United Lodge of Theosophists, London, UK

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Reincarnation – a Saturday Seminar

8th December 2012 @ 3:00 pm - 6:15 pm

Seminar  on  Reincarnation

“The Ideas, Ethics and Evidence”

Saturday 8th December at 3 pm, 62 Queens Gardens W2 3AH

Four short talks with two Q&A panels and two informal breaks

  • Do we reincarnate with the same body or personality?
  • How can we live better lives & what changes should we make?
  • If we reincarnate, how does Karma bring justice?

The ancient idea of Reincarnation gives us back our sense of a natural place in evolution and provides sound basis for ethical behaviour, self-responsibility and empowerment.

Opens at 2:30 pm, runs from 3-6 pm   Free Admission   www.ultlon.freeserve.co.uk



Door open at 2:30 pm, starts at 3 pm promptly, ends at 6 pm.

Part 1


Talk “The Ideas & History”

Talk Twin Doctrine of Karma”

Break with written questions

Panel and moderator for Q&A

Mini break; tea, coffee or cold drinks downstairs


Part 2  

Talk “Justice & Acceptance”

Talk “Reincarnation in Society & Explanations to Objections”

Break with written questions

Panel and moderator for Q&A

Wrap up and farewell.


Talk Summaries

Talk  “The Ideas & History”

Expand some points of Reincarnation as described in Ocean Ch 8 & 9; not new, existed in the past (refs are in Phoenix Fire by Cranston); explore the dynamic link between Re. and Karma. Animals also re.  but “once a man always a man”.

  • Evolution, not just physical (Darwinian) but spiritual, law of Nature; manifestation exists for the experience and emancipation of the Soul (Patanjali); goal to elevate the whole of matter (alive, no dead matter) to a divine, self-conscious state by gradual perfecting; perpetual transformation, from simple to complex (mineral, plant, animal, human, gods), has to proceed through Re.
  • Only Re. and Karma accommodates ideas of evolution, justice, perfectibility; define Karma (law of cause & effect, restoration of harmony); one has to receive the consequences of one’s thoughts and acts (good or bad); Karma brings about circumstances to learn from our past actions, sometimes can’t occur in this life so has to be many; Logic and Justice.
  • Re and heredity; works with Karma to give appropriate environment for Ego; either attracted to family with same nature, “Th. teaches those who are like unto each other and love each other will reincarnate together whenever conditions permit”; logic as karmic seeds sown together; Ego can also be attracted to family with different nature, to settle past karmic debts, chance for redemption of child, “punishment” for parents;
  • Doctrine ancient, present in the East (Hinduism/Buddhism); ancient Egyptians and Greeks; Jewish tradition; Jesus and the Christian Fathers taught it until council of Constantinople ca 500 AD.
  • What reincarnates and how? Higher Triad (Atma/Buddhi Manas), Real Man; after life separation from lower aspects (bodies physical/astral, desires, prana or life); Devachan varies depending on life lived (spiritual aspirations) but lasts on average 1000 to 1500 years (est. time for the population and conditions of 1880s); Soul attracted back to Earth for a new incarnation; not into animal, “once a an always a man”;
  • Memory of previous lives not known to most, could even be dangerous to access it before have the wisdom (cases of tragic events in past lives..); don’t remember most events in this current life, doesn’t mean they didn’t happen; forget details but affects character; access memory via the brain, living “according to the dictates of the Soul” makes it porous to the Soul’s memory; eventually we will access it, like more advanced beings.



Talk “Twin Doctrine of Karma”

Show how Re. helps in living a good life (+ve), no “getting away with it” (-ve).

Reincarnation is the doctrine of Hope, Karma of Responsibility and choices.

Karma gives opportunities and doesn’t force onto a set path; not fatalism or pre-destiny, but has aspect of judgement or nemesis?

Compensation and Charity, Karma brings balance/harmony.


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Break for 20 minutes in Library, facilitators collect written questions.

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~ ~ ~

Mini break; refreshments downstairs in back office

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Talk “Justice & Acceptance”

Reincarnation as a long term view isolates from pain & suffering. Softening of soul (WQJ’s LTHHM p 25).  Makes the mind plastic and flexible, charitable; power of transcending bad habits. An alternative explanation to life’s curiosities (Mozart, Blind Tom, geniuses etc), sensitive kids impressed by grandparents.  Add ideas from Ocean, Ch 10.

  • Innate Ideas such as Love, Justice, Beauty, Goodness and Peace are part of our Soul. Nature provides for this adjustment combining compensation and  justice  (St John’s Gospel Key 186-7)
  • The Soul (Ego the permanent individuality) carries within this knowledge and understanding => confirmed by the idea of panoramic vision and prospective vision at the beginning of the new incarnation (Key 162-3) (Memory in the Dying) =>integrated memory (Key p125 & p 142) ( Ocean p92-93)
  • Reincarnation helps accept the equity and wisdom (Key p141) of events not passively but actively : “step back” from event and take the Soul’s viewpoint as “experiencer” => (LTHHM p25) Buddhist modes of Truth p 23  “We may see truths vaguely which a life gives us no time to grasp” (Ocean p88)
  • Right acceptance triggers generosity eg parents of disabled child or loss of a child through illness
  • Reincarnation helps acceptance of certain cases or events : genius (Mozart, Blind Tom, etc) => character, skills and talents brought from past experience (Ocean p91-2). One incarnation provides some opportunity “for the vast range of powers latent in man which … may be developed if opportunity be given” (Ocean p88)
  • Theosophy advocates a Philosophic approach to Reincarnation & provides for caution => an alternate explanation to life’s curiosities eg. sensitive kids impressed by grandparents. => be cautious before concluding that Reincarnation. We do not have the same body (the lower man or “tenement” has changed)

Knowledge of past incarnations will come when we are ready to accept this, understanding without personal emotions and judgement ( Samyak Sambuddha). Perfectibility goes hand in hand with the idea of the God within and Reincarnation provides an opportunity for its expression.



Talk “Reincarnation in Society & Explanations to Objections”

Building on previous talks & taking Re. from the psychological and societal viewpoint:

  • Seeing how man and animals reincarnate gives us greater awareness of the natural cycles in life and helps us empathise with everything living that experiences the same cycles of birth, life and death.  As Darwinism shows for evolution (correct on the physical plane) we as entities must have repeated those many times in the lower kingdoms. (cf Buddha’s Jataka Tales and memories of when a deer etc).  Consciousness of mystics enables them to know “the mind of an ant”; similar reports by those taking hallucinogenic drugs.
  • Studying re.  and natural cycles of life  helps to put the experiences we go thru in perspective. To be able to identify that the causes we sow will come back to us gives us back a sense of control in our life.  Psychologists have shown that such an approach makes us more positive, more optimistic.
  • From a knowledge of cycles we can learn how to change repetitive behaviour, for example some people have depression regular times of the year such as Xmas which are quite predictable, and so also preventable if we prepare for them before hand by starting a counter cycle that will oppose the old one
  • Some objections to re.:
  1. a) the number of souls are claimed to be more now, than at other times in history, which is solved by “village hall” analogy; also ‘creation’ of souls for one life only makes no sense, is quite unnatural.
  2. b) that it is not a help to know we have many lives ahead of us, as it encourages us to pay our debts in a later life. The evidence of criminal behaviour in countries where re. was once the main idea shows the opposite, that it’s people who think there is nothing after this life that behave worse. eg the levels of crime in Buddhist countries (before Westernisation) was 30 times lower than in European countries.  (Phoenix Fire Mystery, Ch 1)
  • Scientific research from Univ of Virginia Health School over the past 20-30 years has shown many cases of children recovering memories of past life. Independently verified evidence includes descriptions of the conditions of that life, where they lived, who their parents were (recognised on first sight) and sometimes how they had died, wounds tying up with birth marks etc.
  • In Buddhism new incarnation of the Dalai Lama is verified is by his correct identification of his old possessions from his last life like prayer bells, glasses etc. In exceptional cases like the Lamas re. occurs quickly, after less than 10 yrs.)




Reincarnation – a Saturday Seminar


8th December 2012
3:00 pm - 6:15 pm



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