Reply to Glass Slippers
Glass Slippers left a comment in my last post saying, "I was talking to papa last nite. He said unlike Christian, Buddhist does not work on forgiving present sins and what you receive in this life is a result of your past life. Any brownie points earned this life will only be redeemed next life. Christians only need to confess and repent."
First of all, Christians not only need to confess and repent, but also "sin no more". In other words, whatever mistake you have made, God will forgive you and that you must not commit more "sins". The whole concept is based on loving sinners unconditionally, and moving them with such love that they will see the light.
Chinese Buddhism has a saying, "Put down the butcher knife, and stand to be a Buddha." This is another way of saying that all sins can be absolved if one repents and begins to do good. By and large, the layman's concept of Buddhism has instilled fear among the commoners with Hell and Heaven, and the only simple things people can understand is that whatever sin you have committed this life, you will pay for it either later in this life or in the next one. Likewise, whatever good you have done this life you will be rewarded later in this or in the next life (...Any brownie points earned this life will only be redeemed next life...") I believe this is a gross distortion to the original purpose of the teaching, for it makes "rewards in the next life" as the condition of "doing good in this life". Doing good should be unconditional, and without thought of being rewarded.
The purpose of reincarnation is NOT about the redemption of the rewards that you earned in your past life; we reincarnate to learn more lessons. The journey of a soul through each life is to learn, through giving and receiving, not only the pleasures, but also the pains and sufferings of human emotions and desires (Buddhist's seven emotions and six desires), in order to understand ultimately what unconditional love is. There is a parallel between a soul's journey and a human's journey in that we all start from kindergarten, then primary school, high school, and eventually graduate with a tertiary degree. Through series of lifetimes a soul will advance through stages of their wisdom to attain it's enlightenment ultimately. Planet Earth is not the only place the souls would go, in the infinite space of universe, there are other places we know nothing about that the souls can go to learn, maybe learning something that we cannot possibly imagine with our limited knowledge and senses. Dr Michael Newton has explored this concept in his second book (in reference to the previous post).
The karma we talk about should not be interpreted as "an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth". As we cannot remember what we have done in the past lives, we cannot tell if a particular experience we are undergoing is the cause or the effect of the karma. If we are suffering under another person's wrong doing, we must break the cycle of karmic effect in this life by forgiving and letting go all the ill feelings. Do not gleefully hope that the other person will suffer in his/her next life for what he/she has done to you in this life. He/she is here in our life for the very reason that we may learn and grow. He/she will learn his/her lesson similarly in the next life. Remember, all the lessons we go through are for the advancement of our souls. Frequently, a glimpse of past lives through regression hypnosis will make us understand better the particular experience we are underdoing, and allow us to forgive more readily. This in turns will accelerate our growth spiritually.