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Aloka
02 Sep 11, 08:29
I've noticed that posters in Buddhist forums often reference Ian Stevenson's reports on reincarnation as proof of their beliefs. It was interesting therefore, to find this review of Stevenson's book "Children Who Remember Previous Lives :


http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=482


and more here:


http://www.skepticreport.com/sr/?p=481


Comments welcome.

Traveller
02 Sep 11, 12:26
I'll take a look at the links later, Dazz, I just wanted to pop on and say something I think about the subject, which is really its a lot of pointless speculation, you could do far better things with your time than wondering about this, reading Dharma, meditating etc. Yeah I had a near death experience and I felt very strange for a while afterward, but part of me says, well, what if it was just something my brain was doing while I was dying. In the end it doesn't matter, we'll find out the answer after we've died. There are more useful things to do while your living.

Aasha
02 Sep 11, 13:35
Yeah I had a near death experience and I felt very strange for a while afterward, but part of me says, well, what if it was just something my brain was doing while I was dying.

Hi Lonely Traveller,

I was reading your post, and although I agree that speculating about what happens after we die is pretty much a waste of our time, and that we could be putting it to much better use, I am nevertheless quite interested to hear what you felt and experienced when you were close to death and how you felt afterwards, if you didn’t mind sharing that here?

My aunt, when she was dying, was smiling and pointing up towards the corner of the toom. I often wondered if she was seeing something.

Aloka
02 Sep 11, 14:08
Hi Aasha,

I think if you want to discuss people's near death experiences, then that could be the subject of another topic, if you don't mind, please.

This one is about the writers views on the Ian Stevenson reports on past lives and reincarnation in the link in the OP #1... and possibly about general beliefs in the different Buddhist traditions on that same subject.

with kind wishes,

A-D ;D

Traveller
02 Sep 11, 14:08
Hi Lonely Traveller,

I was reading your post, and although I agree that speculating about what happens after we die is pretty much a waste of our time, and that we could be putting it to much better use, I am nevertheless quite interested to hear what you felt and experienced when you were close to death and how you felt afterwards, if you didn’t mind sharing that here?

I'll have a think about describing it, I'm beginning to think I shouldn't have mentioned it, it may have been a heedless action that could confuse people about the matter.

Aloka
02 Sep 11, 14:13
Hiyah LT,

We must have both been posting at the same time ! Please see my post #4 about the possiblity of another topic if its wanted.

I think if we start going off at tangents already, its going to derail the OP. ;)

Aasha
02 Sep 11, 15:23
I think if you want to discuss people's near death experiences, then that could be the subject of another topic, if you don't mind, please.

This one is about the writers views on the Ian Stevenson reports on past lives and reincarnation in the link in the OP #1.

Yes, no problem Aloka...sorry about that. ;D

Aloka
03 Sep 11, 06:11
The author at the first link #1 says of the Ian Stevenson book:



Before I got the book, I wondered how Stevenson would ensure the stories were genuine. I had the idea that he would have surveyed a number of children at random, seen if any remembered a previous life, and followed up on them.

It seemed like quite a thing to attempt, but I thought it must be something like that. So as I started to read the cases I made notes on when the author had first become involved in the case.

I soon gave up on that idea because, as I discovered, the author had got involved in none of these cases until some considerable time after the children were reported as remembering their prior lives. Thus they were all just anecdotes, although well documented and cross referenced. It was less than I had expected.

tjampel
06 Sep 11, 14:03
The author at the first link #1 says of the Ian Stevenson book:

The % of people said to remember any details of prior lives by the time they're teens, even, absent intervention by the experimenter (e.g. hypnosis---as with "Many Lives, Many Masters") is said to be very tiny. Therefore I doubt that a methodology of just asking people randomly will produce any results, unless you ask thousands; that's kind of time-consuming and expensive.

Most people said to remember any details of a prior life do so at an early age and later forget them later on. So you'd need to find a way to talk to 4 year-olds about this, if you were attempting to do a general survey of the population. To make matters far more difficult these children who do (allegedly) remember details don't volunteer them at such an age, generally; they may also need to be queried as to some specific image or object or name, which they can respond to. This is how Tibetan rebirths are allegedly "found"; they show the kid two sets of objects, one from the dead lama and one from somewhere else. The child who is the rebirth is expected to select only the implements from the dead lama. (yes, there's great potential to manipulate if the intent to do so is present); as for 4 yr olds, generally, whether they do or don't remember some detail of a past life--- they may just be telling you about their magic dragon named "Puff" anyway, unless you have the ability to get to that other knowledge.

Stevenson's research makes it difficult to reject rebirth. It doesn't prove it. Not rejecting, being open to rebirth, is the important thing, as I see it. Others feel that rebirth is both unnecessary and inconvenient for their practice. That may be so---for them.

FBM
06 Sep 11, 15:39
A healthy dose of skepticism is a component of wisdom, in my book. Even if a lone researcher did report finding a child who satisfied all the criteria for remembering verifiable details of a past life, the work of a single researcher is rarely, if ever, considered to be compelling in the scientific community. The child would have to be meticulously examined, re-examined, tested and re-tested by a number of specialists before any credibility could be established. I hope I'm not being cynical when I say that I really, really doubt that's ever going to happen.


...Stevenson's research makes it difficult to reject rebirth. It doesn't prove it. Not rejecting, being open to rebirth, is the important thing, as I see it. Others feel that rebirth is both unnecessary and inconvenient for their practice. That may be so---for them.

Hi, tjampel. I'm curious to find out what difference(s) you see between rebirth and reincarnation, if you don't mind. :peace:

Aloka
06 Sep 11, 16:31
To make matters far more difficult these children who do (allegedly) remember details don't volunteer them at such an age, generally; they may also need to be queried as to some specific image or object or name, which they can respond to. This is how Tibetan rebirths are allegedly "found"; they show the kid two sets of objects, one from the dead lama and one from somewhere else. The child who is the rebirth is expected to select only the implements from the dead lama

Tibetan tulkus are sometimes chosen at the age of 3 - as was the Dalai Lama. To say that a child of that age is 'choosing the belongings of his predecessor' - an elderly man who died somewhere else at an earlier time, is to me a flight of fancy. Firstly the 'testing' is done privately and secondly there are many ways that a tiny child might pick something first, depending on the most attactive colour, texture, or the object in closest proximity to the child and so on. Hardly a reliable way of proving reincarnation I would have though.

Additionally, years ago I asked a Tibetan tulku in private if he had ever been able to remember any of his past lives -or his previous life- and he said "No".

...but of course people who have blind faith believe what they're told to believe !


Stevenson's research makes it difficult to reject rebirth

I don't understand how you arrived at that conclusion.

.

Aloka
07 Sep 11, 06:55
Superstition and blind faith have been around for centuries in all religions and Buddhism certainly isn't somehow immune, westerners are encouraged to take on the whole package of cultural add-ons .

The power of the imagination can be awesome too and even affect people physically - such as Christians getting stigmata on their hands and feet, visits from the archangel Michael, the Virgin Mary, and so on - and believing there's an afterlife.
In fact there have been incidents in the past in Catholic communities where children have "seen" the Virgin Mary if I remember correctly.

Esho
07 Sep 11, 13:08
such as Christians getting stigmata on their hands and feet, visits from the archangel Michael, the Virgin Mary, and so on

Or the visits of Virgin of Guadalupe in here in Mexico. Any curious shape in a wall, on a sidewalk, as a tree branch, etc... is enough to think that such a Virgin has come to visit people again and again... and the story goes on and on.

;D

Aloka
08 Sep 11, 06:13
Yes, images of Jesus have been recognised in food items too. I remember seeing

a photo of a slice of toast with the shape of a face on it....... ;)

Anyway, sorry, I've taken this thread off topic now - back to Ian Stephenson and reincarnation !