I've never considered reincarnation a taboo. I was raised in a family and sangha environment in which rebirth was an accepted fact. I have lived my whole life in the West and I will readily admit I've been immersed in science. That said, my disposition has always been spiritual first. That's to say, I never had a skeptical disposition, and in fact very much want to be confirmed in this matter I take on faith.Wayfarer wrote: ↑Thu Nov 08, 2018 8:47 amThere is a strong cultural taboo against ‘reincarnation’ (however conceived) in Western culture. The idea was tabooed by the Christian church in ancient times, and also goes undercuts scientific materialism. So it's always regarded as fringe in mainstream Western culture. A lot of people will just completely refuse to consider it.Queequeg wrote:Maybe I'm missing something, but there is nothing about the nature of my mind that I've observed that would necessitate rebirth is part of the equation. This observation actually seems to find confirmation in the assertion as to the non-arising of phenomena - whatever I think is me I've observed is not any basis of my self. Long story short... the only thing I have not been able to reduce is not a thing at all, but simply, awareness. Something is happening, but it defies all definition. As best I can tell, awareness has no memory, no cognition, no linearly constructed anything..
I think there is a lot more that we inherit from our parents, down to the way our bodies experience themselves and the environment, that determines even traits that we think are personally unique. Its hard to discern these traits because - how can we know how we experience is any different than the next person? I think it can be gleaned from things like - how a person reacts to stimuli. Is a person excitable? Is a person disposed to be happy or sad? I suspect even how we think is an inherited trait and process information is an inherited trait.Personally I think there’s a good argument for the idea that children are born with imprints from previous lifetimes. By that I mean talents, attributes, pre-dispositions and archetypes. I don't think there's any convincing Darwinian explanation for such things but of course nowadays everything is supposed to be explicable in those terms (mind you Alfred Russel Wallace didn't agree - see Darwinism applied to man.)
Maybe its easier to see these things in non-humans. Consider for instance, dog breeds have different shapes, dispositions, personalities. We could say a golden retriever is energetic and friendly because those are traits projected from a past life, or, we could attribute it to DNA - since pure bred golden retrievers tend to birth golden retrievers.
DNA seems to be a pretty good explanation of why we are who we are.
So many variables. To me, those are Rorschachs. I've heard many remarkable stories from children. Before my son could speak, we were at a gallery. When showed a mandala, he pointed to the Buddha image in the center and then pointed at himself. Maybe he is. Who knows. My mother was very happy to hear that story.And I still find Ian Stevenson's data persuasive, although that wasn't about traits, archetypes or talents, but often about physical marks:
A Turkish boy whose face was congenitally underdeveloped on the right side said he remembered the life of a man who died from a shotgun blast at point-blank range. A Burmese girl born without her lower right leg had talked about the life of a girl run over by a train. On the back of the head of a little boy in Thailand was a small, round puckered birthmark, and at the front was a larger, irregular birthmark, resembling the entry and exit wounds of a bullet; Stevenson had already confirmed the details of the boy’s statements about the life of a man who’d been shot in the head from behind with a rifle, so that seemed to fit. And a child in India who said he remembered the life of boy who’d lost the fingers of his right hand in a fodder-chopping machine mishap was born with boneless stubs for fingers on his right hand only. This type of “unilateral brachydactyly” is so rare, Stevenson pointed out, that he couldn’t find a single medical publication of another case.
Which is why most notions of rebirth are fanciful, at best.As for the 'who is reborn' - that misunderstands the entire point of the Buddhist analysis. It is not a 'substance and attribute' system where there is a subject who has attribute X. But we have an almost irresistible tendency to think in those terms. There is no persisting being or subject who continues from life to life or even one day to the next; you can never step in the same river twice.