What Is Rebirth; What Is Reincarnation?

Rebirth Not The Same As Reincarnation.

Most people use the terms “rebirth” and “reincarnation” as the same concept. “Rebirth” simply means to reborn. “Reincarnation” takes on a more precise process. Let us take a person “XYZ”. In reincarnation, the same “XYZ” is being reborn. “XYZ” is being reincarnated as the same “XYZ”.

Rebirth takes on a new dimension in Buddhism. The Buddha pointed out that there is no permanent and unchanging person or entity, commonly known as the eternal soul. A person consists of the physical body and the conscious mind. The body and mind are in a continuous flux, ever changing. We can see the body changes through time. But we can’t see the changing mind-consciousness.

Rebirth is the re-linking process after death. This process is like when you strike a billiard ball, the first ball will knock against the next one, and the next one will knock on another ball. Although the next ball is not the same as the previous one, the movement was caused by the previous ball. When “XYZ” dies, his rebirth is not exactly “XYZ”, but bearing the actions of “XYZ”. “Rebirth” is therefore a process of “continuing” another life. “Reincarnation” is a process of “becoming again” of the same life.

The Buddha expressed this rebirth process as “ not exactly the same, nor completely different”. It is a life-continuum; just like the striking force of the cue on the one ball, followed by the process of the resulting force to knock on the other balls.

You may want to read my other related article "Rebirth and reincarnation".

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