Does reincarnation equal punishment?

July 11, 2009 3:58am CST
Regardless of you actually believing in reincarnation, some spiritual beliefs state that reincarnation exists and even state that you have to go through a fixed number of human and animal lives, in order to gain enlightenment and free yourself from the cycle of reincarnation. Once enlightened, you can choose to interrupt the cycle and not return. To free oneself is to escape from bondage or an otherwise repressive situation: some religious views hold the cycle of reincarnation as a form of punishment. If you don't reach the level of spiritual impeccability deemed required to actually choose whether you want to be reincarnated or not, you are virtually condemned to return in a physical body, with all its limitations and ailments, and forced to go through yet another incarnation, exposed to discomforts of all kinds and pitted against others in a constant fight for survival. Then, we could even say the current dimension (for lack of a better word)we live in is in fact a form of hellish world. What do you think? Do you view yourself the cycle of reincarnation as an opportunity to learn and attain freedom or as a form of punishment, when you are forced to spend time in a physical form sensitive to pain, hunger, discomfort and diseases and limited in so many ways?
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