Reincarnation/Rebirth and Personal Identity

From Body, Soul and Personal Identity

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  • Reincarnation/Rebirth and Personal Identity
    • Reincarnation
      • Reincarnation = Hindu and Rebirth = Buddhism
      • Involve an individuals soul inhabiting a new body
      • At death the soul moves from the dying body into a new body sometimes called the 'transmigration of souls'
      • Through each life the soul will improve itself until perfection
      • When achieved it will not be reborn but enter a state of bliss
      • Memories of previous lives are either non-existent or deeply buried
      • Though the individual may be a different person, there is the same continuing psychic structure from life to life
    • Hinduism
      • The atman (soul) is eternal
      • Emphasis placed on individual development through samsara to achieve release
        • Outcome is reunification of Brahman
      • Reunification = moksha
      • Karma influences the quality of the next life
      • A reincarnated soul carries no personal attributes but immortal sense (jiva) continues
    • Rebirth and Buddhists
      • Continuity between lives but not identical
      • Buddhists deny that there are souls. There is an ever-changing individual character
      • Like a flame being transferred from one candle to another
      • Karma influences next life
      • The 'I' it the union of all lives lived
      • Casual connections between diff lives
    • Personal Identity
      • Ultimate goal is to lose personal identity. Become at one with Godhead
      • Materalists = impossible. They would have diff brains and lead diff lives
      • Evidence could be past lives eg...
        • Children claim to have memories of former lives
          • Some have regressed earlier lives under hypnosis
      • HOWEVER.. the individual could be remembering info gained in childhood
      • Could be a cultural gene which passes down info about our ancestors
      • Result of psychological problems

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