Samsara "Wandering on"

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  • Created by: harriet
  • Created on: 15-04-13 18:04
  • On the night of his enlightenment Buddha is said to have remembered more than one hundred thousand of his previous lives.
  • Samsara means the wandering on through a ceaseless round of births and deaths and rebirths.
  • Karma means "voltional actions"
  • Buddhists take the view that there is no beginning to this cycle of rebirths and the world itself.
  • It is said that the Buddha could remember as far back as 91 eons or kalpas. A kalpa is a vast unit of tiem, equivalent to billions of years

Samsara and rebirth

  • Buddha communicated his teaching to fit his Hindu audience. He explained that the world was like a great wheel of life and death - with creatures constantly being born, growing old, dying and being born again. This was known as the world of samsara and it was a world of suffering and death from which it was hoped that a person might eventually escape.
  • The Hindu belief was that everyone had a soul (atman) which moved on to inhabit another body after death. The Buddha accepted some Hindu beliefs but modified them.

There are two analogies which could help explain samsara

  • Firstly, imagine the flame of one lamp lighting another. It is not the same flame in the second lamp but has come about because of the first
  • Milk, curds and butter are all the same thing, but one changes depending on different conditions.

There are three driving forces depicted which lead to samsara: greed, hatred and delusion. For the unenlightened and the ignorant, rebirth into a painful state is likely, but for one who understands that it is craving…


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