Does Believing in Reincarnation (Or Any Other Post-Mortem State) Make Us Better People?

This is another case of things you think while in the shower.  This has occurred to me several times as of late.

The answer always seems to come out "no".

I am not a hideously bad person, by most standards.  I am happily married and exceedingly faithful in marriage.  I do not go out and deliberately do harm to others.  My existence is fairly orderly but I have little patience for people who act like sociopaths.  And that brings me back to the question. 

My experience in "spiritual" endeavors is that belief in afterlives, of any sort does not have any impact on how people actually behave.  An example is one very well known archivist in the (sic) theosophical tradition who also has been caught at cyberstalking.  If one believes their actions carry on to the next life, or the one thereafter I would think that they have a great future ahead as a victim of a similar invasion of privacy or other obsession.  I just don't see it.

The problem is that nobody really can say for sure what happens after one dies.  What we do know is that the body stops working and falls apart.  As far as other "bodies" goes, well, that's just someone expressing an opinion with no solid evidence to back it up.

I guess out of all of this I have come to the conclusion that Kenny Roger's "The Gambler" was right;  "The best you can hope for is to die in your sleep."

That leaves me with trying to make the best of what is in front of me, here and now.  If reincarnation is a fact and I'm wrong, so be it.  In any case the world is better off.  If reincarnation is not valid then the same is true.  For some reason the whole line of reasoning sounds like a variation on Pascal's Wager.  The funny thing is, in both cases, whether you multiply the number of possible gods or the number of different types of reincarnation, the odds work out in favor of non-belief.

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Why stop at "any other post-mortem state" ?

Does believing in any "Doctrine" make us better?

I would say no.

However, it is "belief in someone else's belief" that is the ultimate culprit.

I think it helps me...iam atleast careful not to  do even the small egotistic errors,which earlier i might have accepted as a personality trait in me and laughed it off.Karma and reincarnation makes  you want to double think everything..it makes you also pretty chameleon like in the inside as you keep vacillitating even on the same issue each day as ur inner self throws new methods of reacting or reading the same situation..

(reincarnation seems silly without karma, somehow)

One item that has always seemed arbitrary is whether a person who believes in karma and reincarnation is aware of actions that are actually "good" or "correct"?  Sometimes it is possible to do a good thing and then find out that the consequences were quite damaging in one way or another.

I keep circling back to agreeing with Joe.

"Murphy's Law" trumps my best efforts. No good deed goes unpunished. Or, Nature will rise up to any occasion to prove you are wrong on just about everything. Quicksilver Messenger Service had a song... "Pride of Man", I think it was called.

broken in the dust again.....

Well said John ! (the first part that is ).

Why does a man have a bad experience even if his intentions were good - this merits great attention because man is a conglomerate of the Physical,Mental and Intellectual - and it is a decided experience that if a man does good he does not incur any adverse effect .But we all experience to the contrary this is due to the fact if I believe that I am the body and another person is the body (Name and Form ) I will NEVER do what is good for him rather what I am doing will be What I perceive to be good for him and hence QED.

Untenable it might appear at first - but we act last with the body - the manifestation of the act takes much before that it is inner to the physical act . My Intent will guide my intellect which in turn through feeling guides the mind and lastly action is carried out . If bad was experienced two things are necessary to be checked while licking the wounds and cursing an ingrate and the ungrateful world - Was your WILL guided by Right Knowledge or just by  words (sounds) and appearances.(Name form and Sound ) .

For will exercised without knowledge of the mental and intellectual rules will be corrupt due to wrong knowledge .

So even if intent is good (the intellect recognizes this ) but it will not recognize a person with insufficient will or knowledge  and will adjust the rules of restitution and  benefits immediately and you will suffer automatically . 

these are cases of 'Instant Karma" (if I may so put it ). 

Now how will the Intellect recognize sufficient will in order that your "good'' intention does not turn sour ? - for this it should recognize you as having right reason failing which you will suffer . 

It is only a man of Right reason /or woman for that matter who can "DICTATE'' the intent to the intellect and not just "Assume an intent built on feeling and knowledge of the Name and forms of the  world''. 

For this you should place yourself in the self as a witness only  (this is higher than the personal ego which is only a reflection of the self with all useless knowledge attached to it ). 

As there is no ego the intellect will act automatically according to will which is unfettered and the mind and body will execute it with extreme felicity . (Even knowingly practising this will bring in results)

Knowledge will guide will into intent feeling and will automatically - it is a happy life no need of god or ethics or even thinking of right or wrong everything is a greased machine without parts to wear away - body will fall off it is inevitable . 

Agency and Will have to be known in great detail before one even contemplates Karma . And these are issues which are eternally contented so it is ones contentment that matters . Do not take anybody's word - take what is good and forget the rest -commonsense is the best . My advice to you is Do not read me and I will not write anymore!!!

Reinkarnation and karma ist together the cosmic law. Only this way it makes sense.

The problem i see is, that a nummer of people do not believe in this.But it is a fact.If you do harm to others the lipika will keep the mirror and it will come back to you like a bumerang.If the people would be aware of this fact-they would not do any harm to other because i am sure nobady wants really to hurt himself.........and if one is studiing Karma and the law hoa karma works out it is seen, that karma can stikes back after a couple times of incarnations.When the circumstances are than given...

Have a nice day

Om patita

Well said!

Reincarnation or Metempsychosis as the Greeks used to call it is an empirical experience and not an actual one . It is a part of ones transcending through higher consciousness related to various metaphysical levels. What one is "given to understand' is that once we transcend bodily consciousness  we attain to the thought world and here there is no "Physical' body as such but  due to a long standing and close association with our body we tend to see our thoughts and memories as belonging to ourselves which are held within the ambit of our I thought or within the the idea of ourselves as held by us within ourself . Needless to say our concept or Idea of the word god is also held within this I thought - which is why everyone has a different idea of god according to their perception of who they actually are .

Each metaphysical level or level of conciousness have their rules of finite existence , but we "Carry the impressions" to the next subtler level due to close association  . There are 9 stages of conciousness corresponding to 7 stages of wisdom and the three states of empirical or phenomenal existence we call life or living.

Waking in Waking ,Dream in Waking  and Sleeping in Waking

Waking in Dream , Dream in Dream and Sleep in Dream

Waking in Sleep , Dreaming  in Sleep and Sleep in Sleep 

               In Dream proper  it is impossible to see anything worldly  - if anyone sees anything worldly in dream then his dream state has become corrupted to the extent he perceives impressions of worldly objects . A person with hair and shoes and ornaments and coats and ties and vehicles in dream are an absurdity as also the feeling of "I saw a dream " on waking . The pure dream state consciousness does not allow intrusions of impressions  the waking state - but this can only be attained by protracted practice. It is possible however in the dream state to "see.touch,feel, hear and smell" with extreme clarity other worldly smells etc etc. The thought world or Psychic world (in universal symbols and pictures ) can be attained - which some do sporadically and it comes under visions etc - but this is all a manifestation in the mind , Higher to this is the intellectual manifestations of knowledge which carries no pictures or diagrams of any kind as it transcends the mind - pure knowledge relating to both objects seen and unseen are available at this stage - the corrupt version of this metaphysical level is the "seeing' of visions and their wrong interpretations due to a residue of the I thought from the dream state which is carried into the intellect. 

 Just as a matter of interest - as one transcends the body into subtler metaphysical conciousness at various stage s there is a merging of the god principle as one has built within oneself (that does not make one a god ) It is only the transcending of the Idea of god and one passes through a phase of which many misconstrue as Athiesm (since the god idea has  merged into that particular state ) and stop there - it is to be correctly understood and all enquiry turned inward to the self . There is nothing outside of us , there is nothing to be gained by "looking ' outside - one validates ones inner experiences by comparing it with the experiences one has had or is perceiving at present. 

    Actions 'Done ' are the least impressionable subtly but most impressionable by sight and effort .

Right Will moving Right Knowledge moving Right feeling resulting in Right thought is the provoker of Right action.

In the matter of the above - Intuition is right will , nature of intuition is that it transcends reason but later events do not controvert it - it only   reinforces it. Again people experience intuition sporadically in their lives but many times confuse it with an inner voice or have doubts which are only mental concoctions. Ethics does not become a problem in intuition as one does not "have to think". The key is to live 100% intuitively wherein there is only right reason and feeling and thought and action .       

All knowledge follows from the General to the Particular and from the Particular to the general . 

 

Dear Plj,

      Dear Paul call it what you may , if you look at a subtle truth in a very material way there is no way a person will be bereft of disbelief . You have to acknowledge the fact that a persons total life is divided between the Waking State , Dream State and Sleeping State . These are ''States'' and not just the act of Waking life or Dreaming or Sleeping . These are 3 separate and distinct experienced states of Existence- Knowledge (or Consciousness as many call them - wherein lies the problem ). We refer to life in a most loosely and abhorrent manner wherein these states are not understood properly or carefully analysed with the result that we are saddled with an UNDIFFERENTIATED knowledge . one has to understand that between life and death - we have smaller similar points on a daily basis - the ancients called waking life as ''Deergha Swapnam" or Continuous Dream . Again in the waking state there are 3 states Waking in Waking , Waking in Dream and Waking in Sleep (these have no relation to the various phenomena described in science ). When a man is not doing anything but his mind races full of thoughts - though he is awake it is his Dream state that is working though he is awake , when a man sits blank as such without any particular thoughts - much like when you say "I am sorry , I was not listening" it is the State of Sleep - forgetting has its genesis not in memory but in incursions into the state of sleep (this  by way of a digression only ). So you can see how small the points of rise of knowledge its apperception by the ''embodied individual'' and its fading away back into silence are . This rise of knowledge from silence , its sustenance through a thought and its fading away is the subtler part of the theory of transmigration . 

   A man becoming good and his friends noticing it are purely human perversions ( I am using a bit strong word) since neither the man or his friends know themselves - as far as the ordinary human being is he only has an undfferentiated consciouness (knowledge) of himself and considers himself a 'total package' or a 'bundle'' and not as having separate consciousness (or knowledge). So we live in the waking state and die in the waking state as on the smallest as on the largest without knowing what the ramifications are in the other two of our undifferentiated actions wherein we aggrandize the faulty results that take place in subtle regions based on our perception of only the waking state and the inccidents that are there . 

There is a big mistake in religion - people generally say that in the west people belief in a life as a straight line whereas in the east it is a circular perception - this is pure folly for people who know what is what 

A man in the waking "transits '' through the dream state (even if he sees dreams or not ) and ''rests '' in the sleeping state . And similarly on waking has actually transited by the reverse process "through'' the dream state once again to waking - this is open to verification to every one - the question is given human prediliction with forms and fancy and objects - what reason is there to imagine a straight line or even a circle in such a simple fact ? It will only lead the foolish to lead the foolish - why assume movement at all when one is ratiocinating ? why draw images in knowledge - for after all a man who is thinking is mainly concerned with thought not images (which is the prerogative of the mind) why superimpose the mind on knowledge in the intellect and then ''Draw conclusions'' -------just to live and die again interminably by spoiling the intellctual knowledge repeatedly.

The mind and intellect along with the body is extinguished at the same time in a man of knowledge  - since they are only superimpositions on his self and hence is not reborn (as he has realized that there is no individualized self ) . Everything is a matter for verification and demonstration. Ratiocination will only confer an understanding ,Right practice that is intense will confer knowledge .(right consciousness)

Dear Paul , you do not have to worry - whatever gain you have made in the intellect in this life will stand in good stead in your future life - only man has an intellect that grows in a life time - entities without bodies have an intellect that reflects the knowledge that they have had in a life when it was possible to develop the intellect but they did not take it further - and so is the case with all human beings - their intellect will not develop once disembodied - their transmigration will be equal to the knowledge that was there in the intellect at death - so it is a requirement that a man should try to transcend his intellect at least once before he dies .It is only man who can develop the intellect - no other being in any plane of existence can do so - because man has the faculty of action also (ie body) - the gods or demi gods or angels seraphims cherubims etc  even do not have action - their "action'' is through willing - they can will . I know I will be laughed at by the sceptics but that is another thing altogether - one lives with it. 

Paul dear , every knowledge is absolute - it is immediate and knowable -there is not any two kinds of knowledge like absolute knowledge and phenomenal knowledge - there is knowledge of phenomena but it is still absolute - knowledge of an object is absolute evidence of the object being there plainly in sight . the phenomena is something else and the knowledge of it is some thing else - through language and use of precision in its meaning one should slowly remove the undifferentiated consciousness and differentiate it , one should know the difference between words and their meanings and between words them selves and also the difference between the meanings (feelings) them selves .a little practice will go a long way it becomes meditative or automatic. Just to elucidate 

Take the words (similar) tale and tail sound  their meanings and the word have to be checked (not in a dictionary) but as one KNOWS it . then the word idea that has emerged has to be checked with the word itself to ''clean'' it and next the word ideas have to be compared and contrasted(all within oneself) . It would be funny if a man who remarks on a "dogs tail" is not aware that when he says tail he actually means the coarser feeling !!!! and is yet unaware of it - think of the mirth that a person who discerns this difference will have - now imagine a world full of people doing this for almost all words they use !! You will start to believe that every one is mad and in a mad house where sanity is at a premium. Differentiate the undifferentiated for Thou art Knowledge itself - Knowledge Know thyself !!!

Dear Paul , 

         Beyond and underlying words are word Ideas - the word is a representation of the word Idea - and it is only to objects that a word or Idea can be attributed never to a non object . I am treading dangerous waters here but let me try to clarify  a point - You have to understand that each alphabet in any language is representation of a SOUND written in symbols . Sound in the general can never be represented by symbols - a General sound that embraces the whole gamut of sounds (say a typhoon that slowly build up -(from atmospheric pressure) and then reaches an unimaginable crescendo and then tapers off into calm and almost a sargasso sea like stagnancy ) Would be the primeval sound that has the gamut of all air letters (and would include that of percussion instruments) within its scope - now how has man cut off this into letters ? Each letter is subject to a lot of grammatical rules and inflexions and as man himself has no connection to the original general of the sound other than that it is air and pressure . So sound cannot be represented in symbols (this is a subtle aspect of thought ) though we do it - and hence language is false . All written language and spoken is false . As for thoughts - you imagine it ti a sound known or uttered (here the consciousness is mental and different from the physical - rules are different here) But within the mind an image is presented befitting the knowledge of the thinker (Unless one is an artist you cannot get a good image ) but this image is 'known'' in dream State and hence is not an image as one would percieve - It is only  the knowledge of an image and not the image itself that is seen at the mental level - but we see images in the mind (this is the common experience of almost all ) because it is a hangover from the conditioning of seeing objects in the waking state . Once you can remove this - the image that you see will be exactly and even more clearly  than what you would see with your eyes open - In short an eye is not required for vision - the mind will provide the vision . It will be to scale and bereft of the inadequacies of the instrument (the eye) plus you WILL have added benifits of seeing the colour of thoughts of a person his aura and that of his words and UNDERSTAND (not hear) what he is saying precisely as he MEANS (not utters) . This is the benifit of controlling the mind . Nobody would be able to harm you , nor will you be placed in a circumstace where you may come to bodily harm - the senses will protect you from all sides .A quiet mind is God itself , a mind that has thoughts is evil to the core as every thought can be traced to the need of the body  and every action done by a man is only related to HIS own body nothing is directed at another . 

Every word has an ORIGINAL idea behind it - not an attitude 

Every Word is just the name for an emotion - as a man has name so feelings have words to denote them .

Every word is but sound ,

Opinion . Belief , and Faith are all unreliable whether it be ones own or anothers.They are not the truth.

We "Deify'' our thoughts as if they were real humans and persons . We talk within ourselves and dream the future.

If you feel you are being used by another - then you are non existent yourself and will die - It is the classical and primary definition of Ignorance or Maya .

An alcoholic is stupid as are so many others as they struggle with an inanimate thing as if it were a person - this is true deification . Simple ratiocination will get you out of it .

If you are unconscious of yourself and submit to it - then you are non conscious your self and exist for the sake of  ''another''.(your senses and mind which is using you ) .

Beyond words and thoughts are feelings and intent - only these are understood by the mind and intellect respectively - nothing else . So as with the mind controlling you if your intent is not pure the intellect WILL destroy you as it always moves towards the truth .

We can use words - but the search must befit the thing being investigated . 

Karma is making ones own destiny - what is the difference between the westerner who feels used by another and  the easterner who with his interpretations of Karma is docile and full of resignation waiting for something to happen Both have understood nothing , both are wrong totally . 

Your intellect will create problems if intent is not straight as the intellect always moves to the truth and controls the mind . 

      I am sorry , but I only wanted to clear a few things - absolutely without malice towards 

anyone . Always think subtly on subtle matters never mix up the mundane with the esoteric .

Following e-mail received from Peter O'Lalor:

Dear Sir,

May I add my two cents? As MB stated, (somewhere) ... "There has never been anything more hidden by the learned or misinterpreted by the Profane as reincarnation."

As I've gone through life, and it's beliefs, I've come to the following conclusion; and please share it if you'd like. My conclusion will answer your question.

The body, like the Cosmos, being made of atoms, then molecules, dissipate when the body separates, and the body's essence goes on its own path of reincarnation. The Higher Self, (Atma), does "not pay the Bill" as David Bowie would say, (sing), and is (as I understand), not, nor never, apart from its' body's experience.

I am not my body and my body is not me. As when the Priest said speaking to a Cobra,... said, "May thy release come soon." (See Kim: R. Kipling). When that release comes for us, we survive our death. If we don't well, that's another story.

When Peter dies, I will not. Peter is an identity, a brief lapse of time, the Freudian Ego, and identity. Identifying with Maya, and all the Earthly sensations, Peter becomes a dissipating shell, unaware, (hopefully but that too is another story), of Earth's sensations.

SAVE ONE: LOVE. Love is what the soul is connected to and by. Love of others; through compassion, and belonging, as even to Nature's God. For those who pass before and then, shall wait but in the blink of an eye, for the one's left behind. Love is consciousness; a devotee of Krsna as I understand it; will not expect Krsna to enter his heart; Krsna is already there. A devotee, methinks, (as I do), asks the world to leave his heart so Krsna consciousness can BE.

At this point; In a certain plane of existence, for as far as the eye can see, are souls; lying motionless, seeming like they are wrapped in swaddling white and glowing sheets. As one fades, another takes their place; as if a fog dissipates and reappears.

At this moment; (Another story; for different reasons) the soul ascends or descends. Ascending is the other story; while descending, for reasons not expressed here, is reincarnation. As all its former matter, (which must be free to rejoin and clothe the old soul with a new body, and a new identity, and is reborn anew. Cremation is best; and mummification; prevents reincarnation.

I would ask: [Would] believing in [THIS] reincarnation, ... Make Us Better People? I would answer yes, most profoundly.The sensations that were behind the descent would make it even more difficult to ascend to a higher level of consciousness, while alive on Earth, because the memories return. It's just a new identity clothing the same old Soul. In altered states of consciousness there is no time; it does not exist. As the Bhagavat Gita, (As It Is) states, "The past, present, and future are one moment." Please excuse the lack of a footnote. The latter, became a part of my belief system a long, long time ago. It is not the only source for such a concept as well.

When death comes again, it will be even more difficult to survive one's death. The less one believes, the more likely one is to be held back, by what one knows, sees, hears, and feels. This world of illusion and darkness, that of Maya or Malkuth of Assiah, or any other belief system, states unequivocally, that pain and pleasure, are the same thing. It's an illusion. I for one, want to ascend, and not look back, no matter the riches, or glory that a life of servitude, would seem to offer. I was promised once that in my next life I would be a Brahman Priest. Now I believe, there are far far, better places to Be, than I have ever been before. Or would return to; but that's a different kind of reincarnation.

I follow Socrates wish for us all: "Always keep your eyes toward Heaven."

Dear Captain ,

         Let me just put in a question for thinking to those who have doubts about reincarnation and does it keep a person straight :

If I believed in just one life (the present one ) only I would be so emboldened as to live in a way that would  be oppressive to others yet conducive to me and my comforts and be free of fear of reprisal (at least in this life).

I would be selfish and would exploit people and the earth with impudence.

Hitler got away with it if you ask me . He evidently did not believe in reincarnation.

Who suffers ? If one bad egg creates a stink and vanishes for ever ?

                        it is the proponents of a single life theory that have to live more carefully for the intellect will then work in such a manner as to bring about a situation of life where the collective will suffer for acts of the individual .For after all if I wanted to come back to earth I would be more interested in leaving the earth a better place than it is today so that I have something to look forward to it - If not then better to acquire knowledge and get out of transmigration  ..... NO ? What are we leaving for future generations - nothing . Scientists and Philosophers will end the earth topped with the policticians and Academicians and Celebrities . 

                     Maybe still sour grapes for us in this forum ...is it not so ?

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