Hot answers tagged

35 votes
Accepted

If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth?

When most people think of "self" they think of some abstract core that is the subject of all experience and the agent of all actions. Buddha taught (and modern cognitive science tends to agree) that ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
22 votes

Is rebirth a delusional belief?

Rebirth is a metaphor. There is no literal rebirth (of the same person). This hope for literal rebirth is really a hidden attachment to "I", the desire to continue. Let go. It's Ok, you will die -- ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
20 votes
Accepted

Why would anyone ever want to go to the heavens?

There is suffering in heaven. They still have to eat to maintain their bodies. They feel frightened when they get to know that their lives are running out. I've heard that there's a divine tree with ...
user avatar
18 votes

If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth?

Anatta is often described as "not-self" which I understand to mean that our identities are illusions. No, in fact, the meaning of not-self, as others have pointed out, is that the object in question ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
16 votes
Accepted

What's the value or harm of a literal belief in rebirth?

I think you're right to question the importance of rebirth; the Buddha himself didn't seem to dwell on the concept, though remembering one's past lives does have obvious practical benefits - lots more ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
15 votes
Accepted

Buddhism, mothers and earthworms

I'm pretty sure the belief is not that earthworms become mothers, it's that every earthworm has most likely been your mother at some point in the past, as per the mata sutta (SN 15.14-19): At ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
15 votes
Accepted

Is a belief in rebirth a necessity for Buddhist practice?

No tradition, except maybe Secular Buddhism, rejects literal rebirth, it is a core part of the dhamma. I will say though that there is evidence the Buddha was never " believe in rebirth or else." ...
user avatar
15 votes

Is rebirth a delusional belief?

I'm a secular Buddhist who takes Mahayana as my starting point. What you are discussing is the cosmology-- the idea that there are six realms, maybe one or more pure lands, and places you can go after ...
user avatar
13 votes

If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth?

The principle of not-self is not saying "No self", it's saying a specific kind of thing: "Bhikkhus, feeling is not-self... "Bhikkhus, perception is not-self... etc. From Anatta-...
user avatar
  • 1,807
13 votes

If there's nobody to get enlightened, why bother?

This linguistic terminology generally has caused a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding. The notion of not self is that is there no: unchanging everlasting component which we can identify as ...
user avatar
13 votes

I want to understand the technicality of rebirth and what happens to conditioned self

The question of how karma works in light of the concept of non-self has been answered several times on this site (see "Related" in the sidebar). That being said, you raise a couple of interesting ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
12 votes

If Rebirth is not taken literally then why seek Enlightenment?

I am a Rinzai Zen Monk with a decade-long monastic background so my answer will be relevant within our school's framework. From a Zen POV being 'reborn' exists only within Reality. Reality is purely ...
user avatar
  • 121
11 votes

Is there a way to help us remember our previous life?

The Visuddhimagga provides a pretty comprehensive explanation of how one obtains this and all the other psychic powers mentioned by the Buddha. Briefly, the method is as follows: Obtain the four rūpa-...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
11 votes
Accepted

If Buddha stayed unanswered on this matter, why do his followers preach that soul doesn't exist?

Buddhism teaches that everything is 'conditioned', and so there is no independent/eternal self: The concept of no-self or anatman or emptiness of self is that it is not possible to identify an ...
user avatar
  • 43.1k
11 votes

When do I realize that I am free from rebirth?

From Milindapanha: The king said, “Is there anyone who is not reborn after death?” “Yes there is. The one who has no defilements is not reborn after death; the one who has defilements is ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
10 votes

What is the difference between rebirth and reincarnation?

Reincarnation implies a soul that takes a body; rebirth does not, so it is preferred. Note that neither term has a widely used cognate in the Pali texts, perhaps because the concept of "re-" anything ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
10 votes
Accepted

Does Human Evolution Disprove a Kamma Based Rebirth?

No, evolution does not do that. But this is a hard question to answer succinctly, because of the layers of concepts involved. I'll have a try. First, consider one of the core notions in Buddhism: ...
user avatar
  • 3,116
10 votes

Should a Buddhist have Children?

rebirth is itself a origin of all the Dukhhas. Not quite. Birth has a requisite condition as well. It's not the case that our birth was the ultimate origin of our suffering. Doesn't it imply that ...
user avatar
  • 1,807
10 votes

Is rebirth/reincarnation central to Buddhism?

There are two concepts here. We pass away every moment and arise every minutes. Other is rebirth after death. Rebirth is partly a belief but much of the Dhamma should be realised at experiential level....
user avatar
10 votes

Did the Buddha mean this by "rebirth"?

I suspect the Buddha used the term "rebirth" The entire premise of your question is faulty, unfortunately. The Buddha never, afaik, used a term that could be translated as "rebirth". In fact, the ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
10 votes

What is the relation between Nirvana and Parinirvana?

What the Buddha experienced at 35 was called sa-upādisesa-nibbāna - nirvana with remainder. What he experienced at 80 was called anupādisesa-nibbāna - nirvana without remainder: “dvemā, bhikkhave, ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
9 votes

How can the theory of emptiness be true and yet the self still transmigrates and takes rebirth?

Not all forms of Buddhism define emptiness in the way you describe; in Theravada Buddhism, for example, emptiness mainly means "empty of self": “katamā cāvuso, suññatā cetovimutti”? “idhāvuso, ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k
9 votes

Is rebirth essential to Buddhist philosophy?

From Ven. Bodhi's excellent short essay "Dhamma Without Rebirth?": The aim of the Buddhist path is liberation from suffering, and the Buddha makes it abundantly clear that the suffering from which ...
user avatar
  • 9,473
9 votes

"Lower rebirth" -- Are animals really "lower" than us?

Lower is not meant as a moral judgement nor a pejorative in this case. It is meant simply as a statement of the more dire predicament most animals are in compared to most humans. There certainly exist ...
user avatar
  • 4,173
9 votes
Accepted

"Lower rebirth" -- Are animals really "lower" than us?

So can I still be a Buddhist, with these beliefs? Yes of course. Maybe don't over-idealise animals though, e.g. a real dog might chase and kill grass-hoppers or mice or anything else unless you stop ...
user avatar
  • 43.1k
8 votes

If there is no soul, how can there be rebirth?

First, you need to understand that Buddhist texts operate on two levels of description: the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. The contradiction disappears when you realise that anatta (the ...
user avatar
  • 2,660
8 votes

Is a belief in rebirth a necessity for Buddhist practice?

No, believe in literal rebirth is not necessary, as long as you don't subscribe to the other extreme -- that of complete annihilation at the time of death. That said, Buddha greatly appreciated the ...
user avatar
  • 55.2k
8 votes
Accepted

Afterlife in Buddhism and Hinduism

Hinduism teaches about a permanent soul that goes from life to life until it reunites with the universal soul called the Mahabrahma. Buddhism says there's no soul going even from this moment to the ...
user avatar
8 votes
Accepted

Can Right View be interpreted as scientific fervor?

Sounds like Wikipedia is suffering from some Buddhist fervour of its own... ;) Can I interpret the first of the eightfold path as scientific fervor ? Right view has nothing to do with fervour; it ...
user avatar
  • 23.8k

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible