The term reincarnation is still used in documentary films, books and paranormal phenomena. But when we talk about Buddhism, it also arouses our curiosity.
What is the connection between Buddhism and reincarnation ? Do Buddhists believe in it?
General information on reincarnation
From a general point of view, reincarnation can have several definitions but the meaning and meaning remain the same. WARCOLLLIER, author of the book Telepathydefines reincarnation as “a phenomenon by which bladeafter physical death, incarnates again in another human body (or successively in several), in order to continue his spiritual evolution. »
DURRY, the author of the book Nervaldefines it as ” New form of carnal life after death. » PROUST in his book entitled Guermantes asserts that reincarnation is a ” evocation of a person by another person who resembles him or reappears such and such in a different but analogous form to the previous one. Finally, etymologically, the word reincarnation is composed as follows: Re-in-carnation whose root is “carn” which means flesh, the idea is that the soul of a human body enters another human body.
Meaning of reincarnation according to Buddhism
In the Buddhism, the word reincarnation is rarely used. Buddhists more often use the term ” Renaissance “. As indicated above, the notion of reincarnation implies the existence of an immortal soul which passes from one body to another. As long as an individual is alive, his spirit and body are bound and separated only at his death. Each element has its own continuum. The body becomes a corpse, and the spirit remains immortal, it takes possession of another body. This involves the concept of life and death, that is to say that the individual exists when his mother gave birth to him, then disappears when he is dead. He then ceases to exist, but his soul continues to come alive.
According to Buddhism, reincarnation admits that human beings are born repeatedly to achieve complete liberation, especially that of ignorance. Indeed, at the moment of reincarnation, Karma intervenes and manifests itself in the form of imprints of our actions. In this regard, Buddha quoted: “There is nothing constant except change. »
The reincarnation of the Xth Panchen Lama
Serge-Christophe KOLM, the author of the book Happiness-freedomadmits that the reincarnation is a reality of the physical world which does not detach from the spiritual transcendent and is not an objective reality. To better understand reincarnation, the four consolations according to the Kalama Sutta indicate that its purpose in Buddhism is to end suffering.
The second consolation confirms this perception: “Suppose there is no hereafter and there is no fruit, result, deeds done, good or bad. Yet in this world, here and now, free from hate, free from wickedness, safe and sound, and happy, I stand. »
Furthermore, Buddha taught the Four Noble Truths which represent suffering, the cause of suffering, the cessation of suffering, and the path to suffering. This suffering is at the root of dissatisfaction in all its forms. Buddhists view rebirth, also known as reincarnation, as an opportunity to get out of the cycle of samsara.
The Hinayana Buddhist movement promotes personal awakening, the being thus becoming an Arhat and leaving samsara to reach Nirvana, while the Mahayana schools promote the altruistic awakening of the bodhisattva, the latter remaining voluntarily in samsara to help those around him glow up.
Reincarnation according to Tibetan Buddhism
Recognition of reincarnation is the peculiarity of Tibet. Tibetan Buddhists recognize the two types of reincarnation which are: reincarnation of the individual ordinary and the reincarnation of the Arya.
The first type is the reincarnation of an ordinary individual. Unlike Arya, she does not have this same freedom and must submit to rebirth.
The second type concerns Arya, which refers to the being who is not born again in Samsara, that is to say, who is not a prisoner of the existential cycle, because he is freed from the laws of karma. There are two categories of Arya: Arya who is Buddha and Arya who is not yet Buddha. For the latter, also called reincarnation of non-Arya, it includes, on the one hand, the SRAVAKAS or auditors and the PRATYEKA BUDDDHAS, both seek Samsara, that is to say the liberation from suffering and, d on the other hand, the bodhisattvas.
However, in the 12th century, in Tibet, it was customary to want reincarnated as certain characters. This is possible in the case of a deceased Master, sometimes his disciples wish it.
Tibetan tulkus and the principle of lineage of incarnations
There lineage of incarnations is mainly based on reincarnation according to Buddhism. It is a fundamental principle of Buddhism recognized and accepted by all Buddhists and practitioners. Certainly, this phenomenon of the lineage of incarnation originated in Tibet, but it did not occur with Buddhism.
Line Karmapa is the dominant lineage, a principle appeared at the same time as its foundation, the Tibetan Tulkus. The Dalai Lamas are Tulkus, they are important people in a Buddhist community. Those who are designated as Dalai Lamas have a great responsibility towards the Buddhist peoples. They have the power to identify a reincarnation through adherence to Buddhist precepts and the practices of the Buddha’s teachings. It is therefore the laity who have never failed in their duty and who have practiced compliant practices to those of the era of the Buddha.
Tibetan Buddhism has its own positions and its own religious hierarchy. These two characteristics were established under the Mongol Empire. At the same time, a master did not occupy the same place as a current master, as in the case of Master Milarepa. However, he has always been the Kagyu lineage holder till date. Within this line, there is another religious structure. The attribution of titles and functions therefore does not depend on experience or devotion to religion.