Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly

The Case for Rebirth

Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research

Wisdom Publications, 2018

304 pages; $29.95

What happens when we die? This question has vexed us humans for as long as we’ve been able to conceive of a future. Opinions abound. The materialist believes nothing happens; everything simply ends. The eternalist believes we will all have everlasting existence in either eternal joy or misery. The agnostic says we can’t know, so it’s not worth thinking about. Some Buddhists believe we will be reborn, and that the circumstances of one’s rebirth are influenced by past actions. These stances are often strongly held even though, if pressed, those who hold them will admit they don’t actually know.

In Bhikkhu Analayo, author of the highly regarded book approaches this question from multiple perspectives, examining the tenet of rebirth through early discourses of the Buddha, historical debates, accounts of near-death experiences, and modern research. Although Analayo is a deeply committed practitioner and scholar in the tradition of early Buddhism, this

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