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The concept of Reincarnation in Hinduism and Buddhism: Read On!

In Hinduism, it is believed that a soul is reincarnated not only to serve negative karma but also to get rewards for the positive

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Buddhist Wheel of Life. Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications
  • The core values of Buddhism also do not necessitate any deities (including Gautama Buddha), while Hinduism is known for at least 33 million of them
  • Hinduism does not teach ideas of rebirth of a physical being, but that of the inner soul, or atma
  • Buddhism does not believe in reincarnation but rather in rebirth

Hinduism and Buddhism are both very popular religious philosophies across India. However, there are a lot of core differences in both. For instance, Buddhism does not require any priests or rituals of any kind. The core values of Buddhism also do not necessitate any deities (including Gautama Buddha), while Hinduism is known for at least 33 million of them. Aside from the differences, there are various ways in which the two ideologies are also similar. One that resonates the most with the question of existence is reincarnation, the notion of life after death. But the idea of reincarnation itself is also different in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications
Image source: Himalayan Academy Publications

Reincarnation in Hinduism

Hinduism does not teach ideas of the rebirth of a physical being, but that of the inner soul, or atma. The atma is the entity that is regenerated, and it can take any form of life – human, animal, plant, or even mineral. This idea of a universal cycle of birth and death is called samsara and was developed in India circa 1500BC. It is meant to be an opportunity to work off bad deeds, or karma. This not only includes visible actions, but also inner thoughts, beliefs and ignorance. The higher the number of bad deeds worked off during samsara, the higher the probability of the soul attaining a higher being, or avatar, during rebirth.

Hinduism also says that a soul is reincarnated not only to serve negative karma but also to get rewards for the positive. Another reason is to achieve the hearts unfulfilled desires, for example, the attachment, maya, to other humans or animals. Therefore, to be freed from samsara one needs to let go off all Maya and worldly pleasures and desire nothing. When a soul is free from desire, it will finally achieve moksha and live in a transcendent state for eternity.

Rebirth in Buddhism

Buddhism does not believe in reincarnation but rather in rebirth. The difference from Hindu ideology is that Buddhism does not believe that the soul is indestructible or eternal. In essence, there is nothing that goes through life, death or rebirth. Rather, all energy and matter is thought of as universal and returns to the universe after death. Under the right instances. energy and matter from the universe come together again to make a new-born. This energy is thought of as the consciousness, or the creative principal, in beings and is believed to be connected.

Like moksha, a transcendent state exists even in Buddhism wherein all being are free from the cycle of rebirth. This is called Nirvana and is also achieved by freeing oneself from all material and psychological desires. The more sinless life a being leads, the higher the chances of being born again with an advanced conscious. The advanced consciousness, by default, provides the advantage of freeing oneself from desire and attaining Nirvana.

– by Varsha Gupta of NewsGram. Twitter: @VarshaGupta94

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Westerners Adopt Indian Practices, Deny Giving Due Credits

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument.

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Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to protect our own heritage and Dharma. Hindu Council Of Australia

By Shashi Holla (WA) and Surinder Jain

Colonial or a white supremacy mind set may be clever enough to adopt Hindu practices but denies giving credit where it is due. Stealing Hindu Intellectual Property, they do not hesitate to rename and repackage so that they can sell it back to India for immense profits. Off course, they will leave no chance to tell Indians to stop their superstitious ways and to adopt the new scientific knowledge which “they” have “invented”.

Following has been already digested or appropriated by West. Some of the Western academics don’t believe that they belong to India.

Yoga Nidra   AS  Lucid Dreaming

Nadi Shodhana AS Alternate Nostrils Breathing

Vipassana  AS Mindfulness.

The latest addition to this list is

Pranamyam AS Cardiac Coherence Breathing

Several researchers have reported that pranayama techniques are beneficial in treating a range of stress-related disorders.[29] But the latest attempt has taken the appropriation too far. An American magazine “Scientific American” in its article titled “Proper Breathing Brings Better health” termed “Pranayama” as cardiac coherence breathing. (15 January 2019). The article gives us an idea about how West is so sophisticated in stealing knowledge from ancient cultures particularly Hinduism.

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Man doing Yoga. Wikimedia Commons

Prāṇāyāma is mentioned in verse 4.29 of the Bhagavad Gītā.[11] According to Bhagavad-Gītā As It Is, prāṇāyāma is translated to “trance induced by stopping all breathing”, also being made from the two separate Sanskrit words, prāṇa and āyām.[12] Pranayama is the fourth “limb” of the eight limbs of Ashtanga Yoga mentioned in verse 2.29 in the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali.[14][15] Patanjali, a Hindu Rishi, discusses his specific approach to pranayama in verses 2.49 through 2.51, and devotes verses 2.52 and 2.53 to explaining the benefits of the practice.[16] Many yoga teachers advise that pranayama should be part of an overall practice that includes the other limbs of Patanjali’s Raja Yoga teachings, especially Yama, Niyama, and Asana.[18]

“Pranayama” a department of Yogic science practiced and documented 5000 years back ( even 15,000 years back) by Rishis is not even acknowledged by the author of the article. If one read the article they vaguely suggest that breathing exercises also existed in China, Hindu and in Greek culture.  This is how appropriation of ancient techniques takes place by West.  As Sankrat Sanu an entrepreneur, researcher and writer put it in his tweet “after erasing the origin they claim it as their own invention, attack original traditions as Superstition”.

As famous Indian American Author Rajiv Malhotra summarizes: “The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”. Its time Indians in general and Hindus in particular should be vigilant and should have an academic mind set to respond to such misadventures to  protect our own heritage and Dharma.

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The article standardizes cardiac coherence breathing as Chinese, Hindu, Greek and various traditions as equal origins, and then modern West turns it into science”.  Pixabay

There is an argument by some Hindu liberals thinking “what the problem in it”? They think our knowledge is globalized by West in the same way we consume inventions of the West. But it’s a very naïve argument. West has created an eco system and mechanism in which their knowledge system is Well protected and patented by international norms. Unless West does not give a new name and fits into their framework native wisdom is not recognized in academia and media. Whereas Hindus were generous in sharing their health techniques freely from millennium never thought they will struggle in proving things which belong to them. In fact in a westernized framework of Yoga and other techniques Indian scholars, insiders and practitioners are blatantly ignored. So our own knowledge will be repackaged and exported back to us at an extra price and conditions.

Also Read: Climate Change Will Melt Vast Parts of Himalayas: Study

Many of our practices are being called to be Biofeedback systems. According to WikipediaBiofeedback systems have been known in India and some other countries for millennia. Ancient Hindu practices like yoga and Pranayama (breathing techniques) are essentially biofeedback methods. Many yogis and sadhus have been known to exercise control over their physiological processes. In addition to recent research on Yoga, Paul Brunton, the British writer who travelled extensively in India, has written about many cases he has witnessed. (Hindu Council Of Australia)