Message Boards Message Boards

Miscellaneous

Is progress possible after death?

Toggle
Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/29/15 11:48 AM
I have questions on death and the hereafter, and I'd like to know how that is viewed in this community. This subject might not be considered pragmatic enough to warrent your consideration, but I am at the age where death is never far from my thoughts, and I am still a beginner at meditation.

First, my assumption is that the process of self identification continues after death. This is based on the popular literature and many reports from those who claim to have visited the other side. Thus, there is "something" that lives on and can reincarnate.

The question: Is meditation possible, and effective, after death? I wonder whether practice can continue without the physical brain if I have developed the habit and some degree of skill before death.

Or is it true, as some (such as Adi Da) have said, that you must incarnate to make real spiritual progress? He said that, in this life, you can learn to control Mind; but after death, Mind controls you. This resonates with the experience of dreaming, in which only rarely do most of us have any lucidity.

If progress in meditation can continue after death, I wonder why we need to incarnate at all. I certainly have no conscious wish to be born here again. Perhaps that will change when I experience the boredom of subtle existence.

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/29/15 1:22 PM as a reply to Ward Law.
Wardlaw:
I have questions on death and the hereafter, and I'd like to know how that is viewed in this community. This subject might not be considered pragmatic enough to warrent your consideration, but I am at the age where death is never far from my thoughts, and I am still a beginner at meditation.

First, my assumption is that the process of self identification continues after death. This is based on the popular literature and many reports from those who claim to have visited the other side. Thus, there is "something" that lives on and can reincarnate.

The question: Is meditation possible, and effective, after death? I wonder whether practice can continue without the physical brain if I have developed the habit and some degree of skill before death.

Or is it true, as some (such as Adi Da) have said, that you must incarnate to make real spiritual progress? He said that, in this life, you can learn to control Mind; but after death, Mind controls you. This resonates with the experience of dreaming, in which only rarely do most of us have any lucidity.

If progress in meditation can continue after death, I wonder why we need to incarnate at all. I certainly have no conscious wish to be born here again. Perhaps that will change when I experience the boredom of subtle existence.
Hello Wardlaw,

I will share my thoughts about your matters based on my own experience. I've received training in this topic, that has been tested in many situations, from my teacher (who passed away in 2010) as well as from a couple of non-physical dharma masters.

>Is meditation possible, and effective, after death?

I'd say that meditation is not any less or more effective there than here. It depends a lot how and with whom you practice, like it often does here too. I've had a group of seven deceased Tibetan vajrayana monks come ask practice instructions for about 1-2 years. In their physical they all were simple monks living in the country side so their actual understanding of dharma theory was not experiential. After I tested their honesty and commitment in the matter I have given them instructions with very good results. Even they didn't know each other (not all of them anyway) while living here, now they keep company and practice together so they support each other. They all attained stream-entry together, at one point, after I had instructed them. Now they have been doing tantric practices for several months with good benefits. I have also few other steady non-physical students. However it varies quite a bit, due to their minds, how they make progress. So, previous subconscious programs affect a lot but if you are sincere about it and have good karmic connections to teachers or lineages and/or are able to find a good teacher, sure you can make good progress.

>Or is it true, as some have said, that you must incarnate to make real spiritual progress?

In my view it is not so black and white. With proper guidance it doesn't matter what are the external conditions.

>If progress in meditation can continue after death, I wonder why we need to incarnate at all. I certainly have no conscious wish to be born here again. Perhaps that will change when I experience the boredom of subtle existence.

If you have unfinished business, which means karmic imprints in your mind that are tied to this planet and beings on it, then you have to reincarnate again. You might not have to if you are able to neutralise this karma a) before leaving this body or b) after your death.

I've met thousands of all kinds of beings, high and low, also human, after their physical deaths. They certainly forget quickly how heavy and gross it is here. Yet at the same time, coffee just smells and tastes good. So if your karma doesn't pull you back here, tasty mocca might emoticon

Hope this is of some help.

Cheers,
Baba

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/30/15 4:54 AM as a reply to Ward Law.
hi wardlaw,
i can't claim the experience of baba but here goes my take.

the buddha was insistant that we have had uncountable previous existences and will continue to do so until we develop the wisdom to get off of the ride.  it is uncertain what ones destination will be after the present life comes to an end unless one has made certain attainments in this life.  he enumerated many possible realms in which one could land, some lasting for EXTREMELY long periods of time and some being pleasant some very unpleasant.

your question is a little oddly phrased though IMO. for most people who practice the end goal is not to practice but to attain, even if you aren't there when the attainment is reached ;-).  meditation is not the goal but the path to the goal.  that said, there are different traditions with different takes on how to make the most out of this life, and perhaps what follows it.  the human life was singled out by the buddha as the most advantageous platform from which to practice because we, as humans, have the dual ability to understand dukkha even while experiencing pleasure and can actually do something about it.

obviously, we have the human perspective, which includes our physical bodies.  this body is usually the best place to start with meditation.  its a good anchor for our attention for as long as we're here and can definitely lead to deeper , more subtle investigations which presumably lead to real and deeper attainments.

there are some traditions which teach things like phowa (ejecting your conciousness just before death) and and amitabha practice ( meditation on a certain buddha form to land you directly into HIS heaven at the time of death ).  the first one presupposes no meditational attainments, or even meditation itself, the second requires devotion and specific meditation practices to achieve this state / attainment.  the purpose of the Amitabha practice is to rocket one into this particular (conditioned) heaven where, in a subtle body, one will have absolutely ideal conditions for practice and thus can reach the "goal" in a very short time.  many see these as shortcuts for people who do not or cannot find time in their lives for practice.

my take is that unless one is seriously advanced along the path these questions about "what comes next" are best used as motivational considerations as to what to undertake now.  you mention that thoughts of death and dying are never far from your day to day experience.  this is a good thing and is encouraged by many traditions as a goad to practice. its easier for us olde folks to see the indeterminate finish line but the practice (and it is a practice) is encouraged for comtemplatives of all ages.

worrying about starting too late is only worrying and won't he very helpful. 

cheers

tom

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/30/15 9:10 AM as a reply to Kim Katami.
I've had a group of seven deceased Tibetan vajrayana monks come ask practice instructions for about 1-2 years. In their physical they all were simple monks living in the country side so their actual understanding of dharma theory was not experiential. After I tested their honesty and commitment in the matter I have given them instructions with very good results.

The fuck are you talking about?

To address OP's question-- consciousness is independent of the brain, at least as far as I can tell in my experience. Thus, further progress at some future point after death is, at least in theory, possible.

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/30/15 10:26 AM as a reply to Eric M W.
So if you can also progress in the non physical realms, then what's the deal with the "once-returner", "non-returner" etc. ? And if you were interested in meditating, why come to this planet and live in monastery if you can simply stay in the spiritual/non-physical realm?

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/30/15 11:43 AM as a reply to Ward Law.
Is progress possible after death?  Yes, I believe so.  I've been having out-of-body experiences for over 15 years now.  I've had some pretty magnificent experiences which indicate that there is life after death, and that there exists a system of nonphysical reality in which individuals progress through as they continue to learn, grow, and develop spiritually along the lines that the Buddha taught.  Other out-of-body explorers have had some pretty amazing experiences and revalations of this nature as well, which serve to confirm my own experience and insight.  

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
11/30/15 6:47 PM as a reply to Ward Law.
Ah, one of those nice days on DhO when you log in, read some thread and just go all


(never boring here. the bread likes that.)

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
12/1/15 8:14 PM as a reply to tom moylan.
You mentioned extremely long time periods in other realms. This brings up the common notion that time as we know it is different, or even nonexistent, in nonphysical states. Which leads me to question of whether "progress" is a realistic expectation after death; isn't progress always in time?

Then there is the physical body as attentional anchor. I wonder what the equivalent of watching-the-breath is on the other side. I suppose there are various core vibrations or pulses that will suffice as anchors. So it seems from the few lucid OBEs/dreams that have dotted my nocturnal life.

I do understand that attainment is what matters. Practice is, well, practice. I am not into effort, and I would be delighted if I could complete all the necessary transformations without lifting a finger. But progress has not come easy for me, which is why I say I'm a beginner at meditation even though I have been a spiritual seeker for over 40 years. Oddly, during all that time I never encountered clear instructions such as Daniel Ingram's MCTB.

RE: Is progress possible after death?
Answer
12/2/15 6:47 PM as a reply to Kim Katami.
Kim.  I could really use your help.  I am having some trouble with some very big unhealthy spirits.  I will message you on here.  Maybe you could email me: matrixmunki@hotmail.com

Very big problem