Life after death: Buddhism

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Buddhism (Life to come)


Unlike most world religions, Buddhism promotes the belief that we do not have a soul. Rather, Buddhists believe there is nothing in our lives which is permanent (or immortal). In each and every moment we are changing.

Something to think about: My thoughts are constantly changing as I think of what to write next on this page. My body is changing as skin cells die, and is being affected as I drink a cup of coffee. How are you changing as you read these words? Is there anything in your experience right now, which is not subject to change?

Buddhists refer to the constant process of change as annica, which literally means impermanence (i.e. nothing is permanent, or does not change). Buddhists use the word anatta to refer to the idea that we have no permanent part of us, which we can call a soul.

One major difficulty with this notion though, is what exactly is being reborn in a future life, if Buddhists do not believe we have a soul? In other words, which part of a person's life (or thoughts/actions) affects the next, if everything is always changing? Buddhists tend to speak about the essence of a person being reborn, but this still does not help us deal with the problem of how something impermanent, can have a permanent essence, and if it does, what the difference between this and a permanent self (or soul) is?

Karmic law

Although Siddhartha Gautama (S), later known as the Buddha (Enlightened One), was born a Hindu, Buddhism and Hinduism believe slightly different things about the law of karma (S). For a Hindu, a person's karma mainly affects where their soul will be reborn in a future life. Buddhists agree with this, but also add that one's actions have an effect in this life as well. For instance, things we do


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