Google Answers Logo
View Question
Q: Question about Buddhism ( Answered 5 out of 5 stars,   14 Comments )
Subject: Question about Buddhism
Category: Relationships and Society > Religion
Asked by: markiz-ga
List Price: $5.00
Posted: 24 Oct 2005 20:03 PDT
Expires: 23 Nov 2005 19:03 PST
Question ID: 584503
I'm not a Buddhist. But anyway,what is a purpose of reincarnation ? To
what reincarnation leads us ?
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
Answered By: hedgie-ga on 19 Nov 2005 02:18 PST
Rated:5 out of 5 stars
If you accept dictionary the meaning of 'purpose':

"What one intends to do or achieve: aim, ambition, design, end, goal,
intent, intention,.."

then purpose - the reason for the rebirth - is desire.

That is documented here:

Unsatisfied desire is the cause of rebirth.

You may ask 'what desire'?

 Desire to accomplish things, to posses things;
things, we do not have in the current or did not have in the past life. 

When that purpose is achieved we form an attachment to our possession.
That, attachments is the problem, since  worldly things are only temporary and
attachment leads to pain, at the time of inevitable separation. Pain
leads to death and the cycle repeats.

This concept of 'wheel' is present in contemporary notion of dynamics.
 For example: gravity imparts momentum to bodies
and that causes motion. Motion causes the distribution of masses yo
change and that changes the gravitational field, which then imparts
different momentum on the bodies. etc etc. Cycle repeats indefinitely,
except that there is no purpose in case of the non-living bodies.

People who identify concept of 'self' with their bodymay find it hard
to  grasp the higher concept of 'self', concept  which transcends the
fate of one physical body.  However, most spiritual disciplines, not
just Buddhism,  recognize that there is more to the  'I', then the
body which may be  a temporary carrier of aspect of consciousness.


Request for Answer Clarification by markiz-ga on 23 Nov 2005 18:52 PST
Hi everybody ! Sorry hedgie, but it is not what I meant. So, let me
try it again. (However, I accept this as an answer, I found some
interesting stuff in it). What a sense of c o n t i n u a l 
reincarnations of humanity ? Like life after life, life after life...
over and over again. To where humanity has been leading by this ? What
then, after all ?  And after all - that's my mistake. I should
consider more sensible my first question, before I posted that. Once
again - sorry.

Clarification of Answer by hedgie-ga on 24 Nov 2005 06:21 PST
Thank you Markiz for the rating and  acceptance.

 Now please, reread your question and answer 
 while contemplating this:

"To what reincarnation leads us ?"

 Think about the 'us' as "I"  and   "I" as "us."
  - What is the difference?

  If 'reincarnation' were leading 'us' somewhere
   - there would be no purpose, at least not our purpose'.
  Purpose has to do with being self-directed,
   with  setting one's own goals.

  Some people call this metaprograming:

" So where does it end? It ends when you stop letting external
programs dictate your actions, and start rewriting your program for
yourself. This process is called metaprogramming- and it begins and
ends with the self."

 To understand the answer, you neeed to  understand the concept of
self, the concept of "I".
 It is a complex concept, about which too much was written. 

What is this I? or is it 'us' ? Please click on these circles:

In meditation, Buddha was able to transcend the individual "I" ,
the narrow conciousness which identifies itself with the  physical body.
 Buddha became part of something larger than the narrow "I",
 became part of 'us', and then he realized that he is not the body,
that he IS something larger. 
Only then does the concept of reincarnation make sense. The sense it makes is
contained in your request for clarification:
 In the wheel of generations, composed of individual life after life.
mankind is not being led; it is fulfilling its own purpose. 

 If that is what you wanted to ask,
   that is what you asked. 
 And I answered your question.
  You do not need to be sorry
 since you realized something.

 Reincarnation does not lead us anywhere.
 I am leading myself,
 I am creating my future, and to the degree to which  I can identify
with the larger self,
 emerge from that meditative state into the  narrow conscience and
still remember fragments,
 to that degree I am cooperating with creating that goal and
fulfilling that purpose.

It leads to whatever we/I decide to go. The future is not determined. 
We are creating it as we go.

That is buddha's teaching.

markiz-ga rated this answer:5 out of 5 stars

Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: myoarin-ga on 25 Oct 2005 04:36 PDT
Here are a couple of places to start:
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: pugwashjw-ga on 26 Oct 2005 05:34 PDT
Your question about re-incarnation pre-supposes that the teaching is
true and accurate. The belief that we keep being born again and again,
each time as someone or something, endlessly. The teaching does not
offer people who are suffering very much hope. On the other hand, the
teachings of Jesus, acting on his Father's instructions, [ Almighty
God, in heaven] learned from the Bible, DO offer hope to all of us, in
the future. Death, our most dreaded condition, will be done away with
[Revelation 21;4...1 Corinthians 15;26 & 54-57...Isaiah 25;8...Hosea
13;14...2 Timothy 1;10...This promise is not that far in the future.
And Buddhism offers no explanation as to our beginnings. In this,
ignorance is not bliss.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: pafalafa-ga on 26 Oct 2005 05:47 PDT

Your comment about death being done away with pre-supposes that the
teaching in the Bible is true and accurate...
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: pugwashjw-ga on 26 Oct 2005 06:08 PDT
Hi Pafalafa. I agree. But on the basis there is only ONE God, and ONE
truth about the human race, Christianity gives us something to strive
for. The Bible cannot be only half true. Its either ALL true or not.
If its ALL true, and I believe it is, the scriptures give me hope.
Although a gentle religion, Buddhism offers no relief from human
suffering. I pray IT's teachings do not apply.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: pafalafa-ga on 26 Oct 2005 06:49 PDT
>>The Bible cannot be only half true...<

Why not?  I see absolutely no reason why some things in the bible
might be true, others not, and still others serve as metaphors where
strict application of 'true' or 'false' may not really be appropriate.

Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: eivann-ga on 28 Oct 2005 07:28 PDT
People need a purpose because they believe there is something wrong
with them/others/world in the first place.  They look for a purpose or
saving hero/entity/cause outside themselves.  Some become suicide
bombers for the purpose/cause - (including athiest communinist suicide
bombers!  Weird, huh?).

Basically, as I understand it, rebirth is the contunuation of you
beating yourself up until you can accept your true nature and others.

Like, every night you go to bed.  And then a fesh new day begins... 
And you look for the (metaphorical) baseball bat while the coffee is
brewing.  So do I !!!  But less than I used to.

You are free in Buddhism to believe or not believe - or take things
metaphorically.  It's your life.  Learn from your experience.  I think
Buddha Shakyamuni is quoted somewhere saying - 'even if there is no
karma or rebirth, this is still a good way to live'.  I think it's in
'Buddhism without believs by Stephen batchelor (BUT I AM NOT SURE)

Basically, if you are relaxed you will priobably feel quite happy -
WITHOUT much thinking about it, necessity of 'purpose' etc.  your
friends will probably  comment about how nice you are/have been
lately.  You know, being yourself doesn't turn you into a mad
axe-murderer.  If anything, the opposite.

AS FOR HE THAT SAYETH 'If its ALL true, and I believe it is, the
scriptures give me hope'.  I SAY UNTO THEE, you do not read the Bible
, then ...

I was brought up fundamentalist and encouraged to read, and STUDY what
I read.  Sorry to dissappoint you, BUT...

Gospels cannot agree on genealogy of JC - disagree on who his
grandaddy was, never mind back 14 generations, 28 generations, etc -
see Matthew & Luke, I think.  So one of the gospel genealogies is not
true.  Therefore, by your logic, ALL the bible cannot be true.

Leviticus says rabbits chew the cud.  I checked with a zoologist
because I thought that can't be true.  She said 'Look, rabbits do not
have 7 stomachs, DUH!'(can't remember exact verse in Leviticus but a
concordance should get you to it)

Gospels, as I remember, cannot agree on day last supper was on - 3 say
one day and 1 another.  At least one cannot be true.

One Gospel has JC say 'those who are not against me are FOR me'. 
another has him say 'Those who are not for me are AGAINST me'.  I
think the two are MArk and Matthew - but don't quote me - it's been a
while since I read this stuff.  Two opposing absolute statements
cannot both be true.

I feel better now - 40 years of being forced to swallow guff and see
kids screwed up - healed.  I forgive you all, man.  I don't own a gun.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: pugwashjw-ga on 29 Oct 2005 22:47 PDT
Hi Paf, and eivann, Strange as it may seem, I keep believing in
Revelation 21;4. The God I hope in has promised me, through his
scriptures, that one day I will not have to face the unpleasant
prospect of dying. The future I look forward to is nicely described in
Psalm 37; 9-12.  Still living on the earth but with the prospect of
never having to die. Buddhism, though, offers nothing but continuous
multiple deaths, with a few bits of living in between. And some of
those deaths might not be so pleasant. Not a good prospect. As to the
Bible "possibly" being half true, which to you, Paf, seems acceptable.
Would you like your heart surgeon to do your bypass having learned his
trade from his 'half true' university course and study books? Or your
mechanic repair your costly car with knowledge gained from his 'half
true' workshop manual? I don't think so. God created us and the Bible
is his manual for us to operate. Eivann regards it all as guff. Its
his choice. But if you both wish to live outside of God's system, read
Psalm 37 again and include Revelation 19; 17-21.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: eivann-ga on 30 Oct 2005 04:18 PST
Sorry, I should have said, earlier, To answer your question, get
'Buddhism for Dummies'

from library or read while in bookshop.  It is a really good,
accessable introduction.
Then you won't have religious people (who I find unbelievable) evangelising you.

Just to let you know pushwashjw talks nonsense about buddhism.    See
No offence, but I'm sure he would find answering some questions on
Christianity, which he appears to 'practice' - so he is likely to miss
mark on a 'religion' that he does not practice.

NOTICE:  I reccommend the odd book - I don't think I'm that big and clever- either.

I would just like to commissserate on you asking a question and having
(who some might consider) a religious nutter who (presumably)tells
little children they are going to roast in hell (there are plenty of
memoirs out there to attest to this thing happening)- unless they have
the right answer (Mormon - according to SouthPark, as I remember).

At least Pugwashjw does not seem to believe the Bible is literally
true in all aspects - or that evidence that the gospels are written by
man (maybe they just heard god wrong, of course).  In my deluded,
happy, relaxed mind, I see a vision of - it's a bit vague - God told
him it was true, I suppose - wrote him a note, perhaps.  Perhaps
there's a verse in the Bible (original language versions, bit like
Bible code stuff) saying 'Pushwashjw, this is all true - even the bits
that are not'.  the vision has ended.

Yours happily

Buddhism puts mental health and happiness, pretty high - and being
method-oroentated, discovered/learned things modern scientists are
verifying.  Now, you may experience this as evangelism - (but I hope
not as all practices can be adapted to all religions, so who needs to
be a buddhist if they don't want to?) Scientific researchers - are
referring to brainscans, etc., on buddhist monks as showing they are
'happiest' people - and by a long way, possibly.   For example
National Geographic, March 2005; TIME(europe?)Febuary 7th 2005, Sunday
Times Magazine (just a wee bit)October 2, 2005.

anyway, this Google answers thing is a bit distracting.  It seems to
be a lot of people chasing their own tails.  Just relax, guys.  So I'm
off to practice - may be quite a while.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: dharmendar-ga on 04 Nov 2005 00:32 PST
I am Half Buddhist and Half Hindu and From Gorakhpur, New Kushinara
whereGod Buddha got Maha Prai Nirvana ( Moksha in Sanskrita).
according to my mother this should be helpful to your because in
buddhism reincarnates stands explains  as follow:-

Buddhism denies the reality of a permanent self, together with all
things pertaining to the phenomenal world. The appearance of human
existence is generated by a mere heap of five aggregates (skandha),
which suffer from constant becoming and have a functional cause-effect
relation: 1) the body (rupa) - that consists of material form and
senses, 2) feeling (vedana) - the taste of any experience, 3)
cognition (sanna) - the process of classifying and labeling
experiences, 4) mental constructions (sankhara) - the states which
initiate action, and 5) consciousness (vijnana) - the awareness of a
sensory or mental object. The five elements, as the whole assembly
they construct, are impermanent (anitya), undergo constant
transformation and have no abiding principle or self. Man usually
thinks that he has a self because of consciousness. But being itself
in a constant process of becoming and change, consciousness cannot be
identified with a self that is supposed to be permanent. Beyond the
five aggregates nothing else can be found in the human nature.

However, something has to reincarnate, following the dictates of
karma. When asked about the differences between people in the matters
of life span, illnesses, wealth, etc., the Buddha taught:

Men have, O young man, deeds as their very own, they are inheritors of
deeds, deeds are their matrix, deeds are their kith and kin, and deeds
are their support. It is deeds that classify men into high or low
status (Majjhima Nikaya 3,202).

If there is no real self, who inherits the deeds and reincarnates?
Buddha answered that only karma is passing from one life to another,
using the illustration of the light of a candle, which is derived from
other candle without having a substance of its own. In the same manner
there is rebirth without the transfer of a self from one body to
another. The only link from one life to the next is of a causal
nature. In the Garland Sutra (10) we read:

According to what deeds are done
Do their resulting consequences come to be;
Yet the doer has no existence:
This is the Buddha?s teaching. 

The Tibetan Book of the Dead describes in detail the alleged
experiences one has in the intermediary state between two
incarnations, suggesting that the deceased keeps some personal
attributes. Although it is not clear what actually survives after
death in this case, there is mentioned a mental body that cannot be
injured by the visions experienced by the deceased:

When it happens that such a vision arises, do not be afraid! Do not
feel terror! You have a mental body made of instincts; even if it is
killed or dismembered, it cannot die! Since in fact you are a natural
form of voidness, anger at being injured is unnecessary! The Yama
Lords of Death are but arisen from the natural energy of your own
awareness and really lack all substantiality. Voidness cannot injure
voidness! (Tibetan Book of the Dead, 12)

Whatever the condition of the deceased after death might be, any
hypothetical personal nucleus vanishes right before birth, so there
can be no psycho-mental element transmitted from one life to another.
The newborn person doesn?t remember anything from previous lives or
trips into the realm of intermediary state (bardo).

Another important element in the Buddhist theory of reincarnation is
the extreme rarity of being reincarnated as a human person. The Buddha
taught in the Chiggala Sutta (Samyutta Nikaya 35,63):

Monks, suppose that this great earth were totally covered with water,
and a man were to toss a yoke with a single hole there. A wind from
the east would push it west, a wind from the west would push it east.
A wind from the north would push it south, a wind from the south would
push it north. And suppose a blind sea-turtle were there. It would
come to the surface once every one hundred years. Now what do you
think: would that blind sea-turtle, coming to the surface once every
one hundred years, stick his neck into the yoke with a single hole?
It would be a sheer coincidence, lord, that the blind sea-turtle,
coming to the surface once every one hundred years, would stick his
neck into the yoke with a single hole.
It's likewise a sheer coincidence that one obtains the human state.
It's likewise a sheer coincidence that a Tathagata, worthy and rightly
self-awakened, arises in the world.

If one would try to calculate the probability of obtaining the human
state according to this text, and consider the surface of  "this great
earth" as being just the surface of India, the odds would be one
chance in a time span in years of 5 followed by 16 zeros. This is 5
million times the age of the universe
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: drlove_ymca-ga on 10 Nov 2005 15:16 PST
Reincarnation is the belief that when one dies, one's body decomposes,
but one is reborn in another body. It is the belief that one has lived
before and will live again in another body after death. The bodies one
passes in and out of need not be human. One may have been a Doberman
in a past life, and one may be a mite or a carrot in a future life.
Some tribes avoid eating certain animals because they believe that the
souls of their ancestors dwell in those animals. A man could even
become his own daughter by dying before she is born and then entering
her body at birth.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: guru_ghantal-ga on 16 Nov 2005 13:48 PST
The purpose of reincarnation is to recity the "karmas" of one birth. A
person reincanates to in a different body to perform new "karmas"
according to his/her "dharma", which will decides what happens to
human after the body dies. In very simple terms, re-incarnation
provides a trial and error process on the road to nirvana.

If you are not satisfied with the explainations on wikipedia and other
sites already mentioned, try 

I am not sure, why this is put in Science field, but then it doesn't really matter.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: myoarin-ga on 17 Nov 2005 15:27 PST
Something that occurred to me after browsing past this question a few
more times is the question:
Why in Tibetan Buddhism is it always assumed that the Dalai Lama and
Pachen Lama  - and a couple of other -  will always be reincarnated,
that none of these holiest men of the faith reach Nirvana?
When one of them dies, a search for his reincarnation in a boy who was
born at the time begins, searches that for centuries have apparently
been successful, which is supportive of the hiarchical organisation,
perhaps necessary to it, especially for the Dalai Lama as political
head of the government.
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: markiz-ga on 23 Nov 2005 19:04 PST
Thank you for your hint - eivann. I mean - a book "Buddhism for dummies"
Subject: Re: Question about Buddhism
From: markiz-ga on 23 Nov 2005 20:55 PST
To: pugwashjw  I recommend to You read and analyse some passages of
the Bible: Mark,8,27;9,11 Matt,16,13-16;17,10;11,13-15 John,9,1 A
question about Elijah appears in all Gospels and is understandable
only on the basis of re-incarnation. Maybe this will change a little
bit your approach to the subject of reincarnation. No, I'm not trying
to be smart; I'm just a searcher.         Yours happily               

Important Disclaimer: Answers and comments provided on Google Answers are general information, and are not intended to substitute for informed professional medical, psychiatric, psychological, tax, legal, investment, accounting, or other professional advice. Google does not endorse, and expressly disclaims liability for any product, manufacturer, distributor, service or service provider mentioned or any opinion expressed in answers or comments. Please read carefully the Google Answers Terms of Service.

If you feel that you have found inappropriate content, please let us know by emailing us at with the question ID listed above. Thank you.
Search Google Answers for
Google Answers  

Google Home - Answers FAQ - Terms of Service - Privacy Policy