How do you reconcile Abdu'l Baha & Buddha re: reincarnation

Jan 2012
217
Pleasant Plains, Arkansas
>>> and this, too, is the mystery of the Resurrection of Christ, Who appeared in the changed reality of His disciples. "He entered the room, not using the door..."
What Thomas "saw" was that "He" was in "them", and they were in Him.

The reality of Christ was not His physical body, which was crucified, but His Holy Attributes, which were now manifest in those who truly believed in Him.
This is the meaning of the Resurrection. He was, in fact, present in the "body of Christ", in the believers, those who truly recognized Him, obeyed Him, and sacrificed themselves as He had done. Emptied of their own selves, they were now the manifestations of His will and good-pleasure.

Thus, Thomas "saw" in them His Beauty, His Reality, His Sacrifice. Before this, he would not believe.
What exactly does this have to do with what I said? This thread is about reincarnation, not the resurrection of Christ. I'm sure there must have been a connection in your mind when you wrote this, and when you explain it I'll probably feel quite silly for not seeing it right away. But I'm afraid I do need you to explain why you responded to my post in this thread with something that doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I said, or with the thread as a whole.
 
May 2013
1,786
forest falls california
Connection

What exactly does this have to do with what I said? This thread is about reincarnation, not the resurrection of Christ. I'm sure there must have been a connection in your mind when you wrote this, and when you explain it I'll probably feel quite silly for not seeing it right away. But I'm afraid I do need you to explain why you responded to my post in this thread with something that doesn't seem to have anything to do with what I said, or with the thread as a whole.

>>> Hmmm. Well, I guess it isn't directly connected, but related in my mind when I think "What are we, really?" Cause we are more than our physical bodies, which die. It is our attributes we acquire that live on, and in that sense are resurrected. So using the example of Christ, He lives on, and is reborn in those who are spiritually related to Him, continuing to be a means of His true reality still living after His physical death.
So I thought maybe it is the same with us. That after we die, in a way we don't. We're still here in some sense. Maybe thats a stretch, but we are told that we can "commune" with them and that our work and their work is the same, for the Kingdom. Abdul Baha talks about it.
In the book: The Reality of Man, Abdul Baha says:
"The reality of man is his thought, not his material body. The thought force and the animal force are partners. Although man is part of the animal creation, he possesses a power of thought superior to all other created beings."
"According to divine philosophy, there are two important and universal conditions in the world of material phenomena; one which concerns life, the other concerning death; one relative to existence, the other non-existence; one manifest in composition, the other in decomposition. Some define existence as the expression of reality or being, and non-existence as non-being, imagining that death is annihilation. This is a mistaken idea, for total annihilation is an impossibility."
 
Nov 2012
601
United States
Appreciate the input guys.

I guess this keeps coming up for me. Anything that is contradictory is explained away a little to conveniently. "Well, he never actually said that," or "It's just symbolism, and we have the decoder ring."

=\

Bit frustrated still. From earlier. Forgive me.
There's no magic ring, or particularly difficult mystery, I think.

What it boils down to, is people trying to find literal/physical meanings in teachings the Manifestations gave to them in symbolic, spiritual terms. It helps to realize, the spiritual realm is the actual reality.. and this (physical existence) is the metaphor, the reflection, the mirage, the illusion -- and not the other way around.

So, if one can imagine the position of the Manifestation -- an educator visiting from reality, trying to teach about reality from the perspective of the realm of the mirage or illusion -- then it only makes sense that such a teacher would have to use symbols, metaphor, allegory.. and so forth.

So, in the West, the misunderstanding of a literal Trinity -- or Jesus literally being God in the flesh, for example -- arose from such a misunderstanding, or failure to grasp the primacy of spirituality. Eventually, such things became dogma -- and few to none questioned them, although they easily fall apart against the crucible of reason.

Similarly, in the East, there arose a misunderstanding -- and eventually dogma, of a doctrine of literal reincarnation.

But if one grasps it in spiritual terms, "reincarnation," makes perfect sense. Not only -- as has already been pointed out -- is one "reincarnated" as they pass from this physical life, I think it can go further than that.

If one ponders it, one realizes, that on a spiritual (or intellectual level), one is constantly being "reborn." Ask yourself -- "Am I truly the same person I was five years, five weeks... even five minutes ago?" This is particularly true, if one is trying to push oneself to follow the prescription or tuition of the Manifestations, and grow spiritually. Christ Jesus meant it, when he said, "ye must be born again."

Indeed, ye must be born again. And again and again, to stay on the spiritual path.

And it further makes sense that reincarnation is often explained in symbolic animal terms. One minute, I might be a insect. But if I push myself to the challenge, I can be "reborn" as an eagle. If I wrestle successfully with my apathy or fear, I can go from a quivering little rabbit, to a mighty lion. Or, vise versa, depending upon which course of action I take, and whether I decide to follow God, or my own base instincts.

Furthermore, I don't think the Master was trying to be insulting when He called such beliefs as literal reincarnation (or any of the dogmatic traditions of the West I cited) as "childish."

Rather, he was merely telling the truth. Again, if you think about it, small children tend to take things very literally, and have great difficulty understanding abstract, allegorical or metaphorical expressions. If you have small children (my youngest child is six), you soon notice, you have to explain things to them in very literal/concrete terms, in order for them to grasp what you are trying to tell them.

So, again, the Master was merely relating that, humanity-- as a whole -- needs to grow up, so to speak, and stop thinking in childish terms. And such literal, dogmatic doctrines as reincarnation in the East, or the Trinity in the West are, indeed -- when put against the crucible of reason -- childish.
 
Last edited:
Oct 2011
4,213
Quilimari,Chile
There's no magic ring, or particularly difficult mystery, I think.

What it boils down to, is people trying to find literal/physical meanings in teachings the Manifestations gave to them in symbolic, spiritual terms. It helps to realize, the spiritual realm is the actual reality.. and this (physical existence) is the metaphor, the reflection, the mirage, the illusion -- and not the other way around.

So, if one can imagine the position of the Manifestation -- an educator visiting from reality, trying to teach about reality from the perspective of the realm of the mirage or illusion -- then it only makes sense that such a teacher would have to use symbols, metaphor, allegory.. and so forth.

So, in the West, the misunderstanding of a literal Trinity -- or Jesus literally being God in the flesh, for example -- arose from such a misunderstanding, or failure to grasp the primacy of spirituality. Eventually, such things became dogma -- and few to none questioned them, although they easily fall apart against the crucible of reason.

Similarly, in the East, there arose a misunderstanding -- and eventually dogma, of a doctrine of literal reincarnation.

But if one grasps it in spiritual terms, "reincarnation," makes perfect sense. Not only -- as has already been pointed out -- is one "reincarnated" as they pass from this physical life, I think it can go further than that.

If one ponders it, one realizes, that on a spiritual (or intellectual level), one is constantly being "reborn." Ask yourself -- "Am I truly the same person I was five years, five weeks... even five minutes ago?" This is particularly true, if one is trying to push oneself to follow the prescription or tuition of the Manifestations, and grow spiritually. Christ Jesus meant it, when he said, "ye must be born again."

Indeed, ye must be born again. And again and again, to stay on the spiritual path.

And it further makes sense that reincarnation is often explained in symbolic animal terms. One minute, I might be a insect. But if I push myself to the challenge, I can be "reborn" as an eagle. If I wrestle successfully with my apathy or fear, I can go from a quivering little rabbit, to a mighty lion. Or, vise versa, depending upon which course of action I take, and whether I decide to follow God, or my own base instincts.

Furthermore, I don't think the Master was trying to be insulting when He called such beliefs as literal reincarnation (or any of the dogmatic traditions of the West I cited) as "childish."

Rather, he was merely telling the truth. Again, if you think about it, small children tend to take things very literally, and have great difficulty understanding abstract, allegorical or metaphorical expressions. If you have small children (my youngest child is six), you soon notice, you have to explain things to them in very literal/concrete terms, in order for them to grasp what you are trying to tell them.

So, again, the Master was merely relating that, humanity-- as a whole -- needs to grow up, so to speak, and stop thinking in childish terms. And such literal, dogmatic doctrines as reincarnation in the East, or the Trinity in the West are, indeed -- when put against the crucible of reason -- childish.
Again another wonderful explanation :yes:

So good to be here
 
Nov 2012
601
United States
It also helps to realize that "salvation," or "nirvana," -- or whatever term one wishes to relate to -- is not a static event or end point of arrival.

It's a process. And a never-ending one at that.
 
Mar 2013
191
CA
Again, I appreciate the insights guys.

I keep struggling with these parts, as you can see...
 
Nov 2012
601
United States
Again, I appreciate the insights guys.

I keep struggling with these parts, as you can see...
No worries. What one person might not have much issue with, another person might struggle with. We all have a different perspective. We are all strong in an area where somebody else might be weak -- and vice versa.

The "reincarnation" thing was never much of a mental puzzle for me. But that does not mean I'm any smarter or more spiritually advanced than you are. It just means my perspective was able to unravel that particular puzzle without much trouble.

I'm sure there's issues that I pound my brains trying to figure out -- which you could see quite clearly.

That's why it's important to communicate and share ideas. :)