Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

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ydnan321
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Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:28 pm

Well, when I read the article below I was quite bewildered - Master Hsuan Hua basically said that a person would go through rebirth as multiple animals or plants simultaneously due to his 'soul' being fragmented. In some other articles I read, he mentioned that these fragmented souls would need to join together again to take rebirth at a higher forms (e.g. multiple roosters' souls need to be integrated together to reborn as a horse, then multiple horse's souls then integrate to be a human.)

Controversial and contradictory as it sounds to me, I have not been able to convince myself to disregard this notion - being fragmented into multiple animals and even plants - and it's been bothering me. The fact that he mentioned this came from his "Five Eyes" capability. My search to invalidate this to convince and calm my mind has been to no avail. I sure hope someone who is knowledgeable enough could present accounts from the Buddha and/or other masters to help me with this matter. Much appreciated.

http://www.dharmasite.net/BuddhaRootFarm/
The Venerable Master Hsuan-Hua comments:
Question: "When you eat one bowl of rice, you take the life of all the grains of rice, whereas eating meat you take only one animal's life.
The Master: On the body of one single animal are a hundred thousand, in fact, sever million little organisms. These organisms are fragments of what was once an animal. The soul of a human being at death may split up to become many animals. One person can become about ten animals. That's why animals are so stupid. The soul of an animal can split up and become, in its smallest division, an organism or plant. The feelings which plants have, then, are what separated from the animals's soul when it split up at death. Although the life force of a large number of plants may appear sizeable, it is not as great as that of a single animal or a single mouthful of meat. Take, for example, rice: tens of billions of grains of rice do not contain as much life force as a single piece of meat. If you open your Five Eyes you can know this at a glance. If you haven't opened your eyes, no matter how one tries to explain it to you, you won't understand. No matter how it's explained, you won't believe it, because you haven't been a plant!
"Another example is the mosquitoes. The millions of mosquitoes on this mountain may be simply the soul of one person who has been transformed into all those bugs. It is not the case that a single human soul turns into a single mosquito. One person can turn into countless numbers of mosquitos.

"At death the nature changes, the soul scatters, and its smallest fragments become plants. Thus, there is a difference between eating plants and eating animals. What is more, plants have very short lifespans. The grass, for example, is born in the spring and dies within months. Animals live a long time. If you don't kill them, they will live for many years. Rice, regardless of conditions, will only live a short time. And so, if you really look into it, there are many factors to consider, and even science hasn't got it all straight." (Buddha Root Farm, 64)
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Malcolm
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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:31 pm

This is a completely erroneous doctrine, unsupported by any authentic and valid sūtra. It also does not stand up to reasoning in any way at all.

The idea that one person can become millions of mosquitoes simultaneously in their next life is frankly ridiculous.

Mind streams are serial, one birth at a time.

Also, sentient beings cannot be reborn as non-sentient beings such plants.
ydnan321 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:28 pm
Well, when I read the article below I was quite bewildered - Master Hsuan Hua basically said that a person would go through rebirth as multiple animals or plants simultaneously due to his 'soul' being fragmented. In some other articles I read, he mentioned that these fragmented souls would need to join together again to take rebirth at a higher forms (e.g. multiple roosters' souls need to be integrated together to reborn as a horse, then multiple horse's souls then integrate to be a human.)

Controversial and contradictory as it sounds to me, I have not been able to convince myself to disregard this notion - being fragmented into multiple animals and even plants - and it's been bothering me. The fact that he mentioned this came from his "Five Eyes" capability. My search to invalidate this to convince and calm my mind has been to no avail. I sure hope someone who is knowledgeable enough could present accounts from the Buddha and/or other masters to help me with this matter. Much appreciated.

http://www.dharmasite.net/BuddhaRootFarm/
The Venerable Master Hsuan-Hua comments:
Question: "When you eat one bowl of rice, you take the life of all the grains of rice, whereas eating meat you take only one animal's life.
The Master: On the body of one single animal are a hundred thousand, in fact, sever million little organisms. These organisms are fragments of what was once an animal. The soul of a human being at death may split up to become many animals. One person can become about ten animals. That's why animals are so stupid. The soul of an animal can split up and become, in its smallest division, an organism or plant. The feelings which plants have, then, are what separated from the animals's soul when it split up at death. Although the life force of a large number of plants may appear sizeable, it is not as great as that of a single animal or a single mouthful of meat. Take, for example, rice: tens of billions of grains of rice do not contain as much life force as a single piece of meat. If you open your Five Eyes you can know this at a glance. If you haven't opened your eyes, no matter how one tries to explain it to you, you won't understand. No matter how it's explained, you won't believe it, because you haven't been a plant!
"Another example is the mosquitoes. The millions of mosquitoes on this mountain may be simply the soul of one person who has been transformed into all those bugs. It is not the case that a single human soul turns into a single mosquito. One person can turn into countless numbers of mosquitos.

"At death the nature changes, the soul scatters, and its smallest fragments become plants. Thus, there is a difference between eating plants and eating animals. What is more, plants have very short lifespans. The grass, for example, is born in the spring and dies within months. Animals live a long time. If you don't kill them, they will live for many years. Rice, regardless of conditions, will only live a short time. And so, if you really look into it, there are many factors to consider, and even science hasn't got it all straight." (Buddha Root Farm, 64)
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Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DGA » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:21 pm

ydnan321 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 4:28 pm
Well, when I read the article below I was quite bewildered - Master Hsuan Hua basically said that a person would go through rebirth as multiple animals or plants simultaneously due to his 'soul' being fragmented. In some other articles I read, he mentioned that these fragmented souls would need to join together again to take rebirth at a higher forms (e.g. multiple roosters' souls need to be integrated together to reborn as a horse, then multiple horse's souls then integrate to be a human.)

Controversial and contradictory as it sounds to me, I have not been able to convince myself to disregard this notion - being fragmented into multiple animals and even plants - and it's been bothering me. The fact that he mentioned this came from his "Five Eyes" capability. My search to invalidate this to convince and calm my mind has been to no avail. I sure hope someone who is knowledgeable enough could present accounts from the Buddha and/or other masters to help me with this matter. Much appreciated.

http://www.dharmasite.net/BuddhaRootFarm/
The Venerable Master Hsuan-Hua comments:
Question: "When you eat one bowl of rice, you take the life of all the grains of rice, whereas eating meat you take only one animal's life.
The Master: On the body of one single animal are a hundred thousand, in fact, sever million little organisms. These organisms are fragments of what was once an animal. The soul of a human being at death may split up to become many animals. One person can become about ten animals. That's why animals are so stupid. The soul of an animal can split up and become, in its smallest division, an organism or plant. The feelings which plants have, then, are what separated from the animals's soul when it split up at death. Although the life force of a large number of plants may appear sizeable, it is not as great as that of a single animal or a single mouthful of meat. Take, for example, rice: tens of billions of grains of rice do not contain as much life force as a single piece of meat. If you open your Five Eyes you can know this at a glance. If you haven't opened your eyes, no matter how one tries to explain it to you, you won't understand. No matter how it's explained, you won't believe it, because you haven't been a plant!
"Another example is the mosquitoes. The millions of mosquitoes on this mountain may be simply the soul of one person who has been transformed into all those bugs. It is not the case that a single human soul turns into a single mosquito. One person can turn into countless numbers of mosquitos.

"At death the nature changes, the soul scatters, and its smallest fragments become plants. Thus, there is a difference between eating plants and eating animals. What is more, plants have very short lifespans. The grass, for example, is born in the spring and dies within months. Animals live a long time. If you don't kill them, they will live for many years. Rice, regardless of conditions, will only live a short time. And so, if you really look into it, there are many factors to consider, and even science hasn't got it all straight." (Buddha Root Farm, 64)
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Are there records of when and where the Master taught in this way? Is this authentic, in other words?

If so, then is it something he taught consistently, more than once, or is it contradicted by the rest of his teachings?

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 pm

Some teachers give idiosyncratic teachings that don't square well with what we understand about the Dharma. I think we shouldn't get too hung up on it, unless it is a central element of their teachings. Maybe we don't understand correctly, maybe the translation is wrong, or maybe they were wrong. In any case, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, or shouldn't be.

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm

This idea of fragmented karma is also a part of the OBC, a Soto Zen organization.

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DGA » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:05 pm

Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm
This idea of fragmented karma is also a part of the OBC, a Soto Zen organization.
There are some New Age-type ideas baked into the OBC that can be traced back to the idiosyncrasies of its founder. For reference, scroll down in this thread to the first post by "jcbaran"

http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t140-k ... of-destiny

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DGA » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:06 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 pm
Some teachers give idiosyncratic teachings that don't square well with what we understand about the Dharma. I think we shouldn't get too hung up on it, unless it is a central element of their teachings. Maybe we don't understand correctly, maybe the translation is wrong, or maybe they were wrong. In any case, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, or shouldn't be.
Yes, I agree. This is why it's important to keep asking questions

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by dzogchungpa » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:08 pm

The whole talk that excerpt is taken from is here:
http://www.drbachinese.org/online_readi ... RF_EN1.htm

It is part of the Sunday, August 24, 1975 (afternoon) talk and the relevant portion begins "Disciple: As to the precept against taking life as it relates to not eating meat ..."
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Malcolm
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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:20 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 pm
Some teachers give idiosyncratic teachings that don't square well with what we understand about the Dharma. I think we shouldn't get too hung up on it, unless it is a central element of their teachings. Maybe we don't understand correctly, maybe the translation is wrong, or maybe they were wrong. In any case, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, or shouldn't be.
It represents a completely wrong view and should understood as a false teaching.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Monlam Tharchin » Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:29 pm

DGA wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:05 pm
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm
This idea of fragmented karma is also a part of the OBC, a Soto Zen organization.
There are some New Age-type ideas baked into the OBC that can be traced back to the idiosyncrasies of its founder. For reference, scroll down in this thread to the first post by "jcbaran"

http://obcconnect.forumotion.net/t140-k ... of-destiny
Thanks, I was curious about the provenance of that particular idea, one I hadn't found in other Soto temples here.

ydnan321
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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by ydnan321 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:01 pm

Hi,

Are you saying there's similar teaching elsewhere? If so, do you have a reference to it? Thanks!
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm
This idea of fragmented karma is also a part of the OBC, a Soto Zen organization.

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:08 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:20 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 pm
Some teachers give idiosyncratic teachings that don't square well with what we understand about the Dharma. I think we shouldn't get too hung up on it, unless it is a central element of their teachings. Maybe we don't understand correctly, maybe the translation is wrong, or maybe they were wrong. In any case, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, or shouldn't be.
It represents a completely wrong view and should understood as a false teaching.
You're right. I've just interviewed several mosquitoes who happen to have past life recall, and all of them have attested to never having been 1/1000 of a human, though one remarked that after a good meal that's what it mostly is.

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DGA » Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:36 pm

ydnan321 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:01 pm
Hi,

Are you saying there's similar teaching elsewhere? If so, do you have a reference to it? Thanks!
Monlam Tharchin wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:58 pm
This idea of fragmented karma is also a part of the OBC, a Soto Zen organization.
Start here:

https://dharmawheel.net/viewtopic.php?f ... 89#p409171

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Malcolm
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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Malcolm » Tue Oct 03, 2017 8:30 pm

Dan74 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 7:08 pm
Malcolm wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 6:20 pm
Dan74 wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 5:28 pm
Some teachers give idiosyncratic teachings that don't square well with what we understand about the Dharma. I think we shouldn't get too hung up on it, unless it is a central element of their teachings. Maybe we don't understand correctly, maybe the translation is wrong, or maybe they were wrong. In any case, it's not necessarily a deal-breaker, or shouldn't be.
It represents a completely wrong view and should understood as a false teaching.
You're right. I've just interviewed several mosquitoes who happen to have past life recall, and all of them have attested to never having been 1/1000 of a human, though one remarked that after a good meal that's what it mostly is.
It is a teaching that violates the most basic tenets of karma-vipaka. It contradicts both scripture and reason. It is hard to understand how any properly trained Buddhist could come to believe such rubbish.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Mantrik » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:21 pm

The only context in which I have heard of soul fragmentation is in the shamanic rituals of soul retrieval, on behalf of a living person.
Even then, it is more of a metaphor, I believe, for healing a person who is feeling disconnected and 'incomplete'.
The idea that a fragmented consciousness could move along a mental continuum with fragmented vipaka and fragmented rebirth denies the concept of mind and is more suited to the Borg sci fi collective.
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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Dan74 » Tue Oct 03, 2017 10:51 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:21 pm
The only context in which I have heard of soul fragmentation is in the shamanic rituals of soul retrieval, on behalf of a living person.
Even then, it is more of a metaphor, I believe, for healing a person who is feeling disconnected and 'incomplete'.
The idea that a fragmented consciousness could move along a mental continuum with fragmented vipaka and fragmented rebirth denies the concept of mind and is more suited to the Borg sci fi collective.
Quite right. In fact the entire Borg Collective was spawned from the single rebirth of Stephen Batchelor. Way to go, Secular Buddhists, way to mess with the galaxy!

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by DGA » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:58 am

Does anyone know this teacher's teachings well enough to say conclusively that this idea of soul fragmentation is a consistent feature of his teachings, or if it may be understood as a mistranslation or miscommunication of some kind?

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:27 am

it's actually not that uncommon a teaching..look up hun and po

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by dzogchungpa » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:05 am

Fortyeightvows wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 1:27 am
it's actually not that uncommon a teaching..look up hun and po

Yes, if you have a look through Ven. Hsuan Hua's commentary on the Shurangama Sutra you will find him discussing three spiritual and seven physical souls that reside in the body which, if I am not mistaken, are none other than the hun and po.
See e.g. http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama8/shurangama8_3.asp
There is not only nothingness because there is always, and always can manifest. - Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

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Re: Soul fragmentation and defragmentation as Buddism teaching?

Post by Fortyeightvows » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:09 am

dzogchungpa wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:05 am
Yes, if you have a look through Ven. Hsuan Hua's commentary on the Shurangama Sutra you will find him discussing three spiritual and seven physical souls that reside in the body which, if I am not mistaken, are none other than the hun and po.
See e.g. http://www.cttbusa.org/shurangama8/shurangama8_3.asp
Correct.
DGA wrote:
Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:58 am
Does anyone know this teacher's teachings well enough to say conclusively that this idea of soul fragmentation is a consistent feature of his teachings, or if it may be understood as a mistranslation or miscommunication of some kind?
It's not uncommon in chinese buddhism. It is part of why tablets/headstones are used when someone passes. Traditionally there are ten souls divided into 3 actual 'souls' and 7 yin (陰) 'souls' which are sort of like 'animating spirits'. Generally speaking, the first three go to the tablet, to heaven, etc and the last seven go to the grave, to the earth, etc

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