Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Reincarnation or Re-birth


Buddha saw reincarnation in a different perspective, different from the existing views .  Buddha said, the so called ‘being’ or ‘individual’ is nothing but a combination of physical and mental forces or ‘energies, a change with continuity.  This psycho-physical organism undergoes incessant changes , creates new psycho-physical  processes, every instant and thus preserves the potentiality for future organic processes and leaves no gap between one moment and the next. We live and die every moment of our lives. It is merely coming into being and passing away, a rise and fall(udaya-vaya) , like the waves of the sea.

This, change of continuity, this psycho-physical process, which is patent to us in this life, does not cease at death but continues incessantly. It is the dynamic mind-flux that is known as will, thirst, desire or craving which constitutes Karmic  energy. This mighty force, will to live, keeps life going. According to Buddhism, it is not only human life, but the entire sentient world that is drawn by this tremendous force- this mind with its mental factors, good or ill.

The present birth is brought  about by the craving and clinging karma-volitions of past births, and craving and clinging acts of will of the present birth, bring about future rebirth.  It should , however remembered that not everything occurs is due to past actions. Many a thing is the result of our own deeds done in this present life and of external causes.

There is no permanent substance of the nature of Self or Soul (Atman)  that reincarnates or transmigrates. It is impossible to conceive of anything that continues without change. All is in state of flux. What we call life here is the functioning of the mind and body, which are energies or forces.. They are never the same for two consecutive moments and in a conflux of mind and body we do not see anything permanent. The grown up man is neither the child nor quite a different person; there  is only a relationship of continuity. The conflux of mind and body or mental and physical energy is not lost at death, for no force or energy is ever lost. It undergoes change. It resets, reforms in new conditions. This is called rebirth or re-becoming.

Karmic process is the energy that out of a present life conditions a future life, in unending sequence. In this process there is nothing that passes or transmigrates from one life to another. It is only a movement that continues unbroken. The ‘Being’ who passes away here and takes birth elsewhere, is neither the same person nor a totally different one.

There is the last moment of consciousness belonging to the immediately previous life; immediately next, upon the cessation of that consciousness, but conditioned by it, there arises the first moment of consciousness of the present birth, which is called a relinking or re-birth-consciousness. Similarly, the last thought-moment in this life conditions, the first thought- moment , in the next. In this way consciousness comes into being and passes away , yielding place to new consciousness. Thus , this perpetual stream of consciousness goes on until existence ceases. Existence in a way is consciousness—the will to live, to continue.

As explained above, the last thought-moment-we call death, and the first thought-moment—we call Birth; thus births and deaths occur in this stream of consciousness, which is only a series of ever continuing thought-moments. And Buddha has taught to this world, how to end this cycle, in a practical way , through his teachings.

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