Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism





Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism


Hinduism can be described simply as a religion that believes in the existence of a supreme being that monitors reincarnation and the processes that comprise it. These processes include preservation, creation, and dissolution. Reincarnation is a centralistic belief in the Hinduism religion. Based on the teaching of Bhavagad gita, the process of reincarnation is continuous until the soul attains perfection hence reuniting with its source. Human bodies are viewed to be vessels, which are discarded when they are worn out and a new one is inhabited by the immortal soul. In essence, perfection is achieved after several births and deaths on the possessed bodies. Hinduism teaches that perfection can only be guaranteed when a soul undergoes various life experiences while in different forms in order for divinity to be gained. In entirety, the cycle, which is known as Samsara, requires the soul to learn various things as it manifests itself in different life forms. It also works through its karma as will be further elaborated.
Cycle of Samsara

In the cycle of Samsara, there is no limitation to the form the soul is reincarnated. This is because an individual is trapped in an endless cycle of birth and death. It means that the one’s soul can be reborn as a plant, animal, or a divine creature. The reasoning behind this belief is that if an entity has life, then a soul can possess it. In Samsara, life is continuous, so is the soul, however, a person cannot transfer riches, wealth and physical things they possessed in another life. The prime factor that determines the wellness of the next life is Karma.

In Hinduism, Karma is believed to be the reactive energy or force, which results from a person’s actions. The driving element that initiates Samsara and reinforces its continuity is the ignorance, which is seen in individuals, as they are unaware of their true self. This is termed as Avidya. The process of rebirth is motivated by the desire of owning a new body that will bring enjoyment. This is known as ananda. Through several rebirths and deaths, a person truly understands their true nature, which is the soul is immortal. Thus, possessing a new body and accumulation of wealth and riches is vanity. At this point, a person reaches a stage known as Moksha. This phase is the liberation stage and terminates the process of rebirth.

Reasons for Reincarnation

There are two primary reasons that justify the validity of reincarnation. Firstly, one has to experience the results of their karma in that good deeds are rewarded while the bad karma is received as condemnation to Patala-loka. Secondly, this process allows for the completion of the sadhana. This is actualized by jiva who grants another human body to a person seeking spiritual liberation.


The main concept surrounding the belief of reincarnation in Buddhism is the lack of consciousness from one life to the next. This concept is known as the atman in which there is no sense of self or soul that correlates to the lives lived. In this religion, the similarity of the old being as compared to the new one is that they can be either entirely different or seemingly alike as personalities are reborn. Simplistically, Karma is observed as the transmigration effect, which seeks to uproot ignorance for divinity to be attained.

The correlation of Karma, the process of rebirth and death is observed in the links of dependent origination known as pratityasamutpada. This concept is reliant on another fundamental belief in Buddhism known as Dukkha, which connotes suffering through aging, illness, birth, or death or by frustration and anxiety. Rebirth, as explained is because of karma. Its creation is dependant on whether the actions committed by the being inhabited by the soul was positive or negative hence determining whether the next life will be happy or full of suffering. The main purpose of the soul is achieving Nirvana where it is liberated. This is usually after undergoing six different states, which are asura, animal, hungry ghost, human life, heaven, and hell.

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