|The Lord of Death (Yama) consuming six planes of existence in samsara, Tibetan thangka.|
Just as their attainment of full enlightenment (arhatship, Buddhist "sainthood") occurred at different places, they were also separated in the end, even though they had been close for such a long time in this and other lives.
|Dr. Eben, Raymond Moody|
|Anne Frank was reborn as a female Christian in Sweden named Barbro Karlen.|
But Maha Moggallana read his thoughts and ordered him again to exit and go away. Mara exited through Maha Moggallana's mouth and stood at the meditation hut's door post. Maha Moggallana told him that he knew him not only from today but was aware of his karmic past and his descent through various rebirths.
- [How is this possible? How could Maha Moggallana have in the past been Mara? It must be understood that from a Buddhist perspective, as laid out in Buddhist cosmology, the gods and many other figures are not persons but stations or posts. One can be born into them so that one might in one life be the "Moon God" in another life a human being in another life Maha Brahma (the "Great Supreme God" of a world system). One might even be reborn as a Sakka (a kind of St. Michael figure who casts out Lucifer from "heaven," but in that case "heaven" would be just one of the many heavens, a plane called "The Realm of the Thirty-Three," and "Lucifer" would be the chief of the titans (asuras) recently a being referred to as Vepacitti and so on. Suffice it to say that when a deity or ruler is spoken of, it is more like the president of the U.S. There will always be a president, but who will be the president is up for grabs. Likewise, there have been various buddhas, the rarest kinds of beings in the universe for they have developed the Ten Perfections, achieved full and complete enlightenment, and have decided to teach and make known the path to enlightenment to a benighted world and have established a community of monastic disciples, both nuns and monks, in addition to enlightened lay disciples.]
|Science+rebirth: Miracles Happen by Dr. Weiss|
|Ven. Maha Moggallana was the Buddha's chief male disciple foremost in magical powers.|
In the Rebirth Tales (Jatakas), which are stories about some of the Buddha's former births, it is reported that the Buddha-to-be (the Bodhisattva) and Maha Moggallana had lived together quite often. In no less than 31 lives the Buddha and Maha Moggallana had met, and in 30 of the previous lives mentioned the Rebirth Tale, Maha Moggallana and Sariputra had lived together.
So strong was the bond that already in previous lives had connected these three [and also the chief female disciples, Ven. Khema and Ven. Uppallavana, who are often left out by the now male dominated monastic institution of Theravada Buddhism after the loss of the Bhikkhuni Sangha, the Nun's Community, which has fortunately made a comeback in spite of longstanding opposition].
|Craving leads to rebirth.|
The first thing we find from the Rebirth Tales is Maha Moggallana's close relationship to the Bodhisattva, the being developing himself and pursuing the Ten Perfections to eventually become a buddha, a fully and completely enlightened teacher.
- What is a "fully and completely" enlightened teacher? Isn't that redundant? No, there is no redundancy here. Any average person can become enlightened by practicing the Path. But it is an extraordinarily almost nonexistent person that could ever become enlightened by his/her own efforts without a known Path. When the Dharma exists in the world, it is possible to locate the instructions and practice the Path that leads to enlightenment and liberation from all suffering. But when the Dharma fades away and is no longer known in the world, almost no one is liberated, no one reaches enlightenment. The very, very few who do are called Pacceka Buddhas, or non-teaching buddhas. Their buddhahood is full but not complete. If it were "complete" they would be able to teach. They have developed the Ten Perfections sufficiently to gain enlightenment on their own but not enough to be teachers. They can experience the benefits but would have difficulty teaching anyone else how to do that. A fully and completely enlightened teacher or samma-sam-buddha, will not only have gained enlightenment by personal exertion and effort, pursuing it over many, many lives, but will also have developed the requisite qualities and powers to effectively teach the Path, establish the Dharma in the world, and leave behind a community that continues on the practice and preserves the Teaching that leads to enlightenment even in this very life so that others may see and experience nirvana here and now.
|Samsara is the "Wheel of Life and Death," the round of rebirth and suffering.|
|Another "Moon goddess," a Chandra devi.|
- Here "gods" means akasha devas -- spacefaring light-beings -- more in the sense of ancient Greek usage and the earlier biblical sense: In the Jewish and Christian Bibles (collections of disparate sacred texts), "God" is almost exclusively plural and refers to many gods in spite of all the sophistry and lip service to monotheism and there being only "One True All Powerful Eternal God." If "God" is plural but with many names and embodied in many beings, it is just like Hinduism with only one True God, a God who is a Trinity of three personalities, aspects, or embodiments, i.e., Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, just like YHWH/Jehovah of JudeoChristian lore, who is conceived and spoken of as the Creator, Preserver, and Destroyer).
There appears a certain lawfulness or orderliness in the stories insofar as in most cases the difference between them (their status) is larger to the degree their level of rebirth is lower, and there is less difference when their rebirth is on a higher level. When, for example, reborn as animals, they were rarely equals (only as swans, in Jat. 160, 187, 215, 476), and mostly it was Sariputra who was reborn as a higher species of animal. Thus they were snake and rat (Jat. 37), snake and jackal (Jat. 315), human and jackal (Jat. 490).
When born as human beings in worldly careers, Sariputra was always in a higher position than Maha Moggallana: as a royal prince and royal minister (Jat. 525), royal minister and son of a slave (Jat. 544), charioteer of the royal Bodhisattva and charioteer of King Ananda (Jat. 151). Once Maha Moggallana was the Moon deva and Sariputra the wise ascetic Narada (Jat. 535). But when both are ascetics or deities, they are mostly of equal states. But once it happened that Sariputra was only the Moon deity and Maha Moggallana the superior Sun god (Jat. 450); once Sariputra was the king of the nagas (dragons, reptilians, serpent deities) and Maha Moggallana the king of their foes, the suparnas (mythical birds, avian hybrid deities) (Jat. 545).
|Phases of the Moon (Chandra) time lapse.|
There is also a story in which Maha Moggallana was reborn as a jackal. Seeing a dead elephant, he was so greedy for its flesh that he crept through an intestinal sphincter into the elephant's belly, ate as much as he could, but was then unable to get out again and suffering mortal fear -- an impressive symbol of the perils of sensual delights (Jat. 490).
In the famous Rebirth Tale about the Law of the Kuru people (Jat. 276), Maha Moggallana is a keeper of grain stores and Sariputra a merchant. Both were very careful in observing the law of not stealing. More
|Saltwater on Mars? There's life as well. This photo shows a Martian body of water.|