Thursday, November 11, 2010

Rebirth is not the same as reincarnation (Part 2 of 2)

Question (Follow-up) : (Unedited)
Thanks for your answer; the light bulb metaphor makes a lot of sense.  Now, I have another related question if I may about how Buddhists view the origin of the universe (or all existence).  I won't pretend to be extensively knowledgeable of Buddhist scriptures (I try to devote more time to practical applications and also translations of the pali cannon tend to be a bit too expensive and hard to come by), but I am familiar with the aggaññasutta which describes beings (and their world) as having experienced a sort of “fall from grace” from being creatures of light to humans because of their desires.  From this I would imagine that it is thought that at some past point all beings existed in a type of nirvana-like state but experienced some crisis that led to our current universe and that this sort of cycle of fall into samsara and liberation happens endlessly in all universes.  Am I way off the mark here?

My comment :
Hi J,

You are not off the mark.  Maybe I can make some comments.  The beginning of the world or even the universe was actually not a real beginning.  There cannot be a beginning.  It was the "beginning" of a cycle of formation and destruction. When the world was completely destroyed, beings existed in other dimensions.  As existence is not permanent, sooner or later beings would be reborn to other realms depending on the quality of their storehouse of consciousness.  Inevitably, when one was at a higher realm, the lower would be one's next rebirth, as the merits would have been depleted in one's storehouse of consciousness. There won't be any opportunity for accumulation of merits in the higher realms.  It would be more for enjoyment over there. This would be the reason for the higher realms' devas taking rebirth on earth in the "beginning".  And the vicious cycle repeats itself.  

Smile from justinchoo :-)

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