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. . . what then is there left which could
be supposed to be reborn? A possible solution of it is definable
in terms of the difference familiar in psychology between, on the one hand,
the acquired skills, habits and memories, and on the other, native aptitudes,
instincts and proclivities; that is, in what a human being is at a given
time, we may distinguish two parts, one deeper and more permanent, and
another more superficial and transient. The latter is personality.
The other we may here agree to call his individuality.
Lord Krishna The Anugita
And now further, hear how a man, overwhelmed
with action . . . enters a womb. Within the womb of a woman, he obtains
as the result of action a body good or bad . . .. [The soul] is the seed
of all beings; by that all creatures exist. That soul, entering all
the limbs of the fetus, part by part, and dwelling in the seat of the life-wind
(the heart), supports them with the mind. Then the fetus, becoming
possessed of consciousness, moves about its limbs.
Buddha The Dhammapada (Sangiti Sutta)
Brethren, in this world, one comes into existence in the mother's womb without knowing, stays in it without knowing, and comes out from the mother's womb without knowing; this is the first [birth].
Brethren, in this world, one comes into existence in the mother’s womb knowingly, stays in it without knowing, and comes out from the mother’s womb without knowing; this is the second.
Brethren, in this world, one comes into existence in the mother’s womb knowingly, stays in it knowingly, and comes out from the mother’s womb without knowing; this is the third.
Brethren, in this world, one comes into
existence in the mother’s womb knowingly, stays in it knowingly, and comes
out from the mother’s womb knowingly; this is the fourth [birth].
Giordano Bruno Giordano Bruno by J. Lewis McIntyre
By birth and growth the spirit architect
expands into this mass of which we consist, spreading outwards from the
heart. Thither again it withdraws, winding up the threads of its
web, returning by the same path along which it advanced, passed out by
the same gate through which it entered. Birth is expansion of the
center . . . death contraction to the center. [It is the soul that
gathers about it, groups and vivifies the atom-mass]
Alfred Lord Tennyson De Profundis
Out of the deep, my child, out of the deep,
Where all that was to be, in all that was,
Whirl’d for a million eons thro’ the vast
Waste dawn of multitudinous eddying light-
Out of the deep, my child, out of the deep,
Thro’ all this changing world of changeless law,
And nine long months of antenatal gloom . . .
Thou comest . . . A babe in lineament and limb
Perfect, and prophet of the perfect man . . .
. . . I still thought that I was an adult,
and I tried to speak. I wanted to tell the people in the room who
must have been my parents that the ship [Titanic] had sunk, but the only
thing that came out was a squeal and a squeak, and within a few minutes
the adult sense was gone, and I remembered nothing after that . . . .
James Ward The Realm of Ends
An atom liberated from its molecular bonds
. . . does not recombine indifferently with the first free atom that it
encounters, but only with one for which it has an “affinity.” And
there seems to be nothing more strange or paradoxical in the suggestion
that each person enters into connection with the body that is most fitted
to be connected with him . . . A liberated spirit ought to be credited
with vastly more savoir vivre than a liberated atom.
H. P. Blavatsky
The personal consciousness had originally
been infused into the quaternary [body] at birth, as a projection from
its parent, the Higher Self, and can only be lost if it utterly misuses
its life on earth, and has no spiritual harvest to return to the Parent
for assimilation into the higher consciousness during the long afterdeath
Roshi Philip Kapleau The Wheel of Life and Death
The basis of the material world is the spiritual, and the world of form in turn influences and is inseparable from the spiritual realm.
Form comprises past elements of consciousness that have formed the body and are represented by the body . . . sense organs, sense objects and their mutual relationship.
. . . the unending cycle of birth-living-dying-death-rebirth continues unbroken, driven by the volition, instincts, and habit patterns born of craving, anger, and delusion --driven by, in a word, Ego. The physical body . . . is a composite or crystallization of our deluded, ego-based thoughts.
. . . rebirth, or better, " again-becoming,"
does not involve the transfer of a substance but is better described as
the continuation of the process which occurs at every moment of consciousness,
continuing to operate to both affect and effect our rebirth.
G. Lowes Dickinson Rebirth
So far as a man judges any life, his own or another's, to be valuable, here and now, in and for itself, apart from any consideration of immortality, he will reasonably desire that it should be repeated as often as possible, rather than occur once and never again; for the positive value he finds in it will be reproduced in each repetition. On the other hand, so far as he finds any life in itself not to be valuable, or that its value depends upon some other kind of immortality, the prospect held out by Nietzshe will leave him cold or fill him with dismay.