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Do you believe in Reincarnation or Transmigration?

Discussion in 'Questions and Answers' started by Ishna, Sep 3, 2011.

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Do you believe in reincarnation / transmigration?

Poll closed Oct 3, 2011.
  1. Yes, the soul starts as a lower life form and progresses up or down according to karma

    6 vote(s)
    22.2%
  2. Yes, but rebirth not affected by karma

    1 vote(s)
    3.7%
  3. Yes, but with other (or no) conditions

    2 vote(s)
    7.4%
  4. No, I don't believe in reincarnation or transmigration

    13 vote(s)
    48.1%
  5. Other (please detail in thread)

    5 vote(s)
    18.5%
  1. Ishna

    Ishna
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    I'm curious to get a feel for the sangat's votes.
     
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  3. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Ishna ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Could you please enlighten me what reincarnation and transmigration are and how one is able to understand them?

    I notice you write "believe" in your question which shows that it is a belief as used in a belief system.

    Allow me to give my 2 cent worth.

    Sikhs are Truthseekers. The first pauri of Jap shows us that and I am sure you are aware of it that tells us that truth is fluid, hence there is no absolute truth as dogmatic religions like Abrahamic and others promise us, but truth is absolute in Sikhi.

    Truth stands on its own and does not need a belief system but a way of life because Sikhs do not believe in any god but for Sikhs, IK ONG KAAR IS.

    I apologise in advance if my post may have offended you in any way. We are all Sikhs- seekers, learners,students and we can only learn from each other via interacting.

    Thanks and regards.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  4. Ishna

    Ishna
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    Sat Sri Akal Tejwant Ji

    No offense taken - this is a forum where everyone presents their views and polite frankness is appreciated. :)

    This thread here does a better job of discussing transmigration / reincarnation: http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/gurmat-vichaar/18945-transmigration-of-soul.html

    One should be able to understand the spiritual matter of reincarnation and transmigration from Gurbani and discourse with the sangat. Personally I'm finding Gurbani very difficult to understand because I haven't read it all, I don't understand it all, and it's very easy to make it say whatever the heck you want it to say (example: you can make Gurbani sound like it prohibits or encourages meat eating.. similarly you can make it sound like it supports or rejects reincarnation and transmigration).

    I used "believe" for a couple of reasons: 1. the poll may sound biased if I phrase the choices as if they have already been answered. 2. when it comes to a religion, I think belief does have a place. How else can you "believe the Truth"? Doesn't believe mean that you accept the concept presented as true? 3. some Sikhs might NOT believe in reincarnation and transmigration.

    Gurfatehji
    Ishna
     
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  5. Navdeep88

    Navdeep88 Canada
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    Ishna Ji,

    I've been wondering about this. About why we're even here???

    God is perfect, loving, compassionate, powerful...we go knocking at his door. but why did he even create imperfect creations? us, little ants who love, suffer, and struggle. If his light is in all, in us, and the ultimate goal is to merge in God's light, why did he immerse us in this maya, this game? Is this the ultimate humility of God, that even though God could have perfection, he chooses not to? Does this mean love, the source needs to be in action in order to grow and sustain itself?
     
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  6. findingmyway

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    Navdeep ji,
    The portrait you paint has characteristics of an Abrahamic God. Ik Oankaar is not a person who would play games. When you think about the universe or even lab experiments every effect has other effects that were not anticipated. Gas collapses in on itself, a star is form. This is Akaal Purakh's creation. A side effect of this process is the creation of precious metals. What is the purpose of a honeybee? What is the purpose of a flower? What is the purpose of worms? Everything has a function in the grand order (I have been watching too many nature programs lately!!). I think humans are here to realise our consciousness. It is not God that separates but we build walls ourself the way a child keeps falling when learning to walk. We should be the caretakers of this Earth but instead we are destroying it!


    Ishna ji,
    You may enjoy this thread, I did when it was active. It goes through the shabads on reincarnation and looks at them in several different ways. This may help you make your own mind up!
    http://www.sikhphilosophy.net/sikh-sikhi-sikhism/9096-reincarnation.html
     
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  7. Mai Harinder Kaur

    Mai Harinder Kaur
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    I voted "Other."

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I believe in the karma/transmigration theory.

    On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, I believe that when we die, we are dead.

    On Sunday, I eat Doritos.

    :interestedkudi:
     
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  8. Arvind

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    I think all of us are as old as this universe is! All of us are our own ancestors, and our descendants are again us only!

    Just my random thoughts!
     
  9. Ishna

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    Way ji, that link is precisely what I'm looking for, thank you! _/\_
     
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  10. Annie

    Annie
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    At the risk of sounding like a nut... I believe in reincarnation because I have an instinctive feeling about it, and because I have seen things. I believe in it because some of us seem to be much older and more mature than others spiritually, and it can't always be explained by our environment. My feeling about transmigration is not as strong, but it sort of makes sense to me. If we have souls, animals must too; and we must have been something other than human if our souls were around before human bodies began to exist on Earth.

    Um... karma. I think it is when we give the idea too much power and detail that it begins to sound ridiculous. What if karma is simply a natural law of cause and effect? If you work to improve the world, the world will be that much nicer for you and others. If you are a jerk, people will be jerks to you. And maybe we are here in the circumstances we are born into, to learn something we could never learn otherwise.

    The bottom line is that I really know nothing. I don't even know WHY our existence is so hard to understand. I can only hear other people's ideas and try to do what seems right.
     
  11. Archived_member14

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    Annie ji,


    I think that you are correct in concluding that there are things which can't be explained in terms of environmental influence, and that we are who we are due to influences that go back to past lives. However I think that we need to be precise about such things, because otherwise we will just mix causes with effects which then leads to doubt and moving up and down between belief and disbelief.



    I don't believe in reincarnation or transmigration. This is because I don't believe in the existence of a soul. What I believe is that all there ever is are mental and physical phenomena, and apart from the unconditioned Nirvana, these are conditioned and extremely fleeting. I believe that one of the features of mental phenomena, which include consciousness and its mental concomitants, is that they are accumulative in nature and when they fall away, immediately conditions a next instance of consciousness on and on, never to stop (until one becomes fully enlightened and pass away). This is what happens now and is reason why death must be followed immediately by rebirth consciousness.

    What happens after death is therefore not reincarnation or transmigration, but "rebirth". It is rebirth because what one is born as, is determined by the karma which arose just before the dying consciousness of the previous life. This means that if the karma is unwholesome, one will be born in one of the lower planes of existence and if it is wholesome, it will be in one of the higher planes. So yes, we do come with *all* that we have accumulated from the past including both good and bad tendencies. And it also means that our life from one to the next is never in linear progression, but move up and down between plains of existence. Although when born as an animal, the probability of going up is exponentially reduced due to their inability to distinguish good from bad and right from wrong.

    So I think that you should take care not be moved by the idea that at one time on earth there were no human beings, and also not let the concept of evolution confuse and mislead you. This is because they are stories only about "earth" and earth is not the only place where life exists, and the 'human form' as we know it, is not necessarily the only one which supports that particular kind of good karma. Indeed, animals share the same planet as us, but their plane of existence, unlike ours is one which is the result of an altogether different kind of karma! So we need to think in terms of planes of existence and planes of consciousness, rather than that of evolution of life in this particular planet.


    It sounds ridiculous only if we try to comprehend it from the standpoint of the existence in 'self' or 'soul'. When we think in terms of a self who acts and who receives the fruits of his or her actions and are not precise as to what it is that are causes and what the results, we will end up confusing things. The problem is not in the details, but often it is in the oversimplification. Yes, it is wrong to speculate about karma and wonder about such things as 'what might be the cause for this result' or 'what kind of fruit will this action bring', because this again is due to the influence of "self" and is blinding. It comes from wanting to know and to control and predict, and is why it is said to be capable of leading to madness.

    However on the other hand, if we are vague, this can lead to mistaking causes for results and vice versa and this too is wrong.

    Allow me to give some examples:

    A misfortune is often referred to as being the result of bad karma. Now although this is true since a misfortune can be seen as coming down to unpleasant experiences through the five senses, most people however are caught up in a story about 'someone being in a particular situation'. This perception when taken seriously can lead to mistaking for example, sadness as also being result of karma, when in fact it is not. Sadness is actually the stuff of cause and not of result. And with this perception, there can't be any understanding and as often is the case, leads to feeling of deject where the whole thing is seen as fated.

    Similar to this situation is when people refer to their inclinations to good and bad and general habitual tendencies as being due to karma. This again is wrong, since karma is actually the mental factor of intention arisen with the consciousness. One's inclinations changes each time that a new action takes place. So in seeing the accumulated tendency as karma, this too can lead wrongly, to feelings of helplessness.

    Reacting to the above misunderstandings, some may feel inclined to interpret karma and rebirth, in a way that I once did. When it is said that good karma leads to heaven and bad karma leads to hell, we think that this means for example, that a good state of mind is free of agitation and is akin to being in heaven, likewise when we are say, angry, this is a state of agitation, and is like being in hell. We resist the idea that there is a life beyond this one and so the inclination is to interpret the concept in terms of what we are willing to accept. But clearly this is very misleading.

    The reason being that what we refer to as being results, i.e. the states akin to heaven and hell are in reality, the pleasant feelings that accompany either a wholesome state of mind or that which accompanies attachment. And these are "causes" and not "results"! This means that in our resistance to the concept of karma and rebirth, we have come to take for resultant consciousness what in fact is a cause, and this is wrong understanding. And what may then follow from this is an inclination to judge as worthy of pursuit, states of mind accompanied by pleasant feelings, which in our case must be "attachment". And so we see people judging success or failure in their pursuit of religious ideals by how happy or blissful they are. And this is what they try to make increase which must then be planting seeds that will result in the experience of unpleasant objects in the future. And isn't this a big trap?


    This is an example of what I was saying above. Surely you've heard about good people suffering while bad people getting away with what they do haven't you? So I don't think it right to interpret karma the way you have done. We do what we do, good or bad, according to our accumulated inclinations and other conditions. Likewise how other people react is *not* a result of our actions, but their own accumulated tendencies and other conditions at any given time.

    Praise / blame, pleasure / pain, gain / loss and fame / disgrace are the eight worldly conditions we all face. True a good person will more likely than not be praised for it, but this is not a result, but because most people see the value of goodness and some of them then express praise while others may not.



    The Truth remains hidden because of the overwhelming tendency to ignorance. To recognize ignorance is a step in the right direction. But as in the case of karma, first we must understand what ignorance is and what is it that ignorance is ignorant of, because otherwise we will go the wrong way.

    But I won't start to talk about this here. ;-)
     
  12. Archived_member14

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    One mistake in the statement below which needs correction.


    To be changed to:

    "The reason being that what we refer to as being results, i.e. the states akin to heaven and hell are in reality, the pleasant feelings that accompany either a wholesome state of mind or that which accompanies attachment and the unpleasant feeling that comes with aversion."
     
  13. Annie

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    It always fascinates me how, with religious topics, so many people have so many different opinions, and each person is fairly certain she/he is right without being able to offer hard evidence of anything. I mean, multitudes of people have died over this sort of thing. It makes me wonder why humans seem to have been created with a need to understand, but the inability to do so.
     
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  14. Ishna

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    Annie ji

    Great point! Thank you for being so concise.

    Sometimes I get the feeling, when I'm reading Gurbani page after page, that it's not meant to be complicated, it's meant to be so simple, but humans tend to over think things with our crazy minds.

    If we could just open our eyes and look around clearly without this mind layering it's own opinion on everything, colouring the world when at it's essence, it is all a well-oiled machine and we just have to go with it.

    Says I... with my own interpretation... proving Annie bhenji's point... *shuts up!*
     
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  15. Lee

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    Yes yes of course I do.


    This is part of the reason I choose Sikhi though. It agrees with all that I had worked out about God and Gods plan.
     
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  16. Satyaban

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    Yes I do.
    My beliefs may not be Sikhi but I don't they differ much in this regard.

    I'll start with the issue of karma. There is I believe a misunderstanding by some. Karma simply is just like the laws of motion. There is no good karma and bad karma it just is, created by the divine. This misunderstanding is a result of a philosophy of dualism, that which includes that God is in a heaven and only there, good and evil etc etc. This being the result of the illusion of maya.

    Does karma have an effect on rebirth, yes. Most importantly karma has a huge effect on moksha, the liberation from rebirth. As I understand it all karma must be in balance for moksha. However probably more important to conditions of rebirth are tattvas and gunas.

    This is my belief as passed on through thousands of years by rishis, sages, and holy men.
     
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  17. Kanwaljit Singh

    Kanwaljit Singh India
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    The Sum of all parts is always ONE.. frankly I don't care what happens to the parts :D
     
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  18. spnadmin

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    One problem had in discussing Hinduism and then using Hinduism as a religion comparative to Sikhi is the lack of understanding of Hinduism... a nearly impossible task. First of all it is reasonable to argue that Hinduism and Hindu are and always have been geopolitical constructs. We can discuss this.

    There is also a basic truth. What we term Hinduism actually consists of four traditions that are very different with respect to the understanding of the nature of the divine. On top of that there are numerous panths within each tradition, often tracing lineage back to a single holy man or swami, for which meanings of concepts are unique.

    For example it is possible today to find sangats that term themselves Vedic. They revere the Vedas. They also reject idol worship and take as the central creative figure Vishnu, but do not engage in ceremonies where there are pujas or artees to Vishnu's idol. Even in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji there are shabads by "Hindu" sants, but when we pursue the religious evolution of their thinking and the shabads included by Guru Arjan Dev, we learn that their devotion was montheistic and they did not support idol worship. Same thing goes for "karma." There are Hindu paths where liberation from 84 lakh joon through reincarnation is not taken in the literal sense.

    So we need to be careful ..but we also need to be patient with others...because grasping the whole of Hinduism is really the work of trained academics which most of us are not.
     
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  19. Kamala

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    I believe in it because I heard about it in the gurdwara as true, like there was this story about this guy in the gurdwara who gives prashad to people and he purposly ignored one person who didn't get any and the prashad giver was a very angry person to and told the person who didn't get the prashad "stop dancing around like a bear" and the person was like "no you are" and laster in life he died and the guru ji meet the prashad giver as a bear dancer in the streets and I can't remember this part but his son (prashad giver) was there to and when the guru ji stopped and bought the bear and took it's life away as in sending him to saach khand the prashad giver's son looked at the guru ji and asked why he did that and then he explained this whole story again.. there was another story about baby crows in a nest and the guru ji told mardana(?) to get the one who creates the most noise down and he did and the guru ji took its life away ((sent to saach khand)) because it was a sikh in its past life but was a really cranky one.. I am not 100% which guru was in the first one I explained.
     
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  20. Ambarsaria

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    Kamala the great source of mis-information and will need to press the reset button on her Sikhi learning. Seems OK for Hindu part.

    Let us see if you can start with addressing people with "ji" and say Sat Sri Akal.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  21. Inderjeet Kaur

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    Kamala ji,
    I'm not quite sure why, but you always make me smile.

    Ambarsaria ji is right. Courtesy is important and calling someone by name and sticking a ji after that name is good manners.

    As for the other:

    On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I believe in reincarnation.

    On Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday, I believe that when you die, you die.

    On Saturday, I eat pizza.

    In other words, I don't know and I really don't care. I am too busy living my life now to concern myself with nonessentials that are unknowable.

    Most of the time...
     
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