By Carl B Becker
During this much-needed exam of Buddhist perspectives of loss of life and the afterlife, Carl B. Becker bridges the space among books on demise within the West and books on Buddhism within the East.Other Western writers have addressed the mysteries surrounding loss of life and the afterlife, yet few have approached the subject from a Buddhist viewpoint. the following, Becker resolves questions that experience students because the starting of Buddhism: How can Buddhism reconcile its trust in karma and rebirth with its denial of an everlasting soul? what's reborn? And whilst, precisely, is the instant of death?By systematically tracing Buddhism’s migration from India via China, Japan, and Tibet, Becker demonstrates how tradition and surroundings have an effect on Buddhist spiritual tradition.In addition to discussing ancient Buddhism, Becker indicates how Buddhism resolves arguable present matters in addition. within the face of contemporary medicine’s pattern towards depersonalization, conventional Buddhist practices imbue the demise strategy with recognize and dignity. while, Buddhist culture bargains documented precedents for selection making in circumstances of suicide and euthanasia.
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Additional info for Breaking the circle: Death and the afterlife in buddhism
The increasingly animal tendencies of humankind, if there are such, might be taken as an indication that Page 19 an ever-increasing number of animal souls are finding expression in human minds and bodies these days. Buddhists also believe that beings dying elsewhere in the universe, on other planets or in spirit realms, may be reborn as humans. And it is possible that some dying people's thoughts influence more than one fetal organism at a time. The important point is that the Buddha recognized many realms of beings not recognized by most modern Westerners.
In subsequent chapters, we shall see how the Chinese and Tibetan traditions developed these ideas and expanded upon them. The Context of Early Buddhism Even prior to the Buddha, there were numerous schools of Indian philosophy that already held dogmatic views about the Page 4 nature of humanhood, the self, and the survival of death. The earliest sacred writings of the Brahmins, the Vedas, use the word atman *, which refers to the animating force, life, breath, or soul, analogous to the Greek term psyche.
Neither heaven nor hell are taken to be eternal in the Christian sense. Gods and demons are also subject to causal laws and Page 20 to the cycle of death and rebirth, although their lives are held to be longer than human lives. These other realms (lokas) are not necessarily seen as physically above or below this one, but as interpenetrating it; sometimes they are conceived as being generated by consciousness in an idealist fashion. 22 There is some question as to whether the Buddha really believed all of the mythology behind the doctrines of heavens and hells or whether he merely taught it as a moral goad for the common people in his audience.
Breaking the circle: Death and the afterlife in buddhism by Carl B Becker