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Buddhists maintain that rebirth takes place without an unchanging self or soul passing from one form to another. The type of rebirth will be conditioned by the moral tone of the person's actions (kamma or karma). For example, if a person has committed harmful actions by body, speech and mind based on greed, hate and delusion, would have his/her rebirth in a lower realm, i.e. an animal, a hungry ghost or a hell realm, is to be expected. On the other hand, where a person has performed skillful actions based on generosity, loving-kindness (metta), compassion and wisdom, rebirth in a happy realm, i.e. human or one of the many heavenly realms, can be expected.


Yet the mechanism of rebirth with kamma is not deterministic. It depends on various levels of kamma. The most important moment that determines where a person is reborn into is the last thought moment. At that moment, heavy kamma would ripen if there were performed, if not then near death kamma, if not then habitual kamma, finally if none of the above happened, then residual kamma from previous actions can ripen. According to Theravada Buddhism, there are 31 realms of existence that one can be reborn into.


Pure Land Buddhism of Mahayana believes in a special place apart from the 31 planes of existence called Pure Land. It is believed that each Buddha has their own pure land, created out of their merits for the sake of sentient beings who recall them mindfully to be able to be reborn in their pure land and train to become a Buddha there. Thus the main practice of pure land Buddhism is to chant a Buddha's name.


In Tibetan Buddhism the Tibetan Book of the Dead explains the intermediate state of humans between death and reincarnation. The deceased will find the bright light of wisdom, which shows a straightforward path to move upward and leave the cycle of reincarnation. There are various reasons why the deceased do not follow that light. Some had no briefing about the intermediate state in the former life. Others only used to follow their basic instincts like animals. And some have fear, which results from foul deeds in the former life or from insistent haughtiness. In the intermediate state the awareness is very flexible, so it is important to be virtuous, adopt a positive attitude, and avoid negative ideas. Ideas which are rising from subconsciousness can cause extreme tempers and cowing visions. In this situation they have to understand, that these manifestations are just reflections of the inner thoughts. No one can really hurt them, because they have no more material body. The deceased get help from different Buddhas who show them the path to the bright light. The ones who do not follow the path after all will get hints for a better reincarnation. They have to release the things and beings on which or whom they still hang from the life before. It is recommended to choose a family where the parents trust in the Dharma and to reincarnate with the will to care for the welfare of all beings.


"Life is cosmic energy of the universe and after death it merges in universe again and as the time comes to find the suitable place for the entity died in the life condition it gets born. There are 10 life states of any life: Hell, hunger, anger, animality, rapture, humanity, learning, realization, bodhisatva and buddhahood. The life dies in which life condition it reborn in the same life condition.


There are two major views of afterlife in Hinduism: mythical and philosophical. The philosophies of Hinduism consider each individual consists of 3 bodies: physical body compose of water and bio-matter (sthūla śarīra), an energetic/psychic/mental/subtle body (sūkṣma-śarīra) and a causal body (kāraṇa śarīra) comprising subliminal stuff i.e. mental impressions etc.


The individual is a stream of consciousness (Ātman) which flows through all the physical changes of the body and at the death of the physical body, flows on into another physical body. The two components that transmigrate are the subtle body and the causal body.


The thought that occupies the mind at the time of death determines the quality of our rebirth (antim smaraṇa), hence Hinduism advises to be mindful of one's thoughts and cultivate positive wholesome thoughts - Mantra chanting (Japa) is commonly practiced for this


The mythical includes the philosophical but adds heaven and hell myths.

When one leaves the physical body at death he appears in the court of Lord Yama, the God of Death for an exit interview. The panel consists of Yama and Chitragupta - the cosmic accountant, and Varuna the cosmic intelligence officer. He is counseled about his life, achievements and failures and is shown a mirror in which his entire life is reflected. (Philosophically these three men are projections of one's mind) Yama the Lord of Justice then sends him to a heavenly realm (svarga) if he has been exceptionally benevolent and beneficent for a period of Rest and Recreation. his period is limited in time by the weight of his good deeds. If he has been exceptionally malevolent and caused immense suffering to other beings then he is sent to a cosmic gulag (naraka) for his sins. After one has exhausted his karmas, he takes birth again to continue his spiritual evolution.


Rebirth can take place as a god (deva), a human (manuṣya) an animal (tiryak) — but it is generally taught that the spiritual evolution takes place from lower to higher species. In certain cases of traumatic death a person can take the form of a Preta or Hungry Ghost - and remains in an earth-bound state interminably - until certain ceremonies are done to liberate them. This mythological part is extensively elaborated in the Hindu Puranas especially in the Garuda Purana.


The Upanishads are the first scriptures in Hinduism which explicitly mention about Afterlife, The Bhagavad Gita, a famous Hindu script, says that just as a man discards his old clothes and wears new ones; similarly the Atman discards the old body and takes on a new one. In Hinduism, the belief is that the body is nothing but a shell, the consciousness inside is immutable and indestructible and takes on different lives in a cycle of birth and death. The end of this cycle is called mukti (Sanskrit: मुक्ति) and staying finally with the ultimate reality forever; is moksha (Sanskrit: मोक्ष) or liberation




Jainism also believes in the afterlife. They believe that the soul takes on a body form based on previous karmas or actions performed by that soul through eternity. Jains believe the soul is eternal and that the freedom from the cycle of reincarnation is the means to attain eternal bliss.




The essential doctrine of Sikhism is to experience the divine through simple living, meditation and contemplation while being alive. Sikhism also has the belief of being in union with God while living. Accounts of afterlife are considered to be aimed at the popular prevailing views of the time so as to provide a referential framework without necessarily establishing a belief in the afterlife. Thus while it is also acknowledged that living the life of a householder is above the metaphysical truth, Sikhism can be considered agnostic to the question of an afterlife. Some scholars also interpret the mention of reincarnation to be naturalistic akin to the biogeochemical cycles.


But if one analyses the Sikh Scriptures carefully, one may find that on many occasions the afterlife and the existence of heaven and hell are mentioned in Guru Granth Sahib and in Dasam Granth, so from that it can be concluded that Sikhism does believe in the existence of heaven and hell; however, heaven and hell are created to temporarily reward and punish, and one will then take birth again until one merges in God.


According to the Sikh scriptures, the human form is the closet form to God and the best opportunity for a human being to attain salvation and merge back with God. Sikh Gurus said that nothing dies, nothing is born, everything is ever present, and it just changes forms. Like standing in front of a wardrobe, you pick up a dress and wear it and then you discard it. You wear another one. Thus, in the view of Sikhism, your soul is never born and never dies. Your soul is a part of God and hence lives forever.

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