Past lives: Kinship Beyond Death: Ambiguous Relations and Autonomous Children in Contemporary Cambodia

Past-Life-Regression1On Imagining the Real World, the blog of professor Erik W. Davis, I stumbled across this very interesting account of a child who remembers her past life as her own uncle. Since it’s his story you’ll have to read it on the link, but it’s quite fascinating. (Prof. Davis has it as a downloadable pdf, and I gather he’s allowed 50 free downloads before, I assume, people have to start paying, for which reason here’s a second link, to the page on his blog where the download lives).

As I said, I won’t summarise or quote, but a few points strike me as especially interesting. First, the little girl’s parents found her memories of her past life with them quite disturbing, to the extent of trying to get her to forget them through magical means; second, although Buddhism as a religion gives space for memory of previous lives, it’s supposed to be adults (specifically monks) who have such memories, and they’re supposed to come through meditation; and third, the reason that the little girl’s family found the previous life so disturbing was that its remembrance (and therefore its present reality) posed a threat to its bonds to its current family: destroying the previous-life memories is necessary if the child is to become fully integrated into its present life.

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