I have been reading Simon's blog today and have been engaged in a deep philosophical email discussion with him as well. He touched on a subject that I have been pondering for some time ie does the mind survive after death?
In Nichiren Buddhism, it is believed that we return to a state of resting - a bit like sleep - before we turn up in another life. Effectively, you're taken off line and hang around in a latent state until the right circumstances arise to call you back into the world. (This is often likened to a tree, barren in the winter. We know that the tree can bear fruit, but we do not see fruit in the winter. In summer, the right circumstances appear - sun, water, warmth - and flowers then fruit appear. The tree in the winter is in a 'waiting' or latent state. Hope that makes sense.)
So our life-force returns to this cosmic soup of latent state. Does our mind come with?
This question implies the assumption that the mind is the self and everything that makes us... well... us. So, really, you should begin with the question, "What is the mind?"
There are theories that mind is a purely organic construct created by our brains and neural pathways that we create. The more we use certain pathways, the stronger the neural connections. Pathways not used eventually die away. So, if I use my mind for logical thinking, these pathways will be stronger, while perhaps my creative pathways would be weaker. I would be referred to as someone practical, logical. But is that really my true potential or simply a circumstance of biology? Would I be different if I integrated more of my creative pathways? What if an area of my brain is affected by disease or damage and not functioning?
If the mind survives death and it is the self, then we would be the same person in each incarnation, yet we are not. Minds are shaped by experiences, upbringing, biology.
I prefer to use the term lifeforce when referring to that part of me that will survive organic death. I will return to the great cosmic soup and wait. What intrigues me is the theory that we are all one, that only our physical bodies reinforce the illusion that we are individuals and that there is something far more vast than that.While stewing in this vat of cosmic energy, perhaps life forces move and mix and rub off on each other.
So am I the product of a mix of energy? That perhaps a bit of what was you was blended with a bit of what was me whilst we lay dormant? This would imply that I am not ME but US.
Ponderous man... REAL ponderous...