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Reincarnation is one of my favorite and enduring hobby-horses. That is mainly because reincarnation defined my early life. I was accidentally adopted by an extremely devout and activist Buddhist family. My early life revolved, endlessly, around Buddhism. There would not be a day in my life when I could escape Buddhism or active interaction with Buddhist monks. I would be at a Buddhist temple most days of the week. Reincarnation was the end-all and be-all of the Buddhism I was inculcated in. Buddhism was reincarnation. We lived to be reincarnated.
Then I left Ceylon. Was sent off to boarding school and then university by my adoptive parents. I finally got space and time to do my own thing. I started thinking about religions, Buddhism and reincarnation — much of it through a heady haze of unbridled sexual liberation.
I realized that, despite having seen, first hand, so called irrefutable proofs of reincarnation, I could not reconcile the science of reincarnation. I had too many questions that had no logical answers. See this post … for a start.
I eventually realized that I could NOT believe in reincarnation.
Then, since my Buddhism was all reincarnation I realized that I could also no longer be a Buddhist. This was in my early 20s.
Buddhism had been my religion.
When I stopped being a Buddhist I stopped believing in ALL religions.
But, the belief in reincarnation still intrigues I.
Got me thinking, which is not hard to do.
What would be the Buddhist explanation to a Twin Reincarnation.
Statistics dictates that twins even triplets (and more) must be born to Buddhists — even identical twins and triplets.
Even if identical twins would not have the same fate ahead of them — we could even call it Karma. Though identical twins they would have separate lives — each contingent on the merits they acquired in their previous lives. So, why have twins in Buddhist families?
The HUGELY MAGICAL ‘system’ that implements Buddhist reincarnation doesn’t need to deal in twins. Twins are not important to Buddhist reincarnation. So, why have them.
Something to think about.
This “Unsolved Mysteries” article in RD, commissioned by RD, is pretty excellent. I was only familiar with one case — the airline hijacker that vanished. If you can try and get your hands on this article.
China Is Correct, Dalai Lama Is ‘Disrespecting’ Buddhism & He Only Represents 4% Buddhists Worldwide.
I addressed this Dalai Lama reincarnation issue over a year ago. Whether he is talking obliquely about him reaching NIRVANA or whether he is just playing politics (as he is WONT to do) the Dalai Lama really has no say as to whether reincarnation, per Buddhism, happens or does NOT happen. His statement about it possibly being ‘voluntary’ is sheer, utter bunkum! I have talked about reincarnation in this blog — before. It is a subject I do know quite a lot about and have devoted a lot of mental energy thinking about.
Let’s PLEASE get one thing straight about this Dalai Lama. He is NOT the Buddhist equivalent of the Pope. He is not even the equivalent of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He is, at best, equivalent to the Patriarch of Alexandria. There are about 490 Million Buddhists worldwide (and I am not one of them). The Dalai Lama ONLY represents the at most 20 Million ‘Tibetan’ Buddhists and at least 40% of these are WESTERN cafeteria Buddhist who believe Buddhism is all about meditation, yoga and avoiding beef. So, the Dalai Lama has no authority (unlike say the Pope) to talk about Buddhist dogma or doctrine. This Dalai Lama is really nothing but a Western celebrity — the Ben Carson of Buddhism.
Though not a Buddhist now, I find it wrong when the Dalai Lama tries to, using his media creds, to mess with very fundamental Buddhist precepts. To me it is like Donald trump saying that there was no Virgin Birth (and that he would know). China is right. The Dalai Lama should stop talking about reincarnation and just do what he is best at doing — making money for himself.
++++ Check Categories ‘religion‘ on sidebar for lots of other posts >>>>
++++ Search on ‘Easter‘ for many other posts and photos from multiple years >>>>
Sri Lanka So Miffed About United Nations Human Rights Council Resolution Should Leave The U.N. Or Act Adult.
by Anura Guruge
++++ Also check Category ‘Sri Lanka‘ for other posts >>>>
Yes, of course, I can be impartial, aloof and maybe even cussed about this because I had no skin in this and continue not to have any. It all happened after I was long gone and it never really touched me.
But, I have heard much of the rumblings and accusations, against both sides, after the war.
My take on this is as a Brit and a cricketer — and I am saying this because the majority of Sri Lankan’s still love their cricket and understand the phrase “it is just not cricket“.
IF you belong to a club YOU have to adhere to its rules, try to change them procedurally and, if you can’t, and it still rankles you — get the hell out.
Just a few months ago the Sri Lankans were glibly talking about leaving the Commonwealth because they were miffed that certain Commonwealth Heads of State had concerns about human rights violations during the war. Well why aren’t they talking about leaving the U.N.?
To me, and again see opening line, this resolution is NOT a big deal. Yes, Sri Lankan pride, never far from the surface, has been bruised. Well, that is life in the BIG World.
What is this ‘investigation’ going to do? 25 years from now nobody will recall this. Look at the countries that voted for it. Chile! Mexico! Sierra Leone! Come on. Talk about the ‘pottle’ calling the kettle black.
OK. Just to assuage the collective ego throw some tantrums over the next few days … then either shut up let them do their thing … or leave the U.N. and get on with it.
“Sri Lanka Reconciliation” A Rah-Rah 30 Minute Booster Informercial Video That Aired On Some NBC & ABC Outlets This Weekend.
by Anura Guruge
>> Buddhist jubilant the ruling of
>> La jude that Buddhism is not stupid
>> — March 24, 2014.
++++ Also check Category ‘Sri Lanka‘ for other posts >>>>
This, from what I have heard, was made by a U.S. marketing company, for around US $65K (which is one heck of a good deal), at the behest (and largess) of a Sri Lankan bank (which, obviously, has an interest in promoting the very promising prospects of Sri Lanka).
I haven’t had the time to watch more than the first few minutes. But it looks interesting. They have a better MRI than what we have locally. Maybe I should fly to Colombo for my next MRI. It will be cheaper — of that there can be no doubt or debate.
Well, I wanted to share this (so that people won’t bust my chops saying that I only promote shows about the Vatican).
It should be good. ENJOY.
by Anura Guruge
>> ACLU lawsuit against La school
>> — Jan. 26, 2014.
>> Is Buddhism a religion?
>> — Oct. 7, 2013.
++++ Search on ‘Buddhism‘ for a number of very germane posts >>>>
++++ Also check Category ‘Religion‘ >>>>
I talked about this in January when the news broke and even pointed out how it is possible to easily be a good Buddhist while at the same time semi-embracing Christianity (or any other religion) without in anyway being in conflict let alone violation.
That a judge would deem the act of anybody associated with a public school, even in Bible-Belt Louisiana, calling a religion ‘stupid’ unlawful was a given. I think most U.S. folks knew that this would be the outcome of this case. That was clear cut. But, I am glad the Sri Lankan Buddhists are so delighted with the ruling.
I read about 4 articles and could only find one passing reference to the monetary damages awarded to the parents. From what I could see they were awarded $4,000 to cover their transportation costs for driving their kids to another school — and the school district that was sued ordered to provide them, for free, bus transportation to the new school in future.
All of what the school was told to comply with, in future, in terms of what they say and do about religion, goes without saying was the standard American “motherhood and apple pie” creed when it comes to religion in school.
As far as I am concerned, and as I did say in January, this misguided and obviously very insecure teacher should be fired not for calling Buddhism stupid BUT for her inexcusable and extremely ignorant (even by the low-standards of Louisiana) use of excessive exclamation points. (See image above.) To be that was the most egregious of her faults. My god. So many exclamation points. She really should be fired for that or, at a minimum, forced to attend one-year of College to learn English.
As for the parents, as I also did say in January, they need to better educate their children about Buddhism — especially when it comes to the Buddhist concept of creation, or more to the point, lack thereof.
Yes, I have finally started working on a book on Buddhism. When it is published it will definitely help people see Buddhism in a different light — the way I was taught to appreciate Buddhism.
ACLU Lawsuit Against Louisiana School Related to Buddhism Being A Religion Very Disturbing On Multiple Fronts.
by Anura Guruge
>> Is Buddhism a religion?
>> — Oct. 7, 2013.
++++ Search on ‘Buddhism‘ for a number of very germane posts >>>>
++++Also check Category ‘Religion‘>>>>
I saw this on Google yesterday and was very rattled by it on multiple fronts. Of course, incontrovertibly, a teacher should NOT have told the young man that his religion was stupid. That was a very stupid thing to do. Of that there can be no doubt or debate. I am glad that the ACLU is going to go after the school on that. This, with luck, could become the modern day (Scopes) Monkey Trial. I think the time is ripe to litigate this ‘how we came to be here’ issue yet again.
As anybody who is familiar with my work, or has followed this blog, will know, Buddhism is yet another subject that I know more than I should. Actually I consider myself quite an expert in Buddhism since for the first 14 years of life (bar one week), I was totally and utterly immersed in Buddhism. There wasn’t a day that went by when I did not meet and speak with at least one Buddhist monk. I even used to consider a Buddhist chief monk as my best adult friend — given that I saw him and chatted with him nearly every day. I was forced to go to Sunday (and for a short while ‘Poya’) Day school. Would, on average, go to a Buddhist temple at least one other time during the week. There was Buddhist shrine in the house etc. etc. I considered myself a Buddhist until I was 18 and then renounced it because the fundamental notion of reincarnation did not make any sense to me. Much of this has already been documented here on this blog. There is even a YouTube video.
That said the MOST disturbing thing in all of this is highlighted here:
A teacher using multiple exclamation marks is beyond stupid, and shows a total lack of understanding of the English — even worse than somebody trying to use the beautiful word ‘portend‘ without knowing how to use it. There is another disturbing item in that clipping and I will come back to that later.
Buddhism, in my opinion, is NOT a religion. I dealt with it briefly here. Let me share my main rationale for this. The Buddha is gone. That is one thing that I totally, 100%, agree with him. I too will be gone when I die. Though unlike him, though I am a saint (and you can find folks saying that about me on the Web), I do not intend (thank god) to reach nirvana. I will just be gone. Because I do NOT believe in any kind of residual when I die.
Buddha’s lack of existence is a problem to those Buddhists that have managed to work it out. So, Buddhism does NOT provide anyone to whom you can pray! That is a problem. People want somebody that can intercede. Buddhism doesn’t have that. I grew up among some of the supposedly most devout of Buddhists in Ceylon. Nearly all of them, without batting an eyelid, prayed, daily, actually many times a day, to Hindu gods. That to me is the MAIN reason why I don’t class Buddhism as a religion. If Buddhism was a religion per se, Buddhist wouldn’t have to co opt gods from other religions to get by.
I have for most of my life maintained that Buddhism is a philosophy, a way of life, than a religion per se. Many educated Buddhists do not have a problem with that. Thank god — and maybe that should be one of the three Hindu gods that are worshipped by the Buddhists in Sri Lanka.
So the teacher, the school, this young man and his parents are basically arguing over a matter that really is not worth arguing. Don’t call Buddhism a stupid religion. Just stop worrying that Buddhism is a religion.
Now let me share with you, as a subject matter expert, something that will shock you.
You can, if you really understand Buddhism
(and are secure in that),
be a Buddhist and a Christian (of sorts) without a problem!
My adoptive mother was a Buddhist’s Buddhist. A paragon of Buddhism. But, she, was 13 years taught at a Baptist Girls School in Colombo, Ceylon. But, here is the kicker. The thing she loved most about her job was that she was the one that played the piano for the daily Christian service — and she got to belt out the hymns that she adored so much. She saw no problem with that. A good Buddhist playing the piano for Christians and joining them, with gusto (and she was also a singer), in their hymns. We didn’t have a piano. We had relatives that did. My mother, who played by ear, was often in demand to play the piano. Part of her repertoire was hymns. We didn’t have a car radio — and we drove a LOT. So we had to make our own music. My mother would sing ‘Silent Night’ year round. She would sing ‘Silent Night’ as we would be driving to a Buddhist temple.
So, it can be done.
My surrogate, as opposed to my adoptive, father was a Baptist. I spent at least 40% of my young life at his house. So I would transition from a very committed Buddhist household to a Baptist household and back again without even noticing it. The joys of real enlightened Buddhism. In terms of personality, if not looks, I most resemble him. And I am very glad of that. There is no way that I can, alas, look like him. He, a (Dutch) Burgher, was white. I, as you all know, am brown.
I feel bad for the young man. At 11 or 12, as he should be, be really should learn how to spell ‘Buddha’ — but then again, who am I to speak when it comes to spelling. That said, his parents have done him a great injustice. The Buddha, who was never a god (even with a small ‘g’), never ‘made’ or ‘created’ anything! That is Buddhist gospel. So for him to even think that the ‘Lord Buddha’ could have made anything shows acute confusion.
All told, this is all very sad. I worry about these things.
Yes, #4 or #5 on my current lists of books I have yet to write is a definitive book on Buddhism.
..by Anura Guruge
One of these days, when I am finished with popes I will start writing about Buddhism. Given that I was a Buddhist for 18 years I do know a fair amount about Buddhism. I have asked and answered the ‘is Buddhism a religion‘ question many times. IF your definition of a ‘religion’ involves or requires a God (with a capital ‘G’) or many gods (with little ‘gs’) you are out of luck and barking up the wrong tree. But, Buddhism is much more than meditation. It definitely talks about the after-life and the after-life-after-that and the after-life-after-that-and-that etc. etc. So if religion is something you want to deal with the afterlife, Buddhism will definitely give that to you with a healthy dose of reincarnation. It is reincarnation that made me stop being a Buddhist. For the world of me I cannot reconcile, come to terms with or believe in reincarnation. So, I stopped being a Buddhist. Not a big deal. I am not spiritual in any way or form.
But, some of you may find this article of interest. I didn’t have time to read all of it. I have to do some writing about Pius XII (#261) and why he was loath to appoint a Camerlengo. What I need to write has been buzzing around my head for 14 hours. I have to write it.
So you go ahead and read this. It is the start of a series from what I gather. So ‘bookmark’ it or whatever so you can find the other installments. Enjoy.
…by Anura Guruge
Address of the temple: 162 Old Upton Road, Grafton, MA 01519
(just off Route 140, south of Grafton center)
Tel: 508-839-5038 & 646-897-8951
I am no longer a Buddhist. More on that later. This is the first time I had been to a Buddhist temple since 1992. But, it was definitely worth going and we all really enjoyed the experience. Suffice to say it was an all time first for Deanna and the kids.
This temple was founded by my first cousin, my mother’s oldest brother’s, youngest daughter. It is the 14th Buddhist temple, in 14 separate states in the U.S., that she has founded in the last 14 years! She, for obvious reasons, eschews publicity so I am not going to say anything more about her, other than that she is pretty amazing. I have about 16 cousins from my mother’s side and all of them are mega successful luminaries; I am the dud.
I had not seen her in 40 years! That was a primary motive for making the 120 mile (each way), 2 hour trek. I have interacted more with her older sister, and she even visited us from Texas 7 years ago. She called me up two weeks ago and told me that I should go and surprise my cousin. That is what we did, but she recognized me right away (the sister having told her that there might he a surprise).
There were at least 31 Buddhist monks and 1 Buddhist nun from all over the U.S., Illinois, Ohio, Maryland, D.C., Staten Island, Long Island. I was impressed.
I had expected to find 5 monks at that and possibly 150 people. Even the Sri Lankan Ambassador to the U.N., resident in New York City, drove up to the event.
I knew that there would be a lot of food but even that exceeded expectations. We got there around 10:30 am and left at 4:25 pm. They did 4 separate food servings in that time and there was still food left over.
There were 200 people or more. I was amazed.
The weather did not cooperate. It was awfully humid we had some heavy downpours. But, the weather did not impede proceedings. There was a large tent and everybody could fit in it.
So, it was good. Lot of nice people. I spoke with some; also with some of the Buddhist priests (the fact that I can no longer converse in Sinhalese being an embarrassing impediment, though I can still understand much of what is said to me in Sinhalese). Speaking with Buddhist priests used to be daily part of my life, sans exception, until we left Ceylon in 1967 – a week before my 14th birthday.
Deanna and Devanee were impressed. Teischan, as ever, was difficult. Not sure whether we will be going back. We might.
So, me and Buddhism, especially with me spending so much time and effort as a papal historian.
I was born a Buddhist to an awfully devout Buddhist family, my father even then a noted Buddhist scholar and activist — as he still is. If you don’t believe me start with this link or check Amazon (for ‘Ananada Guruge’). My young life was a total immersion in Buddhism. Buddhist priests visited the house, without fail, every day of the week — mainly in the morning, but sometimes at night as well. I had to go to Sunday school. But, during the rest of the week we could end up going to a temple a couple of times a week — not for religious purposes necessarily, but because my father had to meet with one or more monks about the various initiatives they were up to. One of them involved creating a Buddhist university. I was probably 8 around that time. Given that I got dragged to so many of the meetings I became quite involved with it! So, Buddhism was very much an integral part of my life.
People ask me, even today, whether I no longer follow the Buddhist way of life. Well, within reason, of course I do. The Buddhist way of life was never too onerous, though I used to get grief about the large number of eggs I ate (which explains my super high cholesterol). There are no commandments in Buddhism. Only precepts, and you only have to follow 5 of them. Three were never really a problem — given that Buddhism is somewhat ambivalent about meat eating. Plus from all I know, and remember I knew plenty, the precepts tell you to ‘TRY and REFRAIN‘. Yep, I do that. I try and refrain, always have, all my life. (As Oscar Wilde said: ‘I have great willpower. I can resist anything but temptation‘.) Plus, not sure that my 1/2 a glass of diluted red wine, strictly for medicinal purposes, counts anyway. So, my abandonment of Buddhism when I was about 18 years old (which was 40 years ago) had nothing to do with ‘way of life’.
It had everything to do with the AFTERLIFE. You talk to Buddhist in America and they start waxing lyrical about meditation. That is like saying Catholicism is all about confession. Meditation played no role in my life growing up as this model Buddhist, in Ceylon, the supposed cradle of pure Buddhism, in a family noted as exemplary Buddhist. I actually asked my father about this, on camera, earlier this Summer. He admitted that meditation did not play much of a role in the Buddhism we practiced in Ceylon.
To be Buddhism was, and still is, all about reincarnation. Those that have seen some of my work know that I am a pedantic devil that likes to mull about very arcane topics. Well, when I was in College, among other things, I did a lot of thinking about reincarnation. When I was about 15, after a funeral, at a large family gathering at one of my uncles houses, with quite a few heavyweights from the Ceylon Buddhist scene, I asked all present: ‘per Buddhism, when does reincarnation of a human ‘soul’ start, at the moment of conception or when the baby is born?’ There was a stunned silence. The uncle whose house it was, had a brother. He was the Secretary General of the ‘Ceylon Buddhist Congress‘. I still can remember the look on his face. He was a lifelong bachelor. I was asking about conception and Buddhism. His jaw dropped. Actually I never got an answer. I still haven’t, over 5o years later.
I cannot, for the world of me, reconcile reincarnation. To me, if I do not believe in reincarnation I couldn’t and shouldn’t be a Buddhist.
I explained that to my father. He understood. He is a scholar. His only issue is what do I believe in IF I don’t believe in reincarnation. Aaahhh.
Well, life permitting, I plan to write a book someday about ‘Growing Up Buddhist in Ceylon in the 1960s‘. But, before that I have two other titles I would like to get done — life permitting, and yes, one of them has to do with popes, now that I have gone a whole full year without publishing a pope book!
But, bottom line, we are glad we went to the temple opening (consecration) today. It was good to see my cousin. It was good to see all those people. Thanks.