Birth and Rebirth in the Buddhist Religion

According to Buddhist thought, the soul does not retain its attributes at death any more than a wave retains its identity when it dissipates in the ocean. An analogy often used to illustrate Buddhism’s perspective of the cycle of birth and rebirth is that of a candle that lights another candle as it flickers and becomes extinguished.

Buddhist belief in the process of birth and rebirth is validated by the testimony of Lord Buddha Himself, who upon enlightenment came to know all the details of His hundreds or thousands of past lives. He stated that His present life would be His last. Although Lord Buddha would not include God in His teachings and did not claim to be divine, His followers came to worship Him.

Buddhists pay Him homage, if not as God, then as the Enlightened One and Hindus see Buddha as the ninth incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver.

Read more about Birth and Rebirth in the Buddhist Religion in On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar.

A Hindu View of Reincarnation

 

Because the Gita and other scriptures consider reincarnation a self-evident doctrine, they do not make arguments to support its truth. This is much the case with most of the doctrines that are a part of scared Vedic literature. However, philosophers and teachers have made many arguments in support of their perspectives or interpretations of both doctrine and scripture. They have taught that reincarnation explains many things.

It explains why some people suffer while others do not or why some children are born with exceptional talent. It accounts for memories and emotions that seem to come out of the blue and it accounts for reports of extraordinary experiences in other dimensions.

It accounts for thousands of near death experiences reported but those who went to other realms and returned to tell what they saw and heard. Rather than rejecting these reports because they go beyond what is strictly possible, Hinduism considers many of them truthful and valuable testimony.

Quote starts with “Because the Gita and other scriptures consider….” and ends with “many of them truthful and valuable testimony.”

See On Hinduism, by Irina Gajjar, Chapter Six, Karma and Reincarnation.

 

Every Day Happiness

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There are two approaches to happiness. I am not talking about spiritual joy or responses to important events, but about plain every day happiness and unhappiness.

One approach promotes a positive attitude in the face of setbacks, disappointment or discomfort. Positive attitude people are cheerleaders.

Another approach depends on things going well. We who need little things to go well are worriers and wet blankets.

Most everyone agrees to the saying: “If you can’t change the situation, change your attitude.”

However cheer leaders are quick to change their attitude whereas wet blankets are quicker to change to the situation.

Imagine yourself in a lousy hotel room. Are you cheerleader who makes the best of it and enjoys dinner anyway? Or are you a wet blanket who complains and finds another room or another hotel as soon as possible?

 

 

 

Is the World Getting Better or Worse?

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Through the ages many of us have believed our world is becoming more humanized because of our technical achievements. We believed that our efforts to make the world a better place paid off.

Yet horrors march onward showing us that millennia of progress have not made us any kinder. The world is no better and suffering has not diminished.

In short, nothing has changed.

Still, life is not a zero sum game. If we make anything better even in the short run or for a single individual, we brighten the world and uplift ourselves.

 

Maya, Smoke and Mirrors

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It turns out that scientists in this millennium have re-confirmed that Einstein was right about time and light bending. Moreover, our eyes also bend light which suggests that our vision is distorted. If everything moves, bends and changes, isn’t it true that the world is Maya, which means an illusion? Isn’t what we see and touch and measure just smoke and mirrors?

Still the illusion within which we as humans live our life is important. It is our reality and even if it is not really real, it matters to us.

I think we should understand as much as we can and be as kind as we can. I think all existence matters, whether it is random or designed. It matters regardless of however, wherever and whenever it happens place.