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Birthmarks and Reincarnation - Dhamma Wheel

Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Yana
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Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Yana » Sat Nov 17, 2012 8:08 am

Hi Everyone,

I just came back from the library where i stumbled on this interesting book about reincarnation. I read that in some Asian cultures they mark a dying person so that when they are reborn they’ll bear the same markings and they’ll be able to recognize them. Have you heard of such practices,are they common in Buddhism? It also says that birthmarks were actually fatal wounds we got in our past lives,that it affected our relinking consciousness or our last moments of consciousness, to the point that it got carried into our present lives.

That book kind of surprised me because I remembered this memory when I was in junior high and I was waiting for the bus at school,I use to have this sharp pain like I got stabbed but not with a knife or anything big.It was an isolated pain,and it was on my chest. I grabbed my chest and held it in knowing the whole time that there were no wounds or anything physical but I could still sense pain vibrating from that spot and it made me grit my teeth.It was cold.And I could taste blood and metal in my mouth.The pain was like a cold vibration on my chest. Felt like a small thin metal and sharp like object went right in. When my mother checked the spot that I pointed at, she just said it’s a silly little birthmark ,I was born with it she remembers. It’s a small perfect circle on my chest that I have managed to ignore,I experience this pain maybe 4 times a year since as long as I can remember but now it's fading away. Never really gave it much thought. The circle just looked like you used an instrument to draw it because it looks very precise. A perfect circle.
Then I thought well if I did die because of a fatal insertion(an entry wound) to my chest then It should come through on the other side of my body. And it should leave another birth mark quite naturally. so I went to the bathroom used two mirrors to check my back for any signs.I thought there would probably be a few on my upper neck or lower back but to my great surprise there was ONLY ONE RIGHT BEHIND the one on my chest!and I froze! I studied it carefully it was just an inch to the left and it was not a perfect circle a bit oval but the same overall size and colour. After searching i realized those are the only two birth marks I have.And the only two i have are both in the same angle.

So it really gave me something to think about..especially about death and rebirth ..for a weird moment it doesn't seem like a distant thought ..it seemed quite real and tangible now even natural..which is interesting because if it is true birthmarks could serve as a handy reminder of death and rebirth much like a tattoo would in many ways now that i think of it.

But i'd like to know if you do have similar experiences?
What does Buddhism say about this?According to Buddhism could there be any truth to it? Or could it be pure coincidence? Is there anywhere in the sutta that tells a story of a deformity or birthmark that was a product of a previous life.(I forgot to mention it also says deformity).

Thank you! :anjali:
Life is preparing for Death

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Aloka
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:52 am


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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:57 am

A few years back I read a bunch of Dr. Ian Stevenson's work on rebirth. He has a a book on just this subject here:

Also you can check out this page here:

Metta!
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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Aloka
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:23 am

Last edited by Aloka on Sun Nov 18, 2012 10:38 am, edited 1 time in total.

Yana
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Yana » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:57 am

Life is preparing for Death

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Aloka
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Aloka » Sat Nov 17, 2012 1:07 pm

Hi Yana,

I didn't actually say anything about rebirth belief because I neither believe nor disbelieve, simply because it has absolutely no relevance to my practice here and now. (and this is fine in terms of my personal conversations with a Forest Tradition teacher)

What I was questioning was the so-called 'proof' of rebirth. The truth is nobody knows for sure.

There are also skeptics who comment on Stevensons reports and point out their weaknesses - such as the 2 articles found at the link:



Anyway, I don't think I have anything further to say now that I've expressed an opinion. I wasn't looking for an argument with anyone, life's too short !

with metta,

Aloka :)
Last edited by Aloka on Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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BubbaBuddhist
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby BubbaBuddhist » Sat Nov 17, 2012 2:09 pm

Well, there's no 'proof' of anything--scientific or otherwise. Only evidence which may or may not support hypotheses. As anyone who understands the scientific method knows, the scientific method forms hypotheses and tests them; no scientist ever says he or she has proven anything. Since I worked as a mechanical engineer at Oak Ridge National Laboratory for 12 years, I had this drilled into me in conversations with people so scary smart my mind was forever blown. I also heard and saw things that led to my permanent retirement from the field and the 'system' in general. :tongue: But that's another story.

My point is if we wait for 'proof' of anything we're going to sit at home on the couch a long time before making a commitment to action. One person's hypothesis is another person's rock of faith. Since the evidence concerning 'reality' obtained by the sensorium is specious at best, and this specious information is filtered through our biases and attitudes, and further interpreted by our conditioned intellect, all we can really say is that I prefer my superstitions over your superstitions.

BB
Author of Redneck Buddhism: or Will You Reincarnate as Your Own Cousin?

Yana
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Yana » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:18 pm

Life is preparing for Death

SamKR
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby SamKR » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:45 pm

Last edited by SamKR on Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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daverupa
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby daverupa » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:48 pm

How do we get from "inconstruable" to "it is to be construed in this way"?

SamKR
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby SamKR » Sat Nov 17, 2012 9:55 pm


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polarbear101
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby polarbear101 » Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:37 pm

Last edited by polarbear101 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"I don't envision a single thing that, when developed & cultivated, leads to such great benefit as the mind. The mind, when developed & cultivated, leads to great benefit."

"I don't envision a single thing that, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about such suffering & stress as the mind. The mind, when undeveloped & uncultivated, brings about suffering & stress."

SamKR
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby SamKR » Sun Nov 18, 2012 12:06 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 1:49 am


SamKR
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby SamKR » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:17 am


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mikenz66
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby mikenz66 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:48 am

Hi Sam,

Sure, "indulge" is, perhaps, another way of pointing to "I making" and so on.

:anjali:
Mike

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daverupa
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby daverupa » Sun Nov 18, 2012 2:54 am

I sometimes wonder whether rebirth-view gets in the way of seeing anatta, or anicca... these burgeoning epicycles of discussion never seem to resolve this inherent dilemma, because to one extent or another 'personal continuity' rears its head in popular descriptions.

santa100
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby santa100 » Sun Nov 18, 2012 4:22 am

That's why the Buddha drew a sharp contrast between His teaching of Rebirth versus the wrong view of Eternalism, which believes in a permanent and inherent personal continuity that keeps wandering on from life to life. The other wrong view on the other end of the spectrum is Nihilism which is more commonly described by the stock phrase: "nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed, no fruit or result of good and bad actions, no this world, no other world, no mother, no father, no beings who are reborn spontaneously, no good and virtuous recluses and brahmins". Bhikkhu Bodhi wrote a wonderful essay filled with useful info. about rebirth here:
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... ay_46.html

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DAWN
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby DAWN » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:31 am

Knowledge make obstacle in liberation, obstacle in revelation of unconditioned nature of fenomenas. Like a ground wich hide the trasure, more there is ground, more you have to work to acces to this trasure.
Unconditioned mean that it have no condition to this state of being, is beyound all knowledge.

So of corse we can seek for "our" past reincarnation, for fun, but after that we have anyway go beyond it, and put all in the trash.

IMO
Sabbe dhamma anatta
We are not concurents...

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Mr Man
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Re: Birthmarks and Reincarnation

Postby Mr Man » Sun Nov 18, 2012 8:58 am

Our yearning for a future life is really strong, which possibly feeds this great need for some kind of affirmation of "past life". How about investigating what it is that wants to believe in reincarnation and what the consequences of buying into this belief are?

In my opinion Dr Stephenson work may be interesting but is not relevant to the practice of the Buddha's teaching. To link the two does the Buddha's teaching a disservice.


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