In most Buddhist sects, death and rebirth is connected to reincarnation, to put it simply. The dictionary says of the term of Samsara: “The cycle of death and rebirth to which life in the material world is bound.” This is not exactly the same view in Monijiao. There are actually two different definitions of Samsara held by adherents.
The first definition of Samsara, a Sanskrit term meaning “ongoing flow”, is seen as an experience in the PHYSICAL world and is simply defined as “confusion.” This is when a person or a soul has a clouded mind and has not come to the realization of the true self. Such a person might jump from one religion to another never finding satisfaction for their hunger for Truth. Most people in the world do this, not only experiencing and gaining but also losing and failing, from each move they make. It’s different for each person.
However, there is also a deeper and SPIRITUAL dimension to Samsara. Death and rebirth as understood in the Mingjiao/Monijiao Buddhist-Daoist tradition is viewed as a passing beyond the desire to enter into rest in Sukhavati/Pure Land and instead, entering a DIFFERENT realm of celestial existence as a Light Body to serve for the betterment of humankind. From here the Light Body or “Cloud Soul of Light” shares its merits with ALL sentient beings that exist in the physical world. This is viewed, in Monijiao as surpassing death and rebirth because this one is not reborn in the Pure Land but instead, a different plane of celestial existence. This is where they exist as a pure cloud soul or spirit.
The Sutras give us some additional insights in this single verse:
“Those who wish to be born in the Land of Ultimate Light (Supreme Land of Light) as a Body of Light among others of the same nature, who wish for all mankind to hear the Dharma and who wish to share their merits with all sentient beings, must take this vow and live according to their means, without gross material gain, always following the Precepts and always, while in the physical body, taking refuge in the Buddha of Light, the Dharma of Light and the Community of Light, and giving good to all sentient beings.
Only after such ones demonstrate impermanence shall they be met, face to face, with Amitabha and His celestial servants, all the Arhats and His Bodhisattvas from all the realms in the universe, and they shall then receive the good mark and be given a body of light. Such ones have gone beyond death and rebirth in the world and in the other realms of the universe.”
We also read:
“Let us take our refuge in Buddha Moni, for he has found the everlasting in the Light. Let us take our refuge in that which is the immutable in the changes of existence. Let us take our refuge in the truth that is established by the Source of the Divine Light. Let us take our refuge in the community of those who seek the truth and endeavor to live in the truth.”