If we look at our addictions we will see something. For the strongest addictions we have like hatred, obsession, we don’t need a teacher to teach us how to develop them. We have that automatically. The parents will try to hide all this from the kids. They don’t talk about it in front of the kids. They control the television program. The kids cannot turn on certain programs. That’s the right thing to do. I am criticizing that. But no matter whatever they do, when they pull their beds out they are going to find all different magazines under the bed. It’s because the addiction is already there. Nobody has to teach them that, they automatically develop attachment. We have attachment – addiction and kids develop that straight away. The kids of age 3 and 4 talk about boyfriends and girlfriends and think about it. They will have all these feelings. Where did they learn that from? Nobody taught them. Honestly. They automatically remember whatever their addictions were. They just rebuild the ones they had from the previous life. They are bringing them with them. Similarly, whether people remember their previous life or not, some have a lot of recollections. Those recollections will come. They will remember something. They will say, “I don’t know if it was a dream or something I saw.” In that manner people recollect.
But addictions will definitely carry over, strong or weak. Some kids automatically, without being told by anybody, would like to go out there and hurt creatures like insects and frogs. They will hurt them, with a stick in hand and so on. Some kids are completely the opposite. They would like to be kind, sweet and gentle and caring and look after them. Even among twins there will be different reactions. Why? Because of previous addictions.
I am not claiming these are scientific reasons, but they indicate something. We are not stupid. We don’t have to be told A-B-C-D. We are intelligent enough to think and know that there is an addiction we are carrying from the previous life. That goes not only for negatives, but also for positives. The same brain, the same wiring, the same kids, have different intelligence levels, very different interests. Where does that come from? From their previous life-connections. I can’t help it thinking that when Allen Ginsberg was around, that he was William Blake before, because of the way he remembered and picked things up. I don’t mean he remembered that he was William Blake, but I can’t help thinking that without at least having the doubt, “He could be.” And that’s not only him, but it happens with many.
I am going a little bit out of my way here. It is okay for those who have questions and doubts about and those who believe in reincarnation, but for many of you this is not okay. But in my opinion this is the reality.
No one has confirmed, not even a single scientist, that death is the end of all – period. No one has ever said there is no reincarnation. There is no proof. So the benefit of doubt one has to keep. You know why? Because it will be me who is going through with my future life. You will be the one going through your own future life. So that’s why the benefit of doubt must be given.
As a Tibetan Buddhist practitioner, if I know that I have only 3 months or 9 months or even a year to live, I will give up everything and make sure [my future life is okay]. I will not spend all my time tying up the family business. I will be busy trying to make my future life is okay. That is the challenge. How do I make sure the future life is okay?
Two things: Buddha told us there is a future life. If that is true, it is also Buddha who told us that positive deeds will bring happiness and joy. Negative karma will bring suffering and misery. That is the key. If one thing said by Buddha is true, the second thing he said should also be true. If the first is not true, then why bother? Why worry? But in case it is true, the second thing becomes important: avoiding negativities and building positive deeds. What does that mean? Avoid negative addictions and build positive addictions. Positive will give you positive results and negatives will give you negative results. You know that hatred brings hatred and that brings violence and all of that is suffering.
Faith on the other hand brings harmony. You become relaxed and joyful and peaceful. So that is positive. We all know that, even in our daily life. If you have some positive thought, like faith, not getting angry, not developing hatred, not being controlled by obsession, that gives us a little peace, harmony and a little joy – in the midst of our massive suffering, busy-ness and hardship. If you observe that by yourself in your own bedroom, that makes a difference to yourself, doesn’t it? I am sure all of you have that experience. That experience tells us that positive deeds give us positive results. It is true today, was true yesterday and will be true tomorrow.
You don’t have to believe in anything. You don’t have to believe in Buddha or karma. It is just the reality in our own life, every day. If you are completely disturbed and mad and become crazy-mad and angry, what do you do to yourself? Give yourself a little time to take a break. We automatically do that, even if we controlled by our negative emotions. We will say, “I don’t want to talk about it, leave me alone.” Are you familiar with those words? [general laughter]. This is our natural mind telling us what to do. It is not a question of Buddhism or religion or anything. It is our natural reaction, trying to give yourself time. When you give yourself time, what are you supposed to do? Different people have different ideas, sure. But if it is very urgent, if you are really getting so angry and you can’t even hold it, you are physically shaking. In that case give yourself a little time. Just sit alone. Don’t keep your mind busy. Normally Buddhist teaching will tell you: think the opposite. If you are so angry, the advice is to think about compassion and love and patience. That is true, no doubt. But first things first. You have to give yourself time. Just be quiet. Some people say: be quiet and listen inside. But I am saying: Don’t listen. You know why? Because inside you are angry. If you listen to that, you get all these angry reactions. Just sit quiet. Plug your ears. Be like the three monkeys, who close eyes, ears and mouth. In that attitude you have to stay for a few minutes. Then you may gain a little control of your mind for yourself.
If you did gain a little control then you have to review, “What did I do? How did I react?” Then you may realize, “If other people see what I have done, I would be embarrassed. Even if no one has seen it, this behavior of mine was a little disgusting. It is not me, it is not my taste.” Do you see that? If you have a little control you may be able to bring that. Or you may not. You may get more mad. It depends on how weak the anger has become. If the anger flame is burning, don’t try that thinking. Try to stay calm and quiet for a while. The meditators will tell you to stay like that for 40 minutes. But we can never sit for 40 minutes. Never. If you can sit for one minute in that situation, you are lucky. Then, try another half a minute, and another half a minute. Then try another minute.