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November 13, 2017


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A few observations:

1) upon attaining unsurpassed awakening, Buddha Shakyamuni revealed full knowledge of his past lives. These are not past versions of himself in this life, these are names and entities that lived and died in the past. He said, "this is my final birth", thus he attained Buddhahood.

2) Almost every culture and spiritual tradition has intuitively understood the continuation of life in a cycle or wheel after bodily death, most especially those of India, but not exclusively so.

3) The very problem of existence, as explained in the Tathagatagarbha sutras, is one of false recognition of the real, which is absolute, and any divisions (body, personhood, personal experience or insight) therein are of a lesser reality (conditioned). To presume "this life is it" is itself a misunderstanding of Buddhism at a fundamental level which points to a nature of reality far greater than individual life forms, in my opinion.

There are many other arguments to be made, but only a distorted picture of Buddhism could possibly support such a view as presently taught in Zen schools that this life is the only life.

How does a fly or rodent attain nirvana in this life? It kind of makes a joke of the Bodhisattva vow to save all beings. What is salvation if not transcendence of birth/death (samsara)?

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