Buddhism from a Christian Standpoint

buddhism_devotion

 

  1. What is Buddhism?
  2. Who is Buddha?
  3. What is karma and reincarnation?
  4. Theory explains phenomena.
  5. Reincarnation is a theory
  6. Reincarnation contradicts the phenomenon of mediums invoking the spirit of the dead.
  7. Spirit possession theory explains all these phenomena.
  8. Demon possession.
  9. Deception.
  10. Works versus grace.
  11. Conclusion.

 1. What is Buddhism.

Buddhism is a widespread Asian religion or philosophy founded by Siddartha Gautama (Buddha; 563 – 460 BC) in north east India in the 5th century BC, which teaches that elimination of the self and earthly desires is the route to enlightenment.

There are two main schools of thought in Buddhism, the Theravada and the Mahayana,

Theravada Buddhists believe they must personally eradicate their mental defilements and develop all the great virtues in order to gain their final salvation by following the method and example prescribed by the Buddha. They respect Bodhisattvas but do not regard them as saviours.

In the Mahayana school of thought, the Bodhisattvas play an important role by showing others the path to attain Nibbana. A Bodhisattva is a person who is able to be released from Samsara and reaching Nibbana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.

The practice of Buddhism has been modified by local customs, producing distinct varieties of worship. They include the Indian, Tibetan, Ceylonese (Sri Lankan), Burmese, Thai, Cambodian, Chinese and  Japanese varieties. It is claimed that the Siddhartha Gautama’s way of life and doctrine were substantially different from the Hindu (Vedic and Brahmanism) believing people in India. Yet he embraced the Hindu beliefs of Karma and rebirth explaining it as a natural law of cause and effect. Hence Buddhism is often considered as an off-shoot of Hinduism because it shares with Hinduism its core beliefs of Karma and reincarnation. It also shares many common terms, some of which are:  Dharma, Samsara, Mantra, Samadhi and Aum.

What distinguishes it from Hinduism is that it does not invoke the existence of gods.

Although claiming to be non theistic, yet the practice of Buddhism involves worship of the statue or image of Siddhartha Gautama. Buddhists claim is that these images are not idols but are symbolic representations of his great qualities

One of his original concepts is that of dependent origination. It claims that that life or the world is built on a set of relations, in which the arising and cessation of factors depend on some other factors which condition them so that all phenomena in this universe are relative, conditioned states and do not arise independently of supportive conditions. Hence Buddhism does not support the concept of a creator or first cause. Since everything is conditioned, relative, and interdependent, there is nothing in this world which could be regarded as a permanent entity, variously regarded as an ego or an eternal soul.

This provided the basis for another original concept called the Anatta doctrine, interpreted as the absence of a distinct soul, self and ego for each person. Yet he was of the opinion that the sum total of the Karma in the form of a consciousness for each person is distinct and continues after bodily death by reincarnating in another body. He introduced the idea of the Four Noble Truths, Suffering, the Arising of Suffering, the ceasing of Suffering, and the approach to the ceasing of Suffering.

Another original concept introduced  is The Eightfold path of a righteous life consisting of Right Speech, Sila Right Action Morality, Right Livelihood, Right Effort, Samadhi Right Mindfulness Mental culture, Right Concentration, Right Understanding, Panna Right Thoughts Wisdom. The adherence to this path would bring a Buddhist devotee closer to the salvation called Nibbana.

In Buddhism, there is no such thing as sin as explained by other religions. Sin is merely unskilful or unwholesome action resulting in further suffering in the present life or future lives.  His rejection of the caste system appealed especially to the untouchables.

buddhist-thought 

2. Who is Buddha

A Buddhist apologist, K.Sri Dhammananda describes Buddha as follows:

Gautama Buddha, the founder of what came to be known as Buddhism, lived in Northern India in the 6th century B.C. His personal name was Siddhartha, and family name Gotama. The name ‘Buddha’ was given to Him after He attained Enlightenment and realized the Truth. It means the ‘Awakened’ or the ‘Enlightened One’. He generally called Himself the Tathagata, while His followers called Him Bhagava, the Blessed One. Others spoke of Him as Gotama or Sakyamuni.

He was born a prince who seemed to have everything. He had a luxurious upbringing and His family was of pure descent on both sides. He was the heir to the throne, extremely handsome, inspiring trust, stately and gifted with great beauty of complexion and fine presence. At sixteen He married His cousin named Yasodhara who bore Him a son whom they called Rahula. His wife was majestic, cheerful day and night, and full of dignity and grace.

Despite all this, He felt trapped amidst the luxury like a bird in a golden cage. During a visit to the city one day, He saw what is known as the ‘Four Sights‘, that is , an old man, a sick man, a dead man, and a holy recluse. When He saw the sights, one after another, the realization came to Him that, ‘it is subject to age and death’. He asked, ‘Where is the realm of life in which there is neither age nor death?’ The sight of the recluse, who was calm for having given up the craving for material life, gave him the clue that the first step in His search for Truth was Renunciation.

Determined to find the way out of these universal sufferings, He decided to leave home to find the cure not for Himself only, but for all mankind. One night in His twenty-ninth year, He bade His sleeping wife and son a silent farewell, saddled His great white horse, and rode off toward the forest.

His renunciation is unprecedented in history. He left at the height of youth, from pleasures to difficulties, from certainty of material security to uncertainty, from a position of wealth and power to that of a wandering ascetic who took shelter in the cave and forest, with His ragged robe as the only protection against the blazing sun, rain and winter winds. He renounced His position, wealth, promise of prestige and power, and a life filled with love and hope in exchange for the search for Truth which no one had found.

For six long years, He labored to find the Truth. He studied under the foremost masters of the day, and learned all these religious teachers could teach Him. When He could not find what He was looking for, He joined a band of ascetics and tortured His body so as to break its power and crush its interference, since it was believed that Truth could be found this way. A man of enormous energy and will power, He outdid other ascetics in every austerity they proposed. While fasting, He ate so little that when He took hold of the skin of His stomach, He actually touched His spine. He pushed Himself to the extent that no man had done and yet lived. He, too, would have certainly died had He not realized the futility of self-mortification, and decided to practise moderation instead.

On the full moon night of the month of Vesakha, He sat under the Bodhi tree at Gaya, wrapped in deep meditation. It was then that His mind burst the bubble of the universe and realized the true nature of all life and all things. At the age of 35 years, He was transformed from an earnest truth seeker into the Buddha, the Enlightened One.

For nearly half a century, the Buddha walked on the dusty paths of India Teaching the Dhamma so that those who heard and practised could be ennobled and free. He founded an order of monks and nuns, challenged the caste system, raised the status of women, taught religious freedom and free inquiry, opened the gates of deliverance to all, in every condition of life, high or low, saint or sinner, and ennobled the lives of criminals like Angulimala and courtesans like Ambapali.

He was towering in wisdom and intellect. Every problem was analyzed in component parts and then reassembled in logical order with the meaning made clear. None could defeat Him in dialogue. An unequaled teacher, He still is the foremost analyst of the mind and phenomena even up to the present day. For the first time in history, He gave men the power to think for themselves, raised the worth of mankind, and showed that man can reach to the highest knowledge and supreme Enlightenment by his own efforts.

Despite His peerless wisdom and royal lineage, He was never removed from the simple villager. Surface distinctions of class and caste meant little to Him. No one was too little or low for Him to help. Often when an outcast, or poor and dejected came to Him, his self-respect was restored and he turned from the ignoble life to that of a noble being.

The Buddha was full of compassion (karuna) and wisdom (panna), knowing how and what to teach each individual for his own benefit according to his level and capabilities. He was known to have walked long distances to help one single person.

He was affectionate and devoted to His disciples, always inquiring after their well-being and progress. When staying at the monastery, He paid daily visits to the sick wards. His compassion for the sick can be seen from His advice, ‘He who attends the sick, attends on me.’ The Buddha kept order and discipline on the basis of mutual respect. King Pasenadi could not understand how the Buddha maintained such order and discipline in the community of monks, when he as a king with the power to punish, could not maintain it as well in his court.

The Buddha did not claim to have ‘created’ worldly conditions, universal phenomena, or the Universal Law which we call the ‘Dhamma’. Although described as lokavidu or ‘knower of the worlds’, He was not regarded as the sole custodian of the Universal Laws. He freely acknowledge that the Dhamma, together with the working of the cosmos, is timeless, it has no creator and is independent in the absolute sense. Every conditioned thing that exists in the cosmos is subject to the operation of Dhamma. What the Buddha did (like all the other Buddhas before Him) was to rediscover this infallible Truth and make it known to mankind. In discovering the Truth, He also found the means whereby one could ultimately free oneself from being subjected to the endless cycle of conditioning, with its attendant evils of unsatisfactoriness.

After forty-five years of ministry, the Buddha passed away at the age of eighty at kusinara, leaving behind thousands of followers, monks and nuns, and a vast treasure store of Dhamma Teaching. The impact of His great love and dedication is still felt today.

 

  1. What is Karma and Reincarnation?

 

Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as affecting their future fates. (ie the effects of a person’s actions that determine his destiny in his next incarnation)

The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit karman which means ‘action _ effect _ fate’.

Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul in a new body. Incarnation is a spirit embodied in a living human from.

To incarnate is to be invested in a bodily form. The origin of this word is from the Latin in- carn- which means ‘into’ ‘flesh’.

Reincarnation is a necessary adjunct to Karma. This is because incomplete punishment for a person’s evil deeds in this life will be completed in future lives.

How else would punishment for the evil deeds of Pol Pot and Idi Amin be justly meted out as these two persons died peacefully in ripe old age. It is believed that reincarnation takes place at conception or when the baby is in the womb or at birth.

 

  1. Theory explains phenomena. A phenomenon is a fact that is observed to exist or happen. A theory is a system of ideas intended to explain phenomena.

 

Consistency is a harmonious agreement amongst things or parts without contradictions. If a phenomenon contradicts a theory, then the theory is inconsistent and is probably false. If this phenomenon is consistent with another theory, then the second theory should replace the first theory.

 

  1. Reincarnation is a theory to explain the phenomena of persons being able to recall events experienced by individuals who have died.

 

The strongest evidence supporting the theory of reincarnation is from the work of Ian Stevenson who documented numerous cases of children ‘recalling’ historical events and relatives of deceased individuals. Some of these amazing claims have been corroborated. (Ref: Old Souls, the scientific evidence for past lives by Tom Shroder, published by Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, 1230, Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. ISBN 0-684-85192-X ©1999.)

 

  1. Reincarnation contradicts the phenomenon of mediums invoking the spirit of the dead.

 

Reincarnation cannot explain how temple mediums are able to invoke the spirits of the departed. If the spirit of the departed has already reincarnated into another body, how can it also appear in the temple medium?

 

  1. Spirit possession theory explains all these phenomena.

 

To possess is to have complete power over. The origin of this word is from the Latin possidere which means ‘occupy, hold’.

Spirit possession is the state of being under complete control of a spirit. Spirit possession is real (Mark 1:23-25, 5:1-20, 7:24-30, 9:17-27).

Spirit possession can explain how temple mediums are able to invoke the spirits of the departed. It can also explain how some persons are able to accurately recall events experienced by individuals who have long since died.

A definite case of spirit possession is described by Roy Stemman about a Thai Buddhist monk who was born one day before his previous body died.

This case cannot be explained by reincarnation because it would mean that the baby was born without a spirit and remained without a spirit for one day. The logical explanation is that the baby was already born with an original spirit. One day after birth,  his  body became inhabited or possessed by another spirit.

(Reincarnation, Amazing True Cases From Around The World by Roy Stemman (Editor of Reincarnation International), published by Judy Piatkus Ltd. Windmill Street, London W1P 1HF. ISBN 0-7499-1708-3 hbk, ISBN 0-7499-1787-3 pbk  ©1997 (Ref: in page 38))

I believe the spirit that possesses the body of a person suppresses the expression of the original spirit of that person. I believe all possessing spirits are evil, otherwise they would not possess.

I believe the Holy Spirit does not possess. On the contrary, the Holy Spirit renders a person free to choose.

 

  1. Demon possession.

A demon is an evil spirit. A person is demon possessed if he is completely controlled by an evil spirit.

I believe demons are fallen angels, Satan being chief among them.

A medium is a person who claims to be able to communicate between the dead and the living.

Temple mediums appear to be able to summon the spirit of the departed. They go into a trance, as if possessed, before they appear to talk like the deceased person. I believe that the demonic spirit which has possessed the departed individual was invited by the medium to speak through the medium.

I believe yoga meditation, which involves a process of emptying oneself of logic and reason, is a ploy by Satan to deceive the devotee into preparing himself as fertile ground for demon possession.

Demon possession is evil because it enslaves and suppresses the free will of the individual.

When the Hindu or Buddhist parents bring their children to their temples, they are actually offering their children as human sacrifice to demons for possession.

I believe when an unsaved person’s body dies, his original spirit is released into the spirit realm to dwell there until the final judgment because it is unable to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

Through Hinduism and Buddhism, Satan and his fellow demonic spirits have deceived many generations of people in large parts of the world into unwittingly allowing their bodies and souls to be possessed. This permits the demonic spirits to  ‘reincarnate’ in them serially.

I believe the spirit realm is the ‘valley of the shadow of death’ (Psalm 23:4).

I believe the original spirit of an individual is from Adonai and is eternal. When an individual’s body dies, his original spirit leaves the body and enters the spirit realm.

When a person accepts Jesus as Saviour, his or her spirit becomes a sibling of Yeshua who is the first born of Adonai (Abba). As this spirit is a relative of Abba, it is permitted to enter and ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6).

If a person, during his lifetime, has not accepted Yeshua as his Savior, his spirit is not sanctified (separated as holy). Even if he has performed many miracles in the name of Adonai, his spirit would not be permitted to enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7: 21-23).

When his body dies, his spirit would remain in the spirit realm until the day of final judgment, when he will be cast into the lake of fire to be tormented forever (Revelation 20:11-15).

 

  1. Deception.

 

Deception means to deliberately mislead or misrepresent the truth; to swindle, hoax, cheat, dupe, fool, or entrap.

I  believe the theory of spirit possession is able to explain all the phenomena attributed to the theory of reincarnation as well as explain the phenomenon of invoking the spirits of the departed.

Because of this, I consider the theory of reincarnation as redundant, unnecessary and even false.

As the theory of reincarnation is open to question, it then follows that the theory of karma is also open to question.

As the theories of reincarnation and karma form the foundations of Hinduism, Buddhism and New Age, then these systems of belief are also open to question.

Then what is the purpose of the theory of reincarnation?

I believe the purpose is deception.

 I believe this concept of Nirvana is a deception hatched by Satan and his fellow demonic spirits

I believe the demonic spirit seeks to escape from the valley of the shadow of death and the eventual great white throne judgment and inevitable punishment in the lake of fire.

I believe the demonic spirit believes that by doing good works it can seek favour with Adonai in order to enter the kingdom of heaven.

I believe on entry into the kingdom of heaven, these demons, under the leadership of Satan, will, once again, attempt to overthrow Adonai.

Since the demonic spirit is unable to do good deeds in the spirit form, it needs to incarnate (to become invested in a bodily form) by possessing the body of some unsuspecting person in order to do good deeds.

Hence it needs to ‘re-incarnate’. ‘Reincarnation’ does not occur with the original spirit of an individual. ‘Reincarnation’ occurs with demonic spirits. They hop from body to body, possessing and suppressing the original spirit within each new body.

Through Hinduism and Buddhism, and their core belief of karma and reincarnation, Satan has deceived many people into accepting and believing that by doing good works, a person would qualify to have his spirit elevated from one lifetime to the next in order to eventually reach a state of spiritual ‘enlightenment’.

I believe even rational and logical thinking persons can choose to believe in ‘reincarnation’. This is because they have been deceived by demonic spirits. They are rendered blind to reason and logic regarding spiritual matters.

 

Deception is the signature of Satan.

I believe Adonai created man to fellowship with. Adonai gave man dominion over the earth.

The first action of Satan to Adam and Eve was deception. Satan possessed the serpent and duped Eve and Adam into eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, the one which Adonai specifically forbade them to eat. (Genesis 3:1-7)

By this hoax, Satan cheated mankind of his right standing with Adonai and dominion over the earth. Instead, mankind, including myself came under dominion of Satan and was headed for certain death.

In the ‘fallen’ state, I am unable to fellowship with Adonai. However, Adonai still wanted to fellowship with me.

The triune Godhead sent a part of Himself, Yeshua to earth as a man to die and bear the total punishment for the disobedience (sin) of all of mankind so that in believing in this sacrifice, my fallen spiritual self will die and become reborn as a  sibling of Christ Yeshua.

As a new creation (2Corinthians 5:17), I can directly fellowship with Adonai by casting all my cares to Him, secure in the belief that I have absolute right-standing with Him ( Psalm 55:22, 1 Peter 5:7)

When I believe in Yeshua as my savior, I am freed from bondage to Satan. Satan is powerless to prevent me from believing the good news of the divine exchange.

What he can do is to attempt  to deceive me with alternative routes to Adonai like Hinduism, Buddhism, New Age and Islam.

Satan inspired Hinduism and Buddhism with the core beliefs of Karma and reincarnation.

The concept of reincarnation has been debunked by the concept of demonic spirit possession explaining all the ‘evidence’ proffered for reincarnation.

Hence reincarnation is a lie and Hinduism, Buddhism, and New Age beliefs are deceptions. They bear the signature of Satan.

With the death burial and resurrection of Yeshua, Satan has had been stripped of his power over me and over anyone else who believe in the risen Yeshua Christ.

The demonic possessing spirit prevents the person from hearing and understanding the good news of Grace.

In order to set free any person under bondage of demonic spirits, one can drive out demons by calling on the name of Yeshua because ‘at the name of Yeshua, every knee will bow’ (Philippians 2:10).

Once liberated, that person, would be able to see and believe the Gospel (good news) which is ‘Adonai so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son so that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

 

  1. Works versus Grace

 

Most religions include in their system of beliefs the belief that doing good deeds and avoiding bad deeds make a person more spiritually ‘pure’ and therefore more acceptable by the creator.

I believe one of the main deceptions of Satan is the belief that ‘do good gets good and do bad gets bad and that if a person’s good deeds outnumber the bad, he gets to enter heaven. This is contrary to my belief that a person can never by his good deeds qualify for entry into heaven. It is only by the grace of Abba that those who have been chosen will be invited into heaven.

Grace Christianity is the only belief system which holds that nothing man does will qualify him to be acceptable by Adonai, and that it is only by the grace of Adonai is man accepted by Adonai. The grace of Adonai is His son, Yeshua. Only by accepting Yeshua as my personal savior can I be accepted by Adonai. All other ways, including doing good deeds count for nothing. Yeshua’s voluntary death at the cross permitted an exchange to take place, his life for mankind’s death, his perfection for man’s imperfection, his goodness for man’s evil etc. Also, Yeshua came to life again and returned to his father the creator.

Because I choose to accept Yeshua as my personal savior, I become a sibling of Yeshua. At the moment of my bodily death, as a relative of Adonai, my spirit can then enter and ‘dwell in the house of the Lord forever’ (Psalm 23:6). Because I believe in Yeshua, my spirit welcomes the Holy Spirit. With the Holy Spirit dwelling within me, all possessing spirits would be driven out. The Holy Spirit will never leave me nor forsake me forever (Deuteronomy 31:8).

When an individual does not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within, he is open to demonic spirit possession and is especially vulnerable when depressed or despondent.

 

  1. Conclusion.

 

I believe Christianity is the only way of reaching the Creator,  God (Adonai). All other ways, though appealing, are not genuine. Because I believe in free choice after making my choice, I choose freedom from demon possession by calling  upon the name of Jesus.

 

The following is a collection of relevant definitions and comments.

 

Atman.

In Hinduism, atman is the spiritual life principle of the universe, especially when regarded as existing within the real self of the individual. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit ătman which means ‘essence’.

 

Avatar.

 

In Hindu belief, an avatar is a manifestation of a deity or released soul in bodily form on earth. It is also defined as an incarnation of god on earth. The plural form is avatara. An example is Krishna. One living guru, Sai Baba claims to be an avatar. He has been reputed to perform many miracles.

 

Bodhisattva.

 

A person who is able to reach nirvana but delays doing so through compassion for suffering beings.

 

Buddhism.

Buddhism is a widespread Asian religion or philosophy founded by Siddartha Gautama (Buddha;c.563-c.460 BC) in north east India in the 5th century BC, which teaches that elimination of the self and earthly desires is the route to enlightenment.

 

Deity.

 

God or goddess, especially in polytheistic religion.  

 

Dharma.

 

The eternal law of the cosmos, inherent in the very nature of things. Dharma is a Sanskrit term that denotes the underlying order of the cosmos and of life. It is symbolized by the wheel. In the sphere of morality and ethics, it means ‘the right way of living’. Dharma is a concept originating from India. There are various versions of dharma, the Hindu version, the Buddhist version, the Jain version and the Sikh version. The proponents of each believe theirs to be the ‘right’ or in truest accord with the deepest realities of nature.

 

Guru.

 

Guru is a Hindu spiritual teacher. Origin from Hindi and Punjabi. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit  ‘guru’ which means ‘weighty, grave’, hence, ‘elder, teacher’.

 

Hinduism.

Hinduism is a major religious and cultural tradition of the Indian subcontinent, including belief in reincarnation and the worship of a large pantheon of deities.

An Indian Yogi, Sai Baba,  explains  Hinduism  as  follows:

Hinduism is the oldest religion in the world. The three cardinal principles of Hinduism are:

 

1) Belief in a series of births (reincarnation).

 

2) Belief in Avatars of the Lord for the reestablishment of Dharma and the transformation of those who have strayed from it.

 

3) Belief in Karma, the fact of every activity having its inevitable consequences and of human destiny being shaped by cumulative effect of all these consequences. Karma is the cause of births, the Jivi being compelled to undergo another ordeal for clearing its accounts and becoming free of both debit and credit.

The life aim of Hindus is to reach fulfilment through constant spiritual discipline, the fulfilment that comes from the awareness of one’s Divinity. Merging with the Divine is the attainment of fullness. The Vedas are the soul that sustains the spiritual life of Hindus. They are the breath that that keeps the people alive. The Vedas emanated from God Himself. The great sages received the Vedas as a series of sounds and spread it over the world by word of mouth from preceptor to the pupil. One can know from the Vedas the code of right activity and the body of right knowledge. The Vedas teach man his duties from birth to death. They describe his rights and duties, obligations and responsibilities in all stages of life. In order to explain the Vedas in simpler terms, the Puranas (scriptures) and epic texts appeared in course of time. Two such great epics are the Ramayana and Mahabharata. Another great spiritual text of Hinduism is the Bhagavat Geetha, which helps people to control the agitation of the mind, destroy the delusion, develop true knowledge and make one catch a glimpse of the glory of the Lord.

The word Hindu means those who keep away from the path of violence, away from inflicting injury on others. The essence of all the scriptural texts of Hinduism can be described in one sentence as “Help Ever, Hurt Never”.

Aum, which is a primary symbol of Hinduism, is the symbol of unchanging eternal, universal supreme God. Aum, is the primordial word, which gives life to all the other words. Aum is the origin of creation. It contains the essence of all the Vedas and is the source of all the scriptures.”

Another Indian Yogi, Paramahansa Yogananda  explains Self Realization as the knowing that we are one with the omnipresence of God in body, mind and soul.

 

Jainism

 

Jainism is one of the oldest religions in the world originating in ancient India. The Jains follow the teachings of the 24 Jinas (conquerors) who are known as Tirthankars. The 24th is the 6th century BC Mahavira.

Jains believe that every human has an eternal soul and is responsible for his actions. The Jain religion places great emphasis on Karma. Essentially, it means that all people reap what they sow. A happy or miserable existence is influenced by the actions in previous lives.

Jains believe all souls are equal because they all possess the potential of being liberated and attaining Moksha. Tirthankaras are role models because they have attained Moksha.

Jains believe that we should live, think and act respectfully and honor the spiritual nature of all life. Adherents to the faith are required to be vegetarians.

God is viewed as the traits of the pure soul of each living being, chiefly described as infinite knowledge, perception, consciousness and happiness. They do not believe in an omnipotent, supreme, creator being.

Jains hold that this temporal world is full of misery and sorrow. In order to attain lasting bliss, they believe one must transcend the eternal cycle of soul transmigration. They believe the way to break out of this cycle is to practice detachment through rational perception, knowledge and conduct.

Hence Jainism holds re-incarnation and karma as foundational in its religion. Because the theory of re-incarnation has been refuted, I believe Jainism and Jainist beliefs are false.

 

Karma.

 

Hindus and Buddhists believe in the concept of karma. Karma is the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as affecting their future fates. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit karman which means ‘action _ effect _ fate’.

Hindus and Buddhists believe that by doing good deeds, they accumulate positive karma credits. This would enable their spirit to reincarnate in a higher spiritual plane in the next lifetime.

Over many lifetimes, they would become more enlightened. Some eventually become enlightened enough to be like Gautama Siddhartha Buddha and attain the level of nirvana.

Mantra.

 A word or sound repeated to aid concentration in meditation. A Vedic hymn. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit  ‘man’ which means ‘thought’, hence mantra is ‘instrument of thought’.

Maya.

Maya is the power by which the universe becomes manifest; the illusion of the phenomenal world. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit ‘mãyã’ , from mã  ‘create’.

Meditate.

 To meditate is to focus one’s mind for a period of time for spiritual purposes or as a method of relaxation.

Moksha

Moksha (Sanskrit: liberation) or Mukti (Sanskrit: release) refer in Indian religions to liberation from the cycle of death and rebirth (re-incarnation) and all the suffering and limitation of worldly existence. Liberation is experienced in this life as a dissolution of the sense of self as an egoistic personality, reaching a state of Nirvana.

New Age.

New age’ is a broad movement characterized by alternative approaches to traditional Western culture, with an interest in spirituality, mysticism, holism, and environmentalism.

Nirvana.

Hindus and Buddhists believe in a state of Nirvana or Nibbana.

Nirvana is defined as a transcendent state in which there is no suffering or desire and no sense of self. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit nirvăna where nirvă means ‘be extinguished’. On attaining nirvana, a person is released from the repeated cycles of reincarnation and suffering.

Pantheism.

A  belief  which  identifies  God  with  the  universe,  or  regards  the  universe  as  a  manifestation  of  God.

This concept holds that the creator and the creation are one and the same, and that the creator is not separate from the creation, and that the creator did not precede the creation.

Hence the concept of pantheism is consistent with the core beliefs of Hinduism and most New Age practices.

Reincarnation.

Reincarnation is the rebirth of a soul in a new body.

Incarnation is a spirit embodied in a living human from.

To incarnate is to be invested in a bodily form.

The origin of this word is from the Latin in- carn- which means ‘into’ ‘flesh’.

Samadhi.

Samadhi is a state of intense concentration achieved through meditation. The origin of this word is from Sanskrit samădhi which means ‘contemplation’.

Samadhi has also been described as a state in which one’s consciousness becomes in unity with the atman.

Yogis describe samadhi as a state of supreme happiness.  Hindus believe that they can attain samadhi by meditating and looking within themselves in order to ‘self-realize’. The devotee is required to disciple himself to a guru or yogi and move closer to Nibbana after many years of meditation, chanting of mantras and ascetic living.

By the process of Yoga meditation, the devotee attempts to empty himself of all his ego driven desires, reason and logic. The devotee believes that through practice and obedient following of a Yogi, he can achieve self realization.

Self realization is defined as the fulfillment of one’s own potential. An  Indian  Yogi,  Paramahansa Yogananda  explains  Self Realization as  the  knowing  that  we  are  one  with  the  omnipresence of  God  in  body,  mind  and  soul. Another  Indian  Yogi,  Sai  Baba,  states  that  the life aim of Hindus is to reach fulfillment through constant spiritual discipline, the fulfillment that comes from the awareness of one’s Divinity. Merging with the Divine is the attainment of fullness.

Samsara.

 Samsara is the cycle of death and rebirth in which life in the material world is bound. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit samsăra.

Sikhism

Sikhism is a religious belief founded by Guru Nanak Dev 1469 to 1539 in Punjab, India. His writings are compiled in the Siri Guru Granth Sahib

Central in his teaching is the belief that there is one creator God called Satnam Vahiguru or Truth as revealed by Guru Nanak. He saw the universe as a creation of one supreme power, and since the creator was in the world he created, it could not be treated as unreal as proposed in Hinduism and Buddhism.

His teachings did not include the policy of renunciation of the world or detachment from worldly responsibilities. He denounced the leading of one’s life as an ascetic and put great emphasis on hard work and earning a livelihood. For him taking care of one’s family and providing food and shelter for them was one of the prime duties of man before God.

However, similar to Hinduism and Buddhism, he believed in reincarnation and karma. Because the theory of re-incarnation has been refuted, I believe Sikhism and Sikh beliefs are false.

Soul.

Soul is the spiritual or non-material part of a human regarded as immortal. The origin of this word is from the Old English, Germanic sāwol.

Spirit is the non physical part of a person which is the seat of emotions and character; this is regarded as surviving after death of the body, often manifested as a ghost. The origin of this word is from Latin spiritos which means ‘breath’.

Yoga.

 

Yoga is a Hindu spiritual and ascetic discipline, a part of which, including breath control, simple meditation, and the adoption of specific bodily positions, is widely practiced for health and relaxation. The origin of this word is from the Sanskrit yoga which means ‘union’.

Yogi.

 

A yogi is a person proficient in yoga. An example of a yogi is Paramahansa Yogananda. Born Mukunda Lal Ghosh on Jan 5, 1893 in the northern Indian city of Gorakhpur. Died Mar 7, 1952 in Los Angeles, USA. From the age of seventeen, he was trained in the yoga discipline by Swami Sri Yukteswar for ten years. Paramahansa considered his gurus as avatara. He was conferred with the Swami order in 1915, after graduating from the University of Calcutta. He founded a ‘how to live’ school for boys where yoga spiritual training was combined with modern educational methods. He went to the United States, founded a society called Self-Realization Fellowship in 1920 and five years later he settled in Los Angeles. He popularized a formof yoga called Kriya Yoga. He is well known for his ‘Autobiography of a Yogi’ and an English translation of ‘The Bhagavad Gita’. In his autobiography, he refers to the part of the brain above and between the eyes as the ‘Christ consciousness center’. His disciples have deified him as an avatar.

Resource material:

Old Souls, the scientific evidence for past lives by Tom Shroder, published by Simon & Schuster, Rockefeller Center, 1230, Ave of the Americas, New York, NY 10020. ISBN 0-684-85192-X). ©1999.

Reincarnation, Amazing True Cases From Around The World by Roy Stemman (Editor of Reincarnation International), published by Judy Piatkus Ltd. Windmill Street, London W1P 1HF. ISBN 0-7499-1708-3 hbk, ISBN 0-7499-1787-3 pbk  ©1997 (Ref: in page 38)

Autobiography of a Yogi by Paramahansa Yogananda published by Self-Realization Fellowship, 3880 San Raphael Avenue, Los Angeles, California 90065-3298 U.S.A.  ISBN 0-87612-082-6. 12th Ed. © 1981