Last updated: December 21, 2023

What Does Rebirth Mean?

Rebirth can refer to a number of different concepts within spirituality, depending on the school of thought. Hinduism and Buddhism, which both share roots with yogic philosophy, teach about rebirth.

In Hinduism, rebirth, or reincarnation, is a central tenet of the religious teachings. It refers to the idea that the spirit can begin a new life after the death of its physical body, in another body. This may be a human or an animal body.

In Buddhism, rebirth is the idea that when a being dies, this event is the catalyst for the creation of a new aggregation of consciousness. The new being is neither identical nor completely dissimilar to the previous life, but rather they form a continuous stream of consciousness.


Yogapedia Explains Rebirth

Reincarnation is considered, in Hinduism, to simply be part of the universal process, which includes life, death and rebirth, and is governed by karma. Every action produces a karmic result which must be lived out at some point in this lifetime or a future lifetime. It is the attachment to material desires and ignorance which perpetuates the cycle of rebirth. This cycle continues until moksha, or “liberation,” is achieved.

Within Buddhism, the concept of rebirth is differentiated from other teachings on reincarnation in that there is no individual soul or spirit which lives on, but, instead, it is merely consciousness which connects one life with another. This fits with what Buddhist teachers of meditation say is observed once the attention is turned inward – that there is no continuum of awareness, but instead life is experienced one moment of awareness at a time. The transition from one life to another is simply the continuation of this moment-to-moment shift of consciousness.

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