Do Sri Lankan Buddhists/Hindus actually believe in re-birth?

From their actions, I doubt it.

My scepticism is based on a single broad fact: the brutality of history. Take your pick. Whether it’s the last 50 years or the previous 500, it doesn’t matter. The litany is impossible to ignore. You can choose to ignore it, but its consequences won’t ignore you.

That’s the underlying premise of Hindu/Buddhist re-birth. The consequences of your actions won’t ignore you – in this life and the ones beyond. The idea is that if you are mindful, your actions will be positive. Thus the consequences to your self similarly positive – irrespective of on what life they land.

Yet, we all know that mindfulness is hard. Kindness doesn’t pave the way to the throne. Power on this island comes from harshness, spilt blood and bodies (not all in unmarked graves). Veneration flows from fear, or at least by making people grovel and killing those who stand in the way of your cravings.

In between the fireworks, you might be hit by a pang of fear about the next life. A puja, a monumental edifice of piety, generous patronage of those who can get creative with your karmic banking. All reliable traditions to smoothen the way. As in this life, so it is in the next.

So perhaps I’m wrong (nothing shocking there).

2 thoughts on “Do Sri Lankan Buddhists/Hindus actually believe in re-birth?

  1. Rebirth is a tricky subject Hindu and Buddhist rebirth are completely different – well, at least between the two main branches Theravada and Mahayana.

    In Theravada you can’t go backwards in the capacity of your intelligence/ conciousness – otherwise you would get many monkeys writing good pieces of fictions – like in the book ‘Red Earth, Pouring Rain’!

    But then again was the Buddha talking about the conciousness being reborn or did he really mean thoughts that are reborn again and again and you suffer from them again and again until you let go?

    As for crooks and politicians. What I noticed is that the bigger the crook the more time they spend in temples, devalayas, churches, etc, covering all the bases I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Liked the way you summarised all that 🙂

      What I’ve noticed is that most people (including myself) isn’t clear on the Buddha’s details on rebirth.

      The tendency is to take the investment approach – pile up good karmic merit to cash in on the next birth. The highest interest earners being splashy pujas.


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