Reincarnation Essay

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Reincarnation

Although reincarnation is not a scientifically proven fact, its existence cannot be disproved either. Reincarnation is central to Buddhist philosophy. Without the existence of reincarnation, among other things, the law of karma would not hold, thus throwing into question almost all other tenets of Buddhism (Tibetan or otherwise). At the same time, Buddhism is a religion that asks practitioners to examine each of its beliefs closely before accepting them. Of all other world religions, Buddhism is probably the one that places the least importance on blind faith.

In the light of this belief, it would be interesting to explore the process of reincarnation scientifically. Through the last century, as Buddhism gained more
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Recorded in the Pali sutras, the Buddha is supposed to have said that no belief should be accepted simply "on the grounds of revelation, tradition or report, or because it is the product of mere reasoning … or because of a superficial assessment of the facts… or because of the prestige of your teacher."[1]

The Dalai Lama, speaking on this subject , reasserts these beliefs. He says that if some truth has been scientifically proven and if that fact is incompatible with Buddhist belief, then the Buddhist belief will have to be discarded. "There is no doubt," he says, "We must accept the result of scientific research."[2] Going on to provide examples, the Dalai Lama expressly mentions reincarnation and states that if it was ever proven that reincarnation did not exist, then all Buddhists must cease to believe in it. Buddhism is a religion that bases itself on facts alone.

The Dalai Lama also mentions that "when we investigate certain descriptions as they exist in our texts, we find that they do not correspond to reality. In such a case, we must accept reality and not the literal scriptural explanation."[3] This statement shows that Buddhist though differs greatly from that of Western religions such as Christianity, where much attention is paid to religious texts and every attempt is made to interpret the
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