Buddhist Beliefs on Afterlife

Buddhist Doctrines of Death:
Life is a journey.
Death is a return to earth.
The universe is like an inn.
The passing years are like dust.

Regard this phantom world
As a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp – a phantom – and a dream.

Buddhism believes that one is either reincarnated or able to transcend from the world of illusion, to the peace of state of mind–nirvana. The latter is the ultimate aim of one’s religious life–to get out of the cycle of death and rebirth.

Buddhism adopts the basic Hindu philosophy of reincarnation. Reincarnation, usually known as transmigration, is a process of taking a new body in the next life, while the spirit is reborn until it reaches the ultimate enlightenment. According to Buddhism, one can be reborn into other worlds outside of humanity:

  • Hell
  • Heaven
  • Animal Kingdom
  • Human World
  • World of Jealous Gods

Karma determines one’s next life. Karma is referred to as the tally sheet of good and bad deeds and it follows us throughout the course of our existence. Buddhism beliefs on death is to reject evil, bad and ignorance, and to seek good and truth.

Buddhist religion believes the notion that the desire of craving worldly things is the very cause that leads one to suffering and the death/rebirth process. Hence, the aim of escaping the wheel of life is to be free from desire. As the end of rebirth, nirvana means extinction of all desires. It is the state of final release from the cycle of death and rebirth. It is the extinguishing of all karma, all craving.

Buddhist religion says little about nirvana, since it believes that the liberation from suffering is far more important. Buddhism encourages its followers to give donations of goods, services, and money to monasteries, to recite doctrines and to take part in good deeds, so that they are able to gain merits that can transcend them into a more desirable rebirth which would bring them closer to enlightenment.

1 response to Buddhist Beliefs on Afterlife

  1. An article on Logic of Reincarnation by Steven J Rosen was published in The Speaking Tree of 11the July 2010. In this article the author raised certain queries, what is it that reincarnates from one body to another? Is it the soul? the mind? the intellect? To understand this we should suggest answer to these questions. We all know that there are four fundamental forces in the universe viz., gravitation force, electromagnetic force, weak nuclear force and strong nuclear force. I have written a paper entitled ‘Gravitation Force is the Ultimate Creator’ and presented it at the 1st International Conference on Revival of Traditional Yoga held in Lonavla Yoga Institute, Lonavla in January 2006. In this paper I have defined soul (individual consciousness), mind and body. According to this every point of action of Gravitational Force Field is individual consciousness or soul, electromagnetic force as the force of mind and weak and strong nuclear force as the gross material force which constitute physical frame of body.

    Consciousness is All Intelligent and pervades everywhere. Although all other remaining three forces are also intelligent but they are subordinate to Gravitational Force. THIS DESCRIPTION WILL HELP TO UNDERSTAND ‘WHAT IS IT THAT REINCARNATES FROM ONE BODY TO ANOTHER.

    According to Buddhism this is not the supreme atman or soul that ties one life to another, instead it talks about past lives as evolvement of consciousness, emergence of a new personality from the same stream of consciousness.

    Unaccomplished activities of past lives are also one of the causes for reincarnation. Some of us reincarnate to complete the unfinished tasks of previous birth. The is evident from my own story of reincarnation:

    “My most Revered Guru of my previous life His Holiness Maharaj Sahab, 3rd Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith had revealed this secret to me during trance like state.
    HE told me, “Tum Sarkar Sahab Ho” (You are Sarkar Sahab). Sarkar Sahab was one of the most beloved disciple of His Holiness Maharj Sahab. Sarkar Sahab later on became Fourth Spiritual Head of Radhasoami Faith.
    Since I don’t have any direct realization of it so I can not claim the extent of its correctness. But it seems to be correct. During my previous birth I wanted to sing the song of ‘Infinite’ (Agam Geet yeh gawan chahoon tumhri mauj nihara, mauj hoi to satguru soami karoon supanth vichara) but I could not do so then since I had to leave the mortal frame at a very early age. But through the unbounded Grace and Mercy of my most Revered Guru that desire of my past birth is being fulfilled now.”

    I am one the chief expounder and supporter of Gravitation Force Theory of God. This is most scientific and secular theory of God. I have also discovered the mathematical expression for emotional quotient and for spiritual quotient.

    Austrian Scientist Rudolf Steiner says,
    “Just as an age was once ready to receive the Copernican theory of the universe, so is our age ready for the idea of reincarnation to be brought into the general consciousness of humanity”.

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