This “Rebirth in Buddhism” article links with the previous article on ‘’Karma in Buddhism’’.
Reincarnation vs. Rebirth
Some ancient philosophies and Religious believe that, ones’ life in integration of the body and soul. When the death ‘’the soul’’ abandon the body and enter in to a new body. It is called ‘’the Reincarnation’’. In the Buddhism, there is no teaching regarding the soul. It implies about the body and mind. The Buddhist concept is called as ‘’Rebirth’’.
Therefore, Buddhism teaches us this concept with ‘’body’’ and ‘’mind’’.in the reincarnation it is often suggested that ‘’soul’’ is like a ‘’spirit’’, that given to the individual at birth. And, that soul is what, one had in a previous life and gets reincarnated again in this life.
There is an important point, when we think that how the concept of soul helps in changing one’s destiny or suffering? Definitely we cannot change a soul by another one. Therefore, in here, if someone has a ‘’troubled soul’’, then their destiny becomes fixed at that state. In Buddhism concept, one can make a change in one’s mind of motivation and actions (Karma). These Karma can be transformed and changed, but soul is fixed and cannot be changed according to other concepts.
Following quotes will give more clear explanation to you.
‘’Buddhism does not accept the immorality of soul or the idea that, the body is a vessel for the soul, and that after death, the soul departs from the body and move to another body’’D.Ikeda- Global Civilization
This quote explains about the concept of Reincarnation. It implies that the same soul taking different body at each lifetime. It means that, ‘’one’s birth in a certain class of society is a repetition of a previous existence of the same social/ spiritual class’’.
‘’The function that leads us to believe in permanent self is called the (Mono) consciousness……….. Operating in the name of self-preservation and expansion. It seems to correspond to the Western idea of the ego’’.
D. Ikeda, Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death
According to above quote, it implies that, the concept of Reincarnation does not fix with the Buddhist law of Impermanence, which teaches that one’s current self in transient. (See our article of three characteristic of existences). Therefore, Reincarnation is a concept, which leads in its believer to become heavenly influenced by speculation about past life, and confines one to unverifiable stories about previous existence. The Buddhism rejects this concept and, it teaches us, in the continuous Karma of a person cause to a new fresh life at Rebirth.
In ancient times, there were some philosophers, who taught that, there isn’t any Rebirth or Reincarnation. With the end of the death, everything stops and end. At present, some people believe this concept too.
Ven. Ajhan Brahmavamsa Tero has said an important explanation regarding this point.
‘’Some misguided scientists maintain the theory that there is no rebirth, that this stream of consciousness is incapable of returning to a successive human existence. All one need to disprove this theory, according to science, is to find one instance of rebirth, just one. Professor LAN Stevenson, as some of you know, has already demonstrated many instances of rebirth. The theory of no rebirth has been disproved. Rebirth is now a scientific fact’’.
Ajhan Brahmavanmso Tero- Buddhism for science
Literature evidences to prove Rebirth in Buddhism
To prove the concept of rebirth in Buddhism, the Pali canon is very important. There are so many stories and incidents to prove this point.
The Buddha has said that, he could enlighten after the so many births in his rebirth cycle. As he said he and his disciples also suffered until he became Buddhahood. That was his last birth. He said in his first sermon, that is his last birth and there is no more coming to be. He said such an expression, because he could know about his past births from his wisdom. It called as ‘’Pubbenivasanussati Gnanam’’. As well as, ‘’Cutupapata Gnanam’’ of which, see the next birth of a being.
1. Pubbenivasanussati Gnanam;
This means the wisdom to see recollections of one’s past lives. From this wisdom Buddha explained his past life stories, literary called as Jataka stories. Further, Buddha has explained past storeis, which are relevant to the incidents.
For instance; Buddha’s disciples also have sorrowful destiny though they enter into the pure path as monks. Their past evil deeds resulted in their monk life. Let’s see the story of ‘’Putigatta Tissa Tero’’’ . There was a senior monk, who lived in the monastery of Sawatthi. He was critically ill with sores all over his body full of pus oozing from them. Therefore, he named as ‘’Putigatta Tissa Tera’’. Even his student Bhikkus gave to attending him. On surveying the world, one morning out of his loving kindness, the Buddha saw the plight of Tissa Tero full of merit to become an Arahat but, incapable to attainting that state due to his suffering.
The Buddha came to him and treat him. In here Buddha said the reason which is the cause to happen like this from his ‘’Pubbenivasanussati’’ wisdom. In a previous life, Tissa was a hunter. He hunted so many bird death as well as alive. Brought them to his home to sell alive and for meat. He bothered so many innocent birds and kill them. That evil deeds (Akusala Karma), chased him for many birth. In his last birth though he was a disciples of the Buddha, he has to face his evil deed’s results. And he had a potential to become Arahat as Buddha saw. That’s why he treated Tissa Tera. This is what, the evidences of Karma in Buddhism and Rebirth in Buddhism.
2. Cutupapata Gnanam;
This is the wisdom to see the next birth of someone. For instance; there was a kid named as ‘’Chatta Manawaka’’, during the Buddha’s time. He was intelligent and very good at learning. He has to pay the fees for his teacher after completing his studied according to their law. Chatta too made his fees ready to pay and left for teacher’s place on foot. He has to go through a foot trail in the jungle. The Buddha saw Chatta through his Devine eye that, Chatta will soon run into a big trouble. The Buddha appeared in front of him and spoke with him. He preached to Chatta about importance of going for refuge in Triple Gem. Chatta quickly understood the preaching. He memorized them well and continued to start walking towards his teacher’s place. There was a group of violent and rowdy thieves and they hit Chatta to get the money. Chatta was badly injured but, he memorized about Triple Gem. Therefore, as soon as he left his body he was born in the heaven called ‘’Tawatinsa’’, as a beautiful deity god. That’s why the Buddha appeared in front of Chatta. That is how rebirth.
The other evidences to prove Rebirth in Buddhism
If someone has a hesitation to accept rebirth, with several evidence it can be proven.
In here, Experimental Evidence can be taken as first kind. Hypnosis is the experiment. If their is a necessity, with the help of a therapist one can experiment hypnosis. He uses verbal repetition and mental images. In here the concentration of a person is increased. The therapist asked questions and gradually starts to tell his past lives’ stories according to his mind.
Professor Ian Stevenson, in the University of Virginia, conducted over 20 years of researches on the authenticity of rebirth accounts. After is being continued by Professor Jim Tucker. There are several books about rebirth, have been written by these two professors. Once he has said that he has read the book, ‘’Rebirth as Doctrine and Experience’’ written by Francis Story in 2003. Later professor Stevenson became a Buddhist, because of his studies.
Further, another evidence to confirm rebirth in Buddhism is, ‘’self-hypnosis’’. We can hear many stories about kids tell some stories about their previous lives.
For instance; there was a girl named ‘’Shanti Devi’’ (1926-1978) in India. She claimed to remember her past life. Many researchers interviewed her and published articles and oks regarding her past life memories. In the past life, her name was Ludgi. She was born in 1902. When she was 10 years old, she married. Her husband was Kedarnath Chaube. She had two children. And she was died in 1923. Her next birth as Shanti Devi, was born in 1926. She lived in a small locality od Delhi. She didn’t speak in her childhood like other children. When she stared to speak, she told about her past husband and that she had two children. She told her past life memories clearly. They are evidentially proven by researches. Shanti Devi is the rebirth of Ludgi. That’s why she claimed to remember her past life.
There is one more evidence to prove the rebirth in Buddhism. We see extraordinary talented kids in the world. Even they are kids, they and say many things that elders can’t do. Hey have continued their talents from pervious lives.
For instance; the Father of American Psychology, ‘’William James’’ can be mentioned. When he was 11 years old, he addressed even scientists’ symposiums. He could both write and speak French, German, Russian as well as English during his childhood. These talents came from his previous lives. Therefore, such an incident can be consider as an example to prove rebirth in Buddhism. Though some can remember their experiences in past lives, some can’t do it. For instance; children who die young, who die old and senile, who are addicted to the drug or drink habit, whose mothers die during their conception, the children in the wombs, being stunned and started, they lose all knowledge of their past existence.
According to the concept of ‘’Karma and Rebirth in Buddhism’’, some results came in this birth, some will come to next birth or some results come any birth of this rebirth cycle. We are the responders to our own Karma. If we want a happy life, we have a responsible to spend a good life, preventing from evil deeds and doing good things.
The Buddhism does not accept that, one cannot be free from sorrow until, the consequences of all one’s deeds are over. Even a person who, originally burdened with sin is guided to change and do good things. Therefore, we should not give our destiny to ‘’Karma’’. We can change our destiny to the right path to end the sorrowful rebirths. According to this explanation you can get an idea that, Karma and Rebirth in Buddhism has a linked as well as several Natural laws decide our lives. So, do good deeds, prevent from evil deeds and, gain the ultimate Happiness.
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“There are many evil natures and uncontrolled men wearing the saffron robe (a most expensive thing). These wicked men will be born in states of woe because of their evil feat”