Sometimes the concept of rebirth is hard to envision because it seems like a mystical, supernatural idea that is hard for our limited minds to understand. And to be honest, I don't know for a fact that we will be reborn. I have faith that rebirth is a reality but I don't dwell much on the concept and constantly worry how I will be reborn and what do I need to do to be reborn into a "good situation," whatever that means. I do not think that this kind of attention is helpful to us because it only brings us anxiety because we are attached to something that is impossible to figure out in this moment.
I have personally found it more skillful to focus on the present moment at hand where we have the best chance to liberate ourselves from the suffering that we bring upon ourselves by wasting that moment obsessing about what happens upon the death of the body. Each moment is a chance to be reborn anew giving us another precious moment to live mindfully which enables us to transform habit energy into something more positive and more helpful in our ultimate goal of achieving full liberation from samsara. It is ironic that we refer to it as liberation when it is more like remembering, remembering our essence which is nothing short of Buddhahood.
Being fully present in being aware of our surroundings we see the beauty of rebirth in a direct way all around us. We know and see the change of seasons in many areas of the world and with mindfulness we see that this process is a reflection of the reality of human life. In the spring we are born, we grow up in the summer into adulthood, in the winter we begin to age and in the winter we die but the process continues. On the coldest days of winter it seems that life is gone and so is the beauty of existence but there is joy to be found even in that season of death. The coldness is not unlike the cold feelings that we experience when a loved has died and is a reminder to us to make the most of each moment.
The snow in the world shuts down the known and conditioned brain's "preferred" beauty of blooming trees, plants, flowers and active animal life. To our blinding sensory desires we miss the artistic way that snow sculpts itself into delicate and stunning formations. We miss the creative way that icicles form and accent the sky. We often miss the beautiful contrast of green pine trees dusted with fine layers of white snow.
If winter in your part of the world means rain, we miss the beauty of the cleansing nature of water and how without water the rebirth of life sustaining plants would never be possible. The winter monsoons drive people indoors for days at a time and it is easy to resent the rain because it prevents us from doing the things that we love outside. However, seen in a more mindful way it should be seen as a blessing because it gives us time to be mindful, reflect on our lives and allows us ample time to meditate.
All is being reborn here in my part of the world, flowers are growing, trees and budding and birds are looking to usher in new life. This is another chance to enjoy the beauty of change. So often we only see suffering in change but like with all experiences there is beauty and joy to be found.
So do not worry over enlightenment, Nirvana and the Pure Land for they are all present in the here and now. The total liberation in the scriptural state will happen when we are ready and our karma has ripened. In the mean time, the bliss of Nirvana can be seen in the beauty of delicate flowers re-emerging right before our eyes and even in the dark cold days of winter. All is present to us if we but relax our minds and allow ourselves to just be. We are apart of Buddha's enlightenment and therefore Buddha's to be, what a wonderful thought!! What a wonderful heritage we are apart of!!
There is nothing that is not divine for all is as it can only be. We can not do anything else but go with the flow of the vast river of pure being. Resistance is the path of suffering.
May we all realize joy in the rebirth of each breath. Present moment, wonderful moment, only moment. I leave you with the words of my precious teacher, Thich Nhat Hanh:
~Peace to all beings~