Yesterday a reader made a comment saying that concepts like rebirth, reincarnation and resurrection are the same because they all grow out of the desire for continuity after death. ‘Simply put, we just hate to leave the world…and want to live forever’. It’s an interesting observation but, as far as the Buddhist concept of rebirth is concerned, a rather unconsidered one. I think that all non-Buddhist after-life theories did grow out of the fear of death and the desire for continuity. But the Buddha’s idea of rebirth could not have. Think about it! All the other religions say that if you believe in the right god or do the right thing, you’ll live forever. The Buddha said that if you don’t attain enlightenment, if you don’t reach the goal, you’ll live forever. All other religions hold out eternal life as a reward; Buddhism sees eternal life as a problem to be solved. So whatever the origins of the Buddha’s teaching of rebirth, it could not have been the desire for eternal life.
The reader also asked… ‘why is Buddhism so concerned with rebirth? Is it attachment to life?’ My above comments mostly answer this question and I will just add this. Buddhism is concerned with rebirth because it is seen as a problem to be solved. To be reborn is to redie again and again and that is dukkha. Is not everyone concerned with overcoming their problems?
過去的國際競食比賽冠軍，往往由日本及歐美的大胃王囊括。香港一批有心人，在06年組成首個競食團隊「饗民」，訓練本土大胃王，去年香港大胃王挑戰賽中，橫掃冠、亞、 季軍，昨日便在一個競食比賽小試牛刀， 極速吞下多碟薄餅及意粉，輕易成為重量級大胃王。成功非僥倖，每次比賽都要事前「灌水」撐大腸胃，以求食多3倍分量食物，並非人人能夠做到。 (都市日報2009/8/24)
Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda在How To Practice Buddhism提到幾種修習佛法的方式，人們可因應自己的情況選擇合適的一種。佛法不應被當作純粹的學問知識，因為這有違佛陀宣揚佛法的目的。縱使對佛教的義理有深入的認識，或能把佛經背誦如流都是沒有意義的，能夠在日常生活中實踐佛教的精神才是最重要。
The intellectual aspect is yet another method to understand and practice the religion. Having gone through traditional, cultural and devotional practices, many people ‘graduate’ to the intellectual aspect. This would mean that through intense study and diligence practice, they can gain more knowledge and understanding to clarify their doubts on the significance of religious beliefs and practices, the precise meaning and purpose of life, the nature of worldly conditions and their unsatisfactoriness as well as the phenomena and the universal nature of impermanence. Through study, observation and concentration they will be able to gain a clear vision of reality, an understanding of universal phenomena and confidence in religion. The confidence that they do gain through understanding is unshakeable. But there are many who do not take the trouble to gain a clear understanding of the Buddha’s teachings. First we much learn, after having learned, we must practice what we have learned; and finally, only after practicing can we experience the beneficial results. Anyone can practice this method without having to depend on theories, philosophy and traditional beliefs. We also must not depend on personality cults – in order words depending on other persons for our salvation. Granted some people do gain a good knowledge of the Dharma, Verily, if they do not follow the religious principles to cultivate their moral conduct, they are like a spoon which does not know the taste of soup. Mere book knowledge does not contribute anything for the betterment of their lives. Without mental purity, knowledge alone may in the end become skepticism.
Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda撰寫的Problems and Responsibilities教導人們如何解決各種問題，並提醒人應負的責任。很多時候人會感到不如意或困擾，其中一個原因是主觀的想法和客觀的情況出現差異，亦即「事與願違」。
Whenever certain difficulties and problems arise, make up your mind to reduce your mental agony. First, you must try to understand the nature of the world where you live.You can never expect everything in this world to be perfect and to run smoothly. The world situation may not always be in your favour. There could be no world and no life without problems. …If you are facing a problem, there must surely be a remedy to overcome it. So why worry? On the other hand, even if there is no solution for your problem, again why worry because your worry cannot contribute anything to settle your problem.
Ven. K. Sri Dhammananda, Problems and Responsibilities