Are there NDEs in which a Buddhist encountered Buddha or a Muslim encountered Mohammed?
A SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT FROM KEN: Occasionally, I receive mail that is very touching. What follows is one of them. I think this piece will be deeply meaningful to many of you.
"On 9-11-2001, I was scheduled to be at the World Trade Center. The meeting was canceled and my life was saved. This experience was a inspiration to write 'a letter to my daughters.' In this letter I share my faith, hope, love, and experiences. My loving intent is to remind everyone to do the same.
"People worry about material things by leaving 'Wills' but our hopes, faith, and love are left to memories. Why not write a letter/make a video for your loved ones? If everyone just took the time to reflect, our world would immediately grow in love and peace.
"In addition to the above, my brother was a New Jersey State Trooper, and worked at ground zero. He passed over from cancer last year. In his honor and based on my own experiences, I developed a website titled -
"Please visit and send the message to your viewing audience. The website is free. I am not selling anything except Peace and Love.
"On this site, I posted my brother's letter that he wrote before his passing. I also share my experiences with energy healing, life after death, and modern-day miracles.
"I would be honored if you had a link to my website from your site. Also, please pass this message on to your friends and family and everyone else. Thanks for your time. You can reach me at Ken@aletteroflove.com.
"In Peace and Love, Ken."
"My name is Matthew. I am a physician in New York. I am an active participant in Bruce Moen's website forum at www.afterlifeknowledge.com. I must say at the beginning, that I am a great fan of your research and work; I believe that it has been enlightening and a comfort to many. There is a participant in the website forum named Don, who is quite erudite and also a man of a strong Christian faith, all of which I greatly respect. However, he has taken the liberty of claiming to have researched near-death experiences and made sweeping generalizations which he claims discredit many 'New Age' ideas.
"His main contention is that the being of light encountered in NDEs is most often seen as Jesus Christ, not other major religious figures as is often said. He cites cases of devout Muslims who encounter Christ in NDEs, but has challenged us to find even one case of a person of Islamic faith or Buddhist faith encountering other beings of light. The implication, whether he says it directly or not, is that there is only one path to God (the famous 'I am the light and the way' passage).
"I take a broader view of the divine based on the expression of love. However, I do not have access to NDEs to refute his claim that adults of other faiths encounter other beings of light with any frequency. I know you must have a very busy schedule, but I was wondering if there was any way you could respond to this discussion with any specific examples of NDEs in which a Buddhist encountered Buddha or a Muslim encountered Mohammed? More than 3,000 people are registered at this discussion form site, and I understand that you have one of the largest databases on NDEs in the world.
"I would greatly appreciate any help you are able to give in this discussion. Many thanks."....Matthew
All of my cases are confidential, Matthew, as with other researchers, and this man knows that. That is why he is making this particular type of challenge. He knows you cannot answer his challenge, unless through your own work. Allow me to offer this, instead.
The most common components of near-death states are the out-of-body experience and the light. There are many other components, but these are the most typical - both for adult and child experiencers - and have been throughout time and what we can know of history anywhere in the world. Light is not always experienced as a light being. Many times the focal point is the light itself as a loving and intelligent presence that is quite alive. The scripture of all the religious and sacred traditions known to exist talk about and try to describe this light, since it is as commonly experienced in religious and prayer life as with near-death experiencers and in other transformative shifts of consciousness. This is undisputed.
Where arguments arise amongst various people and groups is over the interpretation of that light and any form it make take, and how to regard it. Scientists say it's endorphins; Muslims say it's fantasy; religious fundamentalists of any "stripe" say it is Satan (Lucifer); people of faith say it is either of God or of emissaries from God; the experiencers themselves say it is pure ecstasy, love incarnate. Those who receive "revelation" are more specific about the light and its various aspects (clearly, there are three main types of light seen: primary light, dark light, bright light....refer to my book "The New Children and Near-Death Experiences" or to my website as the "Eight Fliers"--one of the charts is on the three lights).
Numerous experiencers see figures and forms in the light. These are variously described as angels, guides, guardians, light beings (beings made entirely of light), religious figures, high holy ones - often kids call them "the people." Deceased loved ones usually appear in the light. This can include pets or other types of animals. Descriptions of these "appearances" will, for the most part, stay true to how they were once experienced by the individual involved. Sometimes, overtime, that individual will add to or alter what was seen to correspond with the beliefs of others, the preferences of culture, or the constraints of language. For the most part, though, the vast majority of individuals remain consistent overtime with what they say and do not distort original narratives. That means accusations of New Age jargon, religious prophesy, Christian visions, Western indulgences, or the like, are not only untrue but cannot be associated with either the individual or what happened to the individual. To say that a near-death experiencer, for instance, is simply spouting New Age nonsense is utterly false. It is true that those who report being greeted by a religious figure will usually associate that being with either the religion of their youth or one they are familiar with. Thus, most Christians will report being visited by Jesus, Buddhists by Buddha, and so forth. However, there can be mixups. Refer to "Beyond the Light" and the case of Jeanie Dicus. She was a Jew yet she was visited by Jesus. This so surprised her and confounded her that she promptly challenged Jesus, and continued to do so throughout her entire near-death episode, saying: "I don't believe in you. Why are you here?" Of note, atheists report the same type of visitations as do religious folk. In other words, you don't have to believe in anything to be surprised at what you find when you die or nearly die.
It is striking that child experiencers of near-death states tend not to mix up racial skin tones as do adults. Example: most Western children that I am aware of see Jesus as light brown, not white. It is the adults who sometimes see Jesus as white skinned. Where this situation gets fascinating is when you invite experiencers to draw the high holy one/religious figure who visited them. To a person, you cannot tell the difference between a drawing from someone in the State of Wyoming from one done in Thailand or Israel or Russia or China or Nigeria. Patterning holds; differences in patterning only concern a few details of dress and behavior. That's it.
Whoever the holy one is, that being is held in great esteem and experienced as awesome, sacred beyond sacred, above and beyond anyone else. That is, unless the individual experienced God. The Light of God, God Itself, The Presence of God - well now, that's a different story. If the individual has a sense of Deity, there simply are no words to encompass or express what that feeling is. I have tried in "Beyond the Light" (pages 154-155), but really, it's impossible to do so. All I can say is, for myself, and to this very day, I still tear up when embraced by the Presence of God I experienced during my third episode back in 1977. That Presence and the passion I feel for it has fueled by steps since then, and is the very breath I breathe.
In seeking stories from near-death experiencers, bear in mind that today, more than in the past, the various religious groups tend to be rather protective of their faith's dogma. For instance: in the Muslim faith, visions and experiences like near-death are considered blasphemy. Even if a Muslim had such an experience (which they do), nine chances out of ten, he or she would never admit to such a thing - usually out of fear. I never encountered any problem with Muslims during most of my research fieldwork, but I do now. They clam up when I broach the topic.
I hope this explanation helps you and your group. Treat the dissenter with respect, knowing that this information and any other information you could provide, even actual experiencers who meet his requirements, will not satisfy him. An individual with a closed mind cannot perceive nor accept "open doors."
A SPECIAL REQUEST TO EXPERIENCERS OF NEAR-DEATH STATES -
If you are non-Christian and were met in your near-death experience by a holy presence or light being associated with your own religious faith - like with a Buddhist being met by Buddha - please send me your story and give me permission to post it in my NDE Cases section. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you. PMH