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Buddhist without belief in reincarnation?

(11 Posts)
CheekyMaleekey Wed 05-Aug-15 23:08:19

Or is that a contradiction in terms?

I'm fascinated in Buddhist teachings and the lack of religion, deity etc really appeals to me. I don't believe in reincarnation or karma though.

Can I still class myself as Buddhist, even though reincarnation is central to the philosophy?

VelvetGreen Wed 05-Aug-15 23:58:23

Not a contradiction at all. Have a look at the Secular Buddhist Association website. There are many schools of thought in Buddhism and many heated discussions about which way is right, but you will not be alone in rejecting the notions of karma and reincarnation.

VulcanWoman Thu 06-Aug-15 19:06:05

I don't think anyone needs to class or label themselves as anything, it's best to just be.

CheekyMaleekey Fri 07-Aug-15 23:20:07

Thanks both.

The Secular Buddhist Association looks great, thank you for the tip.

cockneydad Sat 22-Aug-15 21:04:41

Long term Buddhist here, nothing much more to add! Rebirth can be considered in a number of ways, as can karma. The secular Buddhist approach takes the emphasis of a lot of the mythology and cosmology of Buddhist theory. Buddhism is more about perspective than anything and is supposed to be a way of understanding stress (or suffering) and working with it, rather than being a rigid belief system. A very brief summary(!) is 'see, know and let go', i.e. understand the ways things are and allow them to be. Meditation helps with this.

cockneydad Sat 22-Aug-15 21:20:16

... takes the emphasis 'off' I meant...

goblinhat Mon 24-Aug-15 12:47:23

Why do you need to call yourself anything?

cockneydad Sat 29-Aug-15 16:42:29

The other thing OP is that the term 'Buddhist' is a modern western one. A lot Buddhists see themselves as someone who practices the methods recommended by the Buddha to reduce suffering and increase well being, i.e. someone who practices 'Buddha-Dharma'. Buddhism doesn't have a creed and you do not have to call yourself 'Buddhist' - although I find it easier to say that I am, rather than try to explain myself in great detail!

rogueantimatter Tue 15-Sep-15 22:29:12

I'm (kind of) a newbie Buddhist and I don't believe in re-incarnation. The Buddha himself is said to not have been concerned with 'metaphysics'.

IMO karma is a psychological idea roughly translating to the idea that behaviour that arises from the intent to be compassionate/kind results in a peaceful state of mind and the ripple effect on the recipient(s) of compassionate behaviour will benefit everyone (and therefore yourself). Actions have consequences even if only on yourself.

cockneydad Tue 22-Sep-15 19:50:34

The idea of rebirth is tied up to kamma and dependent origination. Because we tend not understand/accept that all objects/psychological states ('conditional phenomena') are impermanent (i.e. they are always changing), we tend to grasp onto them and make value judgments (not want 'good' things to go, or 'bad' ones to stay) and this clinging or 'stickiness' leads to stress and negative thoughts and/or actions (kamma) and our sense of self is reborn. This is 'moment to moment' rebirth in everyday life, as we get, or don't get what 'we' (the ego) wants. Mindfulness practice helps us see how this works and lets us take refuge in (1) the way things are - the dhamma; (2) our own sense of knowing, or intuitive awareness, the Buddho (that which knows, not the personality) and (3) the sangha - our friends that are also trying to development mindfulness and positive/skillful states such as loving-kindness, compassion, sympathetic joy and equanimity. At least, that's my take on it ! Regardless of how consciousness operates, 'something' tends not to become nothing. Certainly it's easier to accept that the matter we are made of transforms to something else (worm food/smoke and ash or soil), not so easy with consciousness (at least for many folk, unless you have experienced clear past-life memories in one of the refined meditation states).

cockneydad Tue 22-Sep-15 19:53:01

should have also added that no-one (including scientists - which includes me, although it's not my research area) really knows what consciousness is. We know we have 'it' and others appear to, as we can reflect on the way reality is (and invent things are not real).

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