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Buddhists/reincarnation, enlightenment, self

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Question
If there is no self who or what is reincarnated? Enlightened?
thank you
Alan

Answer
Dear Alan,
Quite a common question, and a good one.
I think it is worth bearing in mind that, according to Buddhism, ordinary people do not understand the nature of themselves.
It is not that we "have" a "self" that we have to get rid of: it is that there are certain ways of understanding "self" that we do not have now, never have had and never could have. Nonetheless, we cling to it.
When you are having a dream, are you the same person who had a different dream the night before? In simple terms, the answer is obvious: yes and no! But properly understanding that point is, you might agree, more tricky.
Just the same thing applies to the questions of what is reincarnated in what is enlightened. It can be experienced and understood, but it is very hard to put into words.
I hope that helps a little bit

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Alex Wilding

Expertise

I have practiced and studied Tibetan Buddhism in the Kagyu and Nyingma traditions since the early 1970s, and have a good knowledge of theory, history and of the struggles of trying to practice the teachings, including meditation, while leading a normal, modern life. I am also available to provide background information for journalists.

Experience

I have been a practitioner since the early 1970s; have run a small Buddhist centre in the English Midlands and was vice-president of Kagyu Benchen Ling e.V. in Germany, for whom I managed three large Buddhist summer-camps. More importantly, I maintain a habit of personal practice. I am the "owner" of the Kagyu list at Yahoo.

Education/Credentials
My first degree was an M.A. from Oxford. I later obtained a Master of Philosophy degree for a research thesis in "Initiation in Tibetan Buddhism" from Leicester University. I also have engineering and educational qualifications.

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