Ian Stevenson, Erlendur Haralsson, and reincarnation

#1
The Skeptiko podcast has a lot of episodes on the subject of NDEs and mediumship, both of which have to do with survival, but very little on reincarnation. The only one I know of is the short interview I did with Erlendur Haraldsson. Despite this, Stevenson, Haraldsson, Mills, Tucker, and their other colleagues have what I consider to be the most compelling database of psi-positive research regardless of subject. My impression is that some dislike the database because it is composed entirely of case studies, making quantitative analysis difficult or impossible. Regardless, they very strongly indicate that reincarnation is real.

As I see it, there is no difference between incarnating once or doing it more often, provided you accept that mind and body are separate. If we can accept that as a premise for conversation here, it makes me wonder about material contained in the Stevenson database that is rarely discussed. What of the case of Swarnlata? Was it reincarnation or possession? What of the between life accounts, for instance as a bird or an infant that died before birth? I find these to be more interesting than the rest of the data in most of the cases because they are all centered on whether reincarnation happens. I am more curious about what it means. For instance, do past lives contribute to current circumstances or not? If they do, can we look at our life now and get a glimpse of the past in that way?

Has anyone else noticed these odd bits of data in reincarnation stories that never seems to get followed up on? It is a bit like nailing down the spiritual material in an NDE I suppose, but interesting regardless.

AP
 
Last edited:
#2
It is funny, but having had a long term affinity for and understanding of buddhist and vedic literature and thought, the questions that stevensons work threw up for me centered around the validity of the reincarnarion data, as evidence for the existence of reincarnation. I realise now in relation to your question, that I had to a large degree overlooked what the data might be saying about the mechanics that may be driving reincarnation. I now realise that this was a somewhat premature attitude to have, and thank you for raising the question.
Incidentally, since you are far more familiar with the data, would you say that traditional vedic or buddhist teachings on reincarnation seem to be borne out in the data (hoping you are somewhat familiar with those ancient traditions)?

On the question "do past lives contribute to current circumstances or not?" I feel very inclined to answer that they must, but again, I am brought face to face with the fact that at this stage what I am saying is assumption, as I have no data to really show why it must or even can be the case. How interesting. I think alot of deep reflection is in order. :)
 
#3
I am not as familiar as I would like to be for answering this question. I have read a number of books by Indian swamis and Tibetan lamas, but these don't go into this in a lot of detail. One book about a Tibetan lama comes to mind though, where a monk described how he was found as the reincarnation of a former Abbott of a monastery. My impression from that book is that their belief in reincarnation was sound but that some of their ideas about it, like that their Abbott would be reborn nearby and would want to Abbott again, seem just as materialistic to me as denial of psi. This is because reincarnation has been reduced to ritual in parts, and this is irrelevant to what is actually happens.

I'll mention one of my dreams as an example, because I think the process isn't much different, if at all, from what really happens. Some time ago I had a dream where I was shown my entire life from birth to death, as well as precursor events from previous lives. With all this information, I was offered this life as a way to learn things I wanted to learn, and to deal with challenges that would improve me in various ways. When I accepted, I became who I am today. That is, I was born into this life. In a different dream, the spirit of a childhood friend came to me. He brought me to the home of a woman who would have twins. He asked me to join him as one of the twins so that we could be brothers in a next life. I took a look at the woman's aura, thought she had a low character, and rejected his idea. She was a poor choice for a parent.

Both of these examples should give you an idea how I look at reincarnation. I do not see it as automatic or immediate, and that some individual choice is involved even if recommendations are given. To me, it is kind of like deciding what kind of neighborhood you want to live in before buying a house.

AP
 
#4
I've read Tucker's "life before life" and another book on Stevenson written by a journalist. Which others are recommended, either by him or else dealing with the subject?
 
#5
I've read Tucker's "life before life" and another book on Stevenson written by a journalist. Which others are recommended, either by him or else dealing with the subject?
"20 cases of the reincarnation type" by Stevenson is probably the easiest to get and it is a good representative volume. He has several books though that collect case studies from different countries. I like "Children who remember past lives" because he wrote it after he'd done most of the others, so it builds on the earlier research. "Where biology and reincarnation intersect " is fascinating, as is "Xenoglossy", but Xenoglossy is expensive, about $100 or so.

AP
 
#6
One book about a Tibetan lama comes to mind though, where a monk described how he was found as the reincarnation of a former Abbott of a monastery. My impression from that book is that their belief in reincarnation was sound but that some of their ideas about it, like that their Abbott would be reborn nearby and would want to Abbott again, seem just as materialistic to me as denial of psi. This is because reincarnation has been reduced to ritual in parts
I find it very interesting that you think that their belief that the abbot would be reborn nearby and would want to abbot again strikes you as materialistic (I can't see it myself). In Tibet, the type of buddhism they practise is Mahayana buddhism, and the ideal is to aspire to becomming a boddhisattva, whos immense compassion leads him tomdelay his liberation in order to remain and be of service to those beings still suffering in ignorance, and illuminate the path to freedom. The abbot you speak of would have deeply contemplated and practised and would have made a vow to delay his own liberation, in order to remain in samsara (the phenomenal world of suffering) and be reborn so that he may help to deliver all other beings before he himself accepts liberation. These high Lamas usually leave clues as to where they will be reborn, and come to close disciples in dreams to point the way to their new incarnation, The norm is to be born fairly locally, and take up the duties that one left behind with death in ones previous life. It is now becomming slightly more common for Lamas to reincarnate elsewhere with the chinese occupation of Tibet.

I'll mention one of my dreams as an example, because I think the process isn't much different, if at all, from what really happens. Some time ago I had a dream where I was shown my entire life from birth to death, as well as precursor events from previous lives. With all this information, I was offered this life as a way to learn things I wanted to learn, and to deal with challenges that would improve me in various ways. When I accepted, I became who I am today. That is, I was born into this life. In a different dream, the spirit of a childhood friend came to me. He brought me to the home of a woman who would have twins. He asked me to join him as one of the twins so that we could be brothers in a next life. I took a look at the woman's aura, thought she had a low character, and rejected his idea. She was a poor choice for a parent.
very fascinating. It feels instinctively right somehow, this description of yours. The Buddhists and Hindus would argue that for most of us, it is largely an unconscious process that leads to rebirth, and that unless one is very adept at the meditative single pointed focus of attention (samadhi), the conscious and careful deliberation of choosing ones next life as you have just described will be impossible. Apparently, in the after death realm, ones mind quicky becomes overrun with fears and desires, the subconscious essentially guides the way as if in a dream (non lucid or barely lucid), and our decision making about our next life is largely driven by karma, subconscious fears and desire, and the habit energy we have accumulated along the way (I am hugely oversimplifying). This is what I have come to understand. I may be somewhat off the mark though.

Both of these examples should give you an idea how I look at reincarnation. I do not see it as automatic or immediate, and that some individual choice is involved even if recommendations are given. To me, it is kind of like deciding what kind of neighborhood you want to live in before buying a house.
I like the sound of that, and again, it instinctively feels right at some level, which I could not put into words. However, the rather calm and easy metaphor you give of selecting a neighbourhood, and really mulling over and weighing up the pros and cons I am not sure about. The reason is I feel perhaps such a scenario in the afterlife, seeing us able to easily and carefully choose our parents, and the circumstances we will be born into, means that most people I suspect would choose to suffer less, and to be wealthier, no? And if we are honest, for most people, daily life is an incredible struggle characterised by much suffering.
Now, I firmly believe that it is often through suffering, that some of the greatest triumphs of the heart and spirit occur, and development along a moral or compassionate and loving spectrum will be greatly facilitated against a back ground of suffering. This is my belief anyway. Empathy is to experience the suffering of others, compassion is the urge to do something about their suffering, and both are born of love. I propose however, these traits cannot arise with any strength in an indivual without them having a deep and personal appreciation for suffering.

I often wonder whether the millions of victims of the holocaust chose their unimaginable suffering before they were born, in order to facilitate growth in the long term. The sheer immensity of the horror and suffering that was perpetrated and endured at this time, often leaves me completely paralysed. I often come back to it though, because it is such a beacon of suffering in history, and I must wonder how these people fit into the scenario you have painted in terms of how you imagine choosing a new life is. I suspect there may be much more to it than we can possibly imagine.
 
#7
I find it very interesting that you think that their belief that the abbot would be reborn nearby and would want to abbot again strikes you as materialistic (I can't see it myself).
I have a few reasons for saying it this way. I'll bullet point them for brevity:
  1. Although I can easily imagine someone choosing a life that is near to or similar in some ways to a previous one, and do think it happens, such choices would tend to limit progress. This is because limited variety of experience limits knowledge, wisdom, and opportunity.
  2. The way the Abbott wrote the book made it clear to me that he did not have a strong belief that he was the former Abbott reborn. He accepted it for cultural reasons, but from his descriptions, I felt there was some dissonance between who he was supposed to be and who he thought he was. My gut feeling is that he was critical of the way he was found, because the way they searched required them to find someone. In other words, there was no way they would go home empty-handed. This leads to the next item.
  3. When a religion demands a certain result, whether or not it is natural or appropriate, they can find themselves pretending for the sake of their beliefs. To do that is "materialistic" as I see it because they are paying closer attention to what their religion tells them should be instead of seeing what is present.
  4. My dreams on this subject may not be a good source, but I do rely on them here a bit, but also my reading of work by various yogis and so on. These descriptions lead me to think it is unlikely that a spirit would have more than two or three similar incarnations, and that a spirit who did so would be considered somewhat "lazy."
very fascinating. It feels instinctively right somehow, this description of yours. The Buddhists and Hindus would argue that for most of us, it is largely an unconscious process that leads to rebirth, and that unless one is very adept at the meditative single pointed focus of attention (samadhi), the conscious and careful deliberation of choosing ones next life as you have just described will be impossible. Apparently, in the after death realm, ones mind quicky becomes overrun with fears and desires, the subconscious essentially guides the way as if in a dream (non lucid or barely lucid), and our decision making about our next life is largely driven by karma, subconscious fears and desire, and the habit energy we have accumulated along the way (I am hugely oversimplifying). This is what I have come to understand. I may be somewhat off the mark though.
This makes sense to me. That said, I have had a number of dreams that touch on the subject of selecting parents for a new incarnation, or a type of life to experience. These are both relative to my own spiritual journey and others that I happen to be present to witness or advise.

I like the sound of that, and again, it instinctively feels right at some level, which I could not put into words. However, the rather calm and easy metaphor you give of selecting a neighbourhood, and really mulling over and weighing up the pros and cons I am not sure about. The reason is I feel perhaps such a scenario in the afterlife, seeing us able to easily and carefully choose our parents, and the circumstances we will be born into, means that most people I suspect would choose to suffer less, and to be wealthier, no? And if we are honest, for most people, daily life is an incredible struggle characterised by much suffering.
Now, I firmly believe that it is often through suffering, that some of the greatest triumphs of the heart and spirit occur, and development along a moral or compassionate and loving spectrum will be greatly facilitated against a back ground of suffering. This is my belief anyway. Empathy is to experience the suffering of others, compassion is the urge to do something about their suffering, and both are born of love. I propose however, these traits cannot arise with any strength in an indivual without them having a deep and personal appreciation for suffering.

I often wonder whether the millions of victims of the holocaust chose their unimaginable suffering before they were born, in order to facilitate growth in the long term. The sheer immensity of the horror and suffering that was perpetrated and endured at this time, often leaves me completely paralysed. I often come back to it though, because it is such a beacon of suffering in history, and I must wonder how these people fit into the scenario you have painted in terms of how you imagine choosing a new life is. I suspect there may be much more to it than we can possibly imagine.
One of the more interesting elements of the first dream I mentioned to you (for the full version, you should look up my book), is that I noticed all the hardships in my life, and they were real hardships, but felt that on balance they were acceptable in the context of what I would get out of the life. I think it is the same with other people and that when they undergo severe hardship like the things you mention, they have agreed to do so before ever entering the life. Keep in mind that pain as we think of it has no meaning on a spiritual level. As spirits, pain could be likened to not doing the right thing when the opportunity presented itself, or doing something that hurt someone else, no matter how much might have been gained by doing so.

One dream I left out of my book purported to show what happened to Hitler after he committed suicide. There is no way to check it, but I found it at least plausible. In the dream, after he shot himself, he was confused to find himself still conscious. He thought this meant he had survived the gunshot. He was about to try and figure out how that happened, when he became fearful of Russian soldiers searching his house. He tried to hide from them, but then he bumped into a group of soldiers. They didn't notice him. He didn't understand why they didn't notice him, but since they hadn't he followed them as they searched, thinking they had somehow mistaken him for one of their own (perhaps because of the wound he imagined he had.)

He had lost all sense of time as a spirit, and such was his fear that he stayed with the Russians all that night and into the next, and then all the way back to Russia. During that time, he developed an affinity for (the aura of) one of the soldiers. At about this time, he had a life review and was offered the chance to be reincarnated as this soldier's son. He agreed to this, but one of the results of the life review was tremendous shame for what he had done. He didn't want to be anywhere near an opportunity to cause such a calamity again. He also wanted to, in a mild, modest way, become a better person. He was subsequently born into the soldier's family, became a soldier himself, then rose slowly through the ranks until he was a desk-bound major. He had minor influence, but was respected by others as one of the fairer examples of troops in post-war Russia. He was far from perfect, but he did make an effort to be honest and fair. Then, around the age of 47 (1991), he died and was buried in Russia.

AP
 
#8
Has anyone else noticed these odd bits of data in reincarnation stories that never seems to get followed up on? It is a bit like nailing down the spiritual material in an NDE I suppose, but interesting regardless.
There are some reincarnation cases I've read of that I consider to be "strange" for the reason that they vary from the usual pattern most cases show... For example, there's the case of a child that had memories of a person (if I remember correctly, a yogi) that was still alive for some months after the child was born. This is fascinating in a way, especially since there are some NDE reports which seem to aim in the same direction - that there are rather parallel lives than a chain of sequential lives. Those reports are rare, however, at least among the reincarnation cases.
 
#9
Incidentally, since you are far more familiar with the data, would you say that traditional vedic or buddhist teachings on reincarnation seem to be borne out in the data (hoping you are somewhat familiar with those ancient traditions)?
Jim Tucker writes in "Life between Lives", that the data they have collected don't support the idea that there's something like karma at work... As Tucker says, they can't observe any pattern of punishment or reward resulting from deeds in a former life. I find the conclusion somewhat premature, since - as the traditions incorporating the idea of karma point out, as far as I can see - karma is a process that works over very long timespans sometimes so that happenings in a certain life must not be the result of the previous life in every case.

However, this is a detail which makes me wonder, Buddhistic teachings say that it should usually be impossible for an untrained individual to remember details of a previous life and that only highly trained meditationers can achieve this. I've read this many times now, also said by the Dalai Lama himself. During one of the first Mind and Life conferences he told the story of a young girl in india, that remembered a previous life. He explained to the attendees of the conference that this would be highly unusual and he could not explain this. But - and this is the point that really makes me wonder - this was years after the Dalai Lama visited Stevenson (there is a photograph taken during the visit). So the D.L. should have been aware of the reaincarnation research. I'm not sure, what to make out of this. Sometimes it appears to me as if Buddhist scholars deliberately ignore reincarnation research. Any opinions on this?
 
#10
...here is a detail which makes me wonder, Buddhistic teachings say that it should usually be impossible for an untrained individual to remember details of a previous life and that only highly trained meditationers can achieve this. I've read this many times now, also said by the Dalai Lama himself.

...the D.L. should have been aware of the reaincarnation research. I'm not sure, what to make out of this. Sometimes it appears to me as if Buddhist scholars deliberately ignore reincarnation research. Any opinions on this?
Of all the wisdom traditions, I know that Buddhism generally, and Tibetan Buddhism more specifically, regards itself as somewhat progressive, in that where a teaching is refuted by science (objective inquiry) or personal experience (subjective inquiry) to such a degree that the disparity between the teaching and the new and demonstrably valid information is too great, Buddhism encourages one to let go of the teaching.

The Buddha himself taught that, 'Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense'. However, this is not meant to be taken as saying that each of us through common sense has some direct access to truth, in fact far from it. What it is saying however, is that it is entirely possible for one to have compelling reasons to drop some aspect of Buddhist teaching if it is in direct conflict with more compelling evidence to the contrary. In fact it is saying that in such a situation, it would be desirable to abandon the erroneous teaching.

I cannot say why the Dalai Lama may not be entirely convinced by Stevensons research, although I suspect he probably is convinced by the research, less so by the interpretations made of it. You have to understand that the amount of profound and highly symbolic knowledge Tibetan Lamas (particularly the Dalai Lama) have access to is vast, and their focus is on subjective reality. They refine their attention and concentrative abilities so that they remain lucid in both waking and sleeping, they understand that life is largely illusory and itself dream like, where most of us are led by what seems to be obvious and in front of our noses, a highly trained initiate will see something quite different.

I tend to trust, or at least not to discount what Tibetan Buddhism and the wisdom of Advaita Vedanta teach us, not out of mere faith, but because I realise that clashes between these traditions and the data of modern inquiry pertaining to thise traditions, rarely are straightforward. What the data shows may at first glance seem to stand in contradiction to some the teachings, but often I suspect it is more our own lack of understanding about the depth and subtelty of these teachings that is at fault, rather than blind adherance to a faith and stubborness on the part of the Dalai Lama, and many other followers of deeply esoteric traditions.
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#11
Some time ago I had a dream where I was shown my entire life from birth to death, as well as precursor events from previous lives. With all this information, I was offered this life as a way to learn things I wanted to learn, and to deal with challenges that would improve me in various ways. When I accepted, I became who I am today. That is, I was born into this life. In a different dream, the spirit of a childhood friend came to me. He brought me to the home of a woman who would have twins. He asked me to join him as one of the twins so that we could be brothers in a next life. I took a look at the woman's aura, thought she had a low character, and rejected his idea. She was a poor choice for a parent.

Both of these examples should give you an idea how I look at reincarnation. I do not see it as automatic or immediate, and that some individual choice is involved even if recommendations are given.
Interesting. This fits rather well with Robert Schwartz' work into studying mediums that supposedly access incarnation-planning (Your Soul's Plan). So that "karma" there too is not an automatic process.
 
#12
Jim Tucker writes in "Life between Lives", that the data they have collected don't support the idea that there's something like karma at work... As Tucker says, they can't observe any pattern of punishment or reward resulting from deeds in a former life. I find the conclusion somewhat premature, since - as the traditions incorporating the idea of karma point out, as far as I can see - karma is a process that works over very long timespans sometimes so that happenings in a certain life must not be the result of the previous life in every case.
I don't think the reincarnation data from the University of Virginia explicitly conflicts with the idea of karma. For instance, in my dream of Hitler, he was aware of the damaging impact his life had on others and sought to mitigate that harm in a later life. In one of my purported past life memories (partly verified btw) I had once lived in the early part of the twentieth century in the Chicago area as the son of a wealthy merchant. My current life circumstances were much more humble (to say the least) and involved brief periods of living in cars or shelters, and getting food from charity. I wouldn't look at that difference as a punishment due to karma, but as a change for the purpose of better understanding the difference between those life circumstances. Karma can be looked at as educative rather than punitive though, and that is how I look at it.

However, this is a detail which makes me wonder, Buddhistic teachings say that it should usually be impossible for an untrained individual to remember details of a previous life and that only highly trained meditationers can achieve this. I've read this many times now, also said by the Dalai Lama himself. During one of the first Mind and Life conferences he told the story of a young girl in india, that remembered a previous life. He explained to the attendees of the conference that this would be highly unusual and he could not explain this. But - and this is the point that really makes me wonder - this was years after the Dalai Lama visited Stevenson (there is a photograph taken during the visit). So the D.L. should have been aware of the reincarnation research. I'm not sure, what to make out of this. Sometimes it appears to me as if Buddhist scholars deliberately ignore reincarnation research. Any opinions on this?
I have a hard time describing myself as "an experienced meditator". This is because the frame of reference I remember is from this life and in this life I have not spent much time attempting traditional meditation. I have spent a considerable amount of time focusing my attention on objects while engaged in making drawings and paintings. This is a kind of contemplation and may have benefits similar to meditation. It is also possible that I have had considerable meditation experience in a previous life that I no longer remember. I have had dreams where I purportedly remember two past lives led as monks. In one, I seemed to be an Asian monk of some kind, in the other (and there are more numerous dreams related to this life) I was probably a Catholic monk because I spoke Latin, could read Latin, and lived in a monastery that resembled a typical old Catholic monastery. Catholic monks spend time in meditation just as eastern monks do, so I may well have picked it up then and that has also aided my concentration when painting.

AP
 
#13
Karma is a myth. Consider that linear time is a framework employed only within physical manifestations and that may become clear. From a non-physical perspective, they all incarnations occur simultaneously. So there can be and often is influence between the co-existing incarnations but no karma as commonly used. Also, an incarnation in the 2000s could be influencing one in the 1500s.
 
#14
Karma is a myth. Consider that linear time is a framework employed only within physical manifestations and that may become clear. From a non-physical perspective, they all incarnations occur simultaneously. So there can be and often is influence between the co-existing incarnations but no karma as commonly used. Also, an incarnation in the 2000s could be influencing one in the 1500s.
I frequently forget this, but think this makes more sense than any linear-induced karma. I do see things from one life influencing another however. Without access to knowledge of "future" lives makes it difficult to appreciate the potential for multi-directional influence.

AP
 
#15
I frequently forget this, but think this makes more sense than any linear-induced karma. I do see things from one life influencing another however. Without access to knowledge of "future" lives makes it difficult to appreciate the potential for multi-directional influence.

AP
There is access to knowledge of "future" lives. But I'm guessing you mean access via the traditional standard-state methods. At the moment yes I don't know of anyone who does that. I also think that part of expanding what we do in this physical is moving beyond relying solely on those traditional methods. One can view into a "future" life and see it as clearly as one sees their current incarnation.

On influence - I think it important to note that it generally isn't a case of getting another incarnation to do something they wouldn't do or not do something they would. The influence is not forced upon. It's there to tap or not because at other levels there is an ongoing interconnection.
 
#16
I have a few reasons for saying it this way. I'll bullet point them for brevity:
  1. Although I can easily imagine someone choosing a life that is near to or similar in some ways to a previous one, and do think it happens, such choices would tend to limit progress. This is because limited variety of experience limits knowledge, wisdom, and opportunity.
  2. The way the Abbott wrote the book made it clear to me that he did not have a strong belief that he was the former Abbott reborn. He accepted it for cultural reasons, but from his descriptions, I felt there was some dissonance between who he was supposed to be and who he thought he was. My gut feeling is that he was critical of the way he was found, because the way they searched required them to find someone. In other words, there was no way they would go home empty-handed. This leads to the next item.
  3. When a religion demands a certain result, whether or not it is natural or appropriate, they can find themselves pretending for the sake of their beliefs. To do that is "materialistic" as I see it because they are paying closer attention to what their religion tells them should be instead of seeing what is present.
  4. My dreams on this subject may not be a good source, but I do rely on them here a bit, but also my reading of work by various yogis and so on. These descriptions lead me to think it is unlikely that a spirit would have more than two or three similar incarnations, and that a spirit who did so would be considered somewhat "lazy."

This makes sense to me. That said, I have had a number of dreams that touch on the subject of selecting parents for a new incarnation, or a type of life to experience. These are both relative to my own spiritual journey and others that I happen to be present to witness or advise.


One of the more interesting elements of the first dream I mentioned to you (for the full version, you should look up my book), is that I noticed all the hardships in my life, and they were real hardships, but felt that on balance they were acceptable in the context of what I would get out of the life. I think it is the same with other people and that when they undergo severe hardship like the things you mention, they have agreed to do so before ever entering the life. Keep in mind that pain as we think of it has no meaning on a spiritual level. As spirits, pain could be likened to not doing the right thing when the opportunity presented itself, or doing something that hurt someone else, no matter how much might have been gained by doing so.

One dream I left out of my book purported to show what happened to Hitler after he committed suicide. There is no way to check it, but I found it at least plausible. In the dream, after he shot himself, he was confused to find himself still conscious. He thought this meant he had survived the gunshot. He was about to try and figure out how that happened, when he became fearful of Russian soldiers searching his house. He tried to hide from them, but then he bumped into a group of soldiers. They didn't notice him. He didn't understand why they didn't notice him, but since they hadn't he followed them as they searched, thinking they had somehow mistaken him for one of their own (perhaps because of the wound he imagined he had.)

He had lost all sense of time as a spirit, and such was his fear that he stayed with the Russians all that night and into the next, and then all the way back to Russia. During that time, he developed an affinity for (the aura of) one of the soldiers. At about this time, he had a life review and was offered the chance to be reincarnated as this soldier's son. He agreed to this, but one of the results of the life review was tremendous shame for what he had done. He didn't want to be anywhere near an opportunity to cause such a calamity again. He also wanted to, in a mild, modest way, become a better person. He was subsequently born into the soldier's family, became a soldier himself, then rose slowly through the ranks until he was a desk-bound major. He had minor influence, but was respected by others as one of the fairer examples of troops in post-war Russia. He was far from perfect, but he did make an effort to be honest and fair. Then, around the age of 47 (1991), he died and was buried in Russia.

AP
Wow. The Hitler dream is impressive.
 
#17
Jim Tucker writes in "Life between Lives", that the data they have collected don't support the idea that there's something like karma at work... As Tucker says, they can't observe any pattern of punishment or reward resulting from deeds in a former life. I find the conclusion somewhat premature, since - as the traditions incorporating the idea of karma point out, as far as I can see - karma is a process that works over very long timespans sometimes so that happenings in a certain life must not be the result of the previous life in every case.

However, this is a detail which makes me wonder, Buddhistic teachings say that it should usually be impossible for an untrained individual to remember details of a previous life and that only highly trained meditationers can achieve this. I've read this many times now, also said by the Dalai Lama himself. During one of the first Mind and Life conferences he told the story of a young girl in india, that remembered a previous life. He explained to the attendees of the conference that this would be highly unusual and he could not explain this. But - and this is the point that really makes me wonder - this was years after the Dalai Lama visited Stevenson (there is a photograph taken during the visit). So the D.L. should have been aware of the reaincarnation research. I'm not sure, what to make out of this. Sometimes it appears to me as if Buddhist scholars deliberately ignore reincarnation research. Any opinions on this?
I've googled quite a bit trying to locate "Life Between Lives" by Tucker but can't find it. I assumed it was a book. Is it an essay or something? Where might I find it?
 

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#18
I've googled quite a bit trying to locate "Life Between Lives" by Tucker but can't find it. I assumed it was a book. Is it an essay or something? Where might I find it?
Hi Reece,

It's actually: Life Before Life.
http://www.amazon.com/Life-Before-Scientific-Investigation-Childrens-ebook/dp/B003J5UIRS

Life Between Lives is a book by regression therapist Michael Newton. It's easy to get confused with all the book titles in these fields with the words "life" and "death" in them. :D

It's interesting to consider the different fields that can be used to investigate, possibly confirm or come into conflict with Ian Stevenson's data:
- mediumship that addresses incarnation-planning or life between lives
- some NDEs
- past-life or between-lives regression therapy
- psychic dreams like Andy has
- maybe after-death communications
 
Last edited:

Ian Gordon

Ninshub
Member
#20
To me (and many others I'm sure), what becomes even more complex to consider is the relation of the personality/soul and the existence of an "oversoul" of which the personalities are facets. Who chooses the incarnation? Is it the personality at a soul-level choosing, or is it the oversoul (and is the oversoul a "group soul")? Or is the soul-level personality choosing but with suggestions by other facets of the "oversoul"?

This is how at this point I tend to think of it: incarnated personality < soul-level "personality" < oversoul/higher Self < group soul < Source.

A while back, Kamarling on this forum had pointed me to an interesting article on this topic by Michael Prescott:
http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/2012/12/the-diamond.html

Prescott also discusses reincarnation in the context of Anita Moorjani's NDE:
http://michaelprescott.typepad.com/michael_prescotts_blog/reincarnation/

Andy, I've wondered if you specifically, in your dreams, have ever come across something that would point to the existence of an oversoul, or something between your individual soul and Source or God?
 
Top