It is well known scientific fact that over time, the animal population including human population increases. How does a colloquially scientific religion explain reincarnation if populations increases?

Don't give copout answers or rhetorical impulses that I have already heard about this question from many people who were sometimes practising buddhists and buddhist monks.

This is an important question that needs rational scientific answers and not wishful thinking.

EDIT: No thanks for the copouts. And for guy who said something like it will be the dominant theory if not for the monotheistic religions, no thanks for the royal copout.

You should learn how to not be hostile towards my questions Messer's Copouts. Don't be angry. Give rational answers and not the ones where I have read more on it to understand.

The answer that I have to read on it more is the biggest copout. Every religion uses that to keep its people in abject poverty. Picture of poor tibetan buddhists here.

  • Did you first search this site? And at ALL the questions about reincarnation?
    – esh
    Apr 7, 2016 at 4:06
  • 3
    I fail to see why this is a good question. There is absolutely no research involved. A simple search across the site or Google would give you reference to texts. --Don't give copout answers-- the OP is just threatening to cover up a lack of reading and understanding for themselves. Asking about the technicalities of reincarnation is different from blatantly asking for so-called scientific answers. Where is the scientific research in this question?
    – esh
    Apr 7, 2016 at 5:04
  • I don't think anybody can give a proper answer to this question apart from quoting texts, which the OP can read for themselves through simple googling. The probability of there being a person who knows this experientially is close to none.
    – esh
    Apr 7, 2016 at 5:06

4 Answers 4


to evaluate population increases/decreases, it has to be evaluated in a close system (where the boundaries are clearly defined and nothing moving in or out of these boundaries). Buddhist cosmology says there are more than one universe.

Even with this universe we are in right now, we dont know where the boundaries are nor what exact numbers of the unknowns in it. It is very perplexing like quantum physics. Someone asked Buddha where the boundaries (edge of the universe) were. His answer was edge of the universe could not be reached by traveling.

  • so universe has boundaries but there are at infinity? Buddha said this kind of thinking does not bring profit toward liberation from sufferings.
    – user5056
    Apr 7, 2016 at 15:12

It is well known scientific fact that over time, the animal population including human population increases.

Actually it's not a scientific fact. Species are known to go extinct and new species are known to evolve..

There is no count of the total beings on earth yet alone the universe. So it's impossible to say whether the sum total of living beings is increasing, decreasing or stagnant.

As for reincarnation the Buddha understood that not all people would accept it. However, he said that accepting it is a safer bet than not accepting it. See the Appannaka Sutta for more about the Buddha's safe bet. Link

A search on reincarnation will yield a plethora of results from the Buddhist to the non Buddhist (Edgar Cassey, Richard Weiss, etc). There are many youtube videos of young children recollecting past lives.

My opinion is that, if not for theist religions forcefully denouncing the theory of rebecoming, that would be the default theory in the modern world.


Here is an article/statement from Dalai Lama, since the OP seems to be asking about Tibetan Buddhism.

PS: Basically, the point I am trying to make is read for yourself, especially on such topics like reincarnation where there is mostly only personal experience to help. Don't take somebody's interpretation of it. Its a very bleak idea. And eventually you will say, how can I believe this? The answer is that's how it is, and you cannot believe it until you practice meditation and experience it for yourself.

And like it or not, this is a copout answer. I can find everybody who will give you copouts because OBVIOUSLY, the probability that somebody knows it for sure, is very less.


It is well known scientific fact that over time, the animal population including human population increases. How does a colloquially scientific religion explain reincarnation if populations increases?

First, I wouldn't state there are well-known scientific facts representing animal populations increasing. One counter example could be found in a correlational balance between prey and predator. When prey increases in population, than predators increase in population. Eventually the population of prey will be lower than the predator population leaving the remaining predators vulnerable to starvation thus dying.

Next, the question is actually very simple to resolve. Let us suppose you have three pencils. Each pencil is labeled independently giving them their own distinct letter (a, b, c). Therefore, (a ≠ b) (a ≠ c) ( b ≠ c) but all three pencils share a common essence known as "d". "d" in this case represents nothingness/emptiness. The formula can be read as (a = d) (b = d) (c = d) ( a + b = d) (a + c = d) (b + c = d) (a + b + c = d). Similar to pencils, which are objects dependent on nothingness, people too are objects dependent on nothingness. You can increase the number of pencils to aleph-naught (infinity) and find there is enough emptiness for them to exist in; and that they will all share a common essence known as "d". Therefor, "d" is sufficient in sustaining an infinite number of objects including animals and people. An increase in the population only shows a new manifestation of the same essence which is who we are. Let us consider our independent existence. For example, those who become enlightened are considered to move into "Buddha Land" while we live in the realm of Samsara. If the population in all six realms are low, than it becomes reasonable to assume people will have to wait their turn. Of course, this is only one hypothesis out of many.

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