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Do you have to believe in the concept of reincarnation to be a Buddhist ?

I have been researching Buddhism lately, and I agree with many of the ideals. I do not however believe in reincarnation, is it still possible to be Buddhist without fully agreeing to this? I feel that many religions are strict and staunch when it comes to going against ideals within that religion, I was always under the impression that Buddhism was one of the most open and free religions known. Thanks, and I will be eagerly awaiting responses.

8 COMMENTS

  1. You can take Buddhist philosophy as a spiritual guide and stop short of accepting reincarnation as “fact.” You don’t have to embrace it as an organized religion, but you can follow its more reasonable tenets which do not delve into the supernatural (like monotheism), because Buddhism contains guides to living and leading a NATURAL life.
    Do not ever lose sight of your ability to apply critical thinking to all that you do; otherwise you fall into the trap of religious delusion.

  2. Nope, you don’t. Really, Buddhism is a “take what you need” religion.
    All it asks is that you seek peace within, and without. All it asks is that you discover, accept, and love yourself, and, in doing so, love your humanity. If you love your humanity, you love humanity, and all who share this life.
    Buddhism is a beautiful religion, especially because it’s an atheistic one. Buddhists need no god. They need only mankind.
    Atheistically yours,
    JM Gendron.

  3. A Buddhist is a person who is walking along the middle path.
    Even if somebody believes in reincarnation but not on the middle path is not a Buddhist.

  4. Actually what is properly spoken of is “Rebirth” rather than “reincarnation” in the Buddha’s words.
    What that mean is that all the collection of effects of what we do do not stop abruptedly at a certain moment in time, at death, but rather keep on producing their results by coalescing a new being that in a sense is a different entity and in another the same one.
    Believing in it is a natural consequence of the belief in Kamma – in practice that nothing we do is void of results, and nothing we experience is without a cause in our behaviors. Surely believing and, at a later time experiencing, Kamma as it develops is an integral part of what we call Buddhism.

  5. I’d like to answer this fine question from a Theravada Buddhists perspective if I may…
    The Buddha himself advocated questioning and discovery and disavowed belief even in his own Teachings…personal experience being the best teacher as it were…to be free from suffering, to see things as they really are, to be wiser today than yesterday and to release those things in the mind which hinder growth towards freedom from fear, ignorance and confusion…these are the important things to focus on.
    Seeing things as they are then, you’ll come to realize as opposed to learning that all things are impermanent and have the nature of changing…mountains reduce to dust over eons, galaxies die and stars die and are reborn as new stars…continents are in constant motion and over eons the face of our own planet changes…our own bodies are in constant flux and cells die each minute changing even the person you see in the mirror each day….
    Everything changes and everything is in a constant flux….
    Search your mind and see your surroundings and observe that which you see….rebirth occurs all the time in nature…its nothing exotic or new….stars die in spectacular Supernovae and are reborn as new stars…continents collide and cause mountains to be formed only for weathering and natural forces to reduce them to dust over time, then more continental collisions form yet other mountains….trees grow from seed only to die and other trees grow from its own seeds, thus those new trees are reborn from parts of the original tree…Life then can be seen as cyclic in nature and can be observed as such…
    It isn’t necessary to believe in the cyclic nature of Life….it can be observed… 🙂
    Buddhism isn’t taught…rather its realized through experience of things as they are…as opposed to believing it to be as we’d prefer…or want… 🙂
    Being Buddhist means trying to be a better person through effort and persistence….rather than learning this or that concept….the purpose or reason for the practice…and it is a practice..is to change the way you think as opposed to changing what you think.. 🙂
    Peace from a Buddhist…

  6. In order for the Buddha’s open and moveable philosophy to survive through the ages, his imaginative, fervent followers must have felt the need to embellish and boost those practical views, color and accesorize them. Surely one may embrace the simple wisdom of his insights without also adopting religious detritus from neighborng deities? But as adherents multiply, they need temples and costumes and parades.

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