Presentation on theme: "By Rev Dr Felix Chung. What is re-incarnation? According to A Lion Handbook of Religions, the word “reincarnation” means the belief that individual."— Presentation transcript:
By Rev Dr Felix Chung
What is re-incarnation? According to A Lion Handbook of Religions, the word “reincarnation” means the belief that individual souls survive death and are reborn to live again in a different body, thus passing through a series of lives. Held in pre-Aryan India, the belief is associated with the doctrine of Karma. Definition of reincarnation
Some traditions believe rebirth is possible only in human bodies; others envisage hellish or heavenly states, while others suggest a transmigration in which human souls are tied to animal or vegetable forms. Some Hindu apologists explain the doctrine as a mythical way of speaking about the continuity of the human race.
Transmigration of souls: The belief held by some Hindus that souls are detached from their bodies at death and are attached to other human, animal or vegetable bodies. What the new body will be depends on the individual’s karma.
The concept of life after death is rooted in many eastern religions. In religion perspective, reincarnation belongs to the study of life after death in folk religions. Where does it come from?
It belongs to little tradition of Buddhism and Taoism, and folk religions, integrated with local cultures The reincarnation concept developed into different teachings in different Buddhism stream In Tibetan Buddhism, there are various form of reincarnation, the common idea is the “ Namshés ” Reincarnation in Chinese context
Namshés the abbreviated form of namparshéspa ; which is the name of a principle that knows. There are six distinct namparshéspa, each of the five senses has its own particular namparshéspa. A sixth one is attached to the mind, which is regarded as the awareness of the personality.
The namshés is a spiritual entity attached to the material body but not entirely dependent upon it, which separates from it at the time of death and ceases to be usable by it. This namshés then emigrate and take up residence in another body.
Not exactly like the concept of reincarnation or transmigration, it is a quest for the immortality through various ways, the popular ways are through alchemist works, breathing exercises in meditation, and magic. In some cases, they believe the soul can leave a person’s physical body and travel to and back from other space and time dimensions. Taoist religious concept on immortality
One distinct difference in Taoist religion is that they believe the immortality of the physical body. Buddhism in little tradition and folk religious beliefs are similar. It is closely related to the concept of Karma (game of action), and the system of merit and punishment. Folk religions
The relationship between Man, gods/spirits/ghosts, and land The cyclic circle of time moving towards the future The dynamic force of Ying-Yan working in the universe Therefore, we have diverse religious beliefs that are integrated together in Chinese minds The characteristics of Chinese religious concept
-Life after death in Eastern religion is not an end of life, but a beginning of a next life of a person -The boundary between human beings and Gods/ spirits is open, human beings are freely moving upward to the higher hierarchy/other form of life or downward to the lower hierarchy/form of life, depending on the merits Life after death
In folk religious beliefs, a person has three souls and 7 spirits, one body. If a person died, his seven spirits will disappear, one spirit disappears in every 7 days. Chinese reincarnation concept
His three souls will also go to different destination, one goes into the grave with the deceased body, one goes into the wooden tablet in the temple or in home, the third will go to the Hades which Chinese called yellow spring.
It is the third one that will be reincarnate and takes another body to rebirth. The one that is in the wooden tablet and in the grave will be worshipped by the descendants, therefore will be rested forever. This concept of reincarnation is far from logical thinking, if you ask why there are three different souls going into different destination, and why the reborn-soul will then take another two different souls to form the new identity. Why only one soul reincarnate?
You never find a logical answer. However, since folk religions is talking about power and authority; obedience and believe, followers are not supposed to ask questions, but to follow the guidance. The related concept and religious rites that are developed by the concept of life after death are:
1 Ancestor worship: to make sure your ancestor rest peacefully, you need to take care of them well. Therefore, veneration(religious value and acts) and honour (cultural and social value and acts) are closely associated.
2.Ghosts and spirits worship 3.The merits and punishment system: merits can help to transfer the lost souls, wondering ghosts, deceased ancestor’s souls to another level of life forms peacefully.
Reciting of Buddhism texts in some streams of Buddhism; good behaviour; and charity works all can help to gain favourable merits for someone or the dead. In the transmigration, it is particular important for someone to gain enough merits if he or she wants to be transferred to a higher level of life form or to be remained as human beings. However, that transferal is not assured.
What do we believe in life after death? The teachings of Jesus Christ(Lk 16:19-31) Souls could not come back to the earth; nor could they communicate with people who are still living alive Souls will be rested or suffer in Hades waiting for the final judgment Only those who believe in Jesus Christ are resting while waiting for the final judgment Christianity
The teachings of Paul & John: -There is no reincarnation, but a final judgment -There will be the resurrection of the dead (Rev 20:4- 6); judgment of the dead and the second death of the dead (Rev 20:11-15) -There is the transformation of body (1Cor 15:50-54; 1 Thess 4:15-18) rather than the transmigration after death -There is only one chance to believe in Christ, that is while you are still have life on earth, not after
Dialogue with those who believe in transmigration or reincarnation based on the teaching of the bible. Share the Christ-centered gospels: 1Cor 15:3- 5 -Christ died for our sins in accordance with the scriptures He was buried What should we do in gospel conversation?
He was raised on the third day in accordance with the scriptures He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve, then he appeared t more than five hundred brothers and sisters at one time
Remind them of the chance of making thing right with God while they are still living on earth, not trusting life after death which is quite uncertain and is not assured. Since they believe in judgment according to behavior, engage with them the conversation of the doctrine of sins and grace. Doctrine of creation is a good entry point
Since there is a judgment day, no second chance for all, to live for God as his witness and ambassador while we still have the chance on earth. Since we are certain of the coming of the end of our life on earth, to grasp / hold tightly the doctrine of grace and to serve & love him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength What can we learn?