All Beliefs are Welcome Here!
Dear David and Muse,
Interesting topic....wd like to contribute a bit. M a cultural scholar not afraid of exploring the spiritual (past lives) and theoretical science (quantum physics). hv a blog based on a French site (http://v-age.travelblog.fr) dealing with some ramifications. Here are some excerpts dealing with the topic of "past lives.
Hope you find it interesting:
(...)Multiverse or Meta-universe...those terms were first coined in 1895 by the American philosopher and psychologist William James. Yet the idea of a Meta-universe preceded him by millennia.
Since ancient times Indian Hinduist and Buddhist cosmology is adhering to a worldview including many worlds, both visible and invisible. Hinduism speaks of Triloka -- the Three Worlds. The Vedic rishis describe those as three intertwined dimensions of existence.
In Buddhist cosmology, the Triloka (known in Tibetan as: Khams-gsum) are :
B1. The world of desire (Kāmaloka or Kāma-Dhatu; Tibetan: dod pa'i khams) typified by sexual and other desires, populated by different types of sentient beings: hell beings, animals, hungry ghosts (Sanskrit: Preta प्रेत; Tibetan: Yi-dwag), human beings, demi-gods (Sanskrit: Asura असुर; Tibetan: Lha-Mayin) and desire-gods (Sanskrit: Devas देव or Suras; Tibetan: Lha).
B2. The world of form (Rūpaloka or Rūpa-Dhatu; Tibetan: gzugs khams) with the Seventeen samsaric heavenly abodes consisting of the threefold four Dhyana Realms and the five Pure Abodes. A subtle divine state of samsaric existence between the desire realm and the formless realm, where sense of smell, sense of taste and sexual organs are absent. The beings there have bodies of light, long lives and no painful sensations. Unwholesome mental factors such as attachment cannot arise. The Devas (Tibetan: Lha) in that world have physical forms, but compared to their counterparts in the world of desire (Kāmaloka or Kāma-Dhatu; Tibetan: dod pa'i khams) are sexless and passionless. They live in a large number of "heavens" or deva-worlds that rise, layer on layer, above the earth.
B3. The world of formlessness (Arūpaloka or Arūpa-Dhatu; Tibetan: gzugs med kyi khams). The abode of unenlightened beings who have practiced formless meditative states, dwelling on the notions: Infinite Space, Infinite Consciousness, Nothing Whatsoever, and Neither Presence Nor Absence (of conception). These beings remain in these four subtle types of conceptual meditation for many aeons after which they again return to lower states within samsara. The Devas in this world have no physical form or location, and they dwell in meditation on formless subjects. They achieve this by attaining advanced meditational levels in another life. They do not interact with the rest of the Buddhist cosmos.
N.B. Buddhas and Boddhisattvas are all reincarneted humans and classified as higher beings than Gods (Devas).
The existence of Multiple worlds as described above, which was regarded until a few decades ago only as esoteric and unscientific mumbo-jumbo, is now taken more seriously by scientific cosmologists and theoretic physicists.
American physicist Hugh Everett's (1930-1982) so-called "Many-Worlds Interpretation" (MWI) was one of the first in 1957. MVI is also known as the Everett interpretation, the many-universes interpretation or "Many Worlds". This theory views Reality as something comparable to a tree that branches out, and wherein every possible quantum outcome becomes on branch of Reality.
Swedish-American cosmologist Max Tegmark (born 1967) provided classifications of the expanding, inflating 'invisible worlds' beyong our 'real' universe (the one we human beings can experience with our ordinary senses and which is equivalent to the Hinduist Bhuloka and Buddhist Kāmaloka [B1 here above]). According to Tegmark's theory, the multiverse resembles some kind of huge loaf of rising dough that is continuously expanding. However like in every piece of rising bread there remain some empty bubbles. In the multiverse that would be regions of space that stop stretching outwards or inflating. Such bubbles are understood as "embryonic level I multiverses."
Theoretical physicists Vitaly Vanchurin and Andrei Linde of Stanford Univerity tried in 2009 to calculate the number of all possible universes. Their result was that the multiverse was consisting of 10^10^16 possible parallel universes.
wow that's some amazing philosophy, (especially the bhuddist thought) I will have
to mull that over some.