The second in a series of three programmes made by BBC Wales in 1992 called In Search of the Dead mainly examines two subjects: near-death experiences and mediums.
When it comes to near death experiences there are consistent reports of what happens: people see their whole life flash back to them with every detail in utter clarity, they enter a tunnel and at the end of a tunnel is a loving light.
These phenomena are sometimes also accompanied by out of the body experiences,either they are floating above themselves and watching themselves die, or they are able to see and report on what happened at a distance.
The subject of mediums, who conmmunicate with the dead, and then give information based on that has always been surrounded by controversy as the possibility of faking it is nearly always present.
There has been much research done on psychical phenomena from the 19th century to the present, but even those who believe in it admit that sometimes it has been faked, and in some cases poorly faked. Still there are other phenomena which are hard to account for by any normal means.
In the Buddhist texts the divine ear (dibbasota) is another of the abhiññā, or deep knowledges. The text for it runs like this:
Dibbāya sotadhātuyā visuddhāyā
With the divine ear-element which is purified
atikkantamānusikāya ubho sadde suṇāti:
and surpasses than of (normal) men he listens to both (kinds of) sounds:
dibbe ca mānuse ca, ye dūre santike ca.
of the divinities and of men, whether far or near.
The divine eye (dibbacakkhu) however, adds another dimension, being concerned with people’s fate after death according to their deeds:
Dibbena cakkhunā visuddhena atikkantamānusakena
With the divine eye which is purified and surpasses than of (normal) men
satte passati cavamāne upapajjamāne,
he sees the passing away and arising of beings,
hīne paṇīte suvaṇṇe dubbaṇṇe sugate duggate,
inferior, superior, beautiful, ugly, in a good destiny, in a bad destiny,
yathākammūpage satte pajānāti.
and he knows beings arise according to their (good and bad) actions.
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