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Children recall past lives as Buddhist monks


Posted on Monday, 1 June, 2015 | Comment icon 16 comments

Several children have recalled a past life as a monk. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Brian Jeffery Beggerly
Dr. Erlendur Haraldsson has been investigating cases in which children have recalled past life memories.
While the concept of past lives and the idea that people can remember who they used to be remains a highly controversial topic, some researchers have documented tantalizing evidence suggesting that there may be something more to the phenomenon than a child's overactive imagination.

Dr Haraldsson, who is professor emeritus at the University of Iceland in Reykjavik, has investigated several cases of children who could allegedly recall being a Buddhist monk in their previous life.

One prominent case was that of Duminda Bandara Ratnayake who was born in 1984 in Sri Lanka.

From the age of around 3 Ratnayake began to recall vivid details of his past life including the temple at which he taught apprentices and even his own death which centered around a pain in his chest.

Throughout his childhood Ratnayake showed little interest in anything other than becoming a monk and demonstrated a remarkable calmness and wisdom for his age that included being able to recite stanzas in the ancient language of Sinhalese Buddhism which only the monks knew.

His supposed past life identity was eventually revealed to be Ven. Mahanayaka Gunnepana, a monk from the area who had died of a heart attack, a match for Ratnayake's description of chest pains.

Many other aspects of the monk's life also matched what the boy had described.

Dr Haraldsson ultimately concluded that it was highly unlikely that he had learned what he knew from either his family of anyone else he had been in contact with. A child learning the ancient Sinhalese Buddhism language in particular was completely unheard of.

Whether Ratnayake really was the reincarnation of Ven. Mahanayaka however remains a mystery.

Source: Epoch Times | Comments (16)

Tags: Reincarnation, Past Life

Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #7 Posted by Podo on 3 June, 2015, 15:56
On one hand, reincarnation is scientifically ridiculous. On the other, I'm not sure how else to explain things like this, where the information is recorded immediately by someone conducting scientific study. I'd like to read the original report and learn the methods taken.
Comment icon #8 Posted by qxcontinuum on 4 June, 2015, 1:51
so he made it ! cool
Comment icon #9 Posted by Mr Walker on 4 June, 2015, 6:35
With a little training, and access to the cosmic consciousness, anyone can enter a stored past life, and interact with the person stored in a sort of virtual reality. That doesn't mean you WERE that person, just that your consciousness is linked to it via the cosmic consciousness. You can learn from this contact/ experience, but you cant alter the stored life of the dead person, or even convince it that it has died. Well at least I have never been able to. It is no longer self aware or learning growing, but you can enter into the stored virtual life and interact with it.
Comment icon #10 Posted by back to earth on 4 June, 2015, 22:22
this same thing happened to me when I was 3 till about 9, but as I grew older the memories dissipated. Is that why you look so sad and depressed ?
Comment icon #11 Posted by back to earth on 4 June, 2015, 22:28
What if these people are not actually recalling details of their own past lives, but are just retrieving data from the collective consciousness of other people's past lives, like stumbling upon random data in a genetic library or a form of Akashic Records? Ummmm , what you describe, is actually what reincarnation is (although you dumbed it down for us), from the Buddhist perspective (since they dont believe in the soul, the only thing to pass on is the 'energy field imprint') ... from the Hindu perspective ? Well the word isnt even in the Bahagvad Gita ! The word used is translated into Englis... [More]
Comment icon #12 Posted by back to earth on 4 June, 2015, 22:43
If they are remembering past lives as monks then they weren't very successful monks, since the point of being a month is to escape Samsara (the rebirth cycle) and enter Nirvana (bliss). Just becoming a monk doesnt lead to that. It can take time and practice and many incarnations - according to them. Even if it is achieved there is the Bodhisatva, one that delays their progress to come back and help ... since they are turning up in the west ... that could hint at something ??? It seems to me children can be "encouraged" to remember all sorts of things, and the memories become quite real to them... [More]
Comment icon #13 Posted by back to earth on 4 June, 2015, 22:45
Yeah I'm with Frank Merton on this one... they mustn't have been good buddists monks the first time around to be reincarnated as monks again. I guess good help is hard to find... No, its just that you are making smart comments and being sarcastic about something you have very little understanding of ... again .
Comment icon #14 Posted by ambelamba on 5 June, 2015, 2:24
It's a sign that average laypeople are ignorant of theology.
Comment icon #15 Posted by Hawkin on 6 June, 2015, 14:35
Children always seem to be accused of having overactive imaginations. If you've been around small children a lot and observe and listen to what they say about situations, they tell it as it is.
Comment icon #16 Posted by AshleyX3 on 9 June, 2015, 2:59
Oooh. :3 one more thing that suggests reincarnation.


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