Forgetting past lives

I never really pay attention to this stuff, because Japanese Shinto is animist, so it’s a little …

I asked my daughter to design me a logo for takenoko one day, and she produced a baby in a bamboo shoot. I was like nice, but WHAT?! Sakutaro Hagiwa was the inspiration. I am now still waiting …

If I recall, Wendy Doniger discusses rebirth in relation to some fairly detailed information about agriculture in her book.

As for the other business … I think you would have to look into the archaeology on BMAC and whatever’s being done on grave culture, because there are two practices: burial and cremation. I remember not long ago reading something about pit burials and how some contained different levels constructed out of wood (I guess) to accommodate things like horses even, if I recall. “Save me from the pit and falling,” came to mind when I was reading that.

As well, Hesiod stands out for being among the earliest mentions of the netherworld in Gk mythology, and he’s noted to be “oriental” alongside the pre-Socratics, so … at least for me, that imagery is a delimiter. My feeling is that the netherworld is indo-european. Other than that, I would look to Cabezon, for starters, because of his demonologies, as a reflection of my interests.

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And no

I may file the info in a Donna Haraway and CRIP folder and pass it onto someone who could be interested in it.

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Haha. Yeah, there’s some creative stuff in Japanese animism. Then again, the suttas have their share of animism: tree-spirits, shape-shifting serpents, flying skeletons, what have you.

Yeah this makes sense. After-death journeys seem common enough among Indo-Europeans, let alone cross-culturally. I can’t remember who, but someone argued that cremation was the discovery of the ‘path to heaven’ in a sense. I don’t think it’s quite so simple and the hypothesis was pretty consistently criticized, but there may be a kernel of truth to that: people buried in the ground tend to continue in the earth; people cremated tend to continue upwards or smoke-like.

I think so as well. The Atharvaveda preserves the idea of Yama’s two dogs, as in Greek mythology, and other ideas which can only be pre-Vedic. I think natural processes (agriculture, the sun and moon, rain, etc.) mixed with the ideas of ritual (ascension to heaven and descent to earth; agni-soma; etc.) must have intersected at a certain point in early rebirth ideas. This is easily encouraged by the fact that very similar ideas already existed around the area from non-Aryan peoples. Hayakawa (2014) actually demonstrates this quite neatly and succinctly — even references Japanese cherry blossoms and how the aesthetics behind them enriches the Japanese experience of their season! — and how the developing corpus of rich imagery / philosophy between the Agniṣṭoma. fire/water cycle, and funeral rites would intersect into the proto- and later pañcāgnividyā naturally. Problem is: we love inconsistency. Christians say we go to heaven or hell, but might believe in ghosts and hauntings from the deceased at the same time. If the pitṛs had been in an underworld before, it’s no surprise these ideas would be stained in the cultural psyche even with the propagation of other ideas.

Thanks for the suggestion ! :smiley:

I was just thinking that a pit could really be a pit.

Whatever the case may be, rebirth isn’t much mentioned until the late vedic era, but certainly appears to be a mainstream belief by the time of Buddha.

People dismiss, or don’t consider the possibility of Chinese influence (south) westward, because there’s nothing to be found in the books, but that’s where ancestor worship in East Asia comes from. I didn’t say, “please don’t tell me that you worship your ancestors,” to my supervisor when I saw his pictures and shrine in his home, but I certainly did think it. The ancestors are just sort of there, not really in heaven or anything. And I was cleaning the family graves with his family during Obon, which is a Buddhist festival. By then having dead people around all the time had become quite normal.

Oh yeah, definitely. I think that a lot of the references to the pit and so on are just that. Reminds me of ‘sheol’ in the Hebrew Bible. Good scholars have argued it’s just ‘the grave,’ not some special place.

Pretty scary if you think you’re alive and stuck down there alone in the dark and Nirṛti is going to come along hissing and dragging her nails to gather you into an embrace.

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The path to heaven seems to be connected to burying, whereas cremating is connected to Brahmaviharas.

When Bahiya was instructed and passed away shortly after, the Buddha asked the monks to burn his body. The Udana that followed refers to Viññanam anidassanam. If we compare this to the account on Suppabuddha the leper, his future rebirth is the heaven of the Thirty-three, he is a lay follower.

The difference between the two is relevant to the elements, and the implications on nama-rupa and salayatana. The accounts you shared about children remembering their past lives having human form as commonality indicates that their memory is still linked to the sensual property (i.e anthropomorphism).