Where Science and Enlightenment Collide

More On No Self

barred_spiral_galaxy-313956-400-400A discussion on Facebook has brought me once more to thoughts on the self as it pertains to a separate soul.  The thought might come up in some of you, that if there is no soul what about rebirth and the story of the Buddha, who once became enlightened, saw detailed knowledge of His past lives. He was able to recollect the conditions in which He had been born in His past lives. He was able to remember what His names had been, what His occupations had been and so on. If there is no self or soul how can one be reborn?

If you remember in There is no Spoon, I brought up that the teaching may be interpreted as there is to self that is separate from the universe, and what we understand as ourselves, is not separate from our bodies that our identity that we know as you or I are dependant on this human form.

But if our concept of a soul (the concept for those of us who may have been brought up Christian) does not exist in the way we imagine or have been taught then how is it we are tied to the cycle of rebirth?

Picture in your mind a spiral galaxy when viewed from a distance, a galaxy is made up of billions of stars. When viewed from a distance it also appears as if the light from each star is connected together as one source, especially at the core where the stars are all gathered together. When viewed close up the stars appear as separate, but we also know they are a part of a larger whole galaxy. What is reborn, what was reborn in the Buddha is a cluster of energy that we think of as the soul, when it enters a body a new self is made a new identity that is no longer just the body or just a soul but a combined self. This self, however is also not separate from the universe, the energy or soul that goes from life to life is also tethered to the universe itself, it is an extension of the universe. Like a spiral galaxy we are all united in a spinning cosmic wheel of consciousness, when viewed close up, there is the illusion of separateness, when viewed from a distance as a whole we recognize we are all one.

This of course is simply my theory and my truth, it may not be your truth and I understand and honour that. I do not ask yourself to accept my truth as your own, I am merely expressing my understanding with you.

When things seem bleak and dark remember, the universe is filled with light… we just don’t often see it! -JF



4 responses

  1. in Buddhism nothing transmigrates from one moment to the next and certainly not from one life to the next. Your theory is speculative at best and contradicts Buddhist teaching. A poor attempt at reinventing the wheel. Why not just learn Buddhism?

    July 30, 2014 at 3:16 pm

    • I have learned quite a bit about Buddhism, reading through several texts their are several texts that mention the Buddha lived for several lives before reaching enlightenment.

      “The Buddha’s remembrance of thousands of past lives during the first watch of the night he achieved omnipotent enlightenment gave rise to a vast body of Buddhist literature, in many versions, called the Jatakas or Tales of the Buddha’s Past Lives. The Pali Jatakas record 357 past lives as a human, 66 as a god, and 123 as an animal. For Buddhists, the biography of the Buddha consists of not one but many lives. ”

      Perhaps my message is not quite clear, I am not saying that there is a soul that retains consciousness or identity that is reborn but an energy desperate but unique that is reborn until the state of enlightenment is reached and after death the energy reunites with the source what might be considered Nirvana. Obviously from these texts and the story of the Buddha there is something that went on from one life to the next culminating in his final existence and reaching Nirvana. The idea that there isn’t is Nihilistic, something that Buddhism is most definitely not, the current definition of a soul would be the opposite extreme. I am simply stating that there maybe, not saying that I know for sure, but there maybe a middle way of understanding our concept of continuity.

      I realize you too have your own truths and because I embrace yogic teachings including Satya I know that my truth may differ from your own. I do not ask you to embrace my ideas as your truth, merely listen if you wish, if you do not agree then that is fine, but I will ask that you respect my beliefs, as I will respect the beliefs of the tradition of Buddhism that you study and follow.


      July 30, 2014 at 3:51 pm

  2. Ron

    Very nice theory. Thanks for posting. Obviously, there are different theories within Buddhism, so your contribution is appreciated.

    August 4, 2014 at 8:10 am

  3. Ron

    I also want to recommend a very good article which spells out a few perspectives where the view of goal is somewhat dependent on the system from which it is approached and understood. This can be applied to understanding “self”. http://buddhism.lib.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-AN/26715.htm

    August 4, 2014 at 8:23 am

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