Buddhism expalains life with the principle of Eternity. Nicheren Daishonin clarifies this concept in his wrtings, stating, " Eternity means being neither created nor adorned but remaining in the original existence "
" Being neither created nor adorned" means that life is not something created at a certain fixed time, but that it exist originally- ever since the infinite past it has been it has been inherent within the universe. It also means that life itself is not something that can be grasped through our five senses. Life is not the same thing as physical living entity but as latent in nature. Although we can see life's countless physical aspects and spiritual aspects, it is difficult indeed to truly understand life itself as that which ultimately brings about the ceaseless changes perciptible in our lives.
" Remaining in the original existence " means that life keeps existing eternally. Therefore, in the Buddhist view of life, it keeps existing from the inifinite past to the infinite future, taking the two alternative forms or reality that we call life and death.
It is of course much easier to gain understanding about living beings. We are able to percieve a person's appearance and, based on our perceptions of his voice, facial expressions and actions, we can also learn quite a bit about the spiritual functions that go on with physical body. However, when it comes to the state of death, we are much more hard pressed for an explanation because in that state an entity manifest none of its physical or spiritual functions. People cannot grasp life in that state with their Human senses, and for this reason most of them strongly feel that life totally ceases to exist once it dies. But in actuality life itself still continues to exist; only the state of its existence has changed.
Our SGI President Ikeda give us the folloing explanation of Eternity in terms of life and time, in his book "Dialoge on Life":
" The self of cosmic life, as it causes the phenomenal changes of growth, maturity, decline and latency(Ku) , expands inot infinite space-time. It expands because Eternity, which contained in the depths of the universe at the present moment, the pouring forth of the intrinsinc cosmic power called Mystic LAw or Nam Myoho Renge Kyo. THe actual world exist in the single present moment- neither in the aps nor the future. "
The balance sheet of one's Karma formed during the present life decides the degree of pleasure or pain will experience in the period of death. The lenght of that period is also decided by the balance sheet of Karma. The Ligher the karma,ie, the higher oe's centa condition of life is before death, the shorter the period life must endure a state of death. PAssing this period, life once more comes to appear in the world and remanifests its physical and spiritual functions.
As for the aspects of the "new" life, individual differences- such as ones appearance, intelligence and talents; his family, whether it is happy or unhappy, rich or poor; and mny aspects of his society and land- all sharply reflect the karma he formed in previous existences.