Why modern Buddhists should take reincarnation seriously | Aeon Essays:
Thinking about reincarnation today is, first of all, a reminder of the complexity of Buddhism, and the fact that individual practices can’t be neatly separated from broader institutional histories. Any change in our personal lives is inseparable from change in the world around us. Second, reincarnation offers a way of thinking about the present as connected to the deep past and to any potential futures as well. We needn’t think of the specifics of the reincarnation doctrine to realise that we’re all the inheritors of a past that we didn’t create and the bequeathers of a future we won’t live to see. Third, this temporal relation is also an ethical one, because it suggests that we’re the products of other lives and the creators of other futures, and thus share a global and temporal interdependence. And fourth, it follows that part of our task as humans is to be aware of what we might accidentally replicate from our past and thus unknowingly recreate in the future.