Reincarnation- Buddhism vs. Hinduism
How would it feel to know that after you died, you would be reborn into a new body? That the deciding factor in what you would become was how you lived your life? Beliefs like these have existed for at least 3,000 years. Originating and commonly practiced in Western countries, this is called reincarnation. To know that you have lived many lives before this one and that there are many more to come is a very attractive perspective from which to judge the meaning of life. It can be a great comfort for those who seek liberation on the exclusive basis of their inner resources. While the general concept is present in a number of religions, there are also significant differences between the various belief systems, namely Hinduism and Buddhism.
In Hinduism, it is believed that an enduring soul survives after death, spends a variable amount of time in another realm, and then becomes associated with a new body. Rebirth into the opposite sex or, under certain circumstances, into a nonhuman animal form is considered possible. Hinduism includes the concept of karma, the idea that the conditions into which one is born are determined by one’s conduct in various previous lives. The law of karma works neutrally and it inexorably metes out the results of one’s actions, rebirth after rebirth, known as samsara. There are countless living beings and countless levels of rebirth from those in the hells to plants, animals, humans, and gods. It is believed that evil karma may bring rebirth at lower levels, and good karma may bring rebirth at higher human levels or even as a god or goddess. After much spiritual practice, and a person finally realizes his or her own divine nature, all desire for the pleasures of the world will vanish, and the person will cease to be reborn. The person is said to have attained moksha, or salvation from samsara. It is essentially when they “wake up” to the nature of reality.
The Buddhist concept of reincarnation,...
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