On one of the “Buddhist” forums I used to frequent, there had been much debate on reincarnation. The following post is from Shen’s Teahouse. It is beautiful in its simplicity & does not insult your intelligence either. That in itself makes it noteworthy. Enjoy.


(12-96) A young girl asked whether I believe in reincarnation. To be safe, I said: “My scientifically trained mind does not allow me to believe it, but I find it comforting.”

It is comforting to believe that you can come back after you are gone. It is comforting to believe that you can still see your loved ones after they are gone. Why should I blind myself with scientific logic for the unprovable truth?

Reincarnation is not an idea to be proven. It is an idea to be appreciated. Like heaven and hell, when Milton wrote: “Your dungeon stretching far and wide beneath; Now lately heaven and earth, another world/Hung o’er my realm, linked in a golden chain/ To that side heav’n from whence your legions fell…” No one would ask for the proof of heaven and hell when they read the poem.

One of my favorite Chinese poems described reincarnation in such an understated effortless way. A poet, remembering her wife, wrote: “Ten years of life and death, unknown at both ends. Unthinkable, unforgettable… Even if we meet now, we won’t recognize each other. Dust on my face, hair white as snow…” The idea that she has been reincarnated is so beautifully accepted here that no one has the heart to ask whether it is true or not.

I told the young girl that sometimes you love a person so deeply that you have the illusion of knowing him from previous life. I cherish the feeling; I don’t need scientific proof. There is a kind of truth that doesn’t need any proof at all.


~ by James Myoe on December 12, 2007.

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