Confuzius wrote: This still goes in line with an anti-religious agenda; show the FUNCTIONAL benefits thereof in order to downplay the rest of it and treat it as ignorant superstition.
That's putting it a bit simplistically. The ignorant superstition bits often ARE the functional bits. Many people, apparently, seem to function more productively and comfortably in a state of delusion about a whole range of things. Reality is hard to accept. Many people, for example, find it difficult to accept that consciousness resides in the brain and is the result of activities that go on there. Failure to accept that leads to nonsense like this...
The search for the Dalai Lama has usually been limited historically to Tibet, although the third tulku was born in Mongolia. Tenzin Gyatso, though, has stated that he will not be reborn in the People's Republic of China. In his autobiography, Freedom In Exile, he states that if Tibet is not free, he will reincarnate elsewhere."
The Dalai Lama isn't going to re-incarnate anywhere, and I suspect he knows it, but doesn't feel that he is a position to say so. Here's some stuff on how he was found....
Lhamo Latso ... [is] a brilliant azure jewel set in a ring of grey mountains. The elevation and the surrounding peaks combine to give it a highly changeable climate, and the continuous passage of cloud and wind creates a constantly moving pattern on the surface of the waters. On that surface visions appear to those who seek them in the right frame of mind.
It was here that during 1935, the Regent, Reting Rinpoche, received a clear vision of three Tibetan letters and of a monastery with a jade-green and gold roof, and a house with turquoise roof tiles, which led to the discovery of Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th Dalai Lama.
On how they are found generally...
High Lamas may also have a vision by a dream or if the Dalai Lama was cremated, they will often monitor the direction of the smoke as an indication of the direction of the rebirth.
Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.
If things get complicated, leave it to chance (or some back room politicking) ....
If there is only one boy found, the High Lamas will invite Living Buddhas of the three great monasteries together with secular clergy and monk officials, to confirm their findings and will then report to the Central Government through the Minister of Tibet. Later a group consisting of the three major servants of Dalai Lama, eminent officials and troops will collect the boy and his family and travel to Lhasa, where the boy would be taken, usually to Drepung Monastery to study the Buddhist sutra in preparation for assuming the role of spiritual leader of Tibet.
However, if there are several possibilities of the reincarnation, in the past regents and eminent officials and monks at the Jokhang in Lhasa, and the Minister to Tibet would decide on the individual by putting the boys' names inside an urn and drawing one lot in public if it was too difficult to judge the reincarnation initially.
That is just mumbo jumbo nonsense like the supernatural aspects of any religion. I think that you stated that buddhist belief doesn't entail a soul in the sense that we normally think of them. But here it seems like some remembering self does pass along......
Another poster here also seems to think that some consciousness is somehow separate from brain functioning..
Another way of putting it is that anesthesia doesn't (generally) unseat your consciousness. Your consciousness can feel like it is "off" during anesthesia, but it's really no more "off" than it is "disturbed" by pain to the body. We think, when stepping on a nail, that our consciousness "feels" pain, but really our body feels pain, and our consciousness notes that. Similarly, we think that when conking out during anesthesia, our consciousness "turns off," but really our body turns off, and our consciousness notes that. When we become unseated from that body, eventually, we will remember that "off" moment as part of our life seated in that body. Our consciousness isn't really off; rather, our brain is off, and our brain has a limited ability to grant us an experience of our ultimate, full consciousness.
I thought this bit from huseng was funny....
Realizing the emptiness of "self" (ātman), that is to say one's mistaken perception of self-identity, consequently results in notions of both "self" and "other" essentially melting away, resulting in unconditional compassion as no barrier between the illusory "I" and "other" remain. Even at the most basic level this becomes possible in short increments as notions of an inherent "me" wear away.
Here we find a buddhist who seems to think that the self IS illusory. It isn't. It's origins are just a lot more complicated than we can even imagine. Anyway, the "me" "you" thing pops back up again pretty clearly whenever questions like, say, "who pays the bill?" come up.
There are all kinds of things that people label as spiritual: the love of their fellows, the love of art and nature, feelings of belonging and purpose and this stuff gets "claimed" by religions and mixed in with a big healthy dollop of pure delusion. That extra dollop is all we are complaining about, because what it does is cater to the psychotic in us, with all the usual implications in some instances, and in the process it creates divisions between people where in actuality none exist. The tensions that arise from the artificial divisions though, well, those are real.