Practise to recall past incarnations

General forum on the teachings of all schools of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism. Topics specific to one school are best posted in the appropriate sub-forum.
HandsomeMonkeyking
Posts: 158
Joined: Tue Apr 14, 2015 12:36 pm

Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by HandsomeMonkeyking » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 pm

Are there ways to recall past incarnations?

Any buddhist or non-budhdist practises with that goal in mind?

Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.

Miroku
Posts: 660
Joined: Fri Jul 24, 2015 11:18 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Miroku » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:22 pm

Recalling your past lives could be fun but it is nothing compared to bodhicitta. Even if there are I'd say they are useless if you want to have a nice problem free future tame your mind and pactice virtue.
Child, if you are not hypocritical and out of control, that is conduct.
~ Padampa Sangye

You say such clever things to people, but you do not apply them to yourself.
The faults within you are the ones to be exposed.
~ Padampa Sangye

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Motova » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:27 pm

You can venerate Ksitigarbha, one of the benefits of that is remembering one's past lives.

There is also a small "practice" for this found in Mindfulness, Bliss, and Beyond by Ajahn Brahm (which isn't really different than hypnotic age regression): https://www.amazon.ca/Mindfulness-Bliss ... and+beyond

You can also try hypnotic age regression: https://www.amazon.ca/Art-Hypnotic-Regr ... regression

Good luck. :smile:
Last edited by Motova on Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Aryjna » Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:31 pm

HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 pm
Are there ways to recall past incarnations?

Any buddhist or non-budhdist practises with that goal in mind?

Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
In order to see outcomes etc. you need omniscience, so you need to become a buddha.

amanitamusc
Posts: 1143
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2010 3:32 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by amanitamusc » Mon Jul 16, 2018 7:55 am

The Horror!

kausalya
Posts: 186
Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2018 4:52 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by kausalya » Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:01 pm

HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 pm
Are there ways to recall past incarnations?

Any buddhist or non-budhdist practises with that goal in mind?

Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
Past-life recall is a side-effect of correct practice. The wish for it blocks the needed conditions from arising.

To gain insight into the Four Noble Truths (and to make educated guesses at outcomes) look at your own life/relationships/mind. Everything you need is there in front of you... amazing! :applause:
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

Fortyeightvows
Posts: 1968
Joined: Mon Oct 06, 2014 2:37 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Fortyeightvows » Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:54 am

If one wants to know what they did in the past lives. Just look at the present circumstances.

User avatar
cyril
Posts: 118
Joined: Mon Apr 18, 2016 5:47 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by cyril » Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:51 am

HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 pm
Are there ways to recall past incarnations?

Any buddhist or non-budhdist practises with that goal in mind?

Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
Mastering the first 4 jhanas should allow you to recall past incarnations according to Samannaphala Sutta:

"Quite withdrawn from sensuality, withdrawn from unskillful mental qualities, he enters and remains in the first jhana: rapture and pleasure born from withdrawal, accompanied by directed thought and evaluation [...]. Furthermore, with the stilling of directed thoughts & evaluations, he enters and remains in the second jhana: rapture and pleasure born of composure, unification of awareness free from directed thought and evaluation — internal assurance. [...]. And furthermore, with the fading of rapture, he remains equanimous, mindful, & alert, and senses pleasure with the body. He enters & remains in the third jhana, of which the Noble Ones declare, 'Equanimous & mindful, he has a pleasant abiding' [...]. And furthermore, with the abandoning of pleasure and stress — as with the earlier disappearance of elation and distress — he enters and remains in the fourth jhana: purity of equanimity and mindfulness, neither-pleasure nor stress [...].

With his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability, he directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. He recollects his manifold past lives, i.e., one birth, two births, three births, four, five, ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty, one hundred, one thousand, one hundred thousand, many aeons of cosmic contraction, many aeons of cosmic expansion, many aeons of cosmic contraction and expansion, recollecting: 'There I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance. Such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such the end of my life. Passing away from that state, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his manifold past lives in their modes and details. Just as if a man were to go from his home village to another village, and then from that village to yet another village, and then from that village back to his home village. The thought would occur to him, 'I went from my home village to that village over there. There I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I went to that village over there, and there I stood in such a way, sat in such a way, talked in such a way, and remained silent in such a way. From that village I came back home.' In the same way — with his mind thus concentrated, purified, and bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, and attained to imperturbability — the monk directs and inclines it to knowledge of the recollection of past lives. He recollects his manifold past lives... in their modes and details.

"This, too, great king, is a fruit of the contemplative life, visible here and now, more excellent than the previous ones and more sublime.
"

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html

However, there are teachers such as Ajahn Brahm who basically say that you might not actually need to master all 4 rupajhanas; just by attaining the first jhana, the mind would become purified enough to recall past lives to some extent.
"You have to make the good out of the bad because that is all you have got to make it out of."
- Robert Penn Warren -

Varis
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Varis » Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:00 am

The curriculum laid out in the visuddhimagga is supposed lead to the recollection of past lives. Going to need a teacher though.
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:31 pm
In order to see outcomes etc. you need omniscience, so you need to become a buddha.
Source? Seeing the future is a siddhi, not omniscience.

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Aryjna » Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:21 pm

Varis wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 8:00 am
The curriculum laid out in the visuddhimagga is supposed lead to the recollection of past lives. Going to need a teacher though.
Aryjna wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:31 pm
In order to see outcomes etc. you need omniscience, so you need to become a buddha.
Source? Seeing the future is a siddhi, not omniscience.
The OP said
Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
So it seems he means the effects of specific actions and reasons for things, which are not possible to know without omniscience.

Varis
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Varis » Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:31 am

Aryjna wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:21 pm
The OP said
Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
So it seems he means the effects of specific actions and reasons for things, which are not possible to know without omniscience.
Knowing the effects of specific actions and the reasons for things is the point of divination, astrology, etc.

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Aryjna » Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:21 am

Varis wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 5:31 am
Aryjna wrote:
Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:21 pm
The OP said
Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
So it seems he means the effects of specific actions and reasons for things, which are not possible to know without omniscience.
Knowing the effects of specific actions and the reasons for things is the point of divination, astrology, etc.
I've never heard anything like that, and it makes no sense in the first place. Divination helps give some semi-generic insight on what may be the best course of action in a given situation, or things along these lines, as far as I know.
Drops of Nectar wrote: For a single iridescent eye upon a peacock's tail,
The causes are both many and distinct.
The one who knows them is indeed omniscient.
Without all-knowing wisdom, they cannot be known.

User avatar
Josef
Posts: 2149
Joined: Thu Jan 07, 2010 6:44 pm
Contact:

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Josef » Thu Jul 26, 2018 7:59 pm

Miroku wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:22 pm
Recalling your past lives could be fun but it is nothing compared to bodhicitta. Even if there are I'd say they are useless if you want to have a nice problem free future tame your mind and pactice virtue.
This.
Kye ma!
The river of continuity is marked by impermanence.
Ceaseless flowing of appearance.
Beautiful and repulsive.
The dance of life and death is a display of the vast expanse.
With gratitude the watcher and the watched pass through the barrier of duality.

XXIlluminatingVoid72
Posts: 45
Joined: Wed Nov 30, 2016 1:05 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by XXIlluminatingVoid72 » Thu Jul 26, 2018 11:04 pm

I'll spoil the fun and tell you what happened.

You died in the end.

Motova
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sun Sep 16, 2012 11:05 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Motova » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:39 am

kausalya wrote:
Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:01 pm
HandsomeMonkeyking wrote:
Sun Jul 15, 2018 9:12 pm
Are there ways to recall past incarnations?

Any buddhist or non-budhdist practises with that goal in mind?

Curious if it would be helpful for learning seeing outcomes of situations, actions and their reactions, consequences.
Past-life recall is a side-effect of correct practice. The wish for it blocks the needed conditions from arising.
:roll:
Malcolm wrote:
Fri Jan 24, 2014 3:58 pm
The four means of converting beings to the Dharma are generosity (which itself as four aspects: giving material gifts, conferring fearlessness, loving kindness and teaching Dharma), pleasant speech, conduct and setting an example.

MiphamFan
Posts: 932
Joined: Thu Jun 18, 2015 5:46 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by MiphamFan » Fri Jul 27, 2018 3:46 am

According to Abhidharma you need to attain at least the first dhyana then within the first dhyana you can apply your concentration to remembering past lives. Some Theravadins have instructions on this.

Varis
Posts: 135
Joined: Tue Jul 11, 2017 5:09 am

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Varis » Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:53 am

Aryjna wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:21 am
I've never heard anything like that, and it makes no sense in the first place. Divination helps give some semi-generic insight on what may be the best course of action in a given situation, or things along these lines, as far as I know.
To know all causes is indeed omniscient, to be capable of knowing some things is not omniscient.
Vaṅgīsa could tell where a person was reborn, etc. etc.

User avatar
Aryjna
Posts: 813
Joined: Mon Mar 27, 2017 12:45 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Aryjna » Fri Jul 27, 2018 6:15 am

Varis wrote:
Fri Jul 27, 2018 4:53 am
Aryjna wrote:
Thu Jul 26, 2018 6:21 am
I've never heard anything like that, and it makes no sense in the first place. Divination helps give some semi-generic insight on what may be the best course of action in a given situation, or things along these lines, as far as I know.
To know all causes is indeed omniscient, to be capable of knowing some things is not omniscient.
Vaṅgīsa could tell where a person was reborn, etc. etc.
Knowing where one will be reborn and knowing why one is reborn in the body and circumstnces in which they are reborn is not the same. But in any case it doesn't really matter.

User avatar
Anders
Posts: 1118
Joined: Tue Apr 07, 2009 12:39 pm

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Anders » Fri Jul 27, 2018 10:51 am

I don't know why past life recall gets such a bad rep in modern Buddhism. I think the book referenced above by ajahn brahm gives good advice:

These recollections of past lives qualify as deep insight
for four reasons. First, the Buddha called them the first of
the “threefold knowledges” (tevijjā) (MN 91,33) leading to
enlightenment. And in the Sekha Sutta (MN 5 3,20), the Buddha likened the recollection of one’s past lives to the
first breaking out of a hen’s chicks from their eggs. Second,
they arise only after an experience of jhāna, just as the
seeing of things as they truly are (yathā bhūta
ñānạ dassana) happens only after jhāna (AN VII,61). Third,
the recollection of past lives is based on personal experience here and now, and not on beliefs, traditions, or
inferences. Fourth, these recollections change one’s whole
life. One experiences a great paradigm shift. For instance,
the fear of one’s own death and grief over other people’s deaths are immensely diminished. The present life is now
viewed from another perspective. One has the “big picture,” as they say, the whole jigsaw puzzle rather than one tiny piece called the years of this life. Most important, only now
has one received the raw data from one’s own widened
experience to truly appreciate what the Buddha means by dukkha, or suffering. One will understand why the Buddha’s wisest disciple, Sāriputta, said: “Getting reborn again is the meaning of dukkha, ending rebirth is the meaning of happiness!” (AN X,65).
"Even if my body should be burnt to death in the fires of hell
I would endure it for myriad lifetimes
As your companion in practice"

--- Gandavyuha Sutra

User avatar
Grigoris
Global Moderator
Posts: 17350
Joined: Fri May 14, 2010 9:27 pm
Location: Greece

Re: Practise to recall past incarnations

Post by Grigoris » Fri Jul 27, 2018 1:45 pm

Personally I have enough problems dealing with my BS in this life, without concerning myself with my BS in past lives...

One thing is for sure: I must have done some horrendous sh*t in my past lives to end up a moderator at DW! :tongue:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Post Reply

Return to “Mahāyāna Buddhism”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bing [Bot] and 43 guests