Tuesday, July 24, 2007


The Buddha lived in India, surrounded by several forms of Hinduism.

Hinduism is a religion that accepts many gods. It also accepts the

notion of reincarnation. The Buddha did not speak against such viewpoints,

he merely said they were unnecessary in ending discontent.

Is there such a thing as reincarnation?

Reincarnation is defined as:

1. a rebirth of the soul in another body, or

2 a rebirth in a new material form, or

3. a rebirth in another form, or

4. a new beginning.

Remember the symbol of Buddhism. A circle.

A circle has no beginning, no ending.

Where does something begin? Where does something end?

Where human life begins is a hot subject for the right-to-life movement.

Does life begin with the potential of a sperm or an egg?

Does life begin at the instant a sperm and an egg meet?

Does life begin at birth?

These are sizzling moral issues.

Or does life start to form with the hopes and the care of an individual’s prospective parents?

Or, does life begin with an individual’s education?

Or with an individual’s awakening?

And then, when does an individual’s life end?

What is this thing called death?

After death, what a person was in life is remembered. That remembrance is often termed that person’s spirit.

What sort of memory do we have of Adolph Hitler?

What sort of memory do we have of Albert Schweitzer?

Do individuals live on in the memories of others?

Remembrances of the dead may inspire living people, and those remembrances may pass on to future generations.

Remembrances live on.

This could be called a type of reincarnation.

“No beginning, no end” is not just a clichéd phrase.

In many Western cultures a lifeless body may be buried. In many Eastern cultures a body may be cremated.

There are exceptions. Tibetan Buddhists, and some Native Americans, expose a corpse to carrion—vultures and crows. It’s an efficient way of getting rid of the body. Also, there is a belief that the dead individual passes on to other living forms.

Whether a corpse is buried or burned, it is reduced to organic elements. What the dictionary calls the fundamental, essential, or irreducible constituents of a composite entity.

For examples, oxygen, nitrogen, calcium, carbon, and other essentials that occur naturally on Earth. These “other” essentials are the elements that make up the atmosphere we breath, and the elements that nourish living plant and animal life.

This could also be called a type of reincarnation.

Rather than “reincarnation,” perhaps “rebirth” is a better term. Or even “recycle.”

What constitutes a compost pile?

Decaying organic matter. Lawn clippings, leaves, coffee grounds, ashes, manure.

Matter is anything that occupies space.

In classical philosophy, matter is the raw material of the physical world.

In science, there are two schools regarding matter:

1. Classical physics says matter can neither be created nor be destroyed.

2. Modern physics claims matter can be transformed into energy, and energy into matter.

Take your pick.

In one form or another, all matter returns to the earth and to the atmosphere.

Then all things return as something or another.

There is no beginning, no ending.


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