Sciamachy (sciamachy) wrote in sangha,

Bouncing an idea

There's a meme going round, one of those little survey thingies, which asks the question "What would you like to be reincarnated as?"

Now, I'm not quite sure what the Buddhist stance on reincarnation is - I mean, I know samsara's an endless cycle of suffering so ideally we're aiming not to get reincarnated at all, but having read Jiho Sargent's "Asking about Zen", I found I was left with more questions - like, how exactly does reincarnation work? Sargent-san explains it that our atoms of course are not destroyed and so they get taken up eventually in other living organisms, so in a sense we're physically incorporated into everything - or at least many, many different forms (all of which are as fleeting as our current human state) - so strictly speaking you don't get reincarnated "as a bear", "as a person" or whatever - or more accurately, you get reincarnated as a bear, person, amoeba, rock, saint, piece of a car and millions of other forms *at the same time*.

But how does that explain reincarnation of bodhisattvas (who appear to be complete individuals)like the Dalai Lama? I guess it revolves around the idea of the soul as seperate and immortal, which to me is very much a judeo-christian idea...

Is this where faith is involved? Does Zen believe in the whole bodhisattva thing, or is that part of other Buddhist traditions?
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