CAN YOU HAVE A BETTER LIFE UPON REBIRTH?

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If you’ve been to job interviews, you’d know a lot of interviewers like to ask one question:

Where do you see yourself in the next five to ten years?

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This question shouldn’t be limited to your career. In the third session of Auspicious Puja, our Venerables reminded us to look beyond that and consider the following instead:

Where do you see yourself in your next life?

Let’s say you’re like Cade (a 9/11 victim in his previous incarnation) and find yourself reborn as human again following the end of your past life – what conditions would you like to come back with, so you can call your next life a better, meaningful one?

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Here are some of the things I have on my wish list:

  1. I’ve gone to good schools but scoring good results academically is different from being wise. Hence, I’d like to be born with better brains.

  2. People preach about self-confidence a lot, but why not enjoy the best of both worlds and be born with good looks, too?

  3. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve received a lot of help this life, but in the next life, I hope I have better strength, so I can help others too.

  4. And of course, nothing beats good health.

Are you laughing at me because you think I’m daydreaming? Well, here’s the truth, according to the Buddha: There is a way to realise everything on my wish list in my next life!

Everything happens for a reason.

The reason we are able to bring our habits and perspectives to the next life is because of our stream of mental activities, otherwise known as the mindstream. This consists of a moment-to-moment continuum of sense impressions and mental phenomena that persists from one life to the next.

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Here’s an example to help you understand better:

Have you noticed how one baby might love being in the center of attention of a crowd, while another might cry like it’s the end of the world, at the mere presence of even one unfamiliar face? 

This can be attributed to the different perspectives we are born with -- maybe the second baby had a bad experience with strangers in a past life, for example -- and thus, evidence of a mindstream (and hence quality) carried over from a previous life.

So, why do most of us have no recollection of our past lives?

No, it’s not the work of Lady Meng’s broth of oblivion (孟婆湯). Rather, the tragedy of death and rebirth is the cause of our memory loss. So while we don’t recall events from our past lives, our minds remain intact and our mindstreams continue across different lives.

So, how do our habits today affect our next lives?

Now that we recognise that our minds -- and hence qualities -- are brought to our next lives, find out what we should do to ensure we bring only the good to our rebirths, and how we can weed out the bad.

Can I delay the process of kicking a bad habit? And if I continue with my good ones, will I really be reborn with all of them again?

Uncover the answers with our Venerables in the next discussion.

See you at Auspicious Puja!

AUSPICIOUS PUJA (ENGLISH)

Date: Every Sunday

Time: 9.45am to 10.45am

Venue: Hall of Jewels, BW Monastery*

*Subject to change

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