SAṃSāRA is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change. It also refers to the theory of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental assumption of all Indian religions . _Saṃsāra_ is sometimes referred to with terms or phrases such as transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation , and "cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence".
The concept of _Saṃsāra_ has roots in the Vedic literature , but the theory is not discussed there. It appears in developed form, but without mechanistic details, in the early Upanishads . The full exposition of the _Saṃsāra_ doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism , as well as the various schools of Hindu philosophy , after about the mid 1st millennium BCE. The _Saṃsāra_ doctrine is tied to the Karma theory of Indian religions and the liberation from _Saṃsāra_ has been at the core of the spiritual quest of Indian traditions, as well as their internal disagreements. The liberation from _Saṃsāra_ is called Moksha , Nirvana , Mukti or Kaivalya.
* 1 Etymology and terminology * 2 Definition and rationale
* 3 History
* 3.1 Punarmrityu: redeath * 3.2 Evolution of ideas
* 4 Samsāra in Hinduism
* 4.1 Differences within the Hindu traditions
* 9 References
* 9.1 Bibliography
* 10 External links
ETYMOLOGY AND TERMINOLOGY
_Saṃsāra_ ( Sanskrit : संसार) is a term that means "wandering", as well as "world" wherein the term connotes "cyclic change". _Saṃsāra_ is a fundamental concept in all Indian religions , is linked to the karma theory, and refers to the belief that all living beings cyclically go through births and rebirths. The term is related to phrases such as "the cycle of successive existence", "transmigration", "karmic cycle", "the wheel of life", and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence". Many scholarly texts spell _Saṃsāra_ as _Samsara_.
According to Monier-Williams, _Saṃsāra_ is rooted in the term _Saṃsṛi_ (संसृ), which means "to go round, revolve, pass through a succession of states, to go towards or obtain, moving in a circuit". A conceptual form from this root appears in ancient texts as _Saṃsaraṇa_, which means "going around through a succession of states, birth, rebirth of living beings and the world", without obstruction. The term shortens to _Saṃsāra_, referring to the same concept, as a "passage through successive states of mundane existence", a transmigration, metempsychosis, a circuit of living where one repeats previous states, from one body to another, a worldly life of constant change, that is rebirth, growth, decay and redeath. The concept is then contrasted with the concept of moksha , also known as _mukti_, _nirvana_, _nibbana_ or _kaivalya_, which refers to liberation from this cycle of aimless wandering.
The concept of Samsara developed in the Vedic times, and is traceable in the Samhita layers such as in sections 1.164, 4.55, 6.70 and 10.14 of the Rigveda . While the idea is mentioned in the Samhita layers of the Vedas, there is lack of clear exposition there, and the idea fully develops in the early Upanishads . Damien Keown states that the notion of "cyclic birth and death" appears around 800 BCE. The word _Saṃsāra_ appears, along with Moksha , in several Principal Upanishads such as in verse 1.3.7 of the Katha Upanishad , verse 6.16 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad , verses 1.4 and 6.34 of the Maitri Upanishad .
The word _Samsara_ is related to _Saṃsṛiti_, the latter referring to the "course of mundane existence, transmigration, flow, circuit or stream".
DEFINITION AND RATIONALE
The word literally means "wandering through, flowing on", states Stephen J. Laumakis, in the sense of "aimless and directionless wandering". The concept of samsara is closely associated with the belief that the person continues to be born and reborn in various realms and forms.
The earliest layers of Vedic text incorporate the concept of life, followed by an afterlife in heaven and hell based on cumulative virtues (merit) or vices (demerit). However, the ancient Vedic Rishis challenged this idea of afterlife as simplistic, because people do not live an equally moral or immoral life. Between generally virtuous lives, some are more virtuous; while evil too has degrees, and the texts assert that it would be unfair for god Yama to judge and reward people with varying degrees of virtue or vices, in "either or" and disproportionate manner. They introduced the idea of an afterlife in heaven or hell in proportion to one's merit, and when this runs out, one returns and is reborn. This idea appears in ancient and medieval texts, as the cycle of life, death, rebirth and redeath, such as section 6:31 of the Mahabharata and section 6.10 of Devi Bhagavata Purana .
The historical origins of a concept of a cycle of repeated reincarnation are obscure but the idea appears in texts of both India and ancient Greece during the first millennium BCE.
The idea of Samsara is hinted in the early Vedic texts such as the Rigveda , but the theory is absent. The early textual layers of the Vedas mention and anticipate the doctrine of Karma and rebirth, however states Stephen Laumakis, the idea is not fully developed. It is in the early Upanishads where these ideas are more fully developed, but there too the discussion does not provide specific mechanistic details. The detailed doctrines flower with unique characteristics, starting around the mid 1st millennium BCE, in diverse traditions such as in Buddhism, Jainism and various schools of Hindu philosophy .
Some scholars state that the _Samsara_ doctrine may have originated from the Sramana traditions and was then adopted by the Brahmanical traditions (Hinduism). The evidence for who influenced whom in the ancient times, is slim and speculative, and the odds are the historic development of the Samsara theories likely happened in parallel with mutual influences.
While _Saṃsāra_ is usually described as rebirth and reincarnation of living beings, the chronological development of the idea over its history began with the questions on what is the true nature of human existence and whether people die only once. This led first to the concepts of _Punarmṛtyu_ ("redeath") and _Punaravṛtti_ ("return"). These early theories asserted that the nature of human existence involves two realities, one unchanging absolute Atman (soul) which is somehow connected to the ultimate unchanging immortal reality and bliss called Brahman , and that the rest is the always-changing subject (body) in a phenomenal world (Maya ). Redeath, in the Vedic theosophical speculations, reflected the end of "blissful years spent in _svarga_ or heaven", and it was followed by rebirth back in the phenomenal world. _Samsara_ developed into a foundational theory of the nature of existence, shared by all Indian religions.
Rebirth as a human being, states John Bowker, was then presented as a "rare opportunity to break the sequence of rebirth, thus attaining Moksha, release". Each Indian spiritual tradition developed its own assumptions and paths (_marga_ or _yoga_) for this spiritual release, with some developing the ideas of _ Jivanmukti _ (liberation and freedom in this life), while others content with _ Videhamukti _ (liberation and freedom in after-life). THE FIRST TRUTH
The first truth, suffering (Pali: dukkha; Sanskrit: duhkha), is characteristic of existence in the realm of rebirth, called samsara (literally “wandering”). —_Four Noble Truths _, Donald Lopez
The Sramanas traditions ( Buddhism and Jainism) added novel ideas, starting about the 6th century BCE. They emphasized human suffering in the larger context, placing rebirth, redeath and truth of pain at the center and the start of religious life. _Samsara_ was viewed by the Sramanas as a beginningless cyclical process with each birth and death as punctuations in that process, and spiritual liberation as freedom from rebirth and redeath. The samsaric rebirth and redeath ideas are discussed in these religions with various terms, such as _Āgatigati_ in many early Pali Suttas of Buddhism.
EVOLUTION OF IDEAS
Across different religions, different soteriology were emphasized as the _Saṃsāra_ theories evolved in respective Indian traditions. For example, in their _Saṃsāra_ theories, states Obeyesekere, the Hindu traditions accepted Atman or soul exists and asserted it to be the unchanging essence of each living being, while Buddhist traditions denied such a soul exists and developed the concept of _Anatta_. Salvation (moksha , mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality), while in Buddhism it (nirvana , nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).
The Ajivika tradition combined _Saṃsāra_ with the premise that there is no free will, while the Jainism tradition accepted the concept of soul (calling it _"jiva"_) with free will, but emphasized asceticism and cessation of action as a means of liberation from _Saṃsāra_ it calls bondage. The various sub-traditions of Hinduism, and of Buddhism, accepted free will, avoided asceticism, accepted renunciation and monastic life, and developed their own ideas on liberation through realization of the true nature of existence.
SAMSāRA IN HINDUISM
Release from Saṃsāra, or Moksha, is considered the ultimate spiritual goal in Hinduism, but its traditions disagree on how to reach this state. Left: Loving devotion is recommended in dualistic Hindu traditions. Right: Meditation is recommended in nondualistic Hindu traditions.
In Hinduism, _Saṃsāra_ is a journey of the soul. The body dies, assert the Hindu traditions, but not the soul which it assumes to be the eternal reality, indestructible and bliss. Everything and all existence is connected, cyclical and composed of two things, the soul and the body or matter. This eternal soul called _Atman_ never reincarnates, it does not change and cannot change in the Hindu belief. In contrast, the body and personality, can change, constantly changes, is born and dies. Current Karma impacts the future circumstances in this life, as well as the future forms and realms of lives. Good intent and actions lead to good future, bad intent and actions lead to bad future, in the Hindu view of life.
A virtuous life, actions consistent with dharma, are believed by Hindus to contribute to a better future, whether in this life or future lives. The aim of spiritual pursuits, whether it be through the path of bhakti (devotion), karma (work), jnana (knowledge), or raja (meditation) is self-liberation (moksha) from _Samsara_.
The Upanishads , part of the scriptures of the Hindu traditions, primarily focus on self-liberation from _Saṃsāra_. The Bhagavad Gita discusses various paths to liberation. The Upanishads, states Harold Coward, offer a "very optimistic view regarding the perfectibility of human nature", and the goal of human effort in these texts is a continuous journey to self-perfection and self-knowledge so as to end _Saṃsāra_. The aim of spiritual quest in the Upanishadic traditions is find the true self within and to know one's soul, a state that it believes leads to blissful state of freedom, moksha.
DIFFERENCES WITHIN THE HINDU TRADITIONS
All Hindu traditions and Darśanas share the concept of Saṃsāra, but they differ in details and what they describe the state of liberation from Saṃsāra to be. The Saṃsāra is viewed as the cycle of rebirth in a temporal world of always changing reality or Maya (appearance, illusive), Brahman is defined as that which never changes or Sat (eternal truth, reality), and moksha as the realization of Brahman and freedom from Saṃsāra.
The dualistic devotional traditions such as Madhvacharya 's Dvaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a theistic premise, assert the individual human soul and Brahman (Vishnu, Krishna) are two different realities, loving devotion to Vishnu is the means to release from Samsara, it is the grace of Vishnu which leads to moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable only in after-life (_videhamukti_). The nondualistic traditions such as Adi Shankara 's Advaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a monistic premise, asserting that the individual human soul and Brahman are identical, only ignorance, impulsiveness and inertia leads to suffering through Saṃsāra, in reality they are no dualities, meditation and self-knowledge is the path to liberation, the realization that one's soul is identical to Brahman is moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable in this life (_jivanmukti_).
SAṃSāRA IN JAINISM
In Jainism , the _Saṃsāra_ and Karma doctrine are central to its theological foundations, as evidenced by the extensive literature on it in the major sects of Jainism, and their pioneering ideas on karma and samsara from the earliest times of the Jaina tradition. _Saṃsāra_ in Jainism represents the worldly life characterized by continuous rebirths and suffering in various realms of existence.
The conceptual framework of the Saṃsāra doctrine differs between the Jainism traditions and other Indian religions. For instance, in Jaina traditions, soul (_jiva_) is accepted as a truth, as is assumed in the Hindu traditions, but not assumed in the Buddhist traditions. However, Saṃsāra or the cycle of rebirths, has a definite beginning and end in Jainism.
Souls begin their journey in a primordial state, and exist in a state of consciousness continuum that is constantly evolving through _Saṃsāra_. Some evolve to a higher state, some regress asserts the Jaina theory, a movement that is driven by the karma. Further, Jaina traditions believe that there exist _Abhavya_ (incapable), or a class of souls that can never attain moksha (liberation). The _Abhavya_ state of soul is entered after an intentional and shockingly evil act. Jainism considers souls as pluralistic each in a karma-samsara cycle, and does not subscribe to Advaita style nondualism of Hinduism, or Advaya style nondualism of Buddhism.
The Jaina theosophy, like ancient Ajivika , but unlike Hindu and Buddhist theosophies, asserts that each soul passes through 8,400,000 birth-situations, as they circle through _Saṃsāra_. As the soul cycles, states Padmanabh Jaini, Jainism traditions believe that it goes through five types of bodies: earth bodies, water bodies, fire bodies, air bodies and vegetable lives. With all human and non-human activities, such as rainfall, agriculture, eating and even breathing, minuscule living beings are taking birth or dying, their souls are believed to be constantly changing bodies. Perturbing, harming or killing any life form, including any human being, is considered a sin in Jainism, with negative karmic effects.
A liberated soul in Jainism is one who has gone beyond _Saṃsāra_, is at the apex, is omniscient, remains there eternally, and is known as a _Siddha_. A male human being is considered closest to the apex with the potential to achieve liberation, particularly through asceticism. Women must gain karmic merit, to be reborn as man, and only then can they achieve spiritual liberation in Jainism, particularly in the Digambara sect of Jainism; however, this view has been historically debated within Jainism and different Jaina sects have expressed different views, particularly the Shvetambara sect that believes that women too can achieve liberation from _Saṃsāra_.
In contrast to Buddhist texts which do not expressly or unambiguously condemn injuring or killing plants and minor life forms, Jaina texts do. Jainism considers it a bad karma to injure plants and minor life forms with negative impact on a soul's Saṃsāra. However, some texts in Buddhism and Hinduism do caution a person from injuring all life forms, including plants and seeds.
SAMSARA IN BUDDHISM
_Saṃsāra_ in Buddhism, states Jeff Wilson, is the "suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end". Also referred to as the wheel of existence (_Bhavacakra_), it is often mentioned in Buddhist texts with the term _punarbhava_ (rebirth, re-becoming); the liberation from this cycle of existence, _Nirvana_, is the foundation and the most important purpose of Buddhism.
Samsara is considered impermanent in Buddhism, just like other Indian religions. Karma drives this impermanent Samsara in Buddhist thought, states Paul Williams, and "short of attaining enlightenment, in each rebirth one is born and dies, to be reborn elsewhere in accordance with the completely impersonal causal nature of one's own karma; This endless cycle of birth, rebirth, and redeath is _Saṃsāra_". The Four Noble Truths , accepted by all Buddhist traditions, are aimed at ending this Samsara-related re-becoming (rebirth) and associated cycles of suffering.
Like Jainism, Buddhism developed its own Samsara theory, that evolved over time the mechanistic details on how the wheel of mundane existence works over the endless cycles of rebirth and redeath. In early Buddhist traditions, _Saṃsāra_ cosmology consisted of five realms through which wheel of existence recycled. This included hells (_niraya_), hungry ghosts (_pretas_), animals (_tiryak_), humans (_manushya_), and gods (_devas_, heavenly). In latter traditions, this list grew to a list of six realms of rebirth, adding demi-gods (_asuras_). The "hungry ghost, heavenly, hellish realms" respectively formulate the ritual, literary and moral spheres of many contemporary Buddhist traditions.
The Saṃsāra concept, in Buddhism, envisions that these six realms are interconnected, and everyone cycles life after life, through these realms, because of a combination of ignorance, desires and purposeful karma , or ethical and unethical actions. Nirvana is typically described as the freedom from rebirth and the only alternative to suffering of _Samsara_, in Buddhism. However, the Buddhist texts developed a more comprehensive theory of rebirth, states Steven Collins, from fears of redeath, called _amata_ (death-free), a state which is considered synonymous with nirvana.
SAṅSāRA IN SIKHISM
Sikhism incorporates the concepts of _Saṃsāra_ (sometimes spelled as Sansara in Sikh texts), _Karma_ and cyclical nature of time and existence. Founded in the 15th century, its founder Guru Nanak had a choice between the cyclical concept of ancient Indian religions and the linear concept of early 7th-century Islam, and he chose the cyclical concept of time, state Cole and Sambhi. However, states Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair, there are important differences between the _Saṅsāra_ concept in Sikhism from the _Saṃsāra_ concept in many traditions within Hinduism. The difference is that Sikhism firmly believes in the grace of God as the means to salvation, and its precepts encourage the bhakti of One Lord for _mukti_ (salvation).
Sikhism, like the three ancient Indian traditions, believes that body is perishable, there is a cycle of rebirth, and that there is suffering with each cycle of rebirth. These features of Sikhism, along with its belief in Saṃsāra and the grace of God, is similar to some bhakti-oriented sub-traditions within Hinduism such as those found in Vaishnavism . Sikhism does not believe that ascetic life, as recommended in Jainism, is the path to liberation. Rather, it cherishes social engagement and householder's life combined with devotion to the One God as Guru, to be the path of liberation from _Saṅsāra_.
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ISBN 978-0-595-50524-1 . * ^ Christopher Chapple (1986), Karma and creativity, State University of New York Press, ISBN 0-88706-251-2 , pages 60-64 * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler 1997 , p. 11. * ^ _A_ _B_ Flood, Gavin (2009-08-24). " Hindu concepts". _BBC Online _. BBC . Archived from the original on 2014-04-11. Retrieved 2015-07-31. * ^ George D. Chryssides; Benjamin E. Zeller (2014). _The Bloomsbury Companion to New Religious Movements_. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 333. ISBN 978-1-4411-9829-7 . * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler 1997 , pp. 111-112. * ^ Yong Choon Kim; David H. Freeman (1981). _Oriental Thought: An Introduction to the Philosophical and Religious Thought of Asia_. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-0-8226-0365-8 . * ^ Jack Sikora (2002). _Religions of India: A User Friendly and Brief Introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and the Jains_. iUniverse. pp. 17–19. ISBN 978-1-4697-1731-9 . * ^ Harold Coward 2008 , p. 129. * ^ Harold Coward 2008 , pp. 129, also see pages 130-155. * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler (1997). _Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices_. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 10–12, 132–137. ISBN 978-1-898723-60-8 . * ^ H Chaudhuri (1954), The Concept of Brahman in Hindu Philosophy, Philosophy East and West, 4(1), pages 47-66 * ^ M. Hiriyanna (1995). _The Essentials of Indian Philosophy_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 24–25, 160–166. ISBN 978-81-208-1330-4 . * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler (2002). _Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism_. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 340–347, 373–375. ISBN 978-1-898723-93-6 . * ^ Jeaneane D. Fowler (2002). _Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism_. Sussex Academic Press. pp. 238–240, 243–245, 249–250, 261–263, 279–284. ISBN 978-1-898723-93-6 . * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 217-236. * ^ _A_ _B_ Paul Dundas (2003). _The Jains_. Routledge. pp. 14–16, 102–105. ISBN 978-0415266055 . * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 226-228. * ^ _A_ _B_ Tara Sethia (2004). _Ahimsā, Anekānta, and Jainism_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 30–31. ISBN 978-81-208-2036-4 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , p. 226. * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , p. 227. * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 227-228. * ^ _A_ _B_ Paul Dundas (2003). _The Jains_. Routledge. pp. 104–105. ISBN 978-0415266055 . * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , p. 225. * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , p. 228. * ^ Padmanabh S. Jaini (2000). _Collected Papers on Jaina Studies_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 130–131. ISBN 978-81-208-1691-6 . * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 223-224. * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 224-225. * ^ Padmanabh Jaini 1980 , pp. 222-223. * ^ Jeffery D Long (2013). _Jainism: An Introduction_. I.B.Tauris. pp. 36–37. ISBN 978-0-85773-656-7 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Graham Harvey (2016). _Religions in Focus: New Approaches to Tradition and Contemporary Practices_. Routledge. pp. 182–183. 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* ^ Christopher Chapple (1990), Ecological Nonviolence and the Hindu Tradition, in _Perspectives on Nonviolence_, Springer, ISBN 978-1-4612-4458-5 , pages 168-177; L Alsdorf (1962), Beiträge zur Geschichte von Vegetarismus und Rinderverehrung in Indien, Akademie der Wissenschaften und der Literatur, F. Steiner Wiesbaden, pages 592-593 * ^ Patrul Rinpoche; 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 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ _E_ _F_ _G_ Jeff Wilson (2010). _ Saṃsāra and Rebirth, in Buddhism_. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195393521 . doi :10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0141 . * ^ Edward Conze (2013). _Buddhist Thought in India: Three Phases of Buddhist Philosophy_. Routledge. p. 71. ISBN 978-1-134-54231-4 . , QUOTE: " Nirvana is the _raison d’être_ of Buddhism, and its ultimate justification." * ^ Gethin 1998 , p. 119. * ^ Williams 2002 , pp. 74-75. * ^ Paul Williams, Anthony Tribe & Alexander Wynne 2012 , pp. 30–42. * ^ Robert Buswell Jr. & Donald Lopez Jr. 2013 , pp. 304-305. * ^ Peter Harvey (2015). Steven M. Emmanuel, ed. _A Companion to Buddhist Philosophy_. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 26–44. ISBN 978-1-119-14466-3 . QUOTE: "the first features described as painful in the above DCPS quote are basic biological aspects of being alive, each of which can be traumatic. The dukkha of these is compounded by the rebirth perspective of Buddhism, for this involves repeated re-birth, re-aging, re-sickness, and re-death." * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Kevin Trainor (2004). _Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide_. Oxford University Press. pp. 62–63. ISBN 978-0-19-517398-7 . ; QUOTE: "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". * ^ Dalai Lama 1992 , pp. xi-xii, 5-16. * ^ Robert DeCaroli (2004). _Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism_. Oxford University Press. pp. 94–103. ISBN 978-0-19-803765-1 . * ^ Akira Sadakata (1997). _Buddhist Cosmology: Philosophy and Origins_. Kōsei Publishing 佼成出版社, Tokyo. pp. 68–70. ISBN 978-4-333-01682-2 . * ^ _A_ _B_ Steven Collins (2010). _Nirvana: Concept, Imagery, Narrative_. Cambridge University Press. p. 38. ISBN 978-0-521-88198-2 . * ^ Carl B. Becker (1993). _Breaking the Circle: Death and the Afterlife in Buddhism_. Southern Illinois University Press. pp. viii, 57–59. ISBN 978-0-8093-1932-9 . * ^ Frank J. Hoffman (2002). _Rationality and Mind in Early Buddhism_. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 103–106. ISBN 978-81-208-1927-6 . * ^ _A_ _B_ _C_ _D_ Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair (2013). _Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed_. Bloomsbury Academic. pp. 145–146, 181, 220. ISBN 978-1-4411-5366-1 . * ^ _A_ _B_ W.O. Cole; Piara Singh Sambhi (2016). _Sikhism and Christianity: A Comparative Study_. Springer. pp. 13–14. ISBN 978-1-349-23049-5 . * ^ Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair (2013). _Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed_. Bloomsbury Academic. p. 176. ISBN 978-1-4411-5366-1 . * ^ H. S. Singha (2000). _The Encyclopedia of Sikhism_. Hemkunt Press. pp. 68, 80. ISBN 978-81-7010-301-1 . * ^ Pashaura Singh; Louis E. Fenech (2014). _The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies_. Oxford University Press. pp. 231, 607. ISBN 978-0-19-100411-7 . * ^ James Thrower (1999). _Religion: The Classical Theories_. Georgetown University Press. p. 40. ISBN 978-0-87840-751-4 . * ^ J. S. Grewal (2006). _Religious Movements and Institutions in Medieval India_. Oxford University Press. pp. 394–395. ISBN 978-0-19-567703-4 . * ^ Pashaura Singh; Louis E. Fenech (2014). _The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies_. Oxford University Press. pp. 230–231. ISBN 978-0-19-100411-7 .
* John Geeverghese Arapura (1986). _Hermeneutical Essays on Vedāntic Topics_. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-81-208-0183-7 . * Buitenen, J. A. B. Van (1957). " Dharma and Moksa". _Philosophy East and West_. 7 (1/2): 33. doi :10.2307/1396832 . * John Bowker (2014). _God: A Very Short Introduction_. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-870895-7 . * Robert Buswell Jr.; Donald Lopez Jr. (2013). _The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism_. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-1-4008-4805-8 . * Harold Coward (2008). _The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought: The Central Story_. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-7336-8 . * Harold Coward (2012). _Religious Understandings of a Good Death in Hospice Palliative Care_. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-1-4384-4275-4 . * Dalal, Roshen (2010). _Hinduism: An Alphabetical Guide_. Penguin Books. ISBN 978-0-14-341421-6 . * Mircea Eliade (1987). _The encyclopedia of religion_. Macmillan. ISBN 978-0-02-909480-8 . * Jeaneane D. Fowler (1997). _Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices_. Sussex Academic Press. ISBN 978-1-898723-60-8 . * Jessica Frazier; Gavin Flood (2011). _The Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies_. Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 978-0-8264-9966-0 . * Gethin, Rupert (1998), _Foundations of Buddhism_, Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0192892232 * Padmanabh Jaini (1980). Wendy Doniger, ed. _ Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions_. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03923-0 . * Mark Juergensmeyer; Wade Clark Roof (2011). _Encyclopedia of Global Religion_. SAGE Publications. ISBN 978-1-4522-6656-5 . * Damien Keown (2004). _A Dictionary of Buddhism_. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-157917-2 . * Klaus Klostermaier (2010). _A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition_. State University of New York Press. ISBN 978-0-7914-8011-3 . * Dalai Lama (1992), _The Meaning of Life, translated and edited by Jeffrey Hopkins_, Wisdom, ISBN 978-1459614505 * Stephen J. Laumakis (2008). _An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy_. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-139-46966-1 . * Lochtefeld, James (2002). _The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Vol. 2: N-Z_. Rosen Publishing. ISBN 978-0-8239-2287-1 . * Michael Myers (2013). _Brahman: A Comparative Theology_. Routledge. ISBN 978-1-136-83565-0 . * Obeyesekere, Gananath (1980). Wendy Doniger, ed. _ Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions_. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-03923-0 . * Obeyesekere, Gananath (2005). Wendy Doniger, ed. _ Karma and Rebirth: A Cross Cultural Study_. Motilal Banarsidass. ISBN 978-8120826090 . * Stephen Phillips (2009). _Yoga, Karma, and Rebirth: A Brief History and Philosophy_. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0-231-51947-2 . * Williams, Paul (2002), _Buddhist Thought_, Routledge, ISBN 0-415207010 * Paul Williams; Anthony Tribe; Alexander Wynne (2012), _Buddhist Thought_, Routledge, ISBN 978-1-136-52088-4
* Samsara (Hinduism), Georgetown University * Reincarnation: A Simple Explanation * The Wheel of Life, C. George Boeree, Shippensburg University * The difference between Samsara and Nirvana, Minnesota State University, Mankato * Saṃsāra and Rebirth, Buddhism, Oxford Bibliographies
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* Atheism * Atomism * Idealism * Logic * Monotheism * Vedic philosophy