Reincarnation

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Reincarnation in Hinduism.
Swami Abhedananda:The ancient civilization of Egypt was built upon a crude form of the doctrine of Reincarnation. Herodotus says:"The Egyptians propounded the theory that the human soul is imperishable, and that where the body of any one dies it enters into some other creature that may be ready to receive it.

Reincarnation is the religious or philosophical concept that the soul or spirit, after biological death, begins a new life in a new body that may be human, animal or spiritual depending on the moral quality of the previous life's actions. This doctrine is a central tenet of the Indian religions. It is also a common belief of various ancient and modern religions such as Spiritism, Theosophy, and Eckankar and is found in many tribal societies around the world, in places such as Siberia, West Africa, w:North AmericaNorth America, and Australia. Although the majority of sects within the Abrahamic religions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Kabbalah, the Cathars, the Druze, and the w:RosicruciansRosicrucians.

Alphabetized by author or source:
A · B · C · D · E · F · G · H · I · J · K · L · M · N · O · P · Q · R · S · T · U · V · W · X · Y · Z · Anon · External links

A[edit]

  • The whole process is expressed in Eastern philosophy by the doctrine of the Reincarnation of the individual soul. Although this doctrine is commonly rejected in the West, it is unreservedly accepted by the vast majority of mankind of the present day, as it was in past centuries. The scientific explanation of this theory we find nowhere except in the writings of the Hindus; still we know that from very ancient times it was believed by the philosophers, sages and prophets of different countries. The ancient civilization of Egypt was built upon a crude form of the doctrine of Reincarnation. Herodotus says:"The Egyptians propounded the theory that the human soul is imperishable, and that where the body of any one dies it enters into some other creature that may be ready to receive it.
  • Those who accept the truth of Reincarnation do not blame their parents for their poor talents, or for not possessing extraordinary powers, but they remain content with their own lot, knowing that they have made themselves as they are to-day by their own thoughts and deeds in their previous incarnations. They understand the meaning of the saying "what thou sowest thou must reap," and always endeavor to mould their future by better thoughts and better deeds. They explain all the inequalities and diversities of life and character by the law of "Karma," which governs the process of Reincarnation as well as the gradual evolution of the germs of life from lower to higher stages of existence.
  • The theory of Reincarnation is logical and satisfactory. While the theory of Resurrection is neither based on scientific truths nor can it logically explain the cause of life and death, Reincarnation solves all the problems of life and explains scientifically all the questions and doubts that arise in the human mind.
  • In the middle of one of the biggest, longest, noisiest, dirtiest thoroughfares in the world lives the reincarnation of a drowned princess, or rather, two hundred reincarnations of a drowned princess.

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Julius Caesar:The principal point of their [Druids] doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another.
  • We travel with the same clan over and over again, from one life to the next, until some ultimate purpose is fulfilled and we no longer need to return. When we Illuminate the road back to our ancestors, they have a way of reaching out, of manifesting themselves...sometimes even physically.

D[edit]

Heinz Duthel about Intuit:Reincarnation is an intrinsic part of many Native American and Inuit traditions.
  • The systematic attempt to attain first-hand knowledge of past lives has been developed in various ways in different places. The early Buddhist texts discuss techniques for recalling previous births, predicated on the development of high levels of meditative concentration.

E[edit]

Ralph Waldo Emerson:The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew... it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.

F[edit]

Gavin Flood:...These include the two pillars of Indian theologies: samsara – the belief that life in this world is one of suffering and subject to repeated deaths and births (rebirths)

moksha/nirvana – the goal of human existence, and therefore, of the religious quest is the search of liberation from that life of suffering.

Henry Ford:I adopted the theory of Reincarnation when I was twenty six. Religion offered nothing to the point. Even work could not give me complete satisfaction. Work is futile if we cannot utilize the experience we collect in one life in the next. When I discovered reincarnation it was as if I had found a universal plan.
  • ....Some of the fundamental values and beliefs that we generally associate with Indian religions in general and Hinduism in particular were in part the creation of the renouncer tradition. These include the two pillars of Indian theologies: samsara – the belief that life in this world is one of suffering and subject to repeated deaths and births (rebirth); moksha/nirvana – the goal of human existence, and therefore, of the religious quest is the search of liberation from that life of suffering.
    • Gavin Flood, in “The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism”, p.273
Henry Ford:I believe we are reincarnated. You, I, we reincarnate over and over. We live many lives, and store up much experience. Some are older souls than others and so they know more. It seems to be an intuitive "gift." It is really hard-won experience.
  • I realised that there was a chance to work out my ideas. Time was no longer limited. I was no longer a slave to the hands of the clock. Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Some are older souls than others, and so they know more. The discovery of Reincarnation put my mind at ease. If you preserve a record of this conversation, write it so that it puts men’s minds at ease. I would like to communicate to others the calmness that the long view of life gives to us.
    • Henry Ford, in The Buddhism Primer : an Introduction to Buddhism, p.46
  • So the Buddhist teachings of rebirth does have some scientific evidence to support it. It is logically consistent and it goes a long way in answering questions what the theistic and the materialistic theories fail to . It is also very comforting. What can be worse than a theory of life that gives you no second chance, no opportunity to amend the mistakes you have made in this life and no time to further develop the skills and abilities you have nurtured in this life. But according to the Buddha, if you fail to attain Nirvana in this life, you will have the opportunity to try again next time. If you have made mistakes in this life, you will be able to correct yourself in the next life. You will truly be able to learn from your mistakes. Things you were unable to do or achieve in this life may well become possible in the next life. What a wonderful teaching!

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Manly Palmer Hall:It [Serpent] is the symbol of reincarnation, or metempsychosis, because it annually sheds its skin, reappearing, as it were, in a new body ...
  • There is nothing against a permanently surviving spirit-individuality being in some way given off at death, as a definite wireless message is given off by a sending apparatus working in a particular ways. But it must be remembered that the wireless message only becomes a message again when it comes in contact with a new, material structure - the receiver. So with our possible spirit-emanation. It would never think or feel unless again "embodied" in some way. Our personalities are so based on body that it is really impossible to think of survival which would be in any true sense personal without a body of sorts. I can think of something being given off which could bear the same relation to men and women as a wireless message to the transmitting apparatus for mind.
  • In the doctrine of transmigration, whatever its origin, Brahmanical and Buddhist speculation found, ready to hand, the means of constructing a plausible vindication of the ways of the Cosmos to man....yet this plea of justification is not less plausible than others; and none but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the ground of inherent absurdity. Like the doctrine of evolution itself, that of transmigration has its roots in the world of reality; and it may claim such support as the great argument from analogy is capable of supplying.
    • Thomas Huxley, in “The Buddhism Primer : an Introduction to Buddhism” p.45

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J[edit]

  • Jains believe in reincarnation. Their souls, which are believed to be a unique substance in the universe, take different living forms in the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth. This cycle has been going on forever, the universe has no beginning or end, it has always been and always will be. The ultimate goal is to get rid of one's karma on their soul so that they may end this cycle. Once this goal is reached their soul has attained all knowledge and it rests in the heavens forever (Nirvana).
St. Jerome:...when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things, their bodies are once more annihilated. They are thus ever vanishing and ever reappearing.
  • If it can be shown that an incorporeal and reasonable being has life in itself independently of the body and that it is worse off in the body than out of it; then beyond a doubt bodies are only of secondary importance and arise from time to time to meet the varying conditions of reasonable creatures. Those who require bodies are clothed with them, and contrariwise, when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things, their bodies are once more annihilated. They are thus ever vanishing and ever reappearing.

K[edit]

Jiddu Krishnamurti:The whole of Asia believes in reincarnation, in being reborn in another life. When you enquire what it is that is going to be born in the next life.

L[edit]

Sushama Londhe: Many concepts like reincarnation, meditation, yoga and others have found worldwide acceptance. It would not be surprising to find Hinduism the dominant religion of the twenty-first century. It would be a religion that doctrinally is less clear-cut
James G. Lochtefeld:Dasavatar (ten descendents) is collective name for the ten avatars (incarnations on earth) of the god Vishnu. In each case Vishnu takes form to restore the cosmic equilibrium when it has been thrown out of balance by the action of a particular demon.

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  • What, if some day or night a demon were to steal after you into your loneliest loneliness and say to you: This life as you now live it and have lived it, you will have to live once more and innumerable times more... Would you not throw yourself down and gnash your teeth and curse the demon who spoke thus? Or have you once experienced a tremendous moment when you would have answered him: You are a god and never have I heard anything more divine.

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Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor:The Pythagorean doctrine prevails among the Gauls' teaching that the souls of men are immortal, and that after a fixed number of years they will enter into another body.
Philo of Alexandria:The company of disembodied souls is distributed in various orders. The law of some of them is to enter mortal bodies, and after certain prescribed periods be again set free.
  • Sikhs believe in reincarnation. This means when you die, your soul moves on to another body. This cycle of dying and being born again happens over and over again. It goes on until with God’s help you become close enough to God to break out of the cycle.
  • Believing in reincarnation makes a difference to what Sikhs believe about death. They say it is like going to sleep. You go to sleep when you are tired, and wake up ready for another day. In the same way, you die, and are born again to a new life. Of course, friends and relations are sad that the person they love is not with them, but Sikhism teaches them to remember that the person has gone on to another life.
    • Sue Penney, in “Sikhism”, p. 46
  • Soul is older than body. Souls are continually born over again into this life. The idea of Reincarnation was spread widely in Greece and Italy by Pythagoras, Empedocles, Plato, Virgil and Ovid. It was known to the Neo-Platonists, Plotinus and Proclus. Plotinus says: "The soul leaving the body becomes that power which it has most developed. Let us fly then from here below and rise to the intellectual world, that we may not fall into a purely sensible life by allowing ourselves to follow sensible images...."
  • The company of disembodied souls is distributed in various orders. The law of some of them is to enter mortal bodies, and after certain prescribed periods be again set free.

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R[edit]

Leni Riefenstahl:I feel as though I have lived many lives, experienced the heights and depths of each and like the waves of the ocean, never known rest. Throughout the years, I looked always for the unusual, for the wonderful, for the mysteries at the heart of life.
Rumi:I died as a mineral and became a plant...
  • A fully developed psychology will not exist until reincarnation is accepted as a fact.

S[edit]

Isaac Bashevis Singer:There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead? The soul never dies and the body is never really alive.
  • This idea of reincarnation is... most essential for the moral well-being of the human race. Why do we not remember our past? Why should we remember the past? What has come to this brain is the resultant, the sum total of the impressions acquired in our past, with which the mind has come to inhabit the new body. Yet at the same time, … there are instances which show that this memory does come.….No other theory except that of reincarnation accounts for the wide divergence that we find between man and man in their powers to acquire knowledge.
  • I am confident in the belief that there truly is such a thing as living again, and that the living spring from the dead, and that the souls of the dead are in existence, and that the good souls have a better portion than the evil.
  • Yoga says instinct is a trace of an old experience that has been repeated many times and the impressions have sunk down to the bottom of the mental lake. Although they go down, they aren’t completely erased. Don’t think you ever forget anything. All experiences are stored in the chittam [mind]; and, when the proper atmosphere is created, they come to the surface again. When we do something several times it forms a habit. Continue with that habit for a long time, and it becomes your character. Continue with that character and eventually, perhaps in another life, it comes up as instinct.
Solomon:I was a child of good nature and a good soul came to me, or rather because I was good I came into an undefiled body.
  • Opinions differ whether human souls can be reincarnated on the earth or not. In 1936 a very interesting case was thoroughly investigated and reported by the government authorities in India. A girl (Shanti Devi from Deli) could accurately describe her previous life (at Muttra, five hundred miles from Deli) which ended about a year before her 'second birth'. She gave the name of her husband and child and described her home and life history. The investigating commission brought her to her former relatives, who verified all her statements. Among the people of India reincarnations are regarded as commonplace; the astonishing thing for them in this case was the great number of facts the girl remembered. This and similar cases can be regarded as additional evidence for the theory of the indestructibility of memory.
    • Professor Gust Stromberg, in “The Buddhism Primer : an Introduction to Buddhism”, p.45

T[edit]

Rabindranath Tagore:...As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
You become an image of what is remembered forever...
Leo Tolstoy:As we live through thousands of dreams in out present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life... and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real life of God.

Unending Love

  • I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times...
    In life after life, in age after age, forever.
    My spellbound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs,
    That you take as a gift, wear round your neck in your many forms,
    In life after life, in age after age, forever.
    Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, it's age old pain,
    It's ancient tale of being apart or together.
    As I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge,
    Clad in the light of a pole-star, piercing the darkness of time.
    You become an image of what is remembered forever.
    You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount.
    At the heart of time, love of one for another.
    We have played along side millions of lovers,
    Shared in the same shy sweetness of meeting,
    the distressful tears of farewell,
    Old love but in shapes that renew and renew forever.
    Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you
    The love of all man's days both past and forever:
    Universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life.
    The memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours -
    And the songs of every poet past and forever.
  • I (my ghost) was taken to the place where the sun sets (the west).... While at that place, I thought I would come back to earth again, and the old man with whom I was staying said to me, “My son, did you not speak about wanting to go to the earth again?” I had, as a matter of fact, only thought of it, yet he knew what I wanted. Then he said to me, “You can go, but you must ask the chief first.” Then I went and told the chief of the village of my desire, and he said to me, “You may go and obtain your revenge upon the people who killed your relatives and you.” Then I was brought down to earth.... There I lived until I died of old age.... As I was lying [in my grave], someone said to me, “Come, let us go away.” So then we went toward the setting of the sun. There we came to a village where we met all the dead. ... thence I came to this earth again for the third time, and here I am. I am growing through the same that I knew before.
  • The Winnebago Indian Crashing Thunder writing on his life which also pertained to reincarnation of his brother-in-law Thunder Cloud who died young. This is from an account of Thunder Cloud’s reincarnations, translated and annotated by Paul Radin, in Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit, p.60-61
  • The case of Thunder Cloud exemplifies another recurrent theme: that those who die in battle are especially privileged or likely to be reborn with their memory of previous life intact.
    • In "Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit" P.58
  • As we live through thousands of dreams in out present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life... and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real life of God.

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V[edit]

Rig Veda:Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered. O Jatavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers... let thy fierce flame, thy glowing splendour, burn him With thine auspicious forms, o Jatavedas, bear this man to the region of the pious... Again, O Agni, to the Fathers send him who, offered in thee, goes with our oblations. Wearing new life let him increase his offspring: let him rejoin a body, Jatavedas then.
  • Burn him not up, nor quite consume him, Agni: let not his body or his skin be scattered. O Jatavedas, when thou hast matured him, then send him on his way unto the Fathers... let thy fierce flame, thy glowing splendour, burn him With thine auspicious forms, o Jatavedas, bear this man to the region of the pious... Again, O Agni, to the Fathers send him who, offered in thee, goes with our oblations. Wearing new life let him increase his offspring: let him rejoin a body, Jatavedas then.
  • The latest scientific men are coming back to the ancient sages, and as far as they have done so, there is perfect agreement. They admit that each man and each animal is born with a fund of experience, and that all these actions in the mind are the result of past experience. "But what," they ask, "is the use of saying that that experience belongs to the soul? Why not say it belongs to the body, and the body alone? Why not say it is hereditary transmission?" This is the last question. *Why not say that all the experience with which I am born is the resultant effect of all the past experience of my ancestors? The sum total of the experience from the little protoplasm up to the highest human being is in me, but it has come from body to body in the course of hereditary transmission. Where will the difficulty be? This question is very nice, and we admit some part of this hereditary transmission. How far? As far as furnishing the material. We, by our past actions, conform ourselves to a certain birth in a certain body, and the only suitable material for that body comes from the parents who have made themselves fit to have that soul as their offspring.

W[edit]

B. Alan Wallace:...the primary text that describes the complex laws of reincarnation is The Gate of Reincarnations (Sha’ar Ha’Gilgulim), based on the writings of the master Kabbalist Rabbi Isaac Luria (1534-72) and compiled by his disciple, Rabbi Chaim Vital. The Book of Splendor (Sepher ha Zohar) gives a rationale for reincarnation that is virtually identical to that of early Christian theologian Origen.
B. Alan Wallace:*The New Testament declared that John was imbued with Elijah’s “spirit and power”, which could easily be interpreted as his being a reincarnation of Elijah. But theologians have interpreted these passages in various ways.
  • The New Testament declared that John was imbued with Elijah’s “spirit and power”, which could easily be interpreted as his being a reincarnation of Elijah. But theologians have interpreted these passages in various ways.
    • B. Alan Wallace, in ”Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity”, p. 10
  • It is possible that in his many travels, Pythagoras may have learned this [Pythagoras theorem] and other branches of knowledge, especially pertaining to meditation, from Indian sources. He is also known for his belief in reincarnation, according to which the soul is immortal and is reborn in both human and animal bodies. Legend has it that he claimed to be able to recall up to twenty of his own and other past lives.
    • B. Alan Wallace, in ”Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity”, p. 8
  • According to a Harrris Poll taken in 1998, 23 percent of American public professed belief in reincarnation, including 23 percent of Christians and 32 percent of non-Christians. Similar surveys recently taken in the United Kingdom indicate that 30 to 35 percent of the British population belive in reincarnation.
    • B. Alan Wallace, in ”Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity”, p.101
  • Belief in reincarnation is present in all schools of Buddhism, initially stemming from Buddha’s experience of enlightenment. He concluded that three things are necessary for the emergence of a human psyche and the formation of a human embryo; the parents sexual intercourse; ovulation in the mother; the presence of a being in the intermediate state who has the karma to be reborn to those parents at the time. While such beings are influenced by their karma, or actions in their past lives, they also choose the parents to whom they shall be born. So reincarnation is not a matter of predetermination where the future is totally determined by past events.
    • B. Alan Wallace, in ”Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity”, p.104
  • Intimations of Immortality
    The soul that rises with us, our life's star,
    Hath had elsewhere its setting,
    And cometh from afar.

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Anonymous[edit]

  • In India Hindus believe in reincarnation, the teaching that all souls of humanity are reborn as other beings....Most commonly, humans are considered to be the highest level of incarnation....in this area, however, gods have also been said to have been reincarnated. Buddhism is closely tied to these beliefs and the Buddha is said to have taken the form of a rabbit or a cat. Also many Hindu gods and goddesses are said to have reincarnated in the form of cows.

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