Jon Atack: The biggest thing L. Ron Hubbard got wrong about Buddhism - 2017-07-29
Jon Atack is the author of A Piece of Blue Sky, one of the very best books on L. Ron Hubbard and Scientology. For more than three years he's been helping us sift through the legends, myths, and contested facts about Scientology that tend to get hashed and rehashed in books, articles, and especially on the Internet. Today, he takes on Scientology's notion of reincarnation and past lives.
Many of the concepts in Scientology are borrowed from earlier traditions — whether in religion, psychotherapy or just straightforward hypnosis. Hubbard acknowledged his debt to Freud in several places, and Scientologists may be startled by Freud's pre-WWI Worcester Massachusetts lectures, where Book One Dianetics is pretty thoroughly described –- along with Freud's explanation for abandoning the technique: because it makes the client ever more dependent upon the therapist.
Among the significant notions adopted from religious tradition is "past lives." The term was probably borrowed from Hubbard's principal source – Aleister Crowley (see my Possible Origins for Dianetics and Scientology). Elsewhere, known as "reincarnation" or even "metempsychosis," the concept is common in eastern religions.