Rebirth & Reincarnation Stories : Buddhism 101 – Ep. 8

In this podcast Robert Thurman discusses the motivational + inspirational value of examining rebirth stories first hand on the spiritual path no matter what one’s background is.  Providing examples from Non-Buddhist communities Professor Thurman details the process of dying, death and rebirth, and the contraindications found within our modern relationship with it.

Podcast concludes with a discussion on the relationship that both Christianity and Materialism have with the idea of rebirth and shares some amusing and insightful anecdotes.

“In order to make the kind of evolutionary progress that the Buddha wanted people to make, you have to be responsible for the sequence of former & future lives.

For me one of the most striking passages in Shantideva is the verse in which Shantideva says that the person who dies, and the person who is reborn, are other. And, therefore, the only valid motive that one can have for acting has to be compassion. There is no “you” who continues into a future life. “You” finish at death, and something else, another being is then born, like a parent giving birth to a child. That position takes the subject—me, the ego—out of the equation.

The process of evolutionary change is not about me, but about what I can now do to improve the spiritual evolutionary advantage of those who come after my death. If you take the idea of otherness in this way, you no longer need to posit some personal.”

Robert AF Thurman from

This episode is an excerpt from recordings of a weekend retreat that Professor Thurman led at Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health in February 2015, titled “Living the Evolutionary Life: Through Death and Beyond.”

Rebirth Stories Podcast Photo by Scott TrentoPhoto by Scott Trento on Unsplash

Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health is a nonprofit educational organization dedicated to empowering people and communities to realize their full potential through the transformative wisdom and practice of yoga.

To learn more about Kripalu Center for Yoga & Health + about upcoming events with Robert AF Thurman please visit:

This podcast is apart of the ‘Buddhism 101’ Series using classic teachings from Robert Thurman to elucidate basic concepts of the tradition.

Podcast Extra


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