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17.05.2014
Shinto or kami-no-michi (the original traditional term) is the natural spiritual cult of Japan extensively followed by the Japanese people. Shinto essentially integrates the various religious practices consequent of the diverse regional and local prehistoric traditions that were practiced in ancient Japan. Shinto is a unique religion where the ritual practices, actions and rites are a lot more significant than the words or preaching. Shinto exemplifies the worship of the abstract forces of nature, the ancestors, nature, polytheism, and animism.
Correction: according to Professor Hajime Nakamura, Shinto also comes from India (hinduism). 9-2-section-1 - global history curriculum, The new visions global history curriculum is a nys social studies framework-aligned course with free student-facing resources for everyone to use!
Roots hinduism buddhism - blogspot., Buddhism developed period religious questioning shaped modern hinduism jainism.
How ancient trade changed world - livescience., Each monday, column turns page history explore discoveries, events people continue affect history today. In the previous article, we have seen that the world religions do not agree on what they hold as Ultimate Reality. According to the Vedic cosmogony of the golden egg (Hiranyagarbha), both gods and men have their origin in an impersonal primordial entity (Rig Veda 10,129). Although the Vedic hymns do not clearly state what role the most worshiped gods played in the creation of humans, they are responsible to the gods for how they live their lives. According to the hymns of the Rig Veda, humans are personal beings dependent on the gods, and their destiny is eternal life in a celestial world. Yama, the god of death (mentioned in old Buddhist and Taoist scriptures too), is sovereign over the souls of the dead and also the one who receives the offerings of the family for the benefit of the departed.
According to Vedic anthropology, the components of human nature are the physical body, asu and manas. May nothing of thy manas, nothing of the asu, nothing of the limbs, nothing of thy vital fluid, nothing of thy body here by any means be lost (Atharva Veda 18,2,24). As was the case in ancient Chinese religion too, the departed relatives constituted a holy hierarchy. The Upanishads state that the world finds its ultimate unity in Brahman, the impersonal matrix equivalent to the One of the Rig Veda (10,129).
However, there exists the obstacle of illusion (maya) against getting this intuitive knowledge. Just as those who do not know the field walk again and again over the hidden treasure of gold and do not find it, even so all creatures here go day after day into the Brahma-world and yet do not find it, for they are carried away by untruth (Chandogya Up. As a result of ignorance, a process develops in the spiritual world similar to the law of action and reaction that works in the physical world. An important aspect to emphasize here is the fact that reincarnation should not be understood only as solution for punishing bad deeds.
These deluded men, regarding sacrifices and works of merits as most important, do not know any other good. The Upanishads mark a transition from the point where the human condition is determined by divine personal agents (the Vedic gods), to the situation of being totally controlled by the impersonal law of karma. As we have seen in the previous article, these two darshanas are dualistic, accepting the real status of primordial substance (prakriti) beside purusha (the equivalent of atman). Not only the physical world is a product of prakriti’s manifestation, through the loss of balance of the three gunas, but also the world of psycho-mental phenomena. Although there is not much known about how the initial balance between the three gunas was disturbed and how purusha got involved with the manifestations of prakriti, this situation is the source of all problems, the cause of purusha's captivity in the illusion of psycho-mental activity. The world and mankind appeared through the dissociation of the primordial unity of Shiva and Shakti.
Out of the combination of spirit, which is Shiva, with matter, which is Shakti, and through the interaction of one with the other, all creatures were born. The self (atman) is considered to be Shakti, who lives in the human body as a spiritual energy called kundalini. Out of the many forms of theistic Hinduism that exist today, we will analyze briefly only some aspects of Vaishnavism as it was stated by the great theistic Hindu thinkers Ramanuja and Madhva. According to Ramanuja, Vishnu’s relationship to the world is similar to that existing between soul and body. Behold this painted body, a body full of wounds, put together, diseased, and full of many thoughts in which there is neither permanence nor stability. The all-pervading reality of suffering as motivation for seeking liberation is not a new element in Hindu spirituality.
This heap of aggregates generates the illusion of personal existence, the false notions of person (puggala), vital principle (jiva) and self (atman). Some immediate problems raised against Buddhism came from the way it described human nature as having no abiding principle or self. Human perfection, according to him, cannot be attained by religious rituals or meditations, but only by proper education and by respecting moral values. Following the moral principles means implicitly to conform oneself to the will of Heaven, but metaphysical speculations on life after death are futile (Analects 7,20). Unlike Confucianism, which focuses on human moral duties, Taoism states that humans have to align their life to the pulse of nature. According to the Bible, God creates the universe out of nothing (ex nihilo) and not out of his own substance (ex Deo).
The Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being (Genesis 2,7).
There is no ontological continuity between the nature of God and that of humans, as between Brahman and atman, but a fundamental difference that excludes any pantheistic resemblance.
The fact that humans were created in the image (eikon) and likeness (omoiosis) of God does not imply that God has a physical nature, but suggests that humans received by creation a way of existing resembling that of the persons (hypostases) of the Holy Trinity.
In the pantheistic religions, as a result of affirming an impersonal Ultimate Reality, all that belongs to personhood has no ultimate meaning and therefore personal communion with God cannot be the purpose of man's existence. Another consequence of having a personal status according to the Christian worldview is the fact that desire does not have an evil nature in itself, as does the Hindu trishna (the desire to experience existence).
Here must be emphasized the following important aspect: The knowledge (gnosis) of good and evil does not mean gaining some new information. Since this is the context of creation in the Judeo-Christian tradition, the meaning of human existence cannot be found in oneself, but only in one’s creator.
According to Christianity, sin has thoroughly affected human nature, conferring a hereditary perverted status.
The notion of sin, as stated in Christianity, has no correspondent in the Eastern religions. For from within, out of men's hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. The Quran presents the creation and fall in a way similar to the Judeo-Christian tradition. After this episode Iblis planned to deceive humans and make them disobedient to God, which he accomplished in a similar way to the biblical account (see Quran 7,20-21).
Behold, two guardian angels appointed to learn [man’s doings] learn and note them, one sitting on the right and one on the left.
The monotheistic religions state humanity's personal created status as a fundamental element of their theology. In conclusion, there is no harmony among the world's religions concerning the status of humans and their present condition. There are several similarities between the Chinese philosophy of Confucianism and the religion of Buddhism. Life after death If nirvana isn't attained during life, the aggregates will be renewed into a completely different entity. Goal of religion To attain enlightenment and be released from the cycle of rebirth and death, thus attaining Nirvana.
Principle This life is suffering, and the only way to escape from this suffering is to dispel one's cravings and ignorance by realizing the Four Noble Truths and practicing the Eightfold Path. Clergy The Buddhist Sangha, composed of bhikkhus (male monks) and bhikkhunis (female monks). Literal Meaning Buddhists are those who follow the teachings of the Buddha in order to become like the Buddha. Belief of God The idea of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent creator is rejected by Buddhists. Scriptures Tripitaka - a vast canon composed of 3 sections: the Discourses, the Discipline and the Commentaries, and some early scriptures, such as the Gandhara texts. View of the Buddha The highest teacher and the founder of Buddhism, the all-transcending sage. Geographical distribution and predominance Theradava Buddhist countries, Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, Cambodia and Sri Lanka are the places of predominance of Buddhism. Concept of Deity Gods are seen as higher life forms, still bound in samsara. View of other Dharmic religions Since the word Dharma means doctrine, law, way, teaching, or discipline, other Dharmas are rejected. Views on Other Religions Being a practical philosophy, Buddhism is neutral against other religions. THE PREVIOUS WRITER COULD PRESENT THE DIFFERENCES BETTER AND MORE CORRECTLY THAN THE PRESENT WRITER CAN. Just like Christianity there are different followers of Buddhism you need to detail which form of Buddhism you're talking about.
Shinto or literally meaning the way of the Gods was originally adopted from the ancient Chinese inscriptions.
On the other hand Buddhism takes within its purview many diverse traditions, religious practices and spiritual beliefs which are majorly based on the teachings of the Siddhartha Gautama Buddha.
On the other hand, Buddhism is a religion that does not recognize many religious rites or practices. The central focus remains on ritual purity which revolves around the honoring and celebration of the existence of Kami which is the ultimate spirit of essence. Mahayana includes the traditions of Pure Land, Nichiren Buddhism, Zen, Shingon, Tibetan Buddhism, Shinnyo-en and Tendai whereas Theravada centers on the thoughts from the earliest surviving School of Elders.
Shinto is an ancient religion from Japan whereas Buddhism is a tradition envisaged in India by Siddhartha Gautama. Shinto originated from ancient Chinese inscriptions, whereas Buddhism has its inception in the thoughts and teachings of Gautama Buddha. Shinto lays importance to religious actions and rites rather than words and preaching whereas the foundation of Buddhism is the words and preaching of Buddha. Buddhism has religious branches in the form of Theravada and Mahayana whereas Shinto has no such religious sects.
Shinto worships the forces of nature, polytheism and animism whereas Buddhism is all about following an ethical code of conduct in one’s life and practice meditation and renunciation.


According to pantheist religions, a small part of the Ultimate Reality locked up by the illusion of physical experience.
Have we fallen from the created status as a result of sin, defined as a moral barrier against our creator? The Brahmana texts add the appearance of a creator (Prajapati) from the golden egg (Shatapatha Br.
The prayers people address to Varuna, Indra, Agni or other gods denote a sinful human nature. Divine justice was assured by the gods Yama, Soma and Indra, not by an impersonal law such as karma.
Asu is the vital principle (different from personal attributes), and manas is the sum of psycho-mental faculties (mind, feeling and will). The last one deceased was commemorated individually for a year after his departure and then included in the mortuary offerings of the monthly shraddha ritual (Rig Veda 10,15,1-11). In their search for a fundamental entity of human nature, something that should be the unifying principle of all psycho-mental faculties, but above their temporal fluctuations, the Hindu rishis defined the concept of atman.
This is possible only through dissociating the self (atman) from the corporeal and psycho-mental experience, and realizing the identity between his self and Brahman.
Maya deceives humans about the true nature of existence, channeling ones wishes toward the phenomenal world that is ever changing. Having enjoyed in the high place of heaven won by good deeds, they enter again this world or a still lower one. As anticipated, from the polytheistic perspective of the Vedas, of a universe governed by a sovereign god (Varuna) through a law that was subordinated to him (rita), we arrived at the pantheistic view of the Upanishads, where the impersonal law of karma is ruling the world. It is the eternal substrata of the individual being, devoid of any attributes and relations, without beginning or end, indifferent, autonomous, immutable and perfect, above senses, intellect, time and space. The confusion of the two opposite realities, the eternal purusha and the psycho-mental activities, is maya, illusion. Following the pattern of other pantheist schools, the goal to be pursued is the return of self (Shakti, corresponding to atman) in the Ultimate Reality represented by Shiva (the equivalent of Brahman). As the body cannot exist separately from the soul, the existence of the universe and of individual beings depends totally on Vishnu.
Cognition (sanna), the process of classifying and labeling sensory and mental objects, which enables us to recognize them. Mental constructions (sankhara), the states which initiate action and give shape to our character (most characteristic being the will). Consciousness (vijnana), the sense of awareness of a sensory or mental object, the aggregate that generates the illusion of a self. Therefore, the human being is a cluster of ever changing physical and mental processes, a mere heap of the five aggregates, which has no underlying self. All discussions and philosophical debates on the existence and definition of atman have as the only result persistence in suffering, and are hindrances in attaining liberation.
If there is no self, who is actually suffering the pain of which the Buddha was speaking so much?
All his efforts were channeled into finding an ethical system that could improve the Chinese society of his time (6th century BC). All instincts, feelings and imagination have to be allowed to manifest freely, imitating nature. It is a small universe permeated by the Tao, with which it has to be in resonance (gan ying). Unlike the physical world, the human being has a physical dimension (the body) and a spiritual one (the soul).
Unfortunately, a clear difference is not stated between personhood and egoism, both terms being translated as ahamkara. Except the impersonal self (atman or purusha), any other element that may define human existence is a source of karma and by consequence has to be annihilated. Desire belongs to human nature, with the role of being used in order to attain likeness with God. Humans are created as personal beings by a personal God, but without having the same essence with him. The Genesis story says that Adam and Eve sinned against God and that the first thing the came to know was not that they had become like god, but that they were separated from God and also from the perfect environment where they lived (Genesis 3,24). An impersonal Ultimate Reality determines that the essence of the human being, or its innermost nature, is also impersonal. As a result it denies the reality of any permanent self residing in humans and defines human nature as a mere process of becoming in which are involved five aggregates of an impermanent nature.
Personhood has nothing bad or illusory in itself, since it is the major condition for having personal communion with God. No part of this work will be used or reproduced by any means without prior permission from the author.
Furthermore, if certain qualities are subdued, like perception, one's karma can cause any type of aggregation, like rocks, stars, or plants.
The Buddha himself refuted the theistic argument that the universe was created by a self-conscious, personal God. It primarily focuses on the relation and study of the words and philosophies of the Buddha and the paths of existence as showed by him. In a differing way, the foundation of Buddhism lies on the performing of altruism and following the paths of ethical conduct.
But Shinto has no branches and exists as one single institution of ancient Japanese religion.
According to Theravada Buddhism, nothing but an illusion, a temporary combination of five aggregates, none of which is ultimately real.
Or are we rather a product of the periodical manifestation of the Ultimate Reality, and thus ignoring our true spiritual nature? Following the pattern used in the previous article, we will analyze the way human nature is defined in relationship to Ultimate Reality, its origin and present condition. 11,1,6), who created the world and humans out of his own body, by the power of his ardor (tapas).
One of their functions was to cast the wicked into an eternal dark prison from which they can never escape (Rig Veda 7,104,3; 17).
This ritual was necessary because the dead could influence for good or bad the life of the living (Rig Veda 10,15,6).
At the same time, maya strengthens the confusion of atman with the psycho-mental activity and the physical body. In this situation humans are alone facing their destiny, having the duty to escape by their own efforts from the vicious cycle avidya-karma-samsara, an objective that will be foundational to most Hindu religious systems.
Purusha and prakriti have different natures and do not aim to reconstruct a unique essence, as was the case in pantheism. Persistence in this state is a result of ignorance (Yoga Sutra 2,24) and starts the process of karma and reincarnation. Illusion (maya), ignorance (avidya), karma and reincarnation are described in a similar way to other Hindu schools.
The works of Ramanuja and Madhva represent an extraordinary contribution to Hindu spirituality, by the special way they understood the relationship between humanity and divinity and the significance of salvation.
He conducts the souls; they cannot exist without him, but have also energies and activities of their own. However, the fact that Vishnu, souls and karma are all eternal and beginningless, poses difficulties in understanding the relationship between them.
But the Buddha went further than the ideologies of his time, excluding from his metaphysics even the fundamental concepts of Upanishadic philosophy: atman and Brahman.
All five of them are subject to becoming, as they depend one upon the other as in a castle of domino tiles, and therefore are marked by suffering. The Buddha argued that the answers we would like to know about the character of the universe, the existence of a soul or a transcendent Ultimate Reality, start debates that lead us astray from our real problem, which is escaping from suffering (Majjhima Nikaya sutra 63). His main concern was social life and the principles that should govern it for the welfare of society, family, and personal life. Like the universe itself, humans have an ascending life and a descending one, which ends in death. Creation ex nihilo is not an artifice of Judeo-Christian philosophy, but the only possibility compatible with the existence of a personal God as Ultimate Reality. Both are created by God at the same time, so the human being is not a pre-existent celestial soul fallen into a material body. While the image is an ontological fact of human nature, the likeness is an attribute that has to be built up through exercising the relationship with God. Personal desires have to be channeled to function in obedience to God, not to be annihilated.
Personhood holds nothing wrong in itself, but is the premise for grounding a personal relationship with the creator. It is not a matter of conceptual elaboration, a science of good and evil that would explain rationally two opposite concepts without judging them morally. Therefore the human status in the spiritual world can be better likened to a river bed than to a spring. Calling us sinners, God blames us for what we know is wrong but still do, not for unknown mistakes done against some unknown laws of God (see Romans 2,1-15). It is not an eternal damnation, but only a place to expiate bad karma in order that the purified soul can continue its advance toward liberation (see Markandeya Purana 13-15, Sutta Nipata 672-76, The Tibetan Book of the Dead).
It represents a natural tendency toward evil and manifests itself through the conscious sins we commit with our thought, speech and deeds. Although Adam and Eve sinned, they repented and were forgiven, so that their sin had no repercussions for the rest of the human race. Buddhism refers to 'Buddha's teachings' and all of Buddha's teachings are not philosophy, but the absolute truths of the world which Buddha found himself and showed to all of us. On the other hand, Buddhism is a tradition envisaged as the ultimate path of salvation which is to be achieved through an imminent approach into the absolute nature of reality and existence.
Some of the common practices of Buddhism are cultivation of wisdom through meditation and renunciation, invocating the bodhisattvas and studying the scriptures. Consequently, not only Hinduism, but all religions need to give an answer to the fundamental questions concerning creation, life, and death.
Dualistic religions, like Gnosticism and Manicheism, state that humans are spiritual beings originated in another world, a kind of angels fallen into a miserable bodily condition. Beginning with Hinduism, we will continue with the other Eastern religions and finish with the perspective of monotheistic religions, especially Christianity. The Purushasukta hymn (Rig Veda 10,90) states that the product of the golden egg is the giant Purusha, and through his sacrifice by the gods the physical world was built, the four-caste system, the animals and the duality of sexes. It is important to keep in mind that the Vedas do not consider the human being as a part of an impersonal Absolute with which it would fuse after death. Beginning only with the Brahmana writings (after the 9th century BC), which are the first to mention a primitive idea of karma and reincarnation, did the tendency appear to abandon the idea of preservation of personhood after death.


In fact, Brahman is already present in humanity, both at a transcendent and an immanent level, that is, both as the absolute atman and the relative (gross) manifestations (body and psycho-mental faculties). As a result of illusion, humans grant true spiritual value to what is unstable and changing instead of knowing their eternal immutable self. It was thought that the same way sacrifices bring good results to the one who performs them, all his other acts also need a reward.
Karma is the direct link between desire and reincarnation, which builds an inter-conditioning mechanism between the previous, the present and the next lives.
Purusha will reincarnate as many times as needed, according to the deeds performed by the individual in ignorance of his true identity. Personhood and empirical knowledge are two main categories that produce false attachments and have to be surpassed. According to them, humans have a different nature from Vishnu, the personal god who is accepted as Ultimate Reality, and there is no impersonal atman-Brahman fusion that has to be attained. The individuality of each soul (jiva) is not an illusion that has to be discarded through knowledge, but a metaphysical fact. On the one hand, if Vishnu didn't create souls, he cannot have any role in sustaining them, and they have no reason to be responsible to him. What delight is there for him who sees these white bones like gourds cast away in the autumn? He denied there is a self as an unchanging entity that would define our nature, that would reincarnate and eventually attain liberation.
He discouraged speculative thinking on these issues in order to concentrate all efforts in reaching nirvana, a state where they all lose importance, not because the answers are found, but because in nirvana there is no one left to get them. Although Confucius respected the existent Chinese religious traditions, he gave them a mere ethical interpretation. The ascending life is the intrauterine one, which leads one to birth, the climax of his or her existence. Humanity is defined primarily by the ability to have communion with the creator and other people and only secondarily by self-consciousness, ability to think, feel and will. This position is held by most Church fathers of the first centuries, Clement of Alexandria, Irenaeus of Lyon, the Cappadocians, etc.
Without personhood and self-consciousness, in other words without the quality that makes one person different from another, the idea of personal communion with God, the very reason humans were created, is absurd. In this Biblical text, knowledge (gnosis) means experiencing and getting mixed with another reality. In other words, the human being can be better defined as a river bed that chooses what spring will flow through it rather than a spring that doesn’t depend upon external circumstances.
The punishments one has to bear in hell are according to his or her karma, and Yama, the lord of hell, acts in accordance to the demands of karma. It is important to notice here that we inherit neither the particular sins of our ancestors, nor sins we have done in alleged previous lives, but the sinful nature of mankind. In their present condition, humans are exhorted not to repeat the mistake of Adam, and also warned that the devil attempts to cheat them by all means (Quran 7,27). The core of human nature is the impersonal self (atman), of the same essence with Ultimate Reality (Brahman in Vedanta, or Shiva in Tantrism). Although reincarnation is fully accepted, it deals only with the passing of karma from one life to another, without any permanent self being involved. They have no room in Judaism, Christianity or Islam, because the role of supreme judge belongs only to God.
According to monotheistic religions, the human being is a person created in the image and likeness of God. Therefore atman is not the seat of personhood, or man’s soul, as it is sometimes mistakenly translated, but a spiritual entity distinct from personhood and from the physical body. This mechanism prevents humans from entering the celestial world after death or limits their stay there, forcing them to come back in this life and reap the fruits of their deeds. As a result of karma’s retribution, any thought, word or deed of this life will find its reward in the next life, at the same level.
Although they depend entirely on Vishnu, individual souls are real, unique, eternal, and possess intelligence and conscience.
Of the bones a citadel is made, plastered over with flesh and blood, and in it dwell old age and death, pride and deceit. The Buddha answered that only karma is passing from one life to another, using the illustration of the light of a candle, which is derived from other candle without having a substance of its own. As the hypostases of the Holy Trinity are defined only in relationship with each other, in the same way the human hypostasis is defined only in relationship with God and other humans. Both body and soul define human personhood and neither of them is intrinsically bad or illusory.
In order to destroy any element that may lead to attachments, Buddhism rejects even the notion of atman in defining human nature. He needs help to reason the right way and realize that he is responsible for his actions, for which he must pay the consequences in samsara. The Bible teaches that humans do not possess an intrinsic divine nature, and thus are incapable of saving themselves from sin. However, all people sin because of the passion to which they are subjected by Satan and because they are careless about the demands of the Quran.
Humanity's present condition is governed by karma, an impersonal law started by spiritual ignorance that forces the self to reincarnate until true knowledge is attained. Is our destiny limited to this present existence, or do we inherit an eternal one, and if eternal, is it personal or impersonal, conformed with the character of the creator or absorbed into the impersonal nature out of which all things emanated?
This self is the foot-trace of all this, for by it one knows all this, just as one can find again by footprints (what was lost)" (Brihadaranyaka Up. On the other hand, prakriti, the primordial substance, is capable of manifestation and produces all the physical and mental aspects of the world. Samsara works the same way as in pantheism, until true knowledge about the nature of purusha is attained. The main cause of their present state is ignorance, defined as the illusory idea of independence from Vishnu, and manifested as the desire for seeking material goods. A soul can only be responsible to the deity who created it, as it is in the monotheistic religions. In the same manner, there is rebirth without the transfer of a self from one body to another. Physical life, unlike the intrauterine one, is chaotic because humans do not know how to keep up their vital force. This relationship is a reciprocal fellowship, accomplished by a personal unfolding of each toward the other.
Rather than to know (as we understand it), gnosis means to be in communion with something and live according to it. As a river bed is clean or dirty according to the water that flows through it, human identity (and obviously one's morality) is fashioned by the spiritual source one chooses to obey - God or Satan. Being a manifestation of the Absolute, humans have in themselves the divine nature (atman, purusha) and all resources to overtake the state of ignorance. For each individual are appointed two angels who record all sins and good deeds that are performed during his or her life, and these records will be revealed at the final judgment. The barrier between humans and God has a moral nature, not an epistemological one, as in the Eastern religions.
These are some of the aspects that define the human condition in the world’s religions.
The souls enter into connection with material bodies according to the karma they acquired in previous forms of existence. On the other hand, it is difficult to reconcile the supremacy of Vishnu with the self-sufficient law of karma.
They die as a result of this ignorance, before yin and yang can naturally separate and their being return into the Tao.
Nor do the elements of psycho-mental life have anything bad in themselves, reason for which Christianity demands the renewal of mind (Romans 12,2), discernment between good and bad feelings (Galatians 5,16-23) and using the will for good purposes (Titus 3,8). The same way as knowing God is not just a mental operation, but a participation and subscribing to his will, the knowledge of good and evil is an existential experience, an accommodation to a state that is not indifferent to human nature.
But instead of seeing hell as a punishment, it can rather be taken as a real chance of existence offered to those who reject his presence. The result of sin is hell, a state of definitive separation from God, according to man's decision during this single earthly life. Closely related to how human nature is defined are the values we pursue in life and the kind of relationship we have with our neighbors. It teaches that we live further lives as humans or, according to how badly we acted and how gross our ignorance was in detaching from the material world, as animals or plants. Karma is an instrument used by Vishnu to punish evil but also to remind humans of their true status and what they should actually seek in life. Progression and regression are constant developments in the universe and also in the human body. Nowhere in the Holy Scripture is it taught that they should be annihilated in order to grasp a higher impersonal Ultimate Reality. Good deeds only provide a short reward in heaven, but then the soul has to return to earth and continue its struggle. But the question of how souls first came under the power of karma is unanswered, because the cosmic process has no beginning.
Vishnu is the one who introduces the soul into the stream of transmigration so that it might discover its spiritual nature. It is stated that in the incarnated state, the physical and subtle bodies produce the illusion of independence toward Vishnu and also attachment to the physical world, perpetuating in this way the chain of samsara. The natural result is reincarnation, repeating physical existence until liberation is attained. As a result of their accumulated karma, Vishnu chooses to have each soul undergo the fruits of his past labors. However, reincarnation is a topic developed only later in Taoism, probably two centuries after Lao Tse.
Karma is a law that can work by itself, as it does in Samkhya (which also states that souls are beginningless), so it doesn't require a god. The soul (purusha) in Samkhya is eternal and doesn't depend upon any god for its existence, transmigration and liberation.
Simply adding the fact that karma is under the sovereignty of Vishnu is an artificial theory.



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