Buddha's World

Karma in Buddhism: reincarnation and rebirth

In both Hinduism and Buddhism karma is the mechanism by which our next rebirth is 'decided'. This decision is not made by some external God, but by our own consciousness at the time of death. Unfortunately, we're usually not at our most aware at that moment, so our consciousness is just thrown where it happens to be.

Our consciousness continues patterns that have been created throughout our lives and that the last moment of this one is therefore pre-programmed to pick one of the options our previous moments of consciousness have made possible.

Rebirth is possible in all kinds of births: animal, human, God and hell-being. Thankfully, the latter can be interpreted figuratively, according to the famous Indian Buddhist philosopher Vasubandhu. In other words: we're in hell when we're suicidal, for instance. However, popular Buddhism does take the hells and other realms of existence literally.

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