Tag Archives: reincarnation

Reincarnation in Buddhism

Reincarnation or rebirth, contrary to popular Western belief, is a negative term in Buddhism. The goal of Buddhism is to end reincarnation, not perpetuate it. 

How this misconception arose is various. It could have been from a generalisation from another Eastern religion – Hinduism – in which it sees rebirth as a positive term, where being reborn means to improve to higher states of being until Oneness with God, or moksha. In contrast Buddhism does not aim for oneness but “release”. 

To be “reborn” in English also seems to suggest to return anew. This image can be seen in the term “Born-Again Christian”. Whereas no such concept exists at all in Buddhism. 

every moment

every moment
is simultaneously
a small death
and rebirth

Bodhisattva and reincarnation

The goal of Buddhism whether Theravada or Mahayana is to end suffering. By doing so one ends rebirth or reincarnation.

Yet in Mahayana Buddhism the ideals of a the Bodhisattva is to delay one’s entry into Nirvana and return or reborn to help save all others.

In this sense Mahayana Buddhism is active and Theravada is passive.

As a Buddhist this is an important question. It is a question which ultimately will determine how you approach the way you live.