Upcoming Retreat 4/16/10 – 4/18/10 Tai Chi, Chi Kung and Meditation at Ocean Resort, Vancourver Island, BC, Canadahttp://oceanresort.ca/events.html
After many years of practicing meditation and asceticism very hard, Prince Siddhartha revised his methods. He transitioned from asceticism to the “Middle Way”. This lead to the day he decided to sit under a Bodhi tree in meditation. After seven days and seven nights, Siddhartha finally reached Enlightenment. It is said in legend that Siddhartha remembered his whole previous existence during this night’s meditation.
A while ago I read an interesting news article called, “Is Boy Reincarnation of Dead Fighter Pilot? : 11-year-old US boy James Leininger could be the reincarnation of a Second World War fighter pilot, according to his parents. From an early age, James would play with nothing else but planes, his parents said. But he has suffered from regular nightmares about being shot down in a plane when he was 2. Mrs Leininger said: “In the throes of his nightmares you couldn’t work out what he was saying.” “But two or three months in, I heard him saying, ’Airplane crash, plane on fire, little man can’t get out’, and he said the plane was shot down by the Japanese. It chilled me to my bone hearing this.” James told his father Bruce he flew a Corsair, and the name of the boat he took off from “Natoma” and he flew with “Jack Larson.” And the boy pointed at a picture of Iwo Jima and said that was where he was shot down. After some research, Bruce discovered both the names were real, and Larson is living in Arkansas. He also found that just one pilot died during the battle of Iwo Jima, James M Huston Jr, 21. He was shot down on March 3, 1945. And now the highly educated parents have become convinced their son has had a former life.”
Here is one of the News website containing this story: “http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1209795/Reincarnated-Our-son-World-War-II-pilot-come-life.html”
I know that in Western culture many people don’t believe reincarnation. But in the East reincarnation is a widespread belief.
It is said in legend that Siddhartha remember his whole previous existence during his meditation under the Bodhi tree. He also discovered “Pancabhijna” or the “five supernatural powers.” From the ability called “Divyacaksus” or Devavision (the instantaneous view of anything anywhere in the form-realm; clairvoyance) he realized the essence of Samsara.
He realized it is because of “Hetuppaccaya” (cause & effect) that beings are automatically repaid in a later life for whatever they did in their previous life/lives. It is through ignorance and committing sins that all living creatures are in “Samsaracakka.” Samsaracakka is the Wheel of Rebirth; existence that remains involved in one of the six great divisions in the wheel of karma: Naraka (hell), Peta (hungry ghosts), Tiracchana (beasts), Asura (demi-gods), Manussa (human beings), and Devaloka (heaven). He saw that all living beings follow their “Karma.” It is because of “Karma” that someone is born, lives, gets old, sick and dies, only to be reborn anew. These beings (most of us) become stuck wandering perpetually!
He saw penetratingly into existence and realized the source of everything. He awakened to the truth: “The essence of the Universe is non-arising, non-ceasing, non-defiled, non-pure, non-increasing, non-decreasing.” Everything that appears in this world is gathered by “Hetuppaccaya” and also dissipated by “Hetuppaccaya”. Everything is just different varieties of phenomenon that change. For example water changes to ice and then becomes vapor. No entity can exist eternally, unshakable, and autonomously as an island. Siddhartha told himself, “Everything is false. I am false. The reason why we feel vexation, sadness and suffering is because we don’t realize this truth!”
1 Samsara: As defined by “A Glossary of Buddhist Terms in Four Languages” Compiled by Lim Teong Aik. Published by Torch of Wisdom. Taipei, Taiwan
2 ”Sariputra, the Characteristics of the Voidness of All Dharmas” from The Heart Sutra as described by the Buddhist Studies website at http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/heartstr.htm. The Heart Sutra, as explained on this webpage, describes the concept of voidness well.