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Rebirth in Buddhism The question of the human destiny after death is probably one of the most profound questions one contemplates Now many people simply dismiss this question as irrelevant or unimportant However if we take time and reflect on the extent to which our views influence our lives and actions we see that it is quite essential to gain some understanding and insight into the way our lives unfold Furthermore our views on the afterlife help to determine what we regard as important and unimportant in this our present life There are three major positions of the human destiny after death These three directly correlate to ones religious beliefs One position the outlook of materialism simply denies that there is an afterlife It says that the human being consists of nothing but organic matter It regards mind as a byproduct of organic matter and after death with the break up of the physical body all consciousness ends and the life process is completely and utterly over The second alternative is the view held in western religious traditions such as Judaism Christianity and Islam These religions believe that there is an eternal afterlife in heaven hell According to these religions we live a single life on earth and after death we live eternally in some state of existence determined by our present beliefs and conduct Then there is a third view which predominates in the religious traditions of the east such as Hinduism and Buddhism This is the idea of rebirth or reincarna tion Buddhists understand life as samsara meaning perpetual wandering and describe the transition like a billiard ball hitting another billiard ball While nothing physical transfers the speed and direction of the second ball relate directly to the first acay It signifies the repetitive cycle of birth aging death and rebirth Though Buddhism and Hinduism share the idea of rebirth the Buddhist differs in some details from that
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