Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Question about Reincarnation

Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/1/14 12:05 PM
I am reading the excellent "Tibetan book of living and dying". In the chapter about the "Bardos"  there is a story about Kunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen. A short excerpt from the book :

Kunu Lama was pointing out the bardos directly from his own experience. A practitioner of his caliber has journeyed through all the different dimensions of reality. And it is because the bardo states are all contained within our minds that they can be revealed and freed through the bardo practices.

Somewhere else the author mentions that during the crucial moment of death if we can recognize the Ground Luminosity, we will attain Liberation. 

Now, wikipedia entry about Kunu Lama Tenzin says that two reincarnations of the Lama have been identified. So my questions are :
  1. If the Lama had experienced all the bardos states, shouldnt he have used that to attain liberation during the "crucial moment of death" ? But that is not the case, if we believe the reincaration story.
  2. Are two reincarnations of a single person possible? I had never heard of it before reading this.

My first post here, please excuse mistakes, if any.

Namaste.

RE: Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/1/14 2:18 PM as a reply to coderain1.
For the type of answer you seem to be looking for you might be better off at a site that is somewhat more fundamentally oriented.  Although maybe I shouldn't put DhO in a neat little box, there are certainly some fundamentalists and people deep into the Tibetan stuff here.

Not that you asked for my opinion, but personally, for these kinds of things, like individual reincarnation, I don't take that stuff literally but rather as metaphor and dogma that has accumulated over the centuries.  I do think there is a point in there, that we are not separate, that we are everything and everyone that has ever been or will be.  Maybe not as specific recurrences, but rather as the totality.

RE: Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/1/14 7:46 PM as a reply to coderain1.
Now, wikipedia entry about Kunu Lama Tenzin says that two reincarnations of the Lama have been identified. So my questions are :
  1. If the Lama had experienced all the bardos states, shouldnt he have used that to attain liberation during the "crucial moment of death" ? But that is not the case, if we believe the reincaration story.


Many Mahayana Buddhists choose to be reborn even after attaining full enlightenment so as to re-arise to help sentient beings.  Some Tibetan practices involve what is called a "rainbow body" where the body dissolves after death and only the hair and fingernails are left.  This can either result in someone not being reborn at all or it can result in them forming a "sambhogakaya" (or "enjoyment") body with the purpose of further existing in the "astral" plane to continue teaching the dharma.  Other enlightened people may choose to purposely be re-born back on earth in a physical human body form.

With regard to the Wikipedia page stating that there are two different "re-incarnations" I wouldn't take this particular passage too seriously as there are no citations/sources for this and it looks like anyone could have written that.

RE: Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/2/14 2:59 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thanks Tom Tom, your explaination makes sense. Also, the "rainbow body" practice sounds interesting!

I will post this question in a forum that is more Tibetan oriented.

RE: Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/2/14 5:20 AM as a reply to coderain1.
 howdy coderain#
yeah...bardos..a Tulku is a part of the tibetan heirachical religious system and is the reborn realized master.  these are often "titled" masters or leaders in a particular tradition. the bodhisattva ideal in mahayana / vajrayana is to delay ones own full enlightenment until all beings (not specifically defined) are enlightened.  i never asked who the last one would be to close the door behind them when samsara was over though.

so these almost fully enlightened bodhisattvas can pretty much control all aspects of their minds and existences and incarnate in various realms wherever they are likely to do the most good.  a noble aspiration indeed.

tom

RE: Question about Reincarnation
Answer
9/2/14 6:42 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
the bodhisattva ideal in mahayana / vajrayana is to delay ones own full enlightenment until all beings (not specifically defined) are enlightened.  i never asked who the last one would be to close the door behind them when samsara was over though.


It seems that this is not taken literally by some people who have the requisite insight.  I think at some point (perhaps in the far future) the goal, for some, is to be re-born and become a Buddha (just like Siddhartha Gotama) and teach the dharma in a realm where it has completely decayed or has not yet existed and re-birth is ended there.

See the below quotes from http://www.beezone.com/Bodhisattva/bodhisattva.html


From Chogyam Trungpa:Student: You spoke of the vajrayana path as one that could lead to enlightenment in this lifetime. Yet in the bodhisattva vow, we vow not to enter enlightenment until all sentient beings have become enlightened. That seems to present a contradiction.

Trungpa Rinpoche: I don't think so at all. That's the trick of the mahayana path; it helps you to give up. You're not going to attain enlightenment at all; you're going to work with sentient beings. And the idea in vajrayana is that you're going to attain enlightenment in one lifetime. Both work together. In mahayana, the idea that you're not going to attain enlightenment cut your speed, your ambition. In the vajrayana, you develop pride, vajra pride, and dignity. Actually, both amount to the same thing. You can't become buddha in any case at all. Youless, unyou, nonyou, is going to attain enlightenment. That logic holds true all the way along. You can't attain enlightenment. Maybe nonyou can attain enlightenment. Good luck!The Collected Works of Chogyam Trungpa, Vol. 4, p. 191

From Adi Da:The true Bodhisattva is not one who in any sense prevents his or her own Enlightenment in order to first Enlighten others. How can an un-Enlightened being Enlighten anyone else? Rather, the true Bodhisattva is either pursuing ultimate Enlightenment or else he or she is already fully established in the Awakened Wisdom of true Enlightenment while still alive. The Enlightened Bodhisattva is a true Buddha or Transcendental Siddha. And such an individual may intentionally remain in the phenomenal worlds through countless rebirths in order to Awaken others - but this does not involve the prevention of his or her own Enlightenment. The Buddha's or Enlightened Bodhisattvas or Awakened Siddhas that constantly or periodically reappear in the phenomenal worlds for the sake of Helping un-Enlightened beings always reassert their Enlightenment in each lifetime. What they prevent is not Enlightenment but the Hinayana form of Nirvana.