The Buddha lived in a time of polytheism. He appears to suggests that polytheistic gods exist only if an individual believes them to do so,
For the Buddha, delusion generates itself in cycles of endless repetition. Causes lead to consequences, and this systems appears to transmit itself from one birth to the next. However, this should not be interpreted in a theistic or mystical fashion. Whatever the Buddha is referring to, it can not be obvious reincarnation favoured by certain religious theories, as the Buddha fundamentally rejects such notions in his teachings. Rebirth and karma, as used by the Buddha, appear to be a method of interpretation that avoids the trap of gross materialism, whilst using the rational mind.