Saṃsāra

samsaracycle of rebirthSansarasamsaricSamsāracycle of birth and deathbirth, change and deathcyclecycle of existencesaṁsāra
Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change.wikipedia
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Reincarnation

reincarnatedrebirthpast lives
Saṃsāra is sometimes referred to with terms or phrases such as transmigration, karmic cycle, reincarnation, and "cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence".
It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.

Indian religions

Dharmic religionsIndian religionreligion
It is also the concept of rebirth and "cyclicality of all life, matter, existence", a fundamental belief of most Indian religions.
However, both branches shared the related concepts of Yoga, saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

Śramaṇa

SramanaShramanaSramanic
The full exposition of the Saṃsāra doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, as well as various schools of Hindu philosophy after about the mid-1st millennium BC.
The śramaṇa movements arose in the same circles of mendicants in ancient India that led to the development of yogic practices, as well as the popular concepts in all major Indian religions such as saṃsāra (the cycle of birth and death) and moksha (liberation from that cycle).

Buddhism

BuddhistBuddhistsBuddhadharma
The full exposition of the Saṃsāra doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, as well as various schools of Hindu philosophy after about the mid-1st millennium BC.
According to the Buddhist sutras, Gautama was moved by the innate suffering of humanity and its endless repetition due to rebirth.

Karma

karmicKarmaskamma
The Saṃsāra doctrine is tied to the karma theory of Indian religions, and the liberation from Saṃsāra has been at the core of the spiritual quest of Indian traditions, as well as their internal disagreements.
In these schools, karma in the present affects one's future in the current life, as well as the nature and quality of future lives - one's saṃsāra.

Moksha

liberationmuktimoksa
The liberation from Saṃsāra is called Moksha, Nirvana, Mukti or Kaivalya. The word Saṃsāra appears, along with Moksha, in several Principal Upanishads such as in verse 1.3.7 of the Katha Upanishad, verse 6.16 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, verses 1.4 and 6.34 of the Maitri Upanishad. Salvation (moksha, mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality), while in Buddhism it (nirvana, nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).
In its soteriological and eschatological senses, it refers to freedom from saṃsāra, the cycle of death and rebirth.

Jainism

JainJainsJaina
The full exposition of the Saṃsāra doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, as well as various schools of Hindu philosophy after about the mid-1st millennium BC.
The Śvētāmbaras disagree with the Digambaras, believing that women can also achieve liberation from Saṃsāra through ascetic practices.

Nirvana

nibbanaNibbānaNirvāṇa
The liberation from Saṃsāra is called Moksha, Nirvana, Mukti or Kaivalya. Salvation (moksha, mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality), while in Buddhism it (nirvana, nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).
It refers to the profound peace of mind that is acquired with moksha, liberation from samsara, or release from a state of suffering, after respective spiritual practice or sādhanā.

Katha Upanishad

KathaKathopanishadKathaka Upanishad
The word Saṃsāra appears, along with Moksha, in several Principal Upanishads such as in verse 1.3.7 of the Katha Upanishad, verse 6.16 of the Shvetashvatara Upanishad, verses 1.4 and 6.34 of the Maitri Upanishad.
The Katha Upanishad asserts that one who does not use his powers of reasoning, whose senses are unruly and mind unbridled, his life drifts in chaos and confusion, his existence entangled in samsara.

Videha mukti (Meher Baba)

VidehamuktiVideha Muktivideha-mukti
Each Indian spiritual tradition developed its own assumptions and paths (marga or yoga) for this spiritual release, with some developing the ideas of Jivanmukti (liberation and freedom in this life), while others content with Videhamukti (liberation and freedom in after-life).
It is a concept found in Hinduism and Jainism in relation to ending the samsara (the cycle of rebirth), and the concept contrasts with Jivanmukti which refer to achieving "liberation while alive".

Anatta

anatmannon-selfanattā
Salvation (moksha, mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality), while in Buddhism it (nirvana, nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).
Anattā (no-self, without soul, no essence) is the nature of all things, and this is one of the three marks of existence in Buddhism, along with Anicca (impermanence, nothing lasts) and Dukkha (suffering, unsatisfactoriness is innate in birth, aging, death, rebirth, redeath – the Saṃsāra cycle of existence).

Yama

YamrajYama Dharma RajuYamaraja
Between generally virtuous lives, some are more virtuous; while evil too has degrees, and the texts assert that it would be unfair for god Yama to judge and reward people with varying degrees of virtue or vices, in "either or" and disproportionate manner.
It is also noted that all of Samsāra is subject to Yama's rule, and escape from samsāra means escape from Yama's influence.

Advaita Vedanta

AdvaitaAdvaita VedāntaAdvaitha
Jainism considers souls as pluralistic each in a karma-Saṃsāra cycle, and does not subscribe to Advaita style nondualism of Hinduism, or Advaya style nondualism of Buddhism.
It, like nearly all these philosophies, has an integrated body of textual interpretations and religious practices for what Hinduism considers four proper aims of life: virtue (dharma), material prosperity (artha), desire (kama) and the fourth and final aim being moksha, the spiritual liberation or release from cycles of rebirth (samsara).

Nondualism

non-dualnondualitynondual
Jainism considers souls as pluralistic each in a karma-Saṃsāra cycle, and does not subscribe to Advaita style nondualism of Hinduism, or Advaya style nondualism of Buddhism.
As explained by the Indian philosopher Nagarjuna, there is a non-dual relationship, that is, there is no absolute separation, between conventional and ultimate truth, as well as between samsara and nirvana.

Madhyamaka

MadhyamikaMādhyamakaMādhyamika
Jainism considers souls as pluralistic each in a karma-Saṃsāra cycle, and does not subscribe to Advaita style nondualism of Hinduism, or Advaya style nondualism of Buddhism.
As Candrakirti says: For one on the road of cyclic existence who pursues an inverted view due to ignorance, a mistaken object such as the superimposition (samāropa) on the aggregates appears as real, but it does not appear to one who is close to the view of the real nature of things.

Jivanmukta

Jivanmuktifully liberated yogiGod-realization
Each Indian spiritual tradition developed its own assumptions and paths (marga or yoga) for this spiritual release, with some developing the ideas of Jivanmukti (liberation and freedom in this life), while others content with Videhamukti (liberation and freedom in after-life).
"Vijnatabrahmatattvasya yathapurvam na samsrtih" – "there is no saṃsāra as before for one who has known Brahman".

Rebirth (Buddhism)

rebirthrebornreincarnation
Rebirth in Buddhism refers to its teaching that the actions of a person lead to a new existence after death, in endless cycles called saṃsāra.

Asceticism

asceticasceticsascetical
The Ajivika tradition combined Saṃsāra with the premise that there is no free will, while the Jainism tradition accepted the concept of soul (calling it "jiva") with free will, but emphasized asceticism and cessation of action as a means of liberation from Saṃsāra it calls bondage.
In Jainism, the ultimate goal of life is to achieve the liberation of soul from endless cycle of rebirths (moksha from samsara), which requires ethical living and asceticism.

Śūnyatā

emptinesssunyatashunyata
Salvation (moksha, mukti) in the Hindu traditions was described using the concepts of Atman (self) and Brahman (universal reality), while in Buddhism it (nirvana, nibbana) was described through the concept of Anatta (no self) and Śūnyatā (emptiness).
According to Gaudapada, the Absolute is not subject to birth, change and death.

Four Noble Truths

The Four Noble Truthstrutharises
The Four Noble Truths, accepted by all Buddhist traditions, are aimed at ending this Samsara-related re-becoming (rebirth) and associated cycles of suffering.
As Walpola Rahula states, "when the Truth is seen, all the forces which feverishly produce the continuity of samsara in illusion become calm and incapable of producing any more karma-formations [...] he is free from [...] the 'thirst' for becoming."

Metempsychosis

transmigration of soulsmigration of the soulReincarnation

Sanskrit

Sanskrit languageClassical SanskritSkt.
Saṃsāra is a Sanskrit word that means "wandering" or "world", with the connotation of cyclic, circuitous change.

Vedas

VedicVedaVedic literature
The concept of Saṃsāra has roots in the post-Vedic literature; the theory is not discussed in the Vedas themselves.

Upanishads

UpanishadUpanishadicUpanisads
It appears in developed form, but without mechanistic details, in the early Upanishads.

Hindu philosophy

Hindu philosopherdarsanasDarshanas
The full exposition of the Saṃsāra doctrine is found in Sramanic religions such as Buddhism and Jainism, as well as various schools of Hindu philosophy after about the mid-1st millennium BC.