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See Paranormal Review for the complete article, which includes photos.
Two boys and two past lives:
by Roy Stemman
Reincarnation has been in the headlines in Spain and Canada this week with two remarkable stories that underline the impact of the belief and the huge cultural differences that surround this fascinating subject.
Case One - concerns a Muslim boy living in the Canadian province of Newfoundland who, after a visit to India, became convinced that he had lived a previous life in that country. This was so unsettling for him and his family that he was taken to a psychiatrist to be “cured”. Interestingly, the psychiatrist could not attribute the cause of these past-life flashbacks to any mental disturbance and has published a paper in a medical journey about the experience.
Case Two, on the other hand, involves a Spanish boy who was identified in 1985 as the reincarnation of a revered guru by the Dalai Lama and others, when he was just 14 months old. His parents agreed for him to be taken to a remote monastery in India, where he was worshipped and received spiritual instruction for the best part of two decades. Now back in Spain, he is reported to have denounced that life, describing it – according to the media – as “living a lie”.
But I have discovered there’s another side to this story. Let’s look at these cases more closely.
The Canadian teenager has not been named and his parents have turned down the opportunity to speak about the case. His experiences have just come to light with the publication of a paper by Dr Amin Muhammad Gadit, who treated the boy, in the Journal of Medical Ethics.
The paper, “Myth of reincarnation: a challenge for mental health profession”, is disappointing from an evidential point of view because its focus is the dilemma that the author faced, as a healthcare professional, in confronting the issue – one that is clearly rare.
After discussing briefly the various religious attitudes to belief in rebirth, Dr Gadit explains that a multidisciplinary team approach and the involvement of an Imam, with the emphasis on psychotherapeutic input, proved beneficial for the boy. Those treating him adopted a positive attitude, assuring the teenager that “maybe everyone has past lives – the only difference is that you can remember yours”. That’s not an unreasonable assumption, given that “his history and examination of mental state did not lead to any diagnostic category”.
Fortunately, National Post journalist Tom Blackwell managed to extract more information about the case from Dr Gadit in a report (30 May, 2009) headlined “Haunted by past lives? Academics wrestle with treating the ‘reincarnated’”.
He reveals that the boy, who was born and raised in Canada, was visiting his parents’ Indian hometown, Jaipur, when he became consumed by vivid memories of a past life, insisting he belonged with another family and viewing his parents as “alien”.
He described his past life, as a man named Ram, who had three brothers and a sister and died aged 29 from a hole in the heart. He was also able to give other details, including describing the inside of his house.
Locals are said to have confirmed that a man named Ram lived there about 30 years ago and verified other details he provided.
When taken to see Dr Gadit by his parents in March 2006, he teenager recounted his memories “with a strong, emotionally charged tone” and the psychiatrist accepts that the boy is convinced he has lived before.
After treatment he appears to have come to terms with his experience but is said to be still haunted by the past-life memories.
Meanwhile, in Spain, Osel Hita Torres – known to his followers as Lama Tenzin Osel Rinpoche – has apparently done the unthinkable and rejected the past-life robes that were wrapped around him at the age of 14 months by those looking for the reincarnation of Lama Thubten Yeshe, the founder of the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT).
"Sacred Activism is the fusion of the mystic's passion for God with the activist's passion for justice, creating a third fire, which is the burning sacred heart that longs to help, preserve, and nurture every living thing." - Andrew Harvey
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