By Carl B Becker
During this much-needed exam of Buddhist perspectives of loss of life and the afterlife, Carl B. Becker bridges the distance among books on demise within the West and books on Buddhism within the East.Other Western writers have addressed the mysteries surrounding loss of life and the afterlife, yet few have approached the subject from a Buddhist standpoint. right here, Becker resolves questions that experience students because the starting of Buddhism: How can Buddhism reconcile its trust in karma and rebirth with its denial of an enduring soul? what's reborn? And while, precisely, is the instant of death?By systematically tracing Buddhism’s migration from India via China, Japan, and Tibet, Becker demonstrates how tradition and atmosphere have an effect on Buddhist non secular tradition.In addition to discussing old Buddhism, Becker exhibits how Buddhism resolves debatable present matters to boot. within the face of contemporary medicine’s development towards depersonalization, conventional Buddhist practices imbue the loss of life technique with appreciate and dignity. even as, Buddhist culture bargains documented precedents for selection making in instances of suicide and euthanasia.
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Extra info for Breaking the circle: Death and the afterlife in buddhism
Similarly, if a fire were to spread from a neglected campfire to an adjacent field, the burning field could be called neither the same fire nor a different fire from the campfire. Again, today's curds from yesterday's milk or the verse that the student repeats after his teacher are neither absolutely identical to nor different from the original milk or original poem. There is merely a causal sequence of events that enables us to identify one with the other or to say that one has given rise to the other.
Superficially, it might seem that when the body disintegrates at death, all of the other khandhas must also cease and disperse, because they are mutually interdependent. But we have already observed that the idea of rebirth is indispensable to the coherence of the Buddhist philosophy. In fact, the Buddha taught that the action (Pali: kamma; Sanskrit: karma, meaning especially mental volition) of the dying person was in a contiguous cause-and-effect relationship with the birth of a new being. He used the term rebirth, as opposed to the notion of reincarnation that might imply that a single soul was reincarnated in several consecutive bodies.
Buddhists also believe that beings dying elsewhere in the universe, on other planets or in spirit realms, may be reborn as humans. And it is possible that some dying people's thoughts influence more than one fetal organism at a time. The important point is that the Buddha recognized many realms of beings not recognized by most modern Westerners. Although these resemble those of the pre-Buddhist Upanisadic tradition, the Buddha denied that he merely copied a prior mythology. In numerous contexts and on many different occasions, he referred to his own paranormal psychic journeys to other worlds.
Breaking the circle: Death and the afterlife in buddhism by Carl B Becker