Osho – The idea of reincarnation, Christianity does not accept it, Mohammedanism does not accept it, nor does Judaism accept it; it is only accepted by the religions that have been born in India. They may differ on every aspect of life, but on one point they are absolutely in agreement. And it is not an agreement of one day – for thousands of years they have agreed on the idea of reincarnation.
In Christianity or Mohammedanism or Judaism your life span is very short, just between the cradle and the grave – maybe seventy years or eighty years. With death you are finished. But in the Eastern experience, with death you only change your form. You are not finished, you continue. Your continuity is eternal. You will take many forms … many experiences, many ways of being.
This whole universe is conceived of in the East as a teaching period. The trees are learning to be trees, the birds are learning to be birds. This whole universe is exactly a great university, an opportunity to learn one form and also to learn that behind the form is hidden your formless being.
Thousands of times you have lived in different forms, experiencing different ways. Certainly to be a tree is a totally different experience than to be a bird or to be a lion. But the essential life is one. Out of this experience of essential life, the theory of reincarnation arose. And if you go deeper into your interiority … you can move so deeply that you will start touching not only your birth, your nine months in the womb, but also the death of the previous form.
It is a tremendous experience to know that you have been here before, because that gives another dimension to your consciousness; if you have been here in the past, you will be here in the future. The past and future both are in balance – the present moment is just the balancing moment. And if you can dig deep into the present moment, you can experience not only your past lives; there is a possibility – if your effort is really total – that you may start having glimpses of your future possibilities.
Gautam Buddha is reported to have said that we never begin our journey – it is eternal. You cannot reach to the point, exploring within yourself, where you started the journey. That bus stop you cannot find. You have always been moving, traveling. So the beginning cannot be found, it is not there. But the end can be found.
You will be surprised to think about it – that the ordinary death is not a death because the consciousness moves into another form. A bird becomes a tree, a tree becomes an animal, an animal becomes a human being. But if your experience of all your past lives suddenly flashes you to the idea that you are eternal, that very moment you are disidentified with the body-mind structure. And this disidentification is the real death. Now you will not take another form, you will enter into the formless. It is called the great death.
But to have a great death you need to have a great life. Ordinary living is so lukewarm that ordinary death cannot change much; it can only change the outer garb, the paper bag in which you have been living. To burst forth out of all form – a tremendous awareness, intensity, totality … you pull all of yourself to a single point – and suddenly all forms disappear. Just like a breeze, invisible, you enter into the formless.
Source – Osho Book “Dogen, the Zen Master: A Search and a Fulfillment”