Random Thoughts, Spirituality

Is Part of Me Now a Part of You?

I’m trying out a new thing where I contemplate Zen chants from the book Zen Chants by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Today was the first go at it, so we’ll see if I find the practice edifying or not.

All Awakened ones
throughout space and time,
honored ones, great beings,
who help all awaken,
together may we realize
wisdom beyond wisdom!

a common translation, revised by joan halifax and modified by the editor

My mind went right to reincarnation on this one. I don’t know if reincarnation happens and what form it might take. There are a number of ways people interpret what reincarnation looks like, mainly depending on whether or not a person believes in a literal soul as a discrete entity. I’m most drawn to the idea that energy is the building block that coalesces under certain conditions to become matter. In the case of a human, when the body dies, whatever energy makes up consciousness dissipates back into the pool of pure energy. It can then coalesce into new matter. Bits and pieces of the energy that made up a thing potentially goes into making any number of other things.

Since parts of the body are always dying and being replaced, maybe some of our consciousness leaks out and gets added to other things. Perhaps there is a seed of everything available in all energy at all times, in all spaces. Maybe someday scientists will decipher more clues on this front. In the meantime, it’s a fun exercise to dream up possibilities.

Often, someone declares that their way of seeing the afterlife is the exact way it is. To me this is a silly waste of time. As I’ve deconstructed various ideas about reincarnation over the years, I’ve come to realize that there is a fruitlessness about pinning it down exactly. Part of finding wisdom beyond wisdom is letting go of concepts entirely. It doesn’t matter what happens. It’s like all other occurrences, and no belief is going to change reality. Concepts are a plaything of the mind. Play gently and no one gets hurt.

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