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Inside HSI Youth

Fifty Questions on Love and Life

Reincarnation

Is there any truth to reincarnation?

Today we are rediscovering reincarnation through various oriental religions. For instance, we can read in the song of the blessed Krishna (the Baghavad Gita): "As a man throws away his shabby clothes to put on brand-new ones, the soul, stripping its used-up bodies off, unites with new ones." (2,22).

According to these religions, human life is an eternal rebirth where the soul is part of the All and the body a mere transitory vehicle (yana).

This chain of lives is interpreted in a somewhat different manner depending on whether one lives in the East or the West.

The wise men and masters of the East wish to break that chain of rebirths to achieve a fusion with the Absolute. It is the final stage: the "deliverance" (moksha) of the Hindus, the "extinction" of the Buddhists, or the "final illumination" (satori) of the Zen monks in Japan.

On the other hand, those in the Occident who believe in reincarnation see this doctrine as an opportunity to finalize what was left unfinished in a single lifetime. And this opportunity goes on indefinitely: as if it was possible to get a second chance over and over again.

To live by this belief also implies a specific outlook on life, God, man and his freedom. It is therefore crucial for us to understand what kind of ground we are going to tread here.

The idea of reincarnation emphasizes two important yearnings: to be purified from evil, and to live eternally in the presence of the divine. These are beautiful aspirations. The question then becomes whether this doctrine can provide a sound answer to these yearnings when it maintains that the personality is ultimately to fade into oblivion. With respect to purification from evil, we cannot see what better tools we could have in our hypothetical future lives that would allow us to achieve it then rather than now.

The new life as promised by Jesus is not one more life: it is an eternity of joy and love, it is eternal meaning for ever! And Christ can free us from evil because he is God: he can, if we want, create us anew through his mercy. We are all aware of our inability to break off our chains on our own.

Human life does not consist in remaining oblivious to life and in doing nothing; on the contrary, it is a search for what is beautiful, good and true.

Personal Experience

A few years ago, I read a book explaining that God was a great All and that we were connected to the Cosmos as a bottle thrown into the sea. We must break the glass of the bottle (our "ego", our pride, our selfishness) if we want to reach God, to melt in Him. Acting upon the advice of several wise people, I threw myself into each of the techniques they extolled: yoga, aikido, kendo then Hinduism, transcendental meditation, Zazen and finally Japanese Zen.

In each instance, I was promised happiness, universal love, the power of the spirit over matter, (the "satori", the "nirvana") if I could reach the "awakening". The law of Karma was discussed in which our life's woes are thought to originate from our bad deeds from the past or from previous lives. For when we die, we are reincarnated according to the conduct of our life, into the body of a more or less wise person or into an animal.

Coming out of painful trials, my Guru told me I probably was a great criminal in a previous life... The only way to break this vicious circle was to save myself by practising Japanese Zen, the so-called fastest and most radical technique but also the most painful. Two years later, I was doing eighteen hours of Zen a day! A few months later, I was getting ready to enter a monastery of Japanese Zen...

Inner Torture
My Guru who was well acquainted with a network of mediums, psychics, healers and so forth, and thinking I was predisposed to such practices, began to instruct me in the gifts of healing and clairvoyance. Thus, I discovered the world of the occult and the esoteric and was surprised to find that these men and women who sometimes showed spectacular gifts - which they obtained through occult prayers and often through a "consecration" of themselves to Satan - were tortured within themselves by anguish and the fear of death... They often conceal their occult games by using Christian words and go as far as to display statues of the Virgin Mary or various saints in the very room where they meet with their patients. If a physical healing does occur, it is at the expense of the patient's soul.

Enlightened By Tragedy
One day, I was sitting in a bus right behind the driver. Suddenly, an old lady who was crossing the street was hit by the bus. Right away, bystanders and passengers rushed to help her. But I remained stuck to my seat trying to control, as I had been taught, the motion of my diaphragm to ward off any emotional involvement

But was not this peace perfectly superficial and self-centered? Was I not becoming completely oblivious to the suffering of others? This event allowed me to realize I was travelling on the wrong path.

Sabina


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