Home » Excerpts » Proof of the Validity of Rebirth

A life without a past or future life
is much more unbelievable than
a chain of past and future lives linked to this one.

– Stonepeace

During his closing comments, Alan Wallace illustrates the need for provability of emergent phenomena by citing the example of reincarnation [or rather, rebirth]. “Of all religions, the Buddhist view is the only one that can be tested, since it involves a coming back into the world, unlike the Christian or Islamic views where the soul goes away into a hell or heaven, never to come back.

“Not so fast!” immediately interjects Eric Lander. Reincarnation seems to be the magic word that opens the doors of dissent in the conference. Barbed wires appear where there are bridges, and the room stands sharply divided. All scientists voice their denial strongly, while Wallance and [Mattheiu] Ricard try to argue the case for reincarnation, pleading for a lowering of “cultural resistance” to it.

“I remember a neuroscientist who once told me that he would believe in reincarnation if a yogi [meditator] would direct his consciousness to a particular place a leave a letter giving the details of where he will appear,” says Alan. “And I told him that this has already happened 17 times, in the lineage of the Karmapas of Tibet, who leave detailed instructions about where and when they will be reborn!”

Understanding the Dalai Lama
Edited by Rajiv Mehrotra

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