ᠣᠷᠴᠢᠯᠠᠩ, орчлон (orchilang, orchlon)
SINHALESE සංසාරය (sansāra)
TIBETAN འཁོར་བ་ (khor ba)
VIETNAMESE Luân hồi
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SAṃSāRA (Sanskrit, Pali; also samsara) in Buddhism is the beginning-less cycle of repeated birth , mundane existence and dying again. Samsara is considered to be dukkha , unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma .
Rebirths occur in six realms of existence, namely three good realms (heavenly, demi-god, human) and three evil realms (animal, ghosts, hellish). Samsara ends if a person attains nirvana , the "blowing out" of the desires and the gaining of true insight into impermanence and non-self reality.
* 1 Characteristics
* 1.1 Mechanism
* 2 Realms of rebirth
* 3 Cause and end
* 3.1 Karma * 3.2 Craving and ignorance * 3.3 Liberation
* 4 Psychological interpretation * 5 Alternate translations * 6 See also * 7 Notes
* 8 References
* 8.1 Web references * 8.2 Sources
In Buddhism, saṃsāra is the "suffering-laden cycle of life, death,
and rebirth, without beginning or end". In several suttas of the
The mechanistic details of the Samsara doctrine vary within the Buddhist traditions. Theravada Buddhists assert that rebirth is immediate while the Tibetan schools hold to the notion of a bardo (intermediate state) that can last up to forty-nine days before the being is reborn.
REALMS OF REBIRTH
A thangka showing the bhavacakra with the ancient five cyclic
realms of saṃsāra in Buddhist cosmology. Medieval and contemporary
texts typically describe six realms of reincarnation. See also:
The six realms are typically divided into three higher realms (good)
and three lower realms (evil). The three higher realms are the
realms of the gods, demi-gods, and humans; the three lower realms are
the realms of the animals, hungry ghosts and hell beings. The six
realms are organized into thirty one levels in east Asian literature.
* GODS REALM: the gods (devas ) is the most pleasure-filled among
six realms, and typically subdivided into twenty six sub-realms. A
rebirth in this heavenly realm is believed to be from very good karma
accumulation. A Deva does not need to work, and is able to enjoy in
the heavenly realm all pleasures found on earth. However, the
pleasures of this realm lead to attachment (
Upādāna ), lack of
spiritual pursuits and therefore no nirvana. Vast majority of
Buddhist lay people, states Kevin Trainor, have historically pursued
Buddhist rituals and practices motivated with rebirth into Deva realm.
The Deva realm in Buddhist practice in southeast and east Asia,
states Keown, include gods found in Hindu traditions such as
Hungry Ghosts realm of Buddhist samsara, a 12th-century painting from Kyoto Japan
* HUNGRY GHOST REALM: hungry ghosts and other restless spirits
(preta ) are rebirths caused by kamma of excessive craving and
attachments. They do not have a body, are invisible and constitute
only "subtle matter" of a being.
CAUSE AND END
Samsara is perpetuated by one's karma, which is caused by craving and ignorance (avidya).
Samsara is perpetuated by karma. Karma or 'action' results from an intentional physical or mental act, which causes a future consequence. Gethin explains:
Thus acts of body and speech are driven by an underlying intention or will (cetanā ), and they are unwholesome or wholesome because they are motivated by unwholesome or wholesome intentions. Acts of body and speech are, then, the end products of particular kinds of mentality. At the same time karma can exist as a simple 'act of will', a forceful mental intention or volition that does not lead to an act of body or speech.
In the Buddhist view, therefore, the type of birth one has in this life is determined by actions or karma from the previous lives; and the circumstances of the future rebirth are determined by the actions in the current and previous lives.
CRAVING AND IGNORANCE
Inconsistencies in the oldest texts show that the Buddhist teachings
on craving and ignorance, and the means to attain liberation, evolved,
either during the lifetime of the Buddha, or thereafter. According to
The later Buddhist tradition considers ignorance (avidya) to be the root cause of samsara. Avidya is misconception and ignorance about reality, leading to grasping and clinging, and repeated rebirth. According to Paul Williams, "it is the not-knowingness of things as they truly are, or of oneself as one really is." It can be overcome by insight into the true nature of reality. In the later Buddhist tradition "liberating insight" came to be regarded as equally liberating as the practice of dhyana. According to Vetter and Bronkhorst, this happened in response to other religious groups in India, who held that a liberating insight was an indispensable requisite for moksha, liberation from rebirth.
The ideas on what exactly constituted this "liberating insight" evolved over time. Initially the term prajna served to denote this "liberating insight." Later on, prajna was replaced in the suttas by the four truths . This happened in those texts where "liberating insight" was preceded by the four jhanas, and where this practice of the four jhanas then culminates in "liberating insight." The four truths were superseded by pratityasamutpada, and still later, in the Hinayana schools, by the doctrine of the non-existence of a substantial self or person. And Schmithausen states that still other descriptions of this "liberating insight" exist in the Buddhist canon:
"that the five Skandhas are impermanent, disagreeable, and neither the Self nor belonging to oneself"; "the contemplation of the arising and disappearance (udayabbaya) of the five Skandhas"; "the realisation of the Skandhas as empty (rittaka), vain (tucchaka) and without any pith or substance (asaraka).
Samsara ends when one attains moksha , liberation. In early Buddhism, Nirvana , the "blowing out" of desire, is moksha. In later Buddhism insight becomes predominant, for example the recognition and acceptance of non-self, also called the anatta doctrine. One who no longer sees any soul or self, concludes Walpola Rahula, is the one who has been liberated from the samsara suffering cycles. The theme that Nirvana is non-Self, states Peter Harvey, is recurring in early Buddhist texts.
While Buddhism considers the liberation from samsara as the ultimate spiritual goal, in traditional practice, Buddhists seek and accumulate merit through good deeds, donations to monks and various Buddhist rituals in order to gain better rebirths rather than nirvana.
In some Buddhist traditions, rebirth is envisioned to occur in more than six realms of existence. Above ten realms depiction in Vietnam.
According to Chogyam Trungpa the realms of samsara can refer to both "psychological states of mind and physical cosmological realms".
Gethin argues, rebirth in the different realms is determined by one's
karma , which is directly determined by one's psychological states.
Paul Williams acknowledges Gethin's suggestion of the "principle of
the equivalence of cosmology and psychology," but notes that Gethin is
not asserting the
David McMahan concludes that the attempts to construe ancient
* Conditioned existence (Daniel Goleman) * Cycle of clinging and taking birth in one desire after another (Phillip Moffitt) * Cycle of existence * Cyclic existence (Jeffry Hopkins) * Uncontrollably recurring rebirth (Alexander Berzin) * Wheel of suffering (Mingyur Rinpoche)
* ^ Earlier
* ^ A B Ending samsara:
* Kevin Trainor: "Buddhist doctrine holds that until they realize nirvana, beings are bound to undergo rebirth and redeath due to their having acted out of ignorance and desire, thereby producing the seeds of karma". * Conze: " Nirvana is the raison d’être of Buddhism, and its ultimate justification."
* ^ Samsara is the continual repetitive cycle of rebirth within the six realms of existence:
* Damien Keown: "Although Buddhist doctrine holds that neither the beginning of the process of cyclic rebirth nor its end can ever be known with certainty, it is clear that the number of times a person may be reborn is almost infinite. This process of repeated rebirth is known as saṃsāra or 'endless wandering', a term suggesting continuous movement like the flow of a river. All living creatures are part of this cyclic movement and will continue to be reborn until they attain nirvana." * Ajahn Sucitto: "This continued movement is what is meant by samsāra, the wandering on. According to the Buddha, this process doesn't even stop with death—it's like the habit transfers almost genetically to a new consciousness and body."
* ^ Samsara is characterized by dukkha:
* Chogyam Trungpa: "Samsara arises out of ignorance and is characterized by suffering." * Rupert Gethin: "This precisely is the nature of saṃsāra: wandering from life to life with no particular direction or purpose."
* ^ A B Ignorance and craving:
* John Bowker: "In Buddhism, samsāra is the cycle of continuing appearances through the domains of existence (gati), but with no Self (anātman, ) being reborn: there is only the continuity of consequence, governed by karma." * Chogyam Trungpa states: "Cyclic existence the continual repetitive cycle of birth, death, and bardo that arises from ordinary beings' grasping and fixating on a self and experiences. (...) Samsara arises out of ignorance and is characterized by suffering." Note that Chogyam Trungpa's description includes a reference to the bardo, or intermediate state, that is emphasized in the Tibetan tradition. * Huston Smith and Philip Novak state: "The Buddha taught that beings, confused as they are by ignorant desires and fears, are caught in a vicious cycle called samsara, freedom from which—nirvana—was the highest human end."
* ^ Other scholars note that better rebirth, not nirvana, has been the primary focus of a vast majority of lay Buddhists. This they attempt through merit accumulation and good kamma.
* ^ The driving force behind rebirth in the six realms of samsara is karma:
* Peter Harvey: "The movement of beings between rebirths is not a
haphazard process but is ordered and governed by the law of karma, the
principle that beings are reborn according to the nature and quality
of their past actions; they are 'heir' to their actions (M.III.123)."
* Damien Keown: "In the cosmology , karma functions as the elevator
that takes people from one floor of the building to another. Good
deeds result in an upward movement and bad deeds in a downward one.
Karma is not a system of rewards and punishments meted out by God but
a kind of natural law akin to the law of gravity. Individuals are thus
the sole authors of their good and bad fortune."
* ^ Aṅguttara Nikāya III.415: "It is "intention" that I call karma; having formed the intention, one performs acts (karma) by body, speech and mind. * ^ Padmasambhava: "If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition; if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions."
* ^ See: * Erich Frauwallner (1953), Geschichte der indischen Philosophie, Band Der Buddha und der Jina (pp. 147-272) * Andre Bareau (1963), Recherches sur la biographie du Buddha dans les Sutrapitaka et les Vinayapitaka anciens, Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient * Schmithausen, On some Aspects of Descriptions or Theories of 'Liberating Insight' and 'Enlightenment' in Early Buddhism * K.R. Norman, Four Noble Truths * Tilman Vetter, The Ideas and Meditative Practices of Early Buddhism, by Tilmann Vetter * Richard F. Gombrich (2006). How Buddhism Began: The Conditioned Genesis of the Early Teachings. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-134-19639-5 . , chapter four * Bronkhorst, Johannes (1993), The Two Traditions Of Meditation In Ancient India, Motilal Banarsidass Publishers , chapter 7 * Anderson, Carol (1999), Pain and Its Ending: The Four Noble Truths in the Theravada Buddhist Canon, Routledge * ^ Frauwallner (1953), as referenced by Vetter (1988), Flores (2009), and Williams, Tribe and Wynne (2012).
* ^ Tillmann Vetter: "Very likely the cause was the growing influence of a non-Buddhist spiritual environment·which claimed that one can be released only by some truth or higher knowledge. In addition, the alternative (and perhaps sometimes competing) method of discriminating insight (fully established after the introduction of the four noble truths) seemed to conform so well to this claim."
According to Bronkhorst, this happened under influence of the
"mainstream of meditation," that is, Vedic-Brahmanical oriented
groups, which believed that the cessation of action could not be
liberating, since action can never be fully stopped. Their solution
was to postulate a fundamental difference between the inner soul or
self and the body. The inner self is unchangeable, and unaffected by
actions. By insight into this difference, one was liberated. To equal
this emphasis on insight, Buddhists presented insight into their most
essential teaching as equally liberating. What exactly was regarded as
the central insight "varied along with what was considered most
central to the teaching of the Buddha." * ^ In the Nikayas the four
truths are given as the "liberating insight" which constituted the
awakening , or "enlightenment" of the Buddha. When he understood these
truths, he was "enlightened," and liberated, as reflected in Majjhima
Nikaya 26:42: "his taints are destroyed by his seeing with wisdom."
Typically, the four truths refer here to the eightfold path as the
means to gain liberation, while the attainment of insight in the four
truths is portrayed as liberating in itself.
* ^ Majjhima Nikaya 26
* ^ Anguttara Nikaya II.45 (PTS)
* ^ Trainor 2004 , p. 58, QUOTE: " Buddhism shares with Hinduism the doctrine of Samsara, whereby all beings pass through an unceasing cycle of birth, death and rebirth until they find a means of liberation from the cycle. However, Buddhism differs from Hinduism in rejecting the assertion that every human being possesses a changeless soul which constitutes his or her ultimate identity, and which transmigrates from one incarnation to the next.. * ^ A B Wilson 2010 . * ^ Juergensmeyer & Roof 2011 , p. 271-272. * ^ McClelland 2010 , p. 172, 240. * ^ Williams, Tribe & Wynne 2012 , p. 18–19, chapter 1. * ^ A B Buswell 2004 , p. 711-712. * ^ A B Buswell & Gimello 1992 , p. 7–8, 83–84. * ^ A B Choong 1999 , p. 28–29, Quote: "Seeing (passati) the nature of things as impermanent leads to the removal of the view of self, and so to the realisation of nirvana.". * ^ A B C Rahula 2014 , p. 51-58. * ^ Laumakis 2008 , p. 97. * ^ http://suttacentral.net/en/sn15.3 - SN 15.3 Assu-sutta * ^ Bowker 1997 . * ^ A B C Gethin 1998 , p. 119. * ^ A B Ajahn Sucitto 2010 , pp. 37-38. * ^ A B Keown 2000 , Kindle locations 702-706. * ^ A B Chogyam Trungpa 2009 , p. 137. * ^ A B Williams 2002 , pp. 74-75. * ^ A B C Keown 2004 , pp. 81, 281. * ^ A B C Fowler 1999 , p. 39–42. * ^ Smith & Novak 2009 , Kindle Location 2574. * ^ Trainor 2004 , p. 62–63. * ^ Conze 2013 , p. 71. * ^ Trainor 2004 , p. 58, Quote: " Buddhism shares with Hinduism the doctrine of Samsara, whereby all beings pass through an unceasing cycle of birth, death and rebirth until they find a means of liberation from the cycle. However, Buddhism differs from Hinduism in rejecting the assertion that every human being possesses a changeless soul which constitutes his or her ultimate identity, and which transmigrates from one incarnation to the next.. * ^ Naomi Appleton (2014). Narrating Karma and Rebirth: Buddhist and Jain Multi-Life Stories. Cambridge University Press. pp. 76–89. ISBN 978-1-139-91640-0 . * ^ Anatta Buddhism, Encyclopædia Britannica (2013)
* ^ Christmas Humphreys (2012). Exploring Buddhism. Routledge. pp. 42–43. ISBN 978-1-136-22877-3 . Brian Morris (2006). Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction. Cambridge University Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-521-85241-8 . , QUOTE: "(...) anatta is the doctrine of non-self, and is an exteme empiricist doctrine that holds that the notion of an unchanging permanent self is a fiction and has no reality. According to Buddhist doctrine, the individual person consists of five skandhas or heaps - the body, feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. The belief in a self or soul, over these five skandhas, is illusory and the cause of suffering." Richard Gombrich (2006). Theravada Buddhism. Routledge. p. 47. ISBN 978-1-134-90352-8 . , QUOTE: "(...) Buddha's teaching that beings have no soul, no abiding essence. This 'no-soul doctrine' (anatta-vada) he expounded in his second sermon." * ^ David J. Kalupahana (1975). Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. University Press of Hawaii. pp. 115–119. ISBN 978-0-8248-0298-1 . * ^ David J. Kalupahana (1975). Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism. University Press of Hawaii. p. 83. ISBN 978-0-8248-0298-1 . * ^ William H. Swatos; Peter Kivisto (1998). Encyclopedia of Religion and Society. Rowman Altamira. p. 66. ISBN 978-0-7619-8956-1 .
* ^ Bruce Mathews (1986). Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, ed.
Rebirth: Post Classical Developments. State University of New York
Press. pp. 123–126. ISBN 978-0-87395-990-2 .
* ^ James McDermott (1980). Wendy Doniger, ed.
Karma and Rebirth in
Classical Indian Traditions. University of California Press. pp.
168–170. ISBN 978-0-520-03923-0 .
* ^ Robert Buswell Dalai
Lama (1998). The Words of My Perfect
Teacher: A Complete Translation of a Classic Introduction to Tibetan
Buddhism. Rowman Altamira. pp. 61–99. ISBN 978-0-7619-9027-7 .
* ^ McClelland 2010 , pp. 40, 107.
* ^ Bryan J. Cuevas; Jacqueline Ilyse Stone (2007). The Buddhist
Dead: Practices, Discourses, Representations. University of Hawaii
Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN 978-0-8248-3031-1 .
* ^ A B Dalai
Lama 1992 , pp. 5-8.
* ^ A B Patrul
* ^ John Bowker. The Concise Oxford Dictionary of World Religions. 1997. Encyclopedia.com. 24 Nov. 2012 "Saṃsāra."; John Bowker (2014). God: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press. pp. 84–86. ISBN 978-0-19-870895-7 .
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the Buddha's First Teaching, Shambhala
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of the Buddha: A New Translation of the Majjhima Nikaya, Boston:
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