Reincarnation

One widespread myth of the hereafter is formed by the ideas and images centering on reincarnation.  In one country whose intellectual culture is highly complex and much older than ours – I am, of course, referring to India – the idea of reincarnation is as much taken for granted as, among us, the idea that God created the world, or that there is a spiritus rector.  Cultivated Hindus know that we do not share their ideas about this, but that does not trouble them.  In keeping with the spirit of the East, the succession of birth and death is viewed as an endless continuity, as an eternal wheel rolling on forever without a goal.  Man lives and attains knowledge and dies and begins again from the beginning.  Only with the Buddha does the idea of a goal emerge, namely, the overcoming of earthly existence.  MDR 317

Now the mythology of death and birth is of reincarnation.  Reincarnation is the counterpart in the Orient of purgatory in the West.  That is to say, it is a chance to live again, to live out the experiences that should have illuminated you.  Purgatory, as I like to say, is a postgraduate course; if you die unilluminated, unready to behold the beatific vision which would smash everything that you are if you haven’t opened, it’s there to purge you.  And so, in the Orient, you come back for another lifetime.  TMTT 172

   Finnegans Wake begins with the second half of the sentence with which the book ends:  “A way a long a last a loved a long the …” “… riverrun, past Eve and Adam’s, from swerve of shore to bend of bay, brings us by a commodius vicus of recirvulation back to Howth Castle and Environs.”  Well, you can quit here – “A way a lone a last a loved a long the …”  I’m finished with the book, I’m out.  Or, gee, I enjoyed that book, I’d like to do it again.  You see, you’re back.  That’s reincarnation. 

 

Rebirth