Children who remember their past lives as monks

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Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:23 pm

This thread is specifically devoted to the cases of young children who show past life memories and behaviour which indicate that they used to be Buddhist monks before.


Children who speak of previous life
Erlendur Haraldsson and Godwin Samararatne (1999). Children who speak of memories of a previous life as a Buddhist monk: Three new cases. Journal of the Society for Psychical Research, 63(857), 268-291. (Full text).

https://notendur.hi.is/erlendur/english/svid.htm#7
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:30 pm

This little boy in north-east Thailand called "Nong Mark" seems to continue to behave like a monk, as he would have done in his previous life: shaving his head, wearing a yellow robe and playing with a bowl. He can give the traditional blessing in Pali quite fluently, and then chants "Itipiso", "Bahum" and "Mahakaruniko" with a few mistakes and some prompting, just like a normal monk would do. He can do most of the usual chanting which takes over half an hour. His grandmother always takes him to the temple, but he started chanting in Pali from the age of 1.5 years. He also started sprinkling "holy water" before he was able to walk and sit cross-legged in meditation quietly by himself, which is unusual for children of his age.

3-year-old boy in Isan chants in Pali
อายุ 3 ปี สัพพี พาหุ อิติปีโส ได้เก่งมากกกก
http://youtu.be/jGHDpgBc9Dk

Nong Mark - TV star (interview on Thai TV with some English translation in background)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ot6q1Sms3EQ

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5PON86YGs3k (various poses as a monk)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DtQ9VhYpMYg (Buddhism is better than watching cartoon)

Photo of Nong Mark (he is not a novice, just likes to copy the monk's chanting when following his grandma who offers food to them often, and he likes wearing the yellow cloth)
น้องมาร์ค เด็กในคลิปเณร 3 ขวบ สวดมนต์ให้พรคล่อง
http://news.sanook.com/gallery/gallery/ ... 6413/#view
http://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid= ... =1&theater



Compare:

Early Years of Ajahn Chah:
His childhood friends remember Luang Por's mildness. They say he never enforced his dominance with bullying or coercion; no one can recall him in a fight. He was a mediator in his companions' disputes and, from an early age, drawn by the yellow robe. He relates a childhood memory of playing the role of a monk. He would sit sternly on an old bamboo bed with pahkaoumah cloth draped over his left shoulder like a robe, and his friends would be the laity. The meal time is probably the only event in the monks' daily life that is interesting enough to lend itself to drama, and it was that which the children would enact. Luang Por would ring a bell, and his friends would bring a tray of fruit and cool water. After bowing three times they would offer it to him meekly. He in return would give them the five precepts of the Buddhist layperson and a blessing.
http://www.abhayagiri.org/main/newslett ... 65/1998/10
ชีวประวัติ หลวงพ่อชา สุภทฺโท:
http://portal.in.th/i-dhamma/pages/10137/
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Sat Jun 16, 2012 2:33 pm

This young boy in Sri Lanka called Dhammaruwan used to recite Suttas in Pali from the age of 2 in an ancient style and remembered his previous life as a monk:

http://theravadin.wordpress.com/2008/08 ... h-century/
http://www.sobhana.net/audio/chants/dha ... /index.htm
http://www.dhammawiki.com/index.php?tit ... h_Chanting


Bojjhanga Suttas chanted by small Sri Lankan boy

http://youtu.be/ghyc9WftU3w
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby David N. Snyder » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:23 pm

gavesako wrote:This thread is specifically devoted to the cases of young children who show past life memories and behaviour which indicate that they used to be Buddhist monks


Good idea. For the purposes of this collection in this thread, I'll repeat something I mentioned previously.

I was eating lunch with a Thai-American friend. He was a monk for several years and disrobed to become a lay man. A three year old next to us started babbling away in what appeared to be 'baby talk'. My friend said it was a famous Pali chant and the words were perfectly pronounced. At that time I did not know any Pali. The child was not Asian and had never been to a temple. We talked with the parents and the child had an American name, but preferred to be known as Zeyar (a Burmese name). :o
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Mr Man » Sat Jun 16, 2012 6:51 pm

gavesako wrote:This little boy in north-east Thailand called "Nong Mark" seems to continue to behave like a monk, as he would have done in his previous life:

Hi Bhante, was he a monk in his previous life?
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:54 pm

BHante,

Thank you for this thread. I went through a period about a year ago where I would listen to Dhammaruwan's recording of the Dhammacakkha sutta because it was so hauntingly beautiful. I just can't imagine a child that young being able to recite a sutta that long unless he had learned it in a previous birth. Sadhu!

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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Sun Jun 17, 2012 8:08 pm

Thanks for the story, David. Surely remarkable, and it makes me think that this might be the reason why most such cases are discovered in countries like Sri Lanka where they are easily identified, because the parents already have an acceptance of the idea of rebirth. In other places where the culture might be uncomfortable or unfamiliar with this concept, the parents might either ignore the strange behaviour of their child or dismiss it and discourage the child from talking about such "nonsense".

I think that the behaviour of "Nong Mark" in Thailand really indicates that he was a monk in his previous life, probably in that same part of north-east Thailand because all that he does perfectly fits the way an Isan monk would behave, such as sprinkling the "holy water", or spitting into the spittoon (reminds one of Ajahn Maha Boowa chewing betel nut), or his style of chanting in Pali.

In Thailand there is another boy called "Nong Bes" who has been called a Dhamma Genius (เด็กอัจฉริยะ ใฝ่ธรรม) but he is older, 9 years to be precise. He is invited to TV shows where he expounds Dhamma (especially that of Ajahn Buddhadasa) with the authority of an experienced speaker or a senior monk. The audience is left speechless at the wisdom of such a small child. (I guess it actually puts them to shame...)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVesy4c2GLc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fox38V8Tle0
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Mal » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:21 pm

gavesako wrote:This little boy in north-east Thailand called "Nong Mark" seems to continue to behave like a monk, as he would have done in his previous life: shaving his head, wearing a yellow robe and playing with a bowl. He can give the traditional blessing in Pali quite fluently, and then chants "Itipiso", "Bahum" and "Mahakaruniko" with a few mistakes and some prompting, just like a normal monk would do. He can do most of the usual chanting which takes over half an hour. His grandmother always takes him to the temple, but he started chanting in Pali from the age of 1.5 years. He also started sprinkling "holy water" before he was able to walk and sit cross-legged in meditation quietly by himself, which is unusual for children of his age.


These are impressive achievements for such a young child, but are they any more impressive than Mozart's musical achievements at a young age? Perhaps his parents noticed him trying to chant, and encouraged him to carry on doing so, and then trained him in some monkish activities, or got him to notice & interact with monks. So one doesn't even have to accuse the parents, or grandmother, of deceit - although that would be understandable giving the privileges that holy children get in these societies - just as musical children did very well in 18th century Vienna!

Are no Tibetan Buddhists reborn in Thailand? It would be really remarkable if the 1.5 year old had started chanting in fluent Tibetan...

There really has to be a much better proof standard for rebirth - the equivalent of a bubble chamber for the mind. Anyone can start proving the the existence of cosmic rays by building a bubble chamber and watching the patterns. To prove rebirth you need meditative processes that will unambiguously show rebirth (just about) every time you go through the process.

Have any advanced mediators on this forum experienced rebirth memories that they can't explain away as hallucinations or waking dreams? Or are you not allowed to talk about it?
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby santa100 » Tue Oct 16, 2012 2:06 pm

Mal wrote:
These are impressive achievements for such a young child, but are they any more impressive than Mozart's musical achievements at a young age?


The Mozart example makes a pretty strong case for rebirth. Say if he didn't inherited any talents from a previous birth, and that he was simply a child born with exceptional memory and finger dexterity, then at most he'd only be able to flawlessly play back any piece of music that he was taught (go to YouTube and you'll see many kids able to do that nowadays). But no, he went a lot further than that. He composed magnificent grand concertos! Now that's some skill that can't even be taught to an adult, let alone a five year-old kid. Not only it'd require mastery in music theory knowledge, mastery of all different kinds of music instruments, but also mastery in synthesizing those knowledges, and the possesion to the highest degree of ingenuity and creativity. Without rebirth, the best and brightest five year-old kid in the world simply doesn't have enough time to acquire all of those skill sets in a year or two!
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Mal » Thu Oct 18, 2012 1:31 pm

santa100 wrote:The Mozart example makes a pretty strong case for rebirth... He composed magnificent grand concertos!...


Have you read a biography of Mozart? He didn't compose magnificent grand concertos as young child.
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby santa100 » Thu Oct 18, 2012 2:09 pm

Joseph Haydn himself wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years". If your theory about child prodigy is ENTIRELY based on the training from their parents, then it's incomplete. There're certain skillsets one simply cannot "learn" from their parents or tutors. Where did Mozart's extreme brilliance and ingenuity come from? Can one obtain it through "training"? While it's yet to be proven scientifically that rebirth is behind this, but the Mozart case created a very strong case in supporting this concept..
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby daverupa » Thu Oct 18, 2012 3:53 pm

Mal wrote:To prove rebirth you need meditative processes that will unambiguously show rebirth (just about) every time you go through the process.


DN 1 shows how this can go all kinds of wrong.

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    "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: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Thu Oct 18, 2012 5:06 pm

Such as in the case of Jesus: he remembered his Daddy was waiting for him in heaven and he just needed to go up there again...
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Thu Oct 18, 2012 8:36 pm

Ajahn Sudhiro - Memories of Mind and Brain

http://youtu.be/CDvOoh65vRc

Cases of past-life recollections and modern neuroscience. The difference between mind and brain. The use of the Thai word "jai" for mind. Young children who can remember things from previous lives like the Buddha did (jataka).
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Philovitist » Thu Oct 18, 2012 11:38 pm

Mozart may be less of an example of rebirth than of pure genius — one can explain his success as a result of fortunate genetic endowment instead of some metaphysical event. That would be a more parsimonious account of it. No, one will have to look to different examples in order to establish that rebirth occurs.

What I really wish to understand is the mechanism by which rebirth occurs, if it does at all. It completely contradicts all we know about human inheritance. Does it occur at the moment of conception, through some influence on the way recombination occurs? Or does some force directly influence the cognitive development of the infant?

I'll be more convinced of rebirth if it can be reconciled with modern behavioral genetics. Until then, these apparent examples of rebirth just create cognitive dissonance that I can't remove.
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Mal » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:12 pm

Philovitist wrote:Mozart may be less of an example of rebirth than of pure genius — one can explain his success as a result of fortunate genetic endowment instead of some metaphysical event. That would be a more parsimonious account of it. No, one will have to look to different examples in order to establish that rebirth occurs.


One cannot explain his success by pure genetic endowment. If he had been born in 18th century Tibet he wouldn't have been much of a pianist :)

Much of his success was down to very good teaching from his father, and very hard work, again, due to his father. He also had a slightly older sister who was a very good pianist - unleashing the full power of sibling rivalry. She (Nanerel) was also very caring by all accounts, as was his father. Mum was just very caring, until she died when he was young. Another reason to lose himself in his work?

I think the consensus now is that "pure unique genius" is largely a myth. A "good enough" genetic endowment might be enough, if your teachers and environment are more than good enough. Another example - the IQs of Noble prizewinners, on average, are not that outstanding - around 130/140 is generally considered "good enough" to take you to the heights of secular achievement - if you are fortunate in your circumstances (or is it unfortunate? You might be better off meditating... :)

Philovitist wrote:What I really wish to understand is the mechanism by which rebirth occurs, if it does at all. It completely contradicts all we know about human inheritance.


How does it contradict all we know about human inheritance?

if a father and mother are clever you would expect the child to be clever. That could be either (i) because the child inherited their good brains (ii) the fortunate circumstance attracted a powerful consciousness for rebirth. (iii) a combination of the two. Can't see any contradiction there.

Can you give an example of a contradiction?
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby Mal » Fri Oct 19, 2012 2:14 pm

santa100 wrote:Joseph Haydn himself wrote that "posterity will not see such a talent again in 100 years".


He was just trying to keep Beethoven's ego in check :)
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby greggorious » Fri Oct 19, 2012 3:02 pm

I didn't want to start a new topic on this, but did Ajahn Buddhadasa reject rebirth?
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby santa100 » Fri Oct 19, 2012 5:27 pm

From MN 41. ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .nymo.html ):

The brahman householders of Sala:
"Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell; and what is the reason, what is the condition, why some beings here, on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world?"


The Blessed One:
"Householders, it is by reason of conduct not in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of unrighteous conduct, that beings here on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in states of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, even in hell. It is by reason of conduct in accordance with the Dhamma, by reason of righteous conduct, that some beings here on the dissolution of the body, after death, reappear in a happy destination, even in the heavenly world."
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Re: Children who remember their past lives as monks

Postby gavesako » Fri Oct 19, 2012 9:36 pm

In my view, scientific materialism is a kind of acquired delusion that dominates modern education, scientific inquiry and the popular media. This is the view that the whole of reality consists of nothing more than mass-energy, space-time and their derivative properties. Materialists also commonly believe that only physical processes have causal efficacy, implying that the only influences on the brain are physical ones. This belief ignores the causal efficacy of meaningful information, which cannot be measured by mindless machines but can be detected by subjective, conscious intelligence.
Through the course of our lives we may compound our innate delusional tendencies to misapprehend reality with kinds of delusion that we pick up from our cultural environment and education. In my view, scientific materialism is a kind of acquired delusion that dominates modern education, scientific inquiry and the popular media. This is the view that the whole of reality consists of nothing more than mass-energy, space-time and their derivative properties. Materialists also commonly believe that only physical processes have causal efficacy, implying that the only influences on the brain are physical ones. This belief ignores the causal efficacy of meaningful information, which cannot be measured by mindless machines but can be detected by subjective, conscious intelligence.
The only kinds of natural phenomena scientists can measure with their instruments of technology are objective, physical and quantifiable. But mental processes—in contrast to their behavioral expressions and neural correlates—are subjective, have no physical attributes and are qualitative. So they are invisible to scientific methods of measurement. Materialists therefore equate that which they can’t measure—subjective experience—with that which they can measure. This implies a kind of “methodolatry” by which one assumes that the third-person methods of inquiry of science constitute “the one true path” to understanding the natural world, while discounting the insights and discoveries that may be made through first-person introspection and contemplative inquiry. So I reject both this exclusionist approach to understanding nature, as well as its reductionist conclusions, for they are not validated by empirical evidence or by logical argument.
Materialists commonly equate people with their brains, which operate according to the amoral, mindless laws of physics and chemistry. Many people, including myself, find this belief to be not only unsubstantiated by empirical evidence but also dehumanizing, disempowering and demoralizing. Indoctrination into this belief system—especially when it is presented as being integral to any scientific worldview—may itself be a major, indirect cause of depression in the modern world. It is crucial to note that many scientists do not adhere to the metaphysical principles of materialism. This clearly implies that it is not a necessary feature of scientific thinking.

-- Alan Wallace
http://www.inquiringmind.com/Articles/PoppingPills.html

:cry:
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