A different view of reincarnation

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This topic contains 3 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  catgut 1 week, 4 days ago.

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  • #41667


    I was skimming through a book called the art of living by thich nhat hahn. He had a view of reincarnation that I was interested in discussing.
    He seems to be saying that we reincarnate in the sense that the “things” that we are made up of will later make up parts of other “things”. For example, each of us is made up of parts of our parents, grandparents, ect and each of them are also made up of the the things they eat to sustain them.
    His view also seems to incorporate the teaching of no self and interconnectedness.

    ( This is an article that explains it a bit more)
    I also thought it sounded a bit like the the conservation of mass
    I was just wondering if someone would like to share their thoughts, perspectives, ect on Hahn’s view or had anything they could add to deepen my understanding.

    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by  J3ss3.
    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by  J3ss3.
    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by  J3ss3.
    • This topic was modified 3 weeks ago by  J3ss3.
  • #41672
    Jennifer Hawkins
    Jennifer Hawkins


    Sorry. The website is doing that thing where it doesn’t like to save replies. (It sometimes does this, and we don’t know why). Anyways, just wanted to say that you are far from the first person to have thoughts on this. I posted something you might find of interested for a class that I help mentor:


    I wanted to just copy and paste it here, but I’m not confident that the website will let me right now. To view the link, you probably have to sign into the class, but feel free to (it’s free and might be of interest to you otherwise).

  • #41674
    Michael Finley
    Michael Finley


    I definitely think this is part of Gotama’s approach to reincarnation: The middle way between “annihilationism” and “eternalism”. Nothing exists as a “thing in itself” (to use a western philosophical term),apart from its causes and effects. Seems to me that Gotama thought that what survives is the effects of my actions. This can be interpreted to mean something like “I live on in the influence I’ve had on others,” which is nice notion with good moral implications (cf Ken Jones’ notion of social karma?), and a satisfying notion for many of us.

    But are we really talking about rebirth/reincarnation here? It is not the self that reincarnates on this view,and, in fact, if continuity of the self is denied, can reincarnation have any sensible meaning at all? If I want to be reborn,to live on as myself, how does it satisfy me to know that nothing is annihilated in Gotama’s sense?

  • #41721


    I don’t know much about physics but have found Hanh’s interpretation of rebirth and his teachings on non-self and interdependance which tie in with this fascinating.

    Before I was aware of any kind of Secular Buddhist movement I would read some of his books and it felt like a relief that there were ways of viewing rebirth which are not dependant on metaphysical belief and which can exist alongside current scientific evidence.

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