Is death an end, a beginning, or just another stage on the path? I watched a movie last night called The Eye 2. It was about the Buddhist belief in reincarnation. In the movie, souls wait for women to give birth in order to reincarnate into the baby.
Since my grandaughter's passing, I am just trying to come to grips with the many beliefs surrounding death. As I have been reading a lot about Buddhism lately, I'm trying to at least try to ease the terrible pain and emptiness I feel. The bitterness I have that this "death" was forced upon us. The hole in my chest is consuming me.
At the funeral, I listened to everyone telling me she was in a better place. That she was in heaven. That that was not her in the little white coffin. As much as I want to believe that, my Jehovah's Witness indoctrination STILL haunts me, and makes me think she is just dead...in the dirt...with no existence anywhere. When you're dead, you're dead. Man has no eternal soul, any more than animals. I was taught that Jehovah keeps dead ones in his memory until the resurrection, but what is memory, if not a "soul?"
Buddhists say that because the way in which we live our lives and our state of mind at death directly influence our future lives, the aim or mark of a spiritual practitioner is to have no fear or regrets at the time of death. People who practice to the best of their abilities will die, it is said, in a state of great bliss.
The Buddhist view is that each living being has a continuity or stream of consciousness that moves from one life to the next. Each being has had countless previous lives and will continue to be reborn again and again without control unless he/she develops his/her mind to the point where, like the yogis mentioned above, he/she gains control over this process. When the stream of consciousness or mind moves from one life to the next it brings with it the karmic imprints or potentialities from previous lives.
Karma literally means "action", and all of the actions of body, speech and mind leave an imprint on the mind-stream. These karmas can be negative, positive or neutral, depending on the action. They can ripen at any time in the future, whenever conditions are suitable. These karmic seeds or imprints are never lost.
What about babies? They have no prior "actions." They have no sin. I know the Christian faith says we are all sinners because of some past disobedience, but I can't see sin in a baby. They have no sin until we teach it to them.
One of the Tibetan lamas, Sogyal Rinpoche, says that for up to about twenty-one days after a person dies they are more connected to the previous life than to the next one. So for this period in particular the loved ones can be encouraged to continue their (silent) communication with the deceased person - to say their good-byes, finish any unfinished business, reassure the dead person, encourage them to let go of their old life and to move on to the next one.
It can be reassuring even just to talk to the dead person and at some level to know that they are probably receiving your message. The mind of the deceased person at this stage can still be subtle and receptive.
I do talk to her. All I want is to see her again. To hold her again and feel her soft skin. I kissed her and touched her cheek in the coffin. She was hard and cold. Where is she??? What I want right now is to believe with all my heart in ghosts and spirits. Reincarnation would be wonderful! Anything but thinking that she is just deep in the dirt and totally gone. That just can't be true.