In this podcast Robert Thurman discusses the motivational + inspirational value of examining rebirth stories first hand on the spiritual path no matter what one’s background is. Providing examples from Non-Buddhist communities Professor Thurman details the process of dying, death and rebirth, and the contraindications found within our modern relationship with it.
Podcast concludes with a discussion on the relationship that both Christianity and Materialism have with the idea of rebirth and shares some amusing and insightful anecdotes.
“Anyone has the right to be a Buddhist, no matter what they believe. Still, I would maintain that in order to make the kind of evolutionary progress that the Buddha wanted people to make, you would have to be responsible for the sequence of former and future lives.
The only definitive teaching in the canon is Buddha’s teaching of shunyata, voidness. But the texts say that the Buddha is a credible witness of former and future lives because he has already proven to you the state of shunyata, which you can actually experience, and which can actually be proven. Because the only thing rigorously provable is voidness, the teaching of former and future lives is open to interpretation.
That doesn’t mean it’s untrue, only that it’s not as absolute as the teaching of shunyata.
Robert AF Thurman from www.tricycle.org.
This episode is an excerpt from recordings of a weekend retreat that Professor Thurman led at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in February 2015, titled “Living the Evolutionary Life: Through Death and Beyond.”
Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga.
To learn more about Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health + about upcoming events with Robert AF Thurman please visit: www.kripalu.org.
About Robert AF Thurman
Suggested Books & Audio by Robert AF Thurman:
Man of Peace: Illustrated Life Story of Tibet’s Dalai Lama (Book), Infinite Life: Awakening to Bliss Within (Book), Anger: The Seven Deadly Sins (Book), Inner Revolution (Book), Circling the Sacred Mountain : A Spiritual Adventure Through the Himalayas (Book), Essential Tibetan Buddhism (Book), The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Book of Natural Liberation Through Understanding in the Between (Book) The Jewel Tree of Tibet: The Enlightenment Engine of Tibetan Buddhism (Book), The Central Philosophy of Tibet (Book), The Holy Teaching of Vimalakirti: A Mahayana Scripture (Book), Life & Teachings of Tsong Khapa (Book), Why the Dalai Lama Matters: His Act of Truth as the Solution for China, Tibet, and the World (Book) & Liberation Upon Hearing in the Between: Living with the Tibetan Book of the Dead (Audio).
Connect with Robert AF Thurman
This podcast is apart of the ‘Buddhism 101’ Series using classic teachings from Robert Thurman to elucidate basic concepts of the tradition.