Reincarnation: Mechanics, Narratives, and Implications

Journal Title: Religions - Year 2017, Vol 8, Issue 11

Abstract

This essay explores the mechanics associated with rebirth, noting differences between Hindu, Buddhist, and Jain narratives. It examines the concept of subtle body and the lingam in ˙ Sa¯m . khya. According to the Hindu tradition, the remains of the departed person, when cremated, merge with clouds in the upper atmosphere. As the monsoon rain clouds gather, the leftovers mingle with the clouds, returning to earth and eventually finding new life in complex biological cycles. According to Tibetan and Chinese Buddhism, the remains of a person take a ghostly form for 49 days until taking a new birth. According to Jainism, the departed soul immediately travels to the new birth realm at the moment of death. According to Jain karma theory, in the last third of one’s life, a living being makes a fateful choice that determines his or her next embodiment. The 20th century Hindu Yoga teacher Paramahamsa Yogananda, in his commentary on the Bhagavad Gita, provides an alternate description of a twofold astral and causal body. One hallmark of the Buddha and of the 24 Jain T¯ırthankaras was that they remembered all the lives they had lived and the lessons learned ˙ in those lives. The Buddha recalled 550 past lives and used these memories to fuel many of his lectures. Mahav ¯ ¯ıra remembered his past lives and also the past lives of others. Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra ¯ states that through the perfection of giving up all things, including psychological attachments, one spontaneously will remember past lives. In the Yogavasi ¯ s.t .ha, a Hindu text, Pun. ya remembers the past lives of his grieving brother as well as his own prior experiences.

Authors and Affiliations

Christopher Key Chapple

Keywords

Related Articles

Psychometric Characteristics of Croatian Version of the Daily Spiritual Experience Scale

Background: The Daily Spiritual Experience Scale (DSES) has been developed through extensive and qualitative research. Numerous studies have confirmed the reliability and validity of the DSES among different population...

Abelard: Celebrity and Charisma—A Response to Dickson

One might think that Peter Abelard (1079?–1144?) would be the best example of a medieval charismatic teacher. But his rival and prosecutor St Bernard of Clairvaux (1090?–1153) fits the criteria rather better. Unlike Be...

Transcultural Adaptation and Psychometric Properties of Portuguese Version of the Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ) Among HIV Positive Patients in Brazil

The Spiritual Needs Questionnaire (SpNQ), originally written in the German language, was translated and validated into 11 languages, but not Latin languages, such as Brazilian Portuguese. This study aimed to determine...

Against Vais.n. ava Deviance: Brahman ¯ . ical and Bhadralok Alliance in Bengal

This article sets out to problematise the notion that late nineteenth and early twentieth century Vais.n. ava anti-sahajiya¯ polemics can be taken as a definitive index of colonial wrought rupture within Gaud . ¯ıya...

An 18th Century Jesuit “Refutation of Metempsychosis” in Sanskrit

The Punarjanmak ¯ s.epa, a work in Sanskrit from the 17th–18th century Jesuit milieu, aims at refuting the notion of reincarnation as believed by the Hindus in India. It discloses an interesting historical perspective...

Download PDF file
  • EP ID EP25828
  • DOI https://doi.org/10.3390/rel8110236
  • Views 215
  • Downloads 10

How To Cite

Christopher Key Chapple (2017). Reincarnation: Mechanics, Narratives, and Implications. Religions, 8(11), -. https://europub.co.uk/articles/-A-25828