We will stay with the ocean example and each wave arising in the ocean is a part of that ocean, yet to an observer it would look as if the wave has a seperate existence, even though it is still the ocean, only a modification of it. So it is the modification that creates the duality. Now, let us suppose that the ocean is conscious. When a wave arises in the ocean, it is both conscious of the ocean, and also conscious of the modification(the wave) however as the wave is a disturbance in the non-dual nature of the ocean, the ocean is more aware of the wave, and begins to identify with it. Now the wave has self-awareness, it is an individual unit of consciousness, thus a soul. However, we know it really is only a modification, and the self-awarness is an illusion.

    Now, because the wave is self-aware, there is duality, there is both subject and object. This is where objective existence begins, which has both the dimensions of space and time.

    So when we think of ourselves as individual souls, we are just modifications of that consciousness, and our individuality is only an illusion. Each life is therefore a different modification, which means that one modification cannot be the other. This means I cannot be who I was in my past life.

    In fact, it is such, that all of our lives, past, present and future belong to the same consciousness. If we model that consciousness as "I" then it means I have experienced every life and every possibility.

    How does this fit into the reincarnation framework? Reicarnation, would be an order of modifications, the first modification is the "I'ness" and the soul comes into being, then it starts to evolve(the ascent of the wave) and takes on innumerable lives, but a certain sequence of lives. The sequence it takes, is unique to it. So no two souls can have the same past life.

    As an ocean is comprised of many waves and each wave is different, likewise, consciouness takes on the form of many souls, and each soul is different, and follows a different path, until it starts to realise that it really isn't a soul, it is consciousness(the descent of the wave.)

    So the existence of the soul, like all things, is relative, but like all relative things, the soul is transient and has a beginning, middle and end. Just like the wave in an ocean.

    In Sankhya philosophy, all of this universe, including the souls, are all modifications of the Gunas(Rajas, Sattva and Tamas) which are three qualities(Attraction, Inertia and Balance)and in time these modifications resolve themselves, until there is only the Guna of Sattva. That is when the universe returns to it's original unmanifest state.

    Likewise, the Gunas work on the individual level as well, our actions, thoughts and speech can either be Rajasic, Sattavic or Tamasic. When we concentrate on Sattavic, we begin to resolve the Gunas of Rajasic and Tamasic, until we are only Sattavic and we return to our true non-dual nature.

    So what is really causing the modifications to arise, is when these three qualities or forces come out of their equilibrium.
     
  13. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    Raj,

    You said, "I think this is what scares people. The idea that nothing really exists...."

    --> The point I was trying to make is that people get all excited whether or not we really exist, and they should stop worrying about it. When I hit my thumb with a hammer, it hurts!

    " ... it cannot be a personal god IMO."

    --> I gave up the idea of a personal God a long time ago.

    "Now, I need to ask, how can there be consciousness and no self?"

    "If you wish to ask such a question, the only answer is that there is no consciousness.

    "We can only use the term "self" if there is duality."

    --> One day duality will disappear.

    "So when we think of ourselves as individual souls, we are just modifications of that consciousness, and our individuality is only an illusion."

    --> Everything here is an illusion. There is no need to single out specific things here that do not exist. Just add it to the list -- of everything else.

    "In fact, it is such, that all of our lives, past, present and future belong to the same consciousness. If we model that consciousness as "I" then it means I have experienced every life and every possibility."

    --> However, we have intentionally and freely taken on a sense of separateness, which means we cannot perceive every life and every possibility. (The day will come when that limitation is removed.)
     
  14. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    I think the stand that nothing really exists, is unreasonable. Even if something is an illusion, the illusion exists. It is only when we gain further knowledge about the the true reality of things, that we recognise the illusion.

    A block of gold, is not really a block of gold, it's physical form is an illusion, it is actually an atomic structure. The atomic structure, is not really an atomic structure, it's atomic form is an illusion, it's actually vibrating energy. The vibrating energy, is not really vibrating energy, it's energetic form is an illusion, it is actually an oscillation of a superstring.

    The block of gold is tangible to us, so it's as real as anything, because it's corresponds to the same physical/gross reality that we live in. Thus reality is relative, however there comes a point where relativity ends, and there is an absolute. In relation to absolute, all other realities are unreal and illusory, yet they all exist. This is what is really meant by "Maya"

    There has to be consciousness. If there is a observer and and an object, then it means that the ultimate reality is the unification of these, and as neither observer and object cannot exist without consciouosness, it implies that consciousness must be a part of the unity.

    However, this consciousness would be a peculiar consciousness. When, the observer and object collapse into one, there is still an awareness of this. For example, when you meditate on an object, your consciousness begins to shift, and you experience altered states of consciousness. This means that conscious experience, is not a singular experience, rather a continuum of experiences, and ends when the observer and object collapse into one.
     
  15. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    Raj,

    I think we agree on a lot of things. We agree that there is an absolute, and everything else is illusion. However, I see consciousness as part of that illusion, the same as a gold brick.

    As to the debate of do we or don't we exist, I would like to offer a new way of looking at it. I have a physical body, and one day my physical body will be gone. I also have emotions, and I believe that, one day, that part of me that feels emotins will also be gone. It has been said that, one day, even our thinking consciousness will be gone. Therefore, it has been said that our goal is to prepare for the day when all of this happens.

    You seem to be familiar with Hindu terms, so I ask you, do you think we will still have consciousness during a Maha-Pralaya ("end of the universe")?
     
  16. jackh

    jackh Senior Registered

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    Interesting question Buntaro. I would like to throw in my own take on that one. Cousiousness = soul. I define soul as being a mirror image of God learning to be like God but not becoming God. The universe(s) physical as well as emotional and mental may well one day come to an end but they are not the home of soul (cousiousness). In which case soul would continue to exsist.

    Jack
     
  17. MATT

    MATT New Member

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    Soul

     
  18. jackh

    jackh Senior Registered

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    Hi Matt

    Welcome to the forum. I like your points, Thanks for posting:)

    Jack
     
  19. Ailish

    Ailish Administrator Emerita

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    Welcome, Matt.

    Enjoy the forum.


    Ailish :)
     
  20. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    Jack,

    I always find the existence/non-existence debate to be amusing. And, as you noted, the state of the disappearance of the universe is something to really ponder upon.
     
  21. Karoliina

    Karoliina Moderator Emerita

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    Hello Matt and welcome! :)

    Good to have you here! :thumbsup:

    Karoliina
     
  22. shield

    shield Registered User

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    Redgod, Well, I think your analogy presented a good case for itself as, if not the truth (thank god;) ), a good working model of it.


    Kris, I agree there...I think LOL.Tricks with mirrors... ;)
     
  23. jackh

    jackh Senior Registered

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    the state of the disappearance of the universe is something to really ponder upon

    Well Buntaro it would probably be a very interesting experience to be in a posistion as soul to watch it happen and then reform again as I can't imagine that soul would not have a school to learn in.

    Such an experience would make for a very interesting pl memory:D :butbut:

    Jack
     
  24. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    Welcome Matt, an interesting insight, sounds a bit new-agey.

    I am going to sound really pedantic :D

    The "Real Self" is not described as the Ego. The Ego is a construct, and arises due to ignorance. The whole objective of the spiritual arts, is ridding of it.

    Unless, you mean that soul, as in the individual self, in which case I suppose it is an ego.

    When you say ultrasonic frequency of energy, it sounds like a lot, but actually it's not that much at all. We can produce ultrasound. The frequency of light, is much higher. I think what you're trying to say, that the soul is of a very high frequency, beyond the electromagnetic spectrum. When you say the "5th dimension" you basically say it exists in a much higher vibration level than the physical.
     
  25. buntaro

    buntaro Senior Registered

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    Jack,

    Yes, it would be something to watch the end of the universe. I enjoy studying Eastern philosophy, because the end of the universe is covered in much more detail than in the Abrahamic religions. It has given me a strong frame of reference to go by.
     
  26. MATT

    MATT New Member

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    Raj

    Different words mean different things to different people .That is why I included the rest of the material to describe what a soul is according to my understanding . When Ego is spelled with a capital it is usually refers to the Soul. If you read the section on the Personality I refer to the ego that you are alluding to. Getting rid of the ego is not the answer. You need it to relate to the sense world .Transforming it so that it is attuned and aligned with the Soul should be ones goal.

    I usecd the word 'ultrasonic' frequency to imply a very high frequency beyond our current measurements . Perhaps I should have left the word 'sound' out and just said ultra high frequency so as not to confuse you.

    New age is just the old age material in a different wrapper.
     
  27. Raj

    Raj Registered User

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    New age, is a lot of old ideas mixed together, further mixed with a lot of new ideas, mainly science, though a lot of it is pseudoscience.

    What I think of the new-age movement, from my own experience, is that it is a bit of a mess and on the woo side, flower power man :D It's best sticking to the traditional Eastern spiritual paths.



    Buntaro, I was also wondering the same. At the end of a cycle, when the universe returns to it's original unmanifest state, what happens to the souls and the spiritual worlds. The Sankhya school, proposed that this dissolution may only affect one system, i.e., one universe. That is there maybe infinite universes being created and dissolved every moment, and a mahapralaya simply means the destruction of one universe, meaning others still exist.


    I was thinking of another model of the existence of souls. In my previous model, I modelled the soul as a wave appearing in an ocean, and then disappearing back into it. So only the ocean exists.

    However, the ocean is made up of many tiny droplets. It exists in two phases, one where it is the ocean, and the other where it is the combination of many tiny droplets. If we use Hindu terminology, I suppose you could say that Brahman is formed of many Atmans. Now, the question that should be asked, is each Atman different?

    Is each droplet of an ocean, different? Probably not, but what is different, is that when each droplet, forms it's own wave, the wave is different and follows it's own individual path.

    So if I model the universe as the ocean, the soul as the particle of the ocean, and my individuality as the wave. Then, could I say this entire universe is mine? If objective reality has only arisen due to my separation from the ocean, then could I not say this entire universe that I exist in, is my construction. That I have created this universe? I am the lord/Ishvara/god, the controller of my universe.

    If that is the case, why do you share my univese? Do you even exist, are you figments of my imagination? Did I create you? :D Don't worry I am not about to turn into a meglomaniac, I am just musing about possibilities!

    If you think about it, reality is both quasi-objective and quasi subjective. It is quasi subjective, because it all results because of my perception, and my thoughts manifest what I will experience in my reality. At any given time, I only have awarness of myself, not of anybody else. I know that I exist, because I can experience, but I cannot experience the existence of others.

    It is quasi objective, because we "seemingly" share each others reality, when in fact, we are non-local and separate waves in the ocean. So we are very much separate and independent of one another as waves, yet it appears we share each others reality.

    In Hindu cosmogony, each one of us is a reflection of the universe, which is what is meant by the Sanskrit axiom, "Tat Tvam Asi" or You are also this. This again means, that my universe, is indeed just a reflection of me. If that is the case, why am I reflecting you?

    I can think of one explanation for this,that would be consistent with the particle-wave model; interpenetrating fields. My universe, is indeed my reflection, and the reason others seem to share it, because our fields interpenetrate. This means we are all interconnected, while at the same existing in our own universes. Yes, it gets complicated, I've got another headache coming on!
     

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