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Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?

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I have a request for anyone willing to share their experience with me:

Have you witnessed your past lives or accessed the "Akashic Records"? If so, please do give me as much information as you're willing to about that experience.

I've done a good bit of searching both on the DhO and other resources over many days for this answer, but I have not been satisfied entirely with what I've found. The most I've discovered is a passage in The Middle Length Discourses of the Buddha where he indicates that he experienced his past lives when in Fourth Jhana.

I cannot yet hold Fourth Jhana, but since reading the MTCB and finding you all and this lovely forum, I've made significant progress. In less than a month I've gone from only experiencing First Jhana a handful of times, to consistently attaining it in every meditation sitting. Third Jhana is the highest I can attain and rest in easily. I will attempt in a few minutes to attain Fourth Jhana, or the highest Jhana I can reach, and access my past lives (if such a thing does exist, which it feels like it does) through resolution to do so prior to entering meditation.

If you want to know why I want to know this, it is simply in the quest for understanding. It may not be entirely important whether or not there are past lives, but it is something I've consistently found myself contemplating in an effort to help others.

Deep gratitude for Daniel and this community,

Jason

RE: Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?
Answer
3/28/13 8:02 AM as a reply to Jason R.
I have no personal experience, and am very much a skeptic, so two questions I would ask is whether this passage accurately reflects what the buddha said and experienced (assuming the buddha is a real historical figure) and if the buddha did report such an experience does make it likely that reincarnation is real?

Regardless of what the buddha did or did not experience, enough other people have reported such experiences that I think it interesting to examine the phenomenology to understand what might underlie them.

Somebody who does take such experiences seriously as potential evidence for reincarnation is Charles Tart and he has a book about such things - The End of Materialism. Buddhist geeks podcast here:

http://www.buddhistgeeks.com/2010/07/bg-179-an-evidence-based-spirituality-for-the-21st-century/

RE: Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?
Answer
3/28/13 1:25 PM as a reply to Jason R.
Hey,
My direct answer to your question is , "I dont know".

I've had some experiences during meditation and during explicit "past life regression" sessions that came and went but seemed to have a much different character than my waking reality and or dreams. When boring down deep in in vipassana or widening out in jhana I have experienced things which are difficult to place into a usual experiential box like "past life" or "present life" or "lucid dream" or whatever.

The Buddha saw things very clearly and made statements about those others lives and others have done so. Whether all of those experiences are stored in the "Akaschic Records" I can't say, thats just a concept. All of our thoughts come from somewhere, just bubbling up from somewhere through ribbons of causality. Where is that somewhere, what is that something? I don't know.

RE: Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?
Answer
4/2/13 5:21 AM as a reply to tom moylan.
My past life report

It turns out that that particular report is not completely correct. Sometime after I wrote that report I remembered one more:

I was some sort of corrupt, powerful sorcerer in some sort of situation that resembled the Harry Potter version of a rated-X Las Vegas night club... How I forgot that one I have no idea. Again, standard disclaimer of how to interpret that applies.

RE: Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?
Answer
4/2/13 7:18 AM as a reply to Jason R.
I recently asked a theravada teacher monk about past lives and he said that you don't have to believe in it
even for Arhatamagga and phala..this was pretty encouraging emoticon

RE: Have You Witnessed Your Past Lives aka "Akashic Records"?
Answer
4/2/13 5:37 PM as a reply to Daniel M. Ingram.
Daniel M. Ingram:
My past life report

It turns out that that particular report is not completely correct. Sometime after I wrote that report I remembered one more:

I was some sort of corrupt, powerful sorcerer in some sort of situation that resembled the Harry Potter version of a rated-X Las Vegas night club... How I forgot that one I have no idea. Again, standard disclaimer of how to interpret that applies.


I have to admit, that is rather humorous. Even better is the thread you linked was incredibly helpful for what was the core of my question of this thread. This is perhaps the most compelling lecture I've ever come into:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zqrpKUTMXgY

Thank you