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Reincarnation/Eastern and Western perspectives,reincarnation and free will

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as I mention in one of my questions that the eastern and western traditions have different beliefs about reincarnation.biggest contradict seem that the eastern religion believe that people reincarnate to bad place for the punishment for bad karma that they done while the western researchers on reincarnation believe that people have free will to reincarnate to where they want to learn the lesson no matter the place is good or bad.since the western concept of reincarnation is more about learn lesson than reap what they sow,people can choose what they need to learn.the eastern religion on the other hand does not talk much about learning lesson through reincarnation and they mainly teach that reincarnation is for reaping what they sow and people may not have  freewill to choose where they reincarnate to.is this also a contradict? can this contradict be solved?

Answer
Hi Robbie,

It's not that black-and-white, but rather, a matter of emphasis, which is to be expected given the cultures of East and West. The relevant story is the one of the blind men examining the elephant. Did I mention that one earlier? This needs to be the guiding principle--there is the truth of the matter in there somewhere, and different cultures approach it from different angles. If you try to use seeming contradictions to challenge that very assumption, you go off the beam, because truth is there, alright. It may not be a truth that you can "bag" intellectually with a "unified field theory," but it's there.

So, that said, the Eastern perspective on reincarnation does not involve punishment. This is the Western *interpretation* of the Eastern view. Take the Christian idea of sin--or rather, what the Christian idea of sin has *evolved into* (because originally it came from the East, or the Middle East), and then bring reincarnation into it, and you have people talking about "punishment."

It is, rather, moral cause-and-effect. This 3D world is basically like clay, and you are impressing it yourself. Leave the workshop, come back in a new body, and guess what awaits you? The clay impressions that you left the last time. This is karma.

Do you deserve it? Is it punishment? Nobody said anything about that--you are free to interpret it that way. If someone spits in the wind and it lands smack in his face, is it punishment? Did he deserve it? Well, whatever interpretation you put on it, it happens just the same.

My personal conclusion about free will versus compulsory experiences in the next lifetime, are that it's like being in college. You have to go (if you want to get anywhere), but, there are required courses and there are electives. Very often, you *want* the electives; sometimes you don't want them, but you know they're necessary to graduate.

When you are signing up, you know all this. But sometimes once you get in the course, you swear and cuss and wish you'd never signed up!

So I think in the astral realm, we want desperately to set things right and make amends, and to learn so that we won't repeat our mistakes. But once we get down here, the natural "amnesia" sets in, we can't remember our earlier eagerness, and we protest. A sign of spiritual maturity is to regain some of the perspective we had in the astral before reincarnating, and become a bit more philosophical about it.

Best,
Stephen

Reincarnation

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Stephen Sakellarios

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I can answer questions about reincarnation (from both Eastern and Western perspectives) and life after death, and how these topics relate to religion and spirituality.

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I produced a documentary entitled "In Another Life: Reincarnation in America" which aired on PBS station KBDI in Denver, CO, Jan. 2003
I have a masters in counseling from FSU, and over thirty years' study of Eastern mysticism from carefully selected sources, plus eight years' study of contemporary Western reincarnation studies. I've published nine related articles online and in print. I offer an online class on the subject and maintain an extensive educational website at www.ial.goldthread.com, as well as giving talks and radio interviews (archived on the website).

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