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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Proof of Reincarnation

Probably the most important proof of reincarnation is the life of Siddhartha Buddha. The two greatest spiritual teachers to ever walk this earth were Buddha and Christ. There are some who would say that Buddha did not teach reincarnation but instead spoke of rebirth. This is more a difference in semantics. Buddha spoke of having many lives. This is what reincarnation is. The primary difference betwen Buddha's teachings and traditional Hinduism's teachings concerns the teaching about Atman. The Hindus believe in the soul as being a discreet unit that incarnates over and over. Buddha taught that even the soul was an illusion to overcome and that nothing was separate from GOD. See: Buddha: Atheist or God? It is beyond the scope of this article to expound on the subtleties of the various teachings about Atman. Suffice it to say here that it is Buddha's teachings about Atman that makes it appear that he taught rebirth and not reincarnation. For the purpose of this article, the words rebirth and reincarnation are considered synonymous.

The Buddha taught that the self (or soul) was an illusion. But what many fail to realize is that until the illusion is seen for what it is, the cycle of birth and death continues. Just because the soul is an illusion doesn't mean there are not rebirths and deaths. Contrary, it is the failure to see the past the illusion of self that traps one in samsara (the cycle of births and death). Until one breaks free from samsara there continues to be the illusion of a soul. It may sound like I'm splitting hairs but it is important to understand the subtleties of Buddha's teachings. Even Buddha remembered his past lives back when he was still under the illusion of self.

So what does Buddha's life tell us about reincarnation, the soul and past lives? Buddha was able to recount stories of his past lives. He achieved retro-cognitive powers.
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