Lesson Nine: More Lives Than One

(bhcheah) #1
Lesson Nine: More Lives Than One

He had seen a young man being walled in

Lord Tennyson met a friend whom he was sure
he had met in an earlier life.

"So friend, when first I looked upon your face,
Our thoughts gave answer each to each, so true
Opposed mirrors each reflecting each,
Although I knew not in what time or place,
Me thought that I had often met with you,
And each had lived in others' mind and speech."

The doctrine of rebirth is not confined only to
Buddhism and Hinduism but is accepted in
many religious and philosophical systems
throughout the world. Almost every country of
the East accepts the doctrines as too obvious to
need proof.

And Western writers have traced its presence in
the legends and ideas of nearly every country in
the world, including those of the Egyptians who
built the pyramids and the Greeks in their
golden age. Pythagoras and Plato taught it.

Even among the early Christian Church fathers,
the belief in rebirth was held by personalities
like Clement of Alexandria, Justin Matryr, St.
Gregory, St. Jerome, Origen, St. Augustine and
St. Francis of Assisi. In fact, the early church did
accept it. It was only five hundred years after
the demise of Jesus Christ that the Council of
Constantinople was held in 553 A.D. and

declared rebirth heretical. The decision was
arrived by a simple majority vote in the
proportion of 3 to 2.*
Even under the pressure of the Church, many
great minds in the West had adhered to this
doctrine of rebirth. They ranged from
Schopenhauer, Goethe, Kant, Hume and Disraeli
to Emerson, Huxley, Tennyson, Wordsworth,
and other leading minds of the Western world

1.One Life Versus Many Lives
For those who believe in life after death, some
teach that after a brief span of life on earth
ranging from a few hours to, perhaps, eighty or
more years, a person is either eternally
condemned to hell or rewarded with everlasting
happiness in heaven. Surely the few years we
spend here is an inadequate preparation for
And if there is any Justice at all, the entire
theory should be questioned forthe injustice it
Again, if there is lifeafter death, a belief which
is basic in religious. thoughts, this naturally
seems to point towards rebirth. If it’spossible
for a life to exist in some form after a person
dies, why can't there be lives before the present
one? one wonders why some menhave so
readily accepted the idea of a life after death
and yet have discarded the idea of lives before

Voltaire pointed out that to be born many times
is no more miraculous than to be born once.

To the Buddhist, life on earth is like a wayside
inn upon a road. Thetravelersenter through
the door of Birth and exit through the door of
Death. Within the common meeting room are
found men and women of every type who
gather experiences by interacting with one

*Leslie D. Weatherhead, The Case For

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