20140630

Reincarnation: Origen versus Buddhist (satire)

'If it can be shown that an incorporeal and reasonable being has life in itself independently of the body and that it is worse off in the body than out of it; then beyond a doubt bodies are only of secondary importance and arise from time to time to meet the varying conditions of reasonable creatures. Those who require bodies are clothed with them, and contrariwise, when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things, their bodies are once more annihilated. They are thus ever vanishing and ever reappearing.' — Origen, De Principiis

In Buddhism, transmigration of the consciousness-stream is taught as fact.

Since a consciousness is reborn in the Six Realms of Desire, most Buddhists either consciously choose to be reborn to aid other consciousnesses in achieving Nirvana or believe the only reason for transmigration in the Six Realms is due to one's karma e.g. good karma results in getting closer to Nirvana while evil karma results in rebirth in the Six Realms.

Indeed, we are born in human form to work off evil karma through transmigration of the consciousness-stream. Thus Nirvana is the end result of many lifetimes of good karma, for transmigration of the consciousness is no more. Good karma is the result of good actions arising from following the Buddhist precepts — protecting the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha, protecting your parents, protecting yourself by avoiding harm to self (no cursing, no unhealthy sexuality, no intoxicants).

Origen does not have it right, because he calls the consciousness "soul", implying a permanent thing that exists after death, throughout eons of transmigrations. Actually, a consciousness is not a soul, but lasts for a finite number of reincarnations until it achieves Nirvana.

Therefore the spiritual destiny of a Buddhist is to be eventually reborn as a Buddha.

Reference:

Rebirth: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rebirth_(Buddhism)

Apocatastasis: http://orthodoxwiki.org/Apocatastasis

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