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reincarnation


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Term generally avoided by writers on Buddhism since it implies the existence of an immortal soul (ātman) that is periodically incarnated in a fleshly host, a notion more proper to Hinduism. By contrast, Buddhism denies the existence of an immortal soul and does not accept the dualistic opposition between spirit and matter it presupposes. Accordingly, the English term preferred by Buddhist writers to designate the dynamic and constantly changing continuity of the individual from one life to the next is ‘rebirth’. Neither this term nor ‘reincarnation’ has a direct Sanskrit equivalent, and Indian sources speak instead of ‘rebecoming’ (Skt., punarbhava) or ‘repeated death’ (Skt., punarmṛtyu).

Subjects: Religion.


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