Friday, August 13, 2010

The stance on Rebirth

The Buddha of course stressed the importance of direct perception more strongly than any other part of knowledge and thus began his analysis on that level first. He also allowed inference since without its application it would be impossible to reason. But his stance on recorded knowledge (Or Vedas) of India was ambiguous. All systems in India have accepted the teaching of rebirth except the Charvaka’s and their teachings are not available to us for reference. Buddha though opposing the hegemony of the Vedas nonetheless accepted this doctrine and without it his system would have been incomplete or would have even failed to start.

What caused this implicit belief in this (apparently) strange theory among all philosophers in India? As of yet no one has come back from the dead and reported about what happens afterwards, so what could be the basis of this curious belief? Let us try to look into the matter a little more closely and find if we can resolve it before we proceed further with the things taught by the great master.

We all start our life with a materialistic outlook and in most of our activities follow that belief to the full. This of course has to be so from the time immemorial. According to the theory of materialists everything, including our mind, has to be material. So it goes without saying that the thoughts and feelings created by our minds are as material as anything else is and that they are tangible. In these days of speculations of time travel and multi-verses it’s not difficult to imagine that nothing is outside the physical universe and even the subtlest of vibrations have physical reality.

But to us every thought that we normally make (other than that is recorded) and every emotion that we feel within the mind are ephemeral and we think that they become dissipated or tend to disappear altogether once the moment of their need is past. The reason for this is that they do not intrude again into our consciousness. This is erroneous reasoning.

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