By Rajah Kuruppu, Sunday Times, October 22, 2010
Colombo, Sri Lanka -- From the earliest of times, men have speculated on the question why we are born and why we die. In ancient times, phenomena such as rain and fire were attributed to gods associated with them.
There was a creator god responsible for birth and another for destruction. With the passage of time, there developed the concept of one God, all powerful and omnipotent, who is responsible for our birth and who would judge our life at death and reward or punish us for our good and harmful actions, respectively.
The answer in Buddhism for our birth is that we are caught in a cycle of births and deaths called Samsara, whose beginning is inconceivable. The Buddha declared that it is because of our delusion of the true nature of things, that we have the desire for life at the moment of death where ordinary people grasp for life. Consequently, we are re-born and continue our journey in Samsara with all its unsatisfactory features characterized by Anicca, Dukkha and Anatta — impermanance, unsatisfactoriness and absence of a permanent, unchanging, eternal, self or soul.
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