What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

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What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Takoda » Sun May 06, 2012 3:53 pm

I heard that Hindus believe in reincarnation but Buddhists in rebirth.
What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?

Not sure if a previous thread was posted on the subject.

Kind regards,

:namaste:

Mike
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby deepbluehum » Sun May 06, 2012 5:22 pm

From a Western standpoint the two words are probably synonymous, but one could elucidate a doctrinal distinction. Reincarnation implies a soul-body duality, as in Hinduism, the atma is eternal, and when they incarnation of that soul dies, the soul then can reincarnate, in the sense of re-enter the carnal realm from the spiritual realm. From the Buddhist standpoint, there is no soul, anatma, to incarnate. What has happened is simply birth according to the 12-links of dependent origination, fundamentally speaking there is no mind-body dualism here, although subsequent scholars dissent. When the body dies there is simply death. The mind doesn't go any where. These twelve links then will be reborn until there is a delinking that happens via the path. In other words, there is simply a causal continuum whereby a body is born with mental qualities connected to a previous death. This is a very deep topic and much much more could be said, but this is the basic schema.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Josef » Sun May 06, 2012 5:48 pm

Rebirth is what Buddhists call the transition from one life after death when they are talking to non-Buddhists.
Reincarnation is what Buddhists call the transition from one life after death when they are talking to other Buddhists.

This is a bit of a joke but rings of a certain degree of truth.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Lhug-Pa » Sun May 06, 2012 6:21 pm

Or perhaps we could put it this way: that mere rebirth is more or less mechanical i.e. unconsciously following the hectic winds of karma; whereas actual Reincarnation is intentional.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby 5heaps » Sun May 06, 2012 8:26 pm

"hindus" tend to define the person as not merely the collection of the parts of the person ie. body and mind. they add an independent and unchanging quality that identifies a person as a person rather than as a tree or a brick.

this is similar to the Chirstian soul, which is not your body and not your mind but is something independent from the two that gives you the nature of being you. therefore although your current mind and body might die, your general nature continues on because it is independent of that which died. thus, reincarnation of this general nature.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Nighthawk » Mon May 07, 2012 2:50 am

HIndus believe in a permanent soul, Buddhists do not.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 07, 2012 4:20 am

Takoda wrote:What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?




Nothing at all. But some Buddhists like to pretend there is a difference.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

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he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Konchog1 » Mon May 07, 2012 4:53 am

Hindus believe something travels between lives. Buddhists believe nothing does, but that one life is caused by the previous.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Josef » Mon May 07, 2012 6:00 am

Namdrol wrote:
Takoda wrote:What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?




Nothing at all. But some Buddhists like to pretend there is a difference.

Absolutely.
Rebirth is what Buddhists who are uncomfortable with rebirth call reincarnation.

I actually prefer rebirth but my preference is purely linguistic.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Nighthawk » Mon May 07, 2012 1:06 pm

Nangwa wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Takoda wrote:What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?




Nothing at all. But some Buddhists like to pretend there is a difference.

Absolutely.
Rebirth is what Buddhists who are uncomfortable with rebirth call reincarnation.

I actually prefer rebirth but my preference is purely linguistic.


There is no "soul" that transmigrates from one body to the other so how is it possible to say both versions are identical?
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 07, 2012 2:47 pm

Nighthawk wrote:
There is no "soul" that transmigrates from one body to the other so how is it possible to say both versions are identical?


There is nothing in the word "reincarnation" that suggests a soul; there is nothing in the word "rebirth" that does not.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Clarence » Mon May 07, 2012 4:04 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:
There is no "soul" that transmigrates from one body to the other so how is it possible to say both versions are identical?


There is nothing in the word "reincarnation" that suggests a soul; there is nothing in the word "rebirth" that does not.

N


I once had a professor who was adamant that Buddhists should use rebirth. His argument was that reincarnation comes from the Latin re in carne, meaning again into the flesh. So, he took that to mean there was one entity going into a body again instead of, well, the Buddhist idea. :-) To me, although his argument makes sense, I think it is too pedantic and don't care.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 07, 2012 6:34 pm

Clarence wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Nighthawk wrote:
There is no "soul" that transmigrates from one body to the other so how is it possible to say both versions are identical?


There is nothing in the word "reincarnation" that suggests a soul; there is nothing in the word "rebirth" that does not.

N


I once had a professor who was adamant that Buddhists should use rebirth. His argument was that reincarnation comes from the Latin re in carne, meaning again into the flesh. So, he took that to mean there was one entity going into a body again instead of, well, the Buddhist idea. :-) To me, although his argument makes sense, I think it is too pedantic and don't care.


Well, by his argument reincarnation is better, since what happens rebirth is the reappropriation of a body, hence reincarnation. Also what gets reborn? Why a body, of course.

N
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Will » Mon May 07, 2012 6:52 pm

Incarnation: (esp. of a deity or spirit) embodied in flesh; in human form
says a dictionary.

Something is distinct from the flesh and thus is within the body. Since the 4 higher skandhas qualify as distinct from the rupa-form, the only question is - are they 'within' the body or not. If yes, then reincarnation is more accurate; if no, then rebirth is more accurate.
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Malcolm » Mon May 07, 2012 6:57 pm

Will wrote:
Incarnation: (esp. of a deity or spirit) embodied in flesh; in human form
says a dictionary.

Something is distinct from the flesh and thus is within the body. Since the 4 higher skandhas qualify as distinct from the rupa-form, the only question is - are they 'within' the body or not. If yes, then reincarnation is more accurate; if no, then rebirth is more accurate.


OED:

rebirth |rēˈbərTH, ˈrēˌbərTH|
noun
the process of being reincarnated or born again: the endless cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.
• the action of reappearing or starting to flourish or increase after a decline; revival: the rebirth of a defeated nation.
http://www.bhaisajya.net
http://atikosha.org
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

" The one who teaches the benefits of peace,
he is said to be a ṛṣī; the others are the opposite of him."

-- Uttaratantra
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon May 07, 2012 7:03 pm

''Reincarnation'' is a word which applies more to faiths which believe a human is born again in human form.

It implies 'flesh' so strictly speaking in Buddhist terms applies only to those realms where the being has flesh.

''Rebirth'' is a broader term encompassing rebirth as any being.

Over time, sloppy linguistics have led to the two becoming synonymous.
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby Will » Mon May 07, 2012 8:21 pm

Takoda wrote:I heard that Hindus believe in reincarnation but Buddhists in rebirth.
What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?

Kind regards,

:namaste:

Mike


Mike,

Some folks, Buddhists & Hindus alike, do not think it matters much about precise definitions - some do. For example, the authors of this famous Buddhist Dictionary, who ignore using 'reincarnation' and only use 'rebirth'. Here is one of the main terms used in Buddhist philosophy for the idea:

http://www.palikanon.com/english/wtb/n_r/patisandhi.htm
Revealing one essence: this means the inherently pure, complete, luminous essence, which is pure of its own nature. -- Fa-tsang
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Re: What are the differences between reincarnation and rebirth?

Postby acarefreeman » Wed May 09, 2012 5:57 am

Takoda wrote:I heard that Hindus believe in reincarnation but Buddhists in rebirth.
What is the difference between reincarnation and rebirth?

Not sure if a previous thread was posted on the subject.

Kind regards,

:namaste:

Mike


Dear Mike,

First of all, let me clarify your question, in a slightly different wording: You are not really asking the difference betweeen reincarnation and rebirth; you are asking the difference between the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs regarding how life continues after death--whether or not there is such a difference, and if yes what it is. The question thus clarified is more or less equivalent to: If both Hindus and Buddhists believe in reincarnation or rebirth, then is there any difference between these beliefs? If yes, what are they?

Then, it follows immediately that the answer to the first part of the above question is a clear and affirmative "Yes", and this is so because the Hindus, together with people from many other traditions, believe in, or have implicitly assumed, an inherent, ever-lasting, and unchanging element in human life which is usually referred to as a soul or self; yet we know in Buddhism that this is not true. To the (enlightened) Buddhists, the continuation of life is like the flowing of a river or water, and a river flows not because there is an independent identity that is controlling or driving it, it is because the river is subject to the law of gravitation and perhaps other laws of Nature, or in other words, the flowing of a river from high altitude to low altitude is due to the difference in gravity potential along its path. The continuation of life actually works in a similar mechanism, and it is not controlled or driven by any indepemdent existence such as a soul, it is driven by ignorance and cravings, which serve as the equivalent of gravity potential in the flow of a river. Thus life without ignorance and cravings is like still water on a flat ground, and it is going to flow nowhere. And a life at this stage is claimed to be enlightened, or equivalently, to have gained the power to enter Nirvana. In short, the Hindus' belief (of reincarnation) is a wrong view based on an unjustified concept of a soul or self, while the Buddhist belief (of rebirth) is based on the right view of non-self.

So, what matters is not words or concepts themselves, since one can freely define them and these are usually context-dependent; what really matters is the message conveyed to others by these words or concepts or by the statement that is built upon these words or concepts. Thus answers to your question may vary depending on how one defines terms, but the message should be just the same.

Next, to understand the Buddhist concept of rebirth is not to simply take it at its face value; it is to comprehend it by deep reflection and vipassana meditation, and thus it is necessarily related to the cultivation of right views and therefore, to enlightenment itself.

Lastly, since the Hindu belief of reincarnation has already been rooted in the wrong view of a soul or self, we had better reserve the word rebirth for exclusive Buddhist use, and in this sense it means to be born again (and again) in which case no inherent, unchanging identity or ever-lasting soul is implied or assumed, just like the flow of a river or water where what sustains is a constantly changing identity subject to cetain laws of Nature with no external mysterious power ever in work or present.

There may be other differences between the Hindu and Buddhist beliefs regarding the continuation of life, but the above is believed to be some of the most important aspects. Again, to avoid confusion or misunderstanding, one first defines or clarifies words or concepts, and only after that he/she proceeds to answer the question.

A Short Note:
People in this forum may, quite often, give different answers to the same question being asked, and that's probably because they are at different stages on their way to Enlightenment. While it is often claimed that different answers to the same question have reasons to exist, one should also be aware that some of these answers are probably not justified, or in some extreme situations, they may lead to, or they themselves simply are, wrong views. And the standard answer, should it exist, would be the one that is based on personal enlightenment.

Best regards,

PS: When I have a chance, I may come back to give a more detailed answer to your earlier question of what the Buddhist concept of reality is and why it is an illusion, since to me, many, if not all, of the answers provided so far seem to have missed the essence of the issue.

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