My apologies for assuming you believed in psychics, but you did start a topic where you claimed a palm-reader said that your girlfriend would die in 10 years. You were asking for solutions to help her live longer, and pass your “merits” onto her, so I assumed you actually believed in it. I’m not sure why you would start a topic looking for a solution to a problem that you don’t believe exists…
Why would you believe that people were wiser 2000 years ago? I certainly don’t… people believed in all manner of crazy things 2000 years ago… people believed in vampires, dragons, faeries, etc… graves have been found where bodies were staked through the heart because people were afraid vampires would rise out of the grave… wise? No
I’ve studied Buddhism, and still study it (I’m here aren’t I?)… I think there is some great wisdom in the Buddhist texts, but there are some mistakes(?) as well. Buddha predicted in the Vinaya that the “true Dhamma” would last only 500 years. When were the Buddhist texts written down? 500+ years after Buddha?
But, Ānanda, if women had not obtained the Going-forth from the home life into homelessness in the Dhamma and discipline made known by the Tathāgata, the holy life would have lasted long, the true Dhamma would have lasted 1,000 years. But now that they have gotten to go forth… this holy life will not last long, the true Dhamma will last only 500 years.
My understanding of this passage is that Buddha is saying that the Dhamma will become corrupted 500 years after his teaching. If this passage is true, then the dhamma was corrupted before it was ever written down. Buddha predicted this would happen. This is why I can’t take the texts on faith, and must discover the truth of them for myself through personal experience (like Buddha did himself).
I believe that Buddha was not a Buddhist anymore than Jesus was a Christian. Buddha’s path was one of discovering the truth for himself, not reading an ancient text and believing what other people claim to be true.
I have read several passages in the Pali canon where Buddha specifically says do not take what people say on faith, no matter if they are a respected teacher or not. Take MN38 for example:
“would you say, ‘The Teacher is our respected mentor. We speak thus out of respect for the Teacher’?”
“would you say, ‘The Contemplative says this. We speak thus in line with the Contemplative’s words’?”
“Is it the case that you speak simply in line with what you have known, seen, & understood for yourselves?”
"Good, monks. You have been guided by me in this Dhamma which is to be seen here & now, timeless, inviting verification, pertinent, to be realized by the observant for themselves.
The key words here being “inviting verification”. If it cannot be verified, there is no reason to believe it.
Or the Kalama Sutta:
Please, Kālāmas, don’t go by oral transmission, don’t go by lineage, don’t go by testament, don’t go by canonical authority, don’t rely on logic, don’t rely on inference, don’t go by reasoned contemplation, don’t go by the acceptance of a view after consideration, don’t go by the appearance of competence, and don’t think ‘The ascetic is our respected teacher.’ But when you know for yourselves: ‘These things are skillful, blameless, praised by sensible people, and when you undertake them, they lead to welfare and happiness’, then you should acquire them and keep them.
For myself, the key word in the Kalama Sutta I quoted is know… when you know for yourself that something is true/skillful.
Knowledge is a subset of beliefs… my preferred definition for knowledge is, “justified, true belief”. A person could believe things that aren’t true, or they could believe true things without proper justification… these are both mistakes. Without the belief being true, and justified, it is not knowledge.
The Kalama sutta seems to echo this point. Do not believe things on faith just because someone said it, even if they are an “authority” or “respected teacher”. Always find the truth within your own experience.
I don’t mean to be rude, but you ask a lot of questions which appear pointless or trivial to me:
“Why do some animals get killed while others are pets?” That’s just how the world works…
“Why are some people ugly and others pretty?” That’s just how the world works…
“Why do some people die painful violent deaths, and others have natural deaths?” That’s just how the world works…
These are not things that need a supernatural explanation, so why are you searching for one?
My understanding of Buddhism is the way to free yourself from this dissatisfaction is to stop caring about it. That’s the message Buddha repeats over and over, it’s our craving/clinging/attachment to things which produces this dissatisfaction (or repulsion of things we don’t want… in this example, death). The solution is to stop worrying about it. Either things work out well, or they don’t… does it matter? If you believe in rebirth, then why are you worried about death?
Does any of this matter? Would it affect your life in any meaningful way? I forget exactly which questions Buddha refused to answer, but IIRC, they were these types of questions… these are not questions that could be scientifically studied, so any answer you get will be someone’s opinion only (and probably incorrect).
This sounds close to things I have pondered in the past. I have no good evidence to support such claims, so I am hesitant to even speak about them, but… IF (and this is a BIG IF) we have a soul that existed before our bodies, then I could speculate on several possibilities for us being here. We could have made the choice to come here as you say, “we are the ones who decided to play”. Or, perhaps we are here as a punishment for committing a crime before we had this body (more akin to karma)? Or perhaps it is exactly like The Matrix movie and we are being used as batteries for some other entity. I could “what if” all day, but without evidence, speculation is meaningless…
I am fond of Simulation Theory, but I have no good reason to believe in it. And, even if it was true, would it make a difference? Would my life be any different if I thought I was a simulation vs a real person? No, I don’t believe it would. Even if I thought I was inside a video game, I would not go around shooting people and looting their corpses as if I’m playing World of Warcraft.
I study Buddhism for the parts which I can confirm to myself are true and skillful. I know that craving leads to dissatisfaction, and I understand this at a deep level. I can know via personal experience that this is true… but a belief in souls is not something I can know via personal experience, so it is quite pointless to even speculate on such things.