Tod, Wiedergeburt und Nirvana im Buddhismus : Was kommt nach dem „achtfachen Pfad“?

Der Glaube an eine Wiedergeburt hat vor allem in Westeuropa und in den USA an Popularität gewonnen. Rainer Neu beleuchtet das Konzept der Wiedergeburt im Buddhismus auf der Grundlage der ältesten Überlieferungen.

When Buddha Gautama died of a digestive complaint, these were his final words: “All conditioned things are subject to decay. Attain perfection through diligence!” The Buddha mentioned neither rebirth nor nirvana, he just pointed to the eternal becoming and passing of life. His central insight was of the impermanence and interdependence of everything. This idea of continual change and universal causation led him to reject the idea of a permanent soul in the individual (ātman) and an eternal cosmic power (brāhman). Nevertheless, Gautama shared the Indian doctrine of reincarnation as a consequence of deeds in past lives. But for him, reincarnation did not mean personal rebirth as a continuation of individual characteristics. Early Buddhism taught reincarnation without transmigration of souls (the an-atman doctrine). There is no subject of rebirth. Karma is best understood as energy, and this energy leads to the continuation of becoming and ceasing and to the development of new life. Those who do not understand the law of karma are damned to continue the cycle of life (samsara). The enlightened ones, however, have learned to purify their minds and to act without greed or even intentions. In this way the enlightened ones will wipe out the effects of their past actions; they will no longer contribute to the contin-uation of life and fade away to the final liberation of nirvana.

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