I can only say from experience that the "self" can be quite surprised by what the body did during blackout drinking.

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lol

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I'm hoping we go to dust, otherwise we just go back to that place we came from before we were born....

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I think this is just a broad way of refering to the legacy you leave behind. birth and death happen everyday but people's ideas and memory of their actions dont go away so easily. In a way you could say they are still alive through the way they influence future generations from beyond their graves.

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My "self" is the inner me..my essence..my soul..yes i believe it does exist after my body dies.<br />
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i have no idea where it goes..but i do have 2 theories..<br />
my "self" may be inherited...i never really go anywhere..part of me exists generations after generations..passed down in my genes..i am my ancestors.<br />
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my "self" exists after my body dies..and goes somewhere...waiting for another turn at life there.<br />
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I can tell you with total belief...i have been here before.

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That Buddha teaching is about the things that make up self existed before the body, and continue after the body... the life time is just a temporary condition that the self uses to explore....<br />
Not my belief... <br />
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If you learn enough, grow you consciousness enough and feel things deeply enough, then maybe the field can survive the demise of the coil... but that is just my wishful thinking.

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This is a complicated question. Unfortunately, sober scientific inquiry got derailed a few decades back by religion. I'd recommend Matheson's /What Dreams May Come/. There's a movie by the same name starring Robin Williams (let's hope suicides don't go to hell), but I have to agree with Matheson's reaction that it would have been nice if they had made his book into a movie. Matheson also included a long list of citations at the end of the book that would be good follow-up.

I think the first thing to do is to get away from the notion that you always were who you are now, especially in the physical sense. We see all kinds of crap out of Hollywood where previous incarnations are played by the same actor/actress. I think the most hilarious rebuttal of this notion of physical sameness is when Lucy Lawless' latter 20th century character finds out she was Joxer the Mighty, not Xena.

I also recommend /Little Buddha/, if not only to see Keanu Reeves playing Siddhartha (*woah*). If the theory holds, it means we've all been rich before and poor before; we lived lives as women and as men; we've been black, brown, white, all different races. Perhaps we've even been goats at some point.

One cannot become incarnated in these meat-bags without being influenced by one's experiences. One faces racism and sexism. One may be tall or short or beautiful or ugly. Those factors influence how others treat one and how the soul changes and grows. When Chris is contemplating reincarnation in Matheson's /What Dreams May Come/, he attends a presentation where it's discussed that going back to Earth and being reincarnated may even cause the soul to lose spiritual progress and become more corrupt.

In conclusion, all of this leaves me with the impression that the "me" is a very dubious concept. At least if there is a "me," it's something that is constantly changing. If there is a /What Dreams May Come/ scenario, then I doubt I'd consider reincarnation, assuming I haven't been corrupted too much to even reach the Summerland. If there is a more Buddhist nature to reincarnation, then I'll hope after living as a short, ugly person with body parts of one gender and body parts of another gender, the next meat bag I get flung into will at least be better. When you're at the bottom, the only direction is up.

In all probability, consciousness is merely an illusion and perhaps a curse. The idea that death is total oblivion is more comforting to me than being forced to live another life among this cruel and barbaric species.

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