Definition - What does Samsara mean?

Samsara is a Sanskrit word for the repetitive cycle of death and rebirth. It encompasses the concept of reincarnation and the fact that what an individual does in their current life will be reflected, through karma, in their future lives.

This term is used in a number of religions, such as Buddhism, Hinduism, Taoism and others. All of these sects believe that an individual's current existence is just one of many lives they have lived in the past and will live in the future.

The concept of samsara appears in yogic philosophy as well. Practicing yoga can help an individual come closer to moksha (freedom through enlightenment), which can liberate him/her from the cycle of samsara.

Yogapedia explains Samsara

The literal translation of samsara would be “a wandering through." This refers to the way in which everyone passes through a number of lives and states.

The goal of nearly all religions that believe in samsara is to end its cycle of reincarnation by reaching nirvana, or moksha. This can be done by perceiving reality and the eternal Truth.

By understanding what samsara is, a yogi can use their meditation sessions to even greater effect. Focusing on samsara can not only help the practitioner keep the ultimate goal of liberation in mind, but it can also help them let go of current troubles and traumas as they remember that this life is just one of many, and everything is transient.

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