Heart Sutra and Buddhism : Past Life and Karma


Recently I read another inspiring book ” Same Soul, Many Bodies” by Dr Brian Weiss, a Jewish American psychiatrist, hypnotherapist and best-selling author who used past-life regression to help his patients. Today I’m going to share about the core messages from “Same Soul, Many Bodies” and “Many Lifes, Many Masters”. If you read Dr Brian Weiss books, he gave many examples of rebirths and karma. You can read on my earlier post on Many Lives, Many Masters here.

What is Karma? In Buddhism, Karma refers to intentional action which leads to future consequences and affect the rebirth in the six realms. There are 31 planes of existence. You can read it here. 

In Many Lives Many Masters, page 122, the Master Spirit shared that “Life is endless; so we never die; we were never really born.” this this fear of death would dissolve. This reminds me of one of Heart Sutra verses, 不生不灭 or no birth no death. or neither arising nor ceasing. 

The Spirit from the lower level that spoke via Catherine, the patient that Dr Brian Weiss hypnotised said that” We have debts that must be paid. If we have not paid out these debts, then we must take them into another life… in order that they may be worked through. You progress by paying your debts. Some souls progress faster than others. When you are in physical form and you are working through, you are working through a life…If something interrupts your ability.. to pay that debt, you must return to the plane of recollection, and there you must wait until the soul you own the debt to has come to see you.” 

We all have debts to pay. For example, husband has to pay debt to wife or vice versa or parents to children. In one Chinese article I read, a monk shaked his head when using his divine eye, he saw that the young man married his late grandmother who was reborn again. Before her death, the grandmother was upset she could not look after the grandson. There is a common saying in Chinese that your daughter was your past life lover. Indeed, Dr Brian Weiss’s patient exclaimed that his current daughter was his wife in his past life. This life he has to take care of his daughter for not being a good father is his earlier life. 

In the book, Same Soul, Many Bodies, John a wealthy man was deeply unhappy despite his wealth so he went to see Dr Brian Weiss. During past life regression, he saw that in a previous life, he died in London great fire. He realised that he was slowly burned to death due to cruel actions he did due to an earlier life as a warrior raped the defeated ruler’s daughter and set fire to a city filled with people and, bolting the gates closed behind him.

Evelyn another wealthy lady, a Jewish who felt strongly for Israel and hated the Arabs. During regression, she learned that she was a Nazi officer, a member of the SS who shot the Jews who tried to escape. Dr Brian Weiss shared that he discovered that the surest way to be reincarnated into a particular group of people, defined by religion, race, nationality or culture is to hate those people in previous life, to be prejudiced or violent against that group, Her intense pro-Israel stance in this life was a compensation for her anti-Semitism in her previous German life. 

Thought is energy. Regret, anger, pining, depending on the emotion before you pass on, it will decide on the next rebirth. 

This book is a confirmation of what Buddha, the awakened one who taught for more than 49 years more than 2500 years ago on karma and rebirth and the importance of observing the Noble Eightfold paths and precepts. Buddha taught that the action that you done in this lifetime will affect your next rebirth in one of the six realms. 

Thus Buddha taught sentient beings precepts and the Noble Eightfold path: Right View, Right Thoughts, Right Speech, Right Conduct, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Right Mindfulness and Right Meditation. Be mindful of your action. Do good and be compassion to all sentient beings. 

Karmic power and the unconscious by Master Sheng Yen. In terms of psychology, the unconscious is not something that we can control or are aware of, while karmic power, a Buddhist concept similar to the unconscious, is a kind of power produced by our actions in countless past lives, which we can change our karma by understanding its source and not letting it grow. This life is the result of causes accumulated in past lives. Master Shengyen shared that Karma this concept means that in countless past lives from beginning less time, life after life, we have performed all kinds of actions- bodily, verbal and mental actions. These actions produce a kind of power which persists through time and is concentrated in this life. This is called karmic power. Will all the karmic power of our past lives be manifested in this lifetime? Not necessarily. It depends on what kind of karma is the strongest. Also the type of karma which has the closest affinity with the circumstances of our current life. Shakaymuni Buddha taught us to believe the causality of the 3 periods in giving us guidance and explanation about our lives. I find the following quote by Master Sheng Yen really helpful. 

The four steps in dealing with any problem: face it, accept it, deal with it, let it go.  面对它, 接受它, 处理它,放下它。

How to reduce karma by Ajahn Keng


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