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{{other uses}}{{Redirect2|Past lives|Transmigration of souls|other uses|Past Lives (disambiguation)}}
missing image!
- Reincarnation AS.jpg -
Illustration of reincarnation in Hindu art.
File:Gati or existences.jpg|right|thumb|In Jainism, a soul travels to any one of the four states of existence after death depending on its karmakarmaReincarnation is the philosophical or religious concept that the non-physical essence of a living being starts a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration, and is a part of the Saṃsāra doctrine of cyclic existence.{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland|2010|pp=24–29, 171}}{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}} In short, Saṃsāra is the cycle of death and rebirth.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271-272}}Reincarnation is a central tenet of Indian religions, namely Jainism, Buddhism, Sikhism and Hinduism, although there are Hindu groups that do not believe in reincarnation but believe in an afterlife.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}}{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|pp=90–99}}BOOK, Rita M. Gross, Buddhism After Patriarchy: A Feminist History, Analysis, and Reconstruction of Buddhism,weblink 1993, State University of New York Press, 978-1-4384-0513-1, 148, Flood, Gavin D. (1996), An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press It is an esoteric belief in many streams of Orthodox Judaism and is found (in different forms) in some beliefs of North American Natives.Gananath Obeyesekere, Imagining Karma: Ethical Transformation in Amerindian, Buddhist, and Greek Rebirth. University of California Press, 2002, page 15. A belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato.see Charles Taliaferro, Paul Draper, Philip L. Quinn, A Companion to Philosophy of Religion. John Wiley and Sons, 2010, page 640, Google Books It is also a belief in various modern religions. Although the majority of denominations within 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 Cathars, Alawites, the Druze,Hitti, Philip K (2007) [1924]. Origins of the Druze People and Religion, with Extracts from their Sacred Writings (New Edition). Columbia University Oriental Studies. 28. London: Saqi. pp. 13–14. {{ISBN|0-86356-690-1}} and the Rosicrucians.Heindel, Max (1985) [1939, 1908] The Rosicrucian Christianity Lectures (Collected Works): The Riddle of Life and Death. Oceanside, California. 4th edition. {{ISBN|0-911274-84-7}} The historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of Neoplatonism, Orphism, Hermeticism, Manicheanism, and Gnosticism of the Roman era as well as the Indian religions have been the subject of recent scholarly research.An important recent work discussing the mutual influence of ancient Greek and Indian philosophy regarding these matters is The Shape of Ancient Thought by Thomas McEvilley In recent decades, many Europeans and North Americans have developed an interest in reincarnation,WEB,weblink Popular psychology, belief in life after death and reincarnation in the Nordic countries, Western and Eastern Europe,  {{small|(54.8 KB)}} and many contemporary works mention it.

Conceptual definitions

The word "reincarnation" derives from Latin, literally meaning, "entering the flesh again". The Greek equivalent metempsychosis (μετεμψύχωσις) derives from meta (change) and empsykhoun (to put a soul into),metempsychosis, Etymology Dictionary, Douglas Harper (2015) a term attributed to Pythagoras.Carl Huffman (2014), Pythagoras, 4.1 The Fate of the Soul—Metempsychosis Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Stanford University An alternate term is transmigration implying migration from one life (body) to another.WEB, Transmigration, Oxford Dictionaries,weblink 2016, Oxford University Press, Reincarnation refers to the belief that an aspect of every human being (or all living beings in some cultures) continues to exist after death, this aspect may be the soul or mind or consciousness or something transcendent which is reborn in an interconnected cycle of existence; the transmigration belief varies by culture, and is envisioned to be in the form of a newly born human being, or animal, or plant, or spirit, or as a being in some other non-human realm of existence.WEB,weblink Encyclopædia Britannica,, 2016-06-25, {{Sfn|Keown|2013|pp=35–40}}BOOK, Christopher Key Chapple, Christopher Chapple, Jainism and Ecology: Nonviolence in the Web of Life,weblink 2006, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-2045-6, 39, The term has been used by modern philosophers such as Kurt GödelWEB, Karl Sigmund,weblink Gödel Exhibition: Gödel's Century,, 2011-12-06, and has entered the English language. Another Greek term sometimes used synonymously is palingenesis, "being born again".WEB,weblink Heart of Hinduism: Reincarnation and Samsara,, 2011-12-06, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-04-19, Rebirth is a key concept found in major Indian religions, and discussed with various terms. Punarjanman (Sanskrit: पुनर्जन्मन्) means "rebirth, transmigration".BOOK, Monier Monier-Williams, A Sanskrit-English Dictionary,weblink 1872, Oxford University Press, 582, BOOK, Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, Karma and Rebirth: Post Classical Developments,weblink 1986, State University of New York Press, 978-0-87395-990-2, 88–89, Reincarnation is discussed in the ancient Sanskrit texts of Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, with many alternate terms such as punarāvṛtti (पुनरावृत्ति), punarājāti (पुनराजाति), punarjīvātu (पुनर्जीवातु), punarbhava (पुनर्भव), āgati-gati (आगति-गति, common in Buddhist Pali text), nibbattin (निब्बत्तिन्), upapatti (उपपत्ति), and uppajjana (उप्पज्जन).BOOK, Thomas William Rhys Davids, William Stede, Pali-English Dictionary,weblink 1921, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-1144-7, 95, 144, 151, 361, 475, These religions believe that this reincarnation is cyclic and an endless Saṃsāra, unless one gains spiritual insights that ends this cycle leading to liberation.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}}{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|pp=90–99}} The reincarnation concept is considered in Indian religions as a step that starts each "cycle of aimless drifting, wandering or mundane existence",{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=271–272}} but one that is an opportunity to seek spiritual liberation through ethical living and a variety of meditative, yogic (marga), or other spiritual practices.{{Sfn|John Bowker|2014|pp=84–85}}Gavin Flood (2010), Brill's Encyclopedia of Hinduism (Editor: Knut Jacobsen), Volume II, Brill, {{ISBN|978-90-04-17893-9}}, pages 881–884 They consider the release from the cycle of reincarnations as the ultimate spiritual goal, and call the liberation by terms such as moksha, nirvana, mukti and kaivalya.Klaus Klostermaier, Mokṣa and Critical Theory, Philosophy East and West, Vol. 35, No. 1 (Jan., 1985), pages 61–71Norman E. Thomas (April 1988), Liberation for Life: A Hindu Liberation Philosophy, Missiology, Volume 16, Number 2, pp 149–160;Gerhard Oberhammer (1994), La Délivrance dès cette vie: Jivanmukti, Collège de France, Publications de l'Institut de Civilisation Indienne. Série in-8°, Fasc. 61, Édition-Diffusion de Boccard (Paris), {{ISBN|978-2868030610}}, pages 1–9 However, the Buddhist, Hindu and Jain traditions have differed, since ancient times, in their assumptions and in their details on what reincarnates, how reincarnation occurs and what leads to liberation.{{Sfn|Obeyesekere|2005|p=1-2, 108, 126–128}}{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|pp=272–273}}Gilgul, Gilgul neshamot or Gilgulei Ha Neshamot (Heb. גלגול הנשמות) is the concept of reincarnation in Kabbalistic Judaism, found in much Yiddish literature among Ashkenazi Jews. Gilgul means "cycle" and neshamot is "souls". Kabbalistic reincarnation says that humans reincarnate only to humans unless YHWH/Ein Sof/God chooses.



The origins of the notion of reincarnation are obscure.BOOK, Theosophical Society in America, Reincarnation: The Hope of the World, 15, Irving Steiger Cooper, 1920, Discussion of the subject appears in the philosophical traditions of India. The Greek Pre-Socratics discussed reincarnation, and the Celtic Druids are also reported to have taught a doctrine of reincarnation.Diodorus Siculus thought the Druids might have been influenced by the teachings of Pythagoras. Diodorus Siculus v.28.6; Hippolytus Philosophumena i.25.

Early Hinduism, Jainism and Buddhism

The idea of reincarnation, saṃsāra, did not exist in the early Vedic religions.A.M. Boyer: Etude sur l'origine de la doctrine du samsara. Journal Asiatique, (1901), Volume 9, Issue 18, S. 451–453, 459–468Yuvraj Krishan: . Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 1997, {{ISBN|978-81-208-1233-8}} The idea of reincarnation has roots in the Upanishads of the late Vedic period (c. 1100 – c. 500 BCE), predating the Buddha and the Mahavira.BOOK, Damien Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction,weblink 2013, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-966383-5, 28, 32–38, BOOK,weblink An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy, Laumakis, Stephen J., 2008-02-21, Cambridge University Press, 9781139469661, en, The concepts of the cycle of birth and death, samsara, and liberation partly derive from ascetic traditions that arose in India around the middle of the first millennium BCE.Flood, Gavin. Olivelle, Patrick. 2003. The Blackwell Companion to Hinduism. Malden: Blackwell. pg. 273-4. "The second half of the first millennium BCE was the period that created many of the ideological and institutional elements that characterize later Indian religions. The renouncer tradition played a central role during this formative period of Indian religious history....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); moksa/nirvana – the goal of human existence....." Though no direct evidence of this has been found, the tribes of the Ganges valley or the Dravidian traditions of South India have been proposed as another early source of reincarnation beliefs.Gavin D. Flood, An Introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press (1996), UK {{ISBN|0-521-43878-0}} p. 86 – "A third alternative is that the origin of transmigration theory lies outside of vedic or sramana traditions in the tribal religions of the Ganges valley, or even in Dravidian traditions of south India."The early Vedas, do not mention the doctrine of Karma and rebirth but mention the belief in an afterlife.{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|p=90}}{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|pp=90–99}}BOOK, A Constructive Survey of Upanishadic Philosophy, R.D.Ranade, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 147–148, 1926,weblink Quote: There we definitely know that the whole hymn is address to a departed spirit, and the poet [of the Rigvedic hymn] says that he is going to recall the departed soul in order that it may return again and live.", BOOK, Atsushi Hayakawa, Circulation of Fire in the Veda,weblink 2014, LIT Verlag Münster, 978-3-643-90472-0, 66–67, 101–103 with footnotes, It is in the early Upanishads, which are pre-Buddha and pre-Mahavira, where these ideas are developed and described in a general way.{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|p=90}}A.M. Boyer (1901), Etude sur l'origine de la doctrine du samsara, Journal Asiatique, Volume 9, Issue 18, pages 451–453, 459–468BOOK,weblink The way to Nirvana: six lectures on ancient Buddhism as a discipline of salvation, Vallee Pussin, Cambridge University Press, 1917, 24–25, Detailed descriptions first appear around the mid 1st millennium BCE in diverse traditions, including Buddhism, Jainism and various schools of Hindu philosophy, each of which gave unique expression to the general principle.{{sfn|Stephen J. Laumakis|2008|pp=90–99}}The texts of ancient Jainism that have survived into the modern era are post-Mahavira, likely from the last centuries of the 1st millennium BCE, and extensively mention rebirth and karma doctrines.{{Sfn|Padmanabh Jaini|1980|pp=217–236}}BOOK, Paul Dundas, The Jains,weblink 2003, Routledge, 978-0415266055, 14–16, 102–105, The Jaina philosophy assumes that the soul (Jiva in Jainism, Atman in Hinduism) exists and is eternal, passing through cycles of transmigration and rebirth.{{Sfn|Padmanabh Jaini|1980|pp=226-228}} After death, reincarnation into a new body is asserted to be instantaneous in early Jaina texts. Depending upon the accumulated karma, rebirth occurs into a higher or lower bodily form, either in heaven or hell or earthly realm.BOOK, Kristi L. Wiley, The A to Z of Jainism,weblink 2009, Scarecrow, 978-0-8108-6337-8, 186, {{Sfn|Padmanabh Jaini|1980|pp=227-228}} No bodily form is permanent: everyone dies and reincarnates further. Liberation (kevalya) from reincarnation is possible, however, through removing and ending karmic accumulations to one's soul.BOOK, Paul Dundas, The Jains,weblink 2003, Routledge, 978-0415266055, 104–105, From the early stages of Jainism on, a human being was considered the highest mortal being, with the potential to achieve liberation, particularly through asceticism.BOOK, Jeffery D Long, Jainism: An Introduction,weblink 2013, I.B.Tauris, 978-0-85773-656-7, 36–37, BOOK, Paul Dundas, The Jains,weblink 2003, Routledge, 978-0415266055, 55–59, BOOK, John E. Cort, Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India,weblink 2001, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-803037-9, 118–119, The early Buddhist texts discuss rebirth as part of the doctrine of Saṃsāra. This asserts that the nature of existence is a "suffering-laden cycle of life, death, and rebirth, without beginning or end".BOOK, Jeff Wilson, 2010, Saṃsāra and Rebirth, in Buddhism, Oxford University Press, 9780195393521, 10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0141, BOOK, Kevin Trainor, Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-517398-7, 62–63, ; Quote: "Buddhist doctrine holds that until they realize nirvana, beings are bound to undergo rebirth and redeath due to their having acted out of ignorance and desire, thereby producing the seeds of karma". Also referred to as the wheel of existence (Bhavacakra), it is often mentioned in Buddhist texts with the term punarbhava (rebirth, re-becoming). Liberation from this cycle of existence, Nirvana, is the foundation and the most important purpose of Buddhism.BOOK, Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India: Three Phases of Buddhist Philosophy,weblink 2013, Routledge, 978-1-134-54231-4, 71, , Quote: "Nirvana is the raison d’être of Buddhism, and its ultimate justification."{{Citation | last =Gethin | first =Rupert | year =1998 | title =Foundations of Buddhism | publisher =Oxford University Press | isbn =978-0192892232 | page =119 | url = }} Buddhist texts also assert that an enlightened person knows his previous births, a knowledge achieved through high levels of meditative concentration.Paul Williams, Anthony Tribe, Buddhist thought: a complete introduction to the Indian tradition. Routledge, 2000, page 84. Tibetan Buddhism discusses death, bardo (an intermediate state), and rebirth in texts such as the Tibetan Book of the Dead. While Nirvana is taught as the ultimate goal in the Theravadin Buddhism, and is essential to Mahayana Buddhism, the vast majority of contemporary lay Buddhists focus on accumulating good karma and acquiring merit to achieve a better reincarnation in the next life.BOOK, Merv Fowler, Buddhism: Beliefs and Practices,weblink 1999, Sussex Academic Press, 978-1-898723-66-0, 65, , Quote: "For a vast majority of Buddhists in Theravadin countries, however, the order of monks is seen by lay Buddhists as a means of gaining the most merit in the hope of accumulating good karma for a better rebirth."BOOK, Christopher Gowans, Philosophy of the Buddha: An Introduction,weblink 2004, Routledge, 978-1-134-46973-4, 169, In early Buddhist traditions, Saṃsāra cosmology consisted of five realms through which the wheel of existence cycled. This included hells (niraya), hungry ghosts (pretas), animals (tiryak), humans (manushya), and gods (devas, heavenly).BOOK, Robert DeCaroli, Haunting the Buddha: Indian Popular Religions and the Formation of Buddhism,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-803765-1, 94–103, In latter Buddhist traditions, this list grew to a list of six realms of rebirth, adding demi-gods (asuras).BOOK, Akira Sadakata, Buddhist Cosmology: Philosophy and Origins,weblink 1997, Kōsei Publishing 佼成出版社, Tokyo, 978-4-333-01682-2, 68–70,


The earliest layers of Vedic text incorporate the concept of life, followed by an afterlife in heaven and hell based on cumulative virtues (merit) or vices (demerit).BOOK, James Hastings, John Alexander Selbie, Louis Herbert Gray, Encyclopædia of Religion and Ethics, Volume 12: Suffering-Zwingli,weblink 1922, T. & T. Clark, 616–618, However, the ancient Vedic Rishis challenged this idea of afterlife as simplistic, because people do not live an equally moral or immoral life. Between generally virtuous lives, some are more virtuous; while evil too has degrees, and the texts assert that it would be unfair for people, with varying degrees of virtue or vices, to end up in heaven or hell, in "either or" and disproportionate manner irrespective of how virtuous or vicious their lives were.{{Sfn|Jessica Frazier|Gavin Flood|2011|pp=84–86}}BOOK, Kusum P. Merh, Yama, the Glorious Lord of the Other World,weblink 1996, Penguin, 978-81-246-0066-5, 213–215, BOOK, Anita Raina Thapan, The Penguin Swami Chinmyananda Reader,weblink 2006, Penguin Books, 978-0-14-400062-3, 84–90, They introduced the idea of an afterlife in heaven or hell in proportion to one's merit.BOOK, harv, Jessica Frazier, Gavin Flood, The Continuum Companion to Hindu Studies,weblink 2011, Bloomsbury Academic, 978-0-8264-9966-0, 84–86, BOOK, Patrul Rinpoche, Dalai Lama, The Words of My Perfect Teacher: A Complete Translation of a Classic Introduction to Tibetan Buddhism,weblink 1998, Rowman Altamira, 978-0-7619-9027-7, 95–96, BOOK, Yuvraj Krishan, The Doctrine of Karma: Its Origin and Development in Brāhmaṇical, Buddhist, and Jaina Traditions,weblink 1997, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, 978-81-208-1233-8, 17–27,


Early texts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism share the concepts and terminology related to reincarnation.{{sfn|Paul Williams|Anthony Tribe|Alexander Wynne|2012|pp=30–42}} They also emphasize similar virtuous practices and karma as necessary for liberation and what influences future rebirths.BOOK,weblink Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction, Damien Keown, Oxford University Press, 2013, 978-0-19-966383-5, 28, 32–38, BOOK, Michael D. Coogan, The Illustrated Guide to World Religions,weblink 2003, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-521997-5, 192, For example, all three discuss various virtues – sometimes grouped as Yamas and Niyamas – such as non-violence, truthfulness, non-stealing, non-possessiveness, compassion for all living beings, charity and many others.BOOK, David Carpenter, Ian Whicher, Yoga: The Indian Tradition,weblink 2003, Routledge, 978-1-135-79606-8, 116, BOOK, Rita Langer, Buddhist Rituals of Death and Rebirth: Contemporary Sri Lankan Practice and Its Origins,weblink 2007, Routledge, 978-1-134-15873-7, 53–54, Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism disagree in their assumptions and theories about rebirth. Hinduism relies on its foundational assumption that "soul, Self exists" (Atman, attā), in contrast to Buddhist assumption that there is "no soul, no Self" (Anatta, anatman).[a] BOOK, Christmas Humphreys, Exploring Buddhism,weblink 2012, Routledge, 978-1-136-22877-3, 42–43, [b] BOOK, Brian Morris, Religion and Anthropology: A Critical Introduction,weblink 2006, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-85241-8, 51, , Quote: "(...) anatta is the doctrine of non-self, and is an extreme empiricist doctrine that holds that the notion of an unchanging permanent self is a fiction and has no reality. According to Buddhist doctrine, the individual person consists of five skandhas or heaps – the body, feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness. The belief in a self or soul, over these five skandhas, is illusory and the cause of suffering."[c] BOOK, Richard Gombrich, Theravada Buddhism,weblink 2006, Routledge, 978-1-134-90352-8, 47, , Quote: "(...) Buddha's teaching that beings have no soul, no abiding essence. This 'no-soul doctrine' (anatta-vada) he expounded in his second sermon."[a] Anatta, Encyclopedia Britannica (2013), Quote: "Anatta in Buddhism, the doctrine that there is in humans no permanent, underlying soul. The concept of anatta, or anatman, is a departure from the Hindu belief in atman (“the self”)."; [b] Steven Collins (1994), Religion and Practical Reason (Editors: Frank Reynolds, David Tracy), State Univ of New York Press, {{ISBN|978-0791422175}}, page 64; "Central to Buddhist soteriology is the doctrine of not-self (Pali: anattā, Sanskrit: anātman, the opposed doctrine of ātman is central to Brahmanical thought). Put very briefly, this is the [Buddhist] doctrine that human beings have no soul, no self, no unchanging essence."; [c] Edward Roer (Translator), {{Google books|3uwDAAAAMAAJ|Shankara's Introduction|page=2}} to Brihad Aranyaka Upanishad, pages 2–4; [d] Katie Javanaud (2013), Is The Buddhist ‘No-Self’ Doctrine Compatible With Pursuing Nirvana?, Philosophy Now; [e] David Loy (1982), Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?, International Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 23, Issue 1, pages 65–74; [f] KN Jayatilleke (2010), Early Buddhist Theory of Knowledge, {{ISBN|978-8120806191}}, pages 246–249, from note 385 onwards;John C. Plott et al (2000), Global History of Philosophy: The Axial Age, Volume 1, Motilal Banarsidass, {{ISBN|978-8120801585}}, page 63, Quote: "The Buddhist schools reject any Ātman concept. As we have already observed, this is the basic and ineradicable distinction between Hinduism and Buddhism". Hindu traditions consider soul to be the unchanging eternal essence of a living being, and what journeys across reincarnations until it attains self-knowledge.BOOK, Bruce M. Sullivan, Historical Dictionary of Hinduism,weblink 1997, Scarecrow, 978-0-8108-3327-2, 235–236 (See: Upanishads), BOOK, Klaus K. Klostermaier, A Survey of Hinduism: Third Edition,weblink 2007, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-7082-4, 119–122, 162–180, 194–195, {{Sfn| Kalupahana|1992|pp=38-39}} Buddhism, in contrast, asserts a rebirth theory without a Self, and considers realization of non-Self or Emptiness as Nirvana (nibbana). Thus Buddhism and Hinduism have a very different view on whether a self or soul exists, which impacts the details of their respective rebirth theories.BOOK, G Obeyesekere, Wendy Doniger, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions,weblink 1980, University of California Press, 978-0-520-03923-0, 137–141, BOOK, Libby Ahluwalia, Understanding Philosophy of Religion,weblink 2008, Folens, 978-1-85008-274-3, 243–249, BOOK, Harold Coward, Julius Lipner, Katherine K. Young, Hindu Ethics,weblink 1989, State University of New York Press, 978-0-88706-764-8, 85–94, The reincarnation doctrine in Jainism differs from those in Buddhism, even though both are non-theistic Sramana traditions.BOOK, Kristi L. Wiley, Historical Dictionary of Jainism,weblink 2004, Scarecrow, 978-0-8108-5051-4, 91, Jainism, in contrast to Buddhism, accepts the foundational assumption that soul exists (Jiva) and asserts this soul is involved in the rebirth mechanism.BOOK, Kristi L. Wiley, Historical Dictionary of Jainism,weblink 2004, Scarecrow, 978-0-8108-5051-4, 10–12, 111–112, 119, Further, Jainism considers asceticism as an important means to spiritual liberation that ends all reincarnation, while Buddhism does not.BOOK, Naomi Appleton, Narrating Karma and Rebirth: Buddhist and Jain Multi-Life Stories,weblink 2014, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-139-91640-0, 76–89, BOOK, Gananath Obeyesekere, Karma and Rebirth: A Cross Cultural Study,weblink 2006, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-2609-0, 107–108, ;BOOK, Kristi L. Wiley, Historical Dictionary of Jainism,weblink 2004, Scarecrow, 978-0-8108-5051-4, 118–119, BOOK, John E. Cort, Jains in the World: Religious Values and Ideology in India,weblink 2001, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-803037-9, 118–123,

Early Greece

missing image!
- 2161 - Taormina - Badia Vecchia - Sarcofago romano del sec. II d.C. - Foto Giovanni Dall'Orto, 20-May-2008.jpg -
A 2nd-century Roman sarcophagus shows the mythology and symbolism of the Orphic and Dionysiac Mystery schools. Orpheus plays his lyre to the left.
Early Greek discussion of the concept dates to the 6th century BCE. An early Greek thinker known to have considered rebirth is Pherecydes of Syros (fl. 540 BCE).Schibli, S., Hermann, Pherekydes of Syros, p. 104, Oxford Univ. Press 2001 His younger contemporary Pythagoras (c. 570–c. 495 BCE"The dates of his life cannot be fixed exactly, but assuming the approximate correctness of the statement of Aristoxenus (ap. Porph. V.P. 9) that he left Samos to escape the tyranny of Polycrates at the age of forty, we may put his birth round about 570 BCE, or a few years earlier. The length of his life was variously estimated in antiquity, but it is agreed that he lived to a fairly ripe old age, and most probably he died at about seventy-five or eighty." William Keith Chambers Guthrie, (1978), A history of Greek philosophy, Volume 1: The earlier Presocratics and the Pythagoreans, page 173. Cambridge University Press), its first famous exponent, instituted societies for its diffusion. Some authorities believe that Pythagoras was Pherecydes' pupil, others that Pythagoras took up the idea of reincarnation from the doctrine of Orphism, a Thracian religion, or brought the teaching from India.Plato (428/427–348/347 BCE) presented accounts of reincarnation in his works, particularly the Myth of Er. In Phaedo, Plato has his teacher Socrates, prior to his death, state: "I am confident that there truly is such a thing as living again, and that the living spring from the dead." However Xenophon does not mention Socrates as believing in reincarnation and Plato may have systematised Socrates' thought with concepts he took directly from Pythagoreanism or Orphism.

Classical Antiquity

{{see also|metempsychosis}}The Orphic religion, which taught reincarnation, about the 6th century BC, organized itself into mystery schools at Eleusis and elsewhere, and produced a copious literature.Linforth, Ivan M. (1941) The Arts of Orpheus Arno Press, New York, {{OCLC|514515}}Long, Herbert S. (1948) A Study of the doctrine of metempsychosis in Greece, from Pythagoras to Plato (Long's 1942 Ph.D. dissertation) Princeton, New Jersey, {{OCLC|1472399}}Long, Herbert S. (16 February 1948) "Plato's Doctrine of Metempsychosis and Its Source" The Classical Weekly 41(10): pp. 149—155 Orpheus, its legendary founder, is said to have taught that the immortal soul aspires to freedom while the body holds it prisoner. The wheel of birth revolves, the soul alternates between freedom and captivity round the wide circle of necessity. Orpheus proclaimed the need of the grace of the gods, Dionysus in particular, and of self-purification until the soul has completed the spiral ascent of destiny to live for ever.An association between Pythagorean philosophy and reincarnation was routinely accepted throughout antiquity. In the Republic Plato makes Socrates tell how Er, the son of Armenius, miraculously returned to life on the twelfth day after death and recounted the secrets of the other world. There are myths and theories to the same effect in other dialogues, in the Chariot allegory of the Phaedrus, in the Meno, Timaeus and Laws. The soul, once separated from the body, spends an indeterminate amount of time in "formland" (see The Allegory of the Cave in The Republic) and then assumes another body.In later Greek literature the doctrine is mentioned in a fragment of MenanderMenander, The Inspired Woman and satirized by Lucian.Lucian, Gallus, 18 et seq. In Roman literature it is found as early as Ennius,Poesch, Jessie (1962) "Ennius and Basinio of Parma" Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes 25(1/2): pp. 116—118, page 117, FN15 who, in a lost passage of his Annals, told how he had seen Homer in a dream, who had assured him that the same soul which had animated both the poets had once belonged to a peacock. Persius in his satires (vi. 9) laughs at this, it is referred to also by LucretiusLucretius, (i. 124) and Horace.Horace, Epistles, II. i. 52Virgil works the idea into his account of the Underworld in the sixth book of the Aeneid.Virgil, The Aeneid, vv. 724 et seq. It persists down to the late classic thinkers, Plotinus and the other Neoplatonists. In the Hermetica, a Graeco-Egyptian series of writings on cosmology and spirituality attributed to Hermes Trismegistus/Thoth, the doctrine of reincarnation is central.In Greco-Roman thought, the concept of metempsychosis disappeared with the rise of Early Christianity, reincarnation being incompatible with the Christian core doctrine of salvation of the faithful after death. It has been suggested that some of the early Church Fathers, especially Origen, still entertained a belief in the possibility of reincarnation, but evidence is tenuous, and the writings of Origen as they have come down to us speak explicitly against it.The book Reincarnation in Christianity, by the theosophist Geddes MacGregor (1978) asserted that Origen believed in reincarnation. MacGregor is convinced that Origen believed in and taught about reincarnation but that his texts written about the subject have been destroyed. He admits that there is no extant proof for that position. The allegation was also repeated by Shirley MacLaine in her book Out On a Limb.Origen does discuss the concept of transmigration (metensomatosis) from Greek philosophy, but it is repeatedly stated that this concept is not a part of the Christian teaching or scripture in his Comment on the Gospel of Matthew (which survives only in a 6th-century Latin translatio): "In this place [when Jesus said Elijah was come and referred to John the Baptist] it does not appear to me that by Elijah the soul is spoken of, lest I fall into the doctrine of transmigration, which is foreign to the Church of God, and not handed down by the apostles, nor anywhere set forth in the scriptures" (13:1:46–53, see s:Ante-Nicene Fathers/Volume IX/Origen on Matthew/Origen's Commentary on Matthew/Book XIII|Commentary on Matthew, Book XIII]]Some early Christian Gnostic sects professed reincarnation. The Sethians and followers of Valentinus believed in it.Much of this is documented in R.E. Slater's book Paradise Reconsidered. The followers of Bardaisan of Mesopotamia, a sect of the 2nd century deemed heretical by the Catholic Church, drew upon Chaldean astrology, to which Bardaisan's son Harmonius, educated in Athens, added Greek ideas including a sort of metempsychosis. Another such teacher was Basilides (132–? CE/AD), known to us through the criticisms of Irenaeus and the work of Clement of Alexandria (see also Neoplatonism and Gnosticism and Buddhism and Gnosticism).In the third Christian century Manichaeism spread both east and west from Babylonia, then within the Sassanid Empire, where its founder Mani lived about 216–276. Manichaean monasteries existed in Rome in 312 AD. Noting Mani's early travels to the Kushan Empire and other Buddhist influences in Manichaeism, Richard FoltzRichard Foltz, Religions of the Silk Road, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010 attributes Mani's teaching of reincarnation to Buddhist influence. However the inter-relation of Manicheanism, Orphism, Gnosticism and neo-Platonism is far from clear.

Celtic paganism

In the 1st century BCE Alexander Cornelius Polyhistor wrote:{{bquote|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.}}Julius Caesar recorded that the druids of Gaul, Britain and Ireland had metempsychosis as one of their core doctrines:Julius Caesar, "De Bello Gallico", VI{{bquote|The principal point of their doctrine is that the soul does not die and that after death it passes from one body into another... the main object of all education is, in their opinion, to imbue their scholars with a firm belief in the indestructibility of the human soul, which, according to their belief, merely passes at death from one tenement to another; for by such doctrine alone, they say, which robs death of all its terrors, can the highest form of human courage be developed.}}

Germanic paganism

Surviving texts indicate that there was a belief in rebirth in Germanic paganism. Examples include figures from eddic poetry and sagas, potentially by way of a process of naming and/or through the family line. Scholars have discussed the implications of these attestations and proposed theories regarding belief in reincarnation among the Germanic peoples prior to Christianization and potentially to some extent in folk belief thereafter.


The belief in reincarnation had first existed among Jewish mystics in the Ancient World, among whom differing explanations were given of the afterlife, although with a universal belief in an immortal soul.Essential Judaism: A Complete Guide to Beliefs, Customs & Rituals, By George Robinson, Simon and Schuster 2008, page 193 Today, reincarnation is an esoteric belief within many streams of modern Judaism. Kabbalah teaches a belief in gilgul, transmigration of souls, and hence the belief in reincarnation is universal in Hasidic Judaism, which regards the Kabbalah as sacred and authoritative, and is also held as an esoteric belief within Modern Orthodox Judaism. In Judaism, the Zohar, first published in the 13th century, discusses reincarnation at length, especially in the Torah portion "Balak." The most comprehensive kabbalistic work on reincarnation, Shaar HaGilgulim,"Mind in the Balance: Meditation in Science, Buddhism, and Christianity", p. 104, by B. Alan Wallace"Between Worlds: Dybbuks, Exorcists, and Early Modern Judaism", p. 190, by J. H. Chajes was written by Chaim Vital, based on the teachings of his mentor, the 16th century kabbalist Isaac Luria, who was said to know the past lives of each person through his semi-prophetic abilities. The 18th century Lithuanian master scholar and kabbalist, Elijah of Vilna, known as the Vilna Gaon, authored a commentary on the biblical Book of Jonah as an allegory of reincarnation.The practice of conversion to Judaism is sometimes understood within Orthodox Judaism in terms of reincarnation. According to this school of thought in Judaism, when non-Jews are drawn to Judaism, it is because they had been Jews in a former life. Such souls may "wander among nations" through multiple lives, until they find their way back to Judaism, including through finding themselves born in a gentile family with a "lost" Jewish ancestor.''Jewish Tales of Reincarnation', By Yonasson Gershom, Yonasson Gershom, Jason Aronson, Incorporated, 31 Jan 2000There is an extensive literature of Jewish folk and traditional stories that refer to reincarnation.Yonasson Gershom (1999), Jewish Tales of Reincarnation. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson. {{ISBN|0765760835}}


Taoist documents from as early as the Han Dynasty claimed that Lao Tzu appeared on earth as different persons in different times beginning in the legendary era of Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors. The (ca. 3rd century BC) Chuang Tzu states: "Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitation; there is continuity without a starting-point. Existence without limitation is Space. Continuity without a starting point is Time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in."BOOK,weblink Chuang TzÅ­: Mystic, Moralist, and Social Reformer (translated by Herbert Allen Giles), 1889, 304, {{Better source|date=April 2019}}

European Middle Ages

Around the 11–12th century in Europe, several reincarnationist movements were persecuted as heresies, through the establishment of the Inquisition in the Latin west. These included the Cathar, Paterene or Albigensian church of western Europe, the Paulician movement, which arose in Armenia,WEB,weblink,, 1911-02-01, 2011-12-06, and the Bogomils in Bulgaria.Steven Runciman, The Medieval Manichee: A Study of the Christian Dualist Heresy, 1982, {{ISBN|0-521-28926-2}}, Cambridge University Press, The Bogomils, Google BooksChristian sects such as the Bogomils and the Cathars, who professed reincarnation and other gnostic beliefs, were referred to as "Manichean", and are today sometimes described by scholars as "Neo-Manichean".For example Dondaine, Antoine. O.P. Un traite neo-manicheen du XIIIe siecle: Le Liber de duobus principiis, suivi d'un fragment de rituel Cathare (Rome: Institutum Historicum Fratrum Praedicatorum, 1939) As there is no known Manichaean mythology or terminology in the writings of these groups there has been some dispute among historians as to whether these groups truly were descendants of Manichaeism.WEB,weblink,, 1907-03-01, 2011-12-06,

Renaissance and Early Modern period

While reincarnation has been a matter of faith in some communities from an early date it has also frequently been argued for on principle, as Plato does when he argues that the number of souls must be finite because souls are indestructible,"the souls must always be the same, for if none be destroyed they will not diminish in number." Republic X, 611. The Republic of Plato By Plato, Benjamin Jowett Edition: 3 Published by Clarendon press, 1888. Benjamin Franklin held a similar view.In a letter to his friend George Whatley written May 23, 1785: Jennifer T. Kennedy, Death Effects: Revisiting the conceit of Franklin's Memoir, Early American Literature, 2001. JSTOR Sometimes such convictions, as in Socrates' case, arise from a more general personal faith, at other times from anecdotal evidence such as Plato makes Socrates offer in the Myth of Er.During the Renaissance translations of Plato, the Hermetica and other works fostered new European interest in reincarnation. Marsilio FicinoMarsilio Ficino, Platonic Theology, 17.3–4 argued that Plato's references to reincarnation were intended allegorically, Shakespeare alluded to the doctrine of reincarnation"Again, Rosalind in "As You Like It" (Act III., Scene 2), says: I was never so be-rhimed that I can remember since Pythagoras's time, when I was an Irish rat" — alluding to the doctrine of the transmigration of souls." William H. Grattan Flood, quoted at but Giordano Bruno was burned at the stake by authorities after being found guilty of heresy by the Roman Inquisition for his teachings.Boulting, 1914. pp. 163–64 But the Greek philosophical works remained available and, particularly in north Europe, were discussed by groups such as the Cambridge Platonists.

19th to 20th centuries

{{See also|#Reincarnation research}}
missing image!
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upAmerican psychologist and philosopher William James (1842–1910) was an early psychical researcher.BOOK, Berger, Arthur S., Berger, Joyce, The Encyclopedia of Parapsychology and Psychical Research, Paragon House Publishers, 1991, 1-55778-043-9,weblink
By the 19th century the philosophers SchopenhauerSchopenhauer, A: "Parerga und Paralipomena" (Eduard Grisebach edition), On Religion, Section 177 and NietzscheNietzsche and the Doctrine of Metempsychosis, in J. Urpeth & J. Lippitt, Nietzsche and the Divine, Manchester: Clinamen, 2000 could access the Indian scriptures for discussion of the doctrine of reincarnation, which recommended itself to the American Transcendentalists Henry David Thoreau, Walt Whitman and Ralph Waldo Emerson and was adapted by Francis Bowen into Christian Metempsychosis.WEB,weblink,, 2011-12-06,weblink" title="">weblink 2011-11-06, dead, By the early 20th century, interest in reincarnation had been introduced into the nascent discipline of psychology, largely due to the influence of William James, who raised aspects of the philosophy of mind, comparative religion, the psychology of religious experience and the nature of empiricism.David Hammerman, Lisa Lenard, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Reincarnation, Penguin, p.34. For relevant works by James, see; William James, Human Immortality: Two Supposed Objections to the Doctrine (the Ingersoll Lecture, 1897), The Will to Believe, Human Immortality (1956) Dover Publications, {{ISBN|0-486-20291-7}}, The Varieties of Religious Experience: A Study in Human Nature (1902), {{ISBN|0-14-039034-0}}, Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912) Dover Publications 2003, {{ISBN|0-486-43094-4}} James was influential in the founding of the American Society for Psychical Research (ASPR) in New York City in 1885, three years after the British Society for Psychical Research (SPR) was inaugurated in London, leading to systematic, critical investigation of paranormal phenomena. Famous World War II American General George Patton was a strong believer in reincarnation, believing, among other things, he was a reincarnation of the Carthaginian General Hannibal.At this time popular awareness of the idea of reincarnation was boosted by the Theosophical Society's dissemination of systematised and universalised Indian concepts and also by the influence of magical societies like The Golden Dawn. Notable personalities like Annie Besant, W. B. Yeats and Dion Fortune made the subject almost as familiar an element of the popular culture of the west as of the east. By 1924 the subject could be satirised in popular children's books.Richmal Crompton, More William, George Newnes, London, 1924, XIII. William and the Ancient Souls; "The memory usually came in a flash. For instance, you might remember in a flash when you were looking at a box of matches that you had been Guy Fawkes." Humorist Don Marquis created a fictional cat named Mehitabel who claimed to be a reincarnation of Queen Cleopatra.Marquis, "Archy and Mehitabel" (1927)Théodore Flournoy was among the first to study a claim of past-life recall in the course of his investigation of the medium Hélène Smith, published in 1900, in which he defined the possibility of cryptomnesia in such accounts.Théodore Flournoy, Des Indes à la planète Mars, Étude sur un cas de somnambulisme avec glossolalie, Éditions Alcan et Eggimann, Paris et Genève, 1900Carl Gustav Jung, like Flournoy based in Switzerland, also emulated him in his thesis based on a study of cryptomnesia in psychism. Later Jung would emphasise the importance of the persistence of memory and ego in psychological study of reincarnation: "This concept of rebirth necessarily implies the continuity of personality... (that) one is able, at least potentially, to remember that one has lived through previous existences, and that these existences were one's own...." Hypnosis, used in psychoanalysis for retrieving forgotten memories, was eventually tried as a means of studying the phenomenon of past life recall.

Religions and philosophies


missing image!
- Buddhist Wheel of Life.jpg -
upright|In this 8-meter (25-foot) tall Buddhist relief, made between 1177 and 1249, Mara, Lord of Death and Desire, clutches a Wheel of Reincarnation which outlines the Buddhist cycle of reincarnation.
According to various Buddhist scriptures, Gautama Buddha believed in the existence of an afterlife in another world and in reincarnation,}}The Buddha also asserted that karma influences rebirth, and that the cycles of repeated births and deaths are endless.BOOK, Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, Karma and Rebirth: Post Classical Developments,weblink 1986, State University of New York Press, 978-0-87395-990-2, 123–131, Before the birth of Buddha, ancient Indian scholars had developed competing theories of afterlife, including the materialistic school such as Charvaka,BOOK, Ray Billington, Understanding Eastern Philosophy,weblink 2002, Routledge, 978-1-134-79348-8, 60, which posited that death is the end, there is no afterlife, no soul, no rebirth, no karma, and they described death to be a state where a living being is completely annihilated, dissolved.BOOK, Ray Billington, Understanding Eastern Philosophy,weblink 2002, Routledge, 978-1-134-79349-5, 43–44, 58–60, Buddha rejected this theory, adopted the alternate existing theories on rebirth, criticizing the materialistic schools that denied rebirth and karma, states Damien Keown. Such beliefs are inappropriate and dangerous, stated Buddha, because such annihilationism views encourage moral irresponsibility and material hedonism;BOOK, Norman C. McClelland, Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma,weblink 2010, McFarland, 978-0-7864-5675-8, 21, he tied moral responsibility to rebirth.BOOK, 978-0198605607, A Dictionary of Buddhism (Articles titled ucchedavāda, śāśvata-vāda, rebirth), Oxford University Press, Damien Keown, 2004, 80, 162, 225, 255, 315, The Buddha introduced the concept that there is no permanent self (soul), and this central concept in Buddhism is called anattā.BOOK, David J. Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism,weblink 1975, University Press of Hawaii, 978-0-8248-0298-1, 115–119, BOOK, Peter Harvey, An Introduction to Buddhism: Teachings, History and Practices,weblink 2012, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-85942-4, 57–62, BOOK, Oliver Leaman, Eastern Philosophy: Key Readings,weblink 2002, Routledge, 978-1-134-68919-4, 23–27, Major contemporary Buddhist traditions such as Theravada, Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions accept the teachings of Buddha. These teachings assert there is rebirth, there is no permanent self and no irreducible ātman (soul) moving from life to another and tying these lives together, there is impermanence, that all compounded things such as living beings are aggregates dissolve at death, but every being reincarnates.BOOK, Malcolm B. Hamilton, The Sociology of Religion: Theoretical and Comparative Perspectives,weblink 12 June 2012, Routledge, 978-1-134-97626-3, 73–80, BOOK, Raju, P. T., 1985, Structural Depths of Indian Thought, State University of New York Press, 978-0-88706-139-4,weblink 147–151, BOOK, Norman C. McClelland, Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma,weblink 2010, McFarland, 978-0-7864-5675-8, 89, ;BOOK, Hugh Nicholson, The Spirit of Contradiction in Christianity and Buddhism,weblink 2016, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-045534-7, 23–25, The rebirth cycles continue endlessly, states Buddhism, and it is a source of Dukkha (suffering, pain), but this reincarnation and Dukkha cycle can be stopped through nirvana. The anattā doctrine of Buddhism is a contrast to Hinduism, the latter asserting that "soul exists, it is involved in rebirth, and it is through this soul that everything is connected".BOOK, Walpola, Rahula, What the Buddha Taught, London, Gordon Fraser, 1990, 51, {{sfn|Trainor|2004|p=58, Quote: "Buddhism shares with Hinduism the doctrine of Samsara, whereby all beings pass through an unceasing cycle of birth, death and rebirth until they find a means of liberation from the cycle. However, Buddhism differs from Hinduism in rejecting the assertion that every human being possesses a changeless soul which constitutes his or her ultimate identity, and which transmigrates from one incarnation to the next.}}BOOK, Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism,weblink 2013, Princeton University Press, 978-1-4008-4805-8, 708–709, Different traditions within Buddhism have offered different theories on what reincarnates and how reincarnation happens. One theory suggests that it occurs through consciousness (Pali: samvattanika-viññana)(M.1.256) "Post-Classical Developments in the Concepts of Karma and Rebirth in Theravada Buddhism." by Bruce Matthews. in Karma and Rebirth: Post-Classical Developments State Univ of New York Press: 1986 {{ISBN|0-87395-990-6}} pg 125Collins, Steven. Selfless persons: imagery and thought in Theravāda Buddhism Cambridge University Press, 1990. {{ISBN|0-521-39726-X}} pg 215, Google Books or stream of consciousness (Pali: viññana-sotam,(D.3.105) "Post-Classical Developments in the Concepts of Karma and Rebirth in Theravada Buddhism. by Bruce Matthews. in Karma and Rebirth: Post-Classical Developments State Univ of New York Press: 1986 {{ISBN|0-87395-990-6}} pg 125 Sanskrit: vijñāna-srotām, vijñāna-santāna, or citta-santāna) upon death, which reincarnates into a new aggregation. This process, states this theory, is similar to the flame of a dying candle lighting up another.BOOK, David J. Kalupahana, Causality: The Central Philosophy of Buddhism,weblink 1975, University Press of Hawaii, 978-0-8248-0298-1, 83, BOOK, William H. Swatos, Peter Kivisto, Encyclopedia of Religion and Society,weblink 1998, Rowman Altamira, 978-0-7619-8956-1, 66, The consciousness in the newly born being is neither identical to nor entirely different from that in the deceased but the two form a causal continuum or stream in this Buddhist theory. Transmigration is influenced by a being's past karma (kamma).His Holiness the Dalai Lama, How to Practice: The Way to a Meaningful Life (New York: Atria Books, 2002), p. 46Bruce Matthews in Ronald Wesley Neufeldt, editor, Karma and Rebirth: Post Classical Developments. SUNY Press, 1986, page 125. The root cause of rebirth, states Buddhism, is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance (Pali: avijja, Sanskrit: avidya) about the nature of reality, and when this ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases.Peter Harvey, The Selfless Mind. Curzon Press 1995, page 247.(File:Shamon jigoku zôshi.jpg|thumb|A 12th-century Japanese painting showing one of the six Buddhist realms of reincarnation (rokudō, 六道))Buddhist traditions also vary in their mechanistic details on rebirth. Theravada Buddhists assert that rebirth is immediate while the Tibetan schools hold to the notion of a bardo (intermediate state) that can last up to 49 days.BOOK, Robert E. Buswell Jr., Donald S. Lopez Jr., The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism,weblink 2013, Princeton University Press, 978-1-4008-4805-8, 49–50, 708–709, The Connected Discourses of the Buddha. A Translation of the Samyutta Nikaya, Bhikkhu Bodhi, Translator. Wisdom Publications. Sutta 44.9 The bardo rebirth concept of Tibetan Buddhism, along with yidam, developed independently in Tibet without Indian influence, and involves 42 peaceful deities, and 58 wrathful deities.BOOK, Karma-gliṅ-pa, Chogyam Trungpa, Francesca Fremantle, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo,weblink 2000, Shambhala Publications, 978-1-57062-747-7, xi, xvii–xxiii, These ideas led to mechanistic maps on karma and what form of rebirth one takes after death, discussed in texts such as The Tibetan Book of the Dead.BOOK, Karma-gliṅ-pa, Chogyam Trungpa, Francesca Fremantle, The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation Through Hearing in the Bardo,weblink 2000, Shambhala Publications, 978-1-57062-747-7, 4–23, {{Sfn|Trainor|2004|pages=210–211}} The major Buddhist traditions accept that the reincarnation of a being depends on the past karma and merit (demerit) accumulated, and that there are six realms of existence in which the rebirth may occur after each death.{{sfn|Trainor|2004|pp=62–63}}{{Sfn|Keown|2013|pp=35–40}}Within Japanese Zen, reincarnation is accepted by some, but rejected by others. A distinction can be drawn between "folk Zen", as in the Zen practiced by devotional lay people, and "philosophical Zen". Folk Zen generally accepts the various supernatural elements of Buddhism such as rebirth. Philosophical Zen, however, places more emphasis on the present moment.{{citation|last=McClelland|first=Norman C.|title=Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma|page=281|year=2010|isbn=9780786456758|publisher=McFarland}}{{citation|last=Warner|first=Brad|title=Hardcore Zen|isbn= 9780861719891|publisher=Wisdom Publications|year=2005|page=155}}Some schools conclude that karma continues to exist and adhere to the person until it works out its consequences. For the Sautrantika school, each act "perfumes" the individual or "plants a seed" that later germinates. Tibetan Buddhism stresses the state of mind at the time of death. To die with a peaceful mind will stimulate a virtuous seed and a fortunate rebirth; a disturbed mind will stimulate a non-virtuous seed and an unfortunate rebirth.Transform Your Life: A Blissful Journey, page 52), Tharpa Publications (2001, US ed. 2007) {{ISBN|978-0-9789067-4-0}}


In the major Christian denominations, the concept of reincarnation is absent and it is nowhere explicitly referred to in the Bible. However, the impossibility of a second earthly death is stated by {{bibleref|1Peter|3:18-20|NKJV}}, where it affirms that Jesus Christ God died once forever (in Latin: (wikt:en:semel|semel),WEB,weblink Clementine Vulgate, First Letter of Peter, chapter 3, verse 18, la,,weblink August 3, 2019, live, August 5, 2019, a single time) for the sins of all the human kind. In {{bibleref|Matthew|14:1-2|NKJV}}, king Herod Antipas identified Jesus Christ God with a risen John the BaptistWEB,weblink Text analysis of Matthew 14:2 with parallel Greek, Biblehub,weblink August 24, 2019, live, August 24, 2019, , before ordering his necking execution. In a survey by the Pew Forum in 2009, 24% of American Christians expressed a belief in reincarnationWEB, ANALYSIS December 9, 2009,weblink,, 2009-12-09, 2011-12-06, and in a 1981 survey 31% of regular churchgoing European Catholics expressed a belief in reincarnation.WEB,weblinkweblink" title="">weblink dead, 2001-04-25,,, 2011-12-06, Some Christian theologians interpret certain Biblical passages as referring to reincarnation. These passages include the questioning of Jesus as to whether he is Elijah, John the Baptist, Jeremiah, or another prophet (Matthew 16:13–15 and John 1:21–22) and, less clearly (while Elijah was said not to have died, but to have been taken up to heaven), John the Baptist being asked if he is not Elijah (John 1:25).Rudolf Frieling, Christianity and Reincarnation, Floris Books 2015Mark Albrecht, Reincarnation, a Christian Appraisal, InterVarsity Press, 1982Lynn A. De Silva, Reincarnation in Buddhist and Christian Thought, Christian Literature Society of Ceylon, 1968 Geddes MacGregor, an Episcopalian priest and professor of philosophy, has made a case for the compatibility of Christian doctrine and reincarnation.BOOK, Cranston, Sylvia, Reincarnation in Christianity: A New Vision of the Role of Rebirth in Christian Thought (Quest Books) (9780835605014): Geddes MacGregor: Books,, 0835605019,

Idea of reincarnation in the early Church

There is evidence"The Big Book of Reincarnation", by Roy Stemman, p. 14 that Origen, a Church father in early Christian times, taught reincarnation in his lifetime but that when his works were translated into Latin these references were concealed. One of the epistles written by St. Jerome, "To Avitus" (Letter 124; Ad Avitum. Epistula CXXIV),WEB,weblink Hieronymus_Stridonensis_cps2, Epistolae, 124, p0, which asserts that Origen's On First Principles (Latin: De Principiis; Greek: Περὶ ἈρχῶνCross, F. L., and Elizabeth A. Livingstone. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Second Edition). New York: Oxford University Press, 1984. p. 1009.) was mistranscribed:}}Under the impression that Origen was a heretic like Arius, St. Jerome criticizes ideas described in On First Principles. Further in "To Avitus" (Letter 124), St. Jerome writes about "convincing proof" that Origen teaches reincarnation in the original version of the book:The original text of On First Principles has almost completely disappeared. It remains extant as De Principiis in fragments faithfully translated into Latin by St. Jerome and in "the not very reliable Latin translation of Rufinus."Belief in reincarnation was rejected by Augustine of Hippo in The City of God.BOOK, Agustine of Hippo, Marcus Dods (theologian born 1834), Marcus Dods,weblink The city of God. Book 12, chapter 20, en, Internet Archive,, Edinburgh, 1913, I, 508–509,weblink 2018-12-25, live, 2018-12-25,


{{Druze|collapsed=1}}{{See also|Druze#Beliefs}}Reincarnation is a paramount tenet in the Druze faith.Seabrook, W. B., Adventures in Arabia, Harrap and Sons 1928, (chapters on Druze religion) There is an eternal duality of the body and the soul and it is impossible for the soul to exist without the body. Therefore, reincarnations occur instantly at one's death. While in the Hindu and Buddhist belief system a soul can be transmitted to any living creature, in the Druze belief system this is not possible and a human soul will only transfer to a human body. Furthermore, souls cannot be divided into different or separate parts and the number of souls existing is finite.Dwairy, Marwan (2006) "The Psychosocial Function Of Reincarnation Among Druze In Israel" Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, page 29 – 53Few Druzes are able to recall their past but, if they are able to they are called a Nateq. Typically souls who have died violent deaths in their previous incarnation will be able to recall memories. Since death is seen as a quick transient state, mourning is discouraged. Unlike other Abrahamic faiths, heaven and hell are spiritual. Heaven is the ultimate happiness received when soul escapes the cycle of rebirths and reunites with the Creator, while hell is conceptualized as the bitterness of being unable to reunite with the Creator and escape from the cycle of rebirth.BOOK, Lewis, James, The Encyclopedia of Cults, Sects, and New Religions, Prometheus Books, 2002, 1615927387,


{{Further|Saṃsāra|Karma|Moksha}}The body dies, assert the Hindu traditions, but not the soul, which they assume to be the eternal reality, indestructible and bliss.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|p=272}} Everything and all existence is believed to be connected and cyclical in many Hinduism-sects, all living beings composed of two things, the soul and the body or matter.{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|1997|p=10}} Atman does not change and cannot change by its innate nature in the Hindu belief.{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|1997|p=10}} Current Karma impacts the future circumstances in this life, as well as the future forms and realms of lives.BOOK, Mukul Goel, Devotional Hinduism: Creating Impressions for God,weblink 2008, iUniverse, 978-0-595-50524-1, 6, Christopher Chapple (1986), Karma and creativity, State University of New York Press, {{ISBN|0-88706-251-2}}, pages 60-64 Good intent and actions lead to good future, bad intent and actions lead to bad future, impacting how one reincarnates, in the Hindu view of existence.{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|1997|p=11}}
missing image!
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Hindus believe the self or soul (atman) repeatedly takes on a physical body, until moksha.
There is no permanent heaven or hell in most Hinduism-sects.BOOK, Julius Lipner, Julius Lipner, Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices,weblink 2012, Routledge, 978-1-135-24061-5, 263–265, In the afterlife, based on one's karma, the soul is reborn as another being in heaven, hell, or a living being on earth (human, animal). Gods too die once their past karmic merit runs out, as do those in hell, and they return getting another chance on earth. This reincarnation continues, endlessly in cycles, until one embarks on a spiritual pursuit, realizes self-knowledge, and thereby gains mokṣa, the final release out of the reincarnation cycles.Jacobsen, Knut A. "Three Functions Of Hell In The Hindu Traditions." Numen 56.2–3 (2009): 385–400. ATLA Religion Database with ATLASerials. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. This release is believed to be a state of utter bliss, which Hindu traditions believe is either related or identical to Brahman, the unchanging reality that existed before the creation of universe, continues to exist, and shall exist after the universe ends.BOOK, Julius Lipner, Julius Lipner, Hindus: Their Religious Beliefs and Practices,weblink 2012, Routledge, 978-1-135-24061-5, 251–252, 283, 366–369, BOOK, Roy W. Perrett, Hindu Ethics: A Philosophical Study,weblink 1998, University of Hawaii Press, 978-0-8248-2085-5, 53–54, BOOK, Bruce M. Sullivan, The A to Z of Hinduism,weblink 2001, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-0-8108-4070-6, 137, The Upanishads, part of the scriptures of the Hindu traditions, primarily focus on the liberation from reincarnation.{{Sfn|Jeaneane D. Fowler|1997|pp=111-112}}BOOK, Yong Choon Kim, David H. Freeman, Oriental Thought: An Introduction to the Philosophical and Religious Thought of Asia,weblink 1981, Rowman & Littlefield, 978-0-8226-0365-8, 15–17, BOOK, Jack Sikora, Religions of India: A User Friendly and Brief Introduction to Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, and the Jains,weblink 2002, iUniverse, 978-1-4697-1731-9, 17–19, The Bhagavad Gita discusses various paths to liberation.{{Sfn|Mark Juergensmeyer|Wade Clark Roof|2011|p=272}} The Upanishads, states Harold Coward, offer a "very optimistic view regarding the perfectibility of human nature", and the goal of human effort in these texts is a continuous journey to self-perfection and self-knowledge so as to end Saṃsāra – the endless cycle of rebirth and redeath.{{Sfn|Harold Coward|2008|p=129}} The aim of spiritual quest in the Upanishadic traditions is find the true self within and to know one's soul, a state that they assert leads to blissful state of freedom, moksha.{{Sfn|Harold Coward|2008|pp=129, also see pages 130–155}}The Bhagavad Gita states:{{bquote|Just as in the body childhood, adulthood and old age happen to an embodied being. So also he (the embodied being) acquires another body. The wise one is not deluded about this. – (2:13){{Sfn| Chapple|2010|p=98}}As, after casting away worn out garments, a man later takes new ones. So after casting away worn out bodies, the embodied Self encounters other new ones. – (2:22){{Sfn| Chapple|2010|p=107}}When an embodied being transcends, these three qualities which are the source of the body. Released from birth, death, old age and pain, he attains immortality. – (14:20){{Sfn| Chapple|2010|p=582}}}}There are internal differences within Hindu traditions on reincarnation and the state of moksha. For example, the dualistic devotional traditions such as Madhvacharya's Dvaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a theistic premise, assert that human soul and Brahman are different, loving devotion to Brahman (god Vishnu in Madhvacharya's theology) is the means to release from Samsara, it is the grace of God which leads to moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable only in after-life (videhamukti).BOOK, Jeaneane D. Fowler, Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism,weblink 2002, Sussex Academic Press, 978-1-898723-93-6, 340–347, 373–375, The nondualistic traditions such as Adi Shankara's Advaita Vedanta tradition of Hinduism champion a monistic premise, asserting that the individual human soul and Brahman are identical, only ignorance, impulsiveness and inertia leads to suffering through Saṃsāra, in reality they are no dualities, meditation and self-knowledge is the path to liberation, the realization that one's soul is identical to Brahman is moksha, and spiritual liberation is achievable in this life (jivanmukti).JOURNAL, Loy, David, Enlightenment in Buddhism and Advaita Vedanta: Are Nirvana and Moksha the Same?, International Philosophical Quarterly, 22, 1, 1982, 65–74, 10.5840/ipq19822217, BOOK, Jeaneane D. Fowler, Perspectives of Reality: An Introduction to the Philosophy of Hinduism,weblink 2002, Sussex Academic Press, 978-1-898723-93-6, 238–240, 243–245, 249–250, 261–263, 279–284,


Islamic scriptures reject any idea of reincarnation of human beings or God.{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland |2010|pages=122–123 }}BOOK, John L. Esposito, The Oxford Dictionary of Islam,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-975726-8, 137, 249, It teaches a linear concept of life, wherein a human being has only one life and upon death he or she is judged by God, then rewarded in heaven or punished in hell.BOOK, Norman L. Geisler, Abdul Saleeb, Answering Islam: The Crescent in Light of the Cross,weblink 2002, Baker Academic, 978-0-8010-6430-2, 109, Islam teaches final resurrection and Judgement Day,{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland |2010|pages=122-123 }} but there is no prospect for the reincarnation of a human being into a different body or being.BOOK, Jane Idelman Smith, Yvonne Yazbeck Haddad, The Islamic Understanding of Death and Resurrection,weblink 2002, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-028880-8, 23–24, During the early history of Islam, some of the Caliphs persecuted all reincarnation-believing people to the point of extinction (Manichaeism) in Mesopotamia and Persia (modern day Iraq and Iran).{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland |2010|pages=122–123 }} However, some Muslim minority sects such as those found among Sufis, and some Muslims in South Asia and Indonesia have retained their pre-Islamic Hindu and Buddhist beliefs in reincarnation.{{Sfn|Norman C. McClelland |2010|pages=122–123 }} For instance, historically, South Asian Isma'ilis performed chantas yearly, one of which is for seeking forgiveness of sins committed in past lives.

Ghulat sects

{{Shia Islam||collapsed=1}}The idea of reincarnation is accepted by a few Shia Muslim sects, particularly of the Ghulat.Wilson, Peter Lamborn, Scandal: Essays in Islamic Heresy, Brooklyn, NY: Autonomedia. (1988). {{ISBN|0-936756-13-6}} hardcover 0-936756-12-2 paperback Alawis, belonging to the Shia denomination of Islam, hold that they were originally stars or divine lights that were cast out of heaven through disobedience and must undergo repeated reincarnation (or metempsychosis) before returning to heaven.BOOK, Peters, Francis E., Francis E. Peters, Esposito, John L., John L. Esposito, The children of Abraham: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Princeton University Press, 2006,weblink 978-0-691-12769-9, They can be reincarnated as Christians or others through sin and as animals if they become infidels.Alawis,, U.S. Library of Congress.Reincarnation was also accepted by some streams of Sufism. Modern Sufis who embrace the idea include Bawa Muhaiyadeen.see his To Die Before Death: The Sufi Way of Life However Inayat Khan has criticized the idea as unhelpful to the spiritual seeker.Gnostic liberation front {{Webarchive|url= |date=2008-12-17 }} The Sufi Message of Hazrat Inayat Khan


{{Further|Saṃsāra (Jainism)|Karma in Jainism}}File:Seven Jain Hells.jpg|thumb|right|200px|17th-century cloth painting depicting seven levels of Jain hell according to Jain cosmologyJain cosmologyIn Jainism, the reincarnation doctrine, along with its theories of Saṃsāra and Karma, are central to its theological foundations, as evidenced by the extensive literature on it in the major sects of Jainism, and their pioneering ideas on these topics from the earliest times of the Jaina tradition.{{Sfn|Padmanabh Jaini|1980|pp=217–236}} Reincarnation in contemporary Jainism traditions is the belief that the worldly life is characterized by continuous rebirths and suffering in various realms of existence.{{Sfn|Padmanabh Jaini|1980|pp=226–228}}BOOK, Tara Sethia, Ahimsā, Anekānta, and Jainism,weblink 2004, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-81-208-2036-4, 30–31, Karma forms a central and fundamental part of Jain faith, being intricately connected to other of its philosophical concepts like transmigration, reincarnation, liberation, non-violence (ahiṃsā) and non-attachment, among others. Actions are seen to have consequences: some immediate, some delayed, even into future incarnations. So the doctrine of karma is not considered simply in relation to one life-time, but also in relation to both future incarnations and past lives.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) pp. 226–230 Uttarādhyayana-sūtra 3.3–4 states: "The jīva or the soul is sometimes born in the world of gods, sometimes in hell. Sometimes it acquires the body of a demon; all this happens on account of its karma. This jīva sometimes takes birth as a worm, as an insect or as an ant."Krishan, Yuvraj (1997): p. 43. The text further states (32.7): "Karma is the root of birth and death. The souls bound by karma go round and round in the cycle of existence."Actions and emotions in the current lifetime affect future incarnations depending on the nature of the particular karma. For example, a good and virtuous life indicates a latent desire to experience good and virtuous themes of life. Therefore, such a person attracts karma that ensures that his future births will allow him to experience and manifest his virtues and good feelings unhindered.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) pp.70–71 In this case, he may take birth in heaven or in a prosperous and virtuous human family. On the other hand, a person who has indulged in immoral deeds, or with a cruel disposition, indicates a latent desire to experience cruel themes of life.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) pp.64–66 As a natural consequence, he will attract karma which will ensure that he is reincarnated in hell, or in lower life forms, to enable his soul to experience the cruel themes of life.There is no retribution, judgment or reward involved but a natural consequences of the choices in life made either knowingly or unknowingly. Hence, whatever suffering or pleasure that a soul may be experiencing in its present life is on account of choices that it has made in the past.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) p.15 As a result of this doctrine, Jainism attributes supreme importance to pure thinking and moral behavior.Rankin, Aidan (2006) p.67The Jain texts postulate four gatis, that is states-of-existence or birth-categories, within which the soul transmigrates. The four gatis are: deva (demi-gods), manuṣya (humans), nāraki (hell beings) and tiryañca (animals, plants and micro-organisms).Jaini, Padmanabh (1998) p.108 The four gatis have four corresponding realms or habitation levels in the vertically tiered Jain universe: demi-gods occupy the higher levels where the heavens are situated; humans, plants and animals occupy the middle levels; and hellish beings occupy the lower levels where seven hells are situated.Single-sensed souls, however, called nigoda,The Jain hierarchy of life classifies living beings on the basis of the senses: five-sensed beings like humans and animals are at the top, and single sensed beings like microbes and plants are at the bottom. and element-bodied souls pervade all tiers of this universe. Nigodas are souls at the bottom end of the existential hierarchy. They are so tiny and undifferentiated, that they lack even individual bodies, living in colonies. According to Jain texts, this infinity of nigodas can also be found in plant tissues, root vegetables and animal bodies.Jaini, Padmanabh (1998) pp.108–09 Depending on its karma, a soul transmigrates and reincarnates within the scope of this cosmology of destinies. The four main destinies are further divided into sub-categories and still smaller sub-sub-categories. In all, Jain texts speak of a cycle of 8.4 million birth destinies in which souls find themselves again and again as they cycle within samsara.Jaini, Padmanabh (2000) p.130In Jainism, God has no role to play in an individual's destiny; one's personal destiny is not seen as a consequence of any system of reward or punishment, but rather as a result of its own personal karma. A text from a volume of the ancient Jain canon, Bhagvati sūtra 8.9.9, links specific states of existence to specific karmas. Violent deeds, killing of creatures having five sense organs, eating fish, and so on, lead to rebirth in hell. Deception, fraud and falsehood lead to rebirth in the animal and vegetable world. Kindness, compassion and humble character result in human birth; while austerities and the making and keeping of vows lead to rebirth in heaven.Krishan, Yuvraj (1997) p.44Each soul is thus responsible for its own predicament, as well as its own salvation. Accumulated karma represent a sum total of all unfulfilled desires, attachments and aspirations of a soul.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) p.28Kuhn, Hermann (2001) p.69 It enables the soul to experience the various themes of the lives that it desires to experience. Hence a soul may transmigrate from one life form to another for countless of years, taking with it the karma that it has earned, until it finds conditions that bring about the required fruits. In certain philosophies, heavens and hells are often viewed as places for eternal salvation or eternal damnation for good and bad deeds. But according to Jainism, such places, including the earth are simply the places which allow the soul to experience its unfulfilled karma.Kuhn, Hermann (2001) pp.65–66, 70–71


{{See also|Gilgul}}{{Kabbalah||collapsed=1}}Jewish mystical texts (the Kabbalah), from their classic Medieval canon onward, teach a belief in Gilgul Neshamot (Hebrew for metempsychosis of souls: literally "soul cycle", plural "gilgulim"). The Zohar and the Sefer HaBahir specifically discuss reincarnation. It is a common belief in contemporary Hasidic Judaism, which regards the Kabbalah as sacred and authoritative, though understood in light of a more innate psychological mysticism. Kabbalah also teaches that "The soul of Moses is reincarnated in every generation."Tikunei Zohar, Tikkun 69, 112a and 114a. Literally, "There is an extension of Moses in every generation and to each and every righteous man." Other, Non-Hasidic, Orthodox Jewish groups while not placing a heavy emphasis on reincarnation, do acknowledge it as a valid teaching.{{dead link|date=December 2011}} Its popularization entered modern secular Yiddish literature and folk motif.The 16th century mystical renaissance in communal Safed replaced scholastic Rationalism as mainstream traditional Jewish theology, both in scholarly circles and in the popular imagination. References to gilgul in former Kabbalah became systematized as part of the metaphysical purpose of creation. Isaac Luria (the Ari) brought the issue to the centre of his new mystical articulation, for the first time, and advocated identification of the reincarnations of historic Jewish figures that were compiled by Haim Vital in his Shaar HaGilgulim.Sha'ar Ha'Gilgulim, The Gate of Reincarnations, Chaim Vital Gilgul is contrasted with the other processes in Kabbalah of Ibbur ("pregnancy"), the attachment of a second soul to an individual for (or by) good means, and Dybuk ("possession"), the attachment of a spirit, demon, etc. to an individual for (or by) "bad" means.In Lurianic Kabbalah, reincarnation is not retributive or fatalistic, but an expression of Divine compassion, the microcosm of the doctrine of cosmic rectification of creation. Gilgul is a heavenly agreement with the individual soul, conditional upon circumstances. Luria's radical system focused on rectification of the Divine soul, played out through Creation. The true essence of anything is the divine spark within that gives it existence. Even a stone or leaf possesses such a soul that "came into this world to receive a rectification". A human soul may occasionally be exiled into lower inanimate, vegetative or animal creations. The most basic component of the soul, the nefesh, must leave at the cessation of blood production. There are four other soul components and different nations of the world possess different forms of souls with different purposes. Each Jewish soul is reincarnated in order to fulfill each of the 613 Mosaic commandments that elevate a particular spark of holiness associated with each commandment. Once all the Sparks are redeemed to their spiritual source, the Messianic Era begins. Non-Jewish observance of the 7 Laws of Noah assists the Jewish people, though Biblical adversaries of Israel reincarnate to oppose.Among the many rabbis who accepted reincarnation are Nahmanides (the Ramban) and Rabbenu Bahya ben Asher, Levi ibn Habib (the Ralbah), Shelomoh Alkabez, Moses Cordovero, Moses Chaim Luzzatto; early Hasidic masters such as the Baal Shem Tov, Schneur Zalman of Liadi and Nachman of Breslov, as well as virtually all later Hasidic masters; contemporary Hasidic teachers such as DovBer Pinson, Moshe Weinberger and Joel Landau; and key Mitnagdic leaders, such as the Vilna Gaon and Chaim Volozhin and their school, as well as Rabbi Shalom Sharabi (known at the RaShaSH), the Ben Ish Chai of Baghdad, and the Baba Sali.WEB,weblink Limmud Bay Area 2016: Judaism and Reincarnation,, 2017-02-22, Rabbis who have rejected the idea include Saadia Gaon, David Kimhi, Hasdai Crescas, Joseph Albo, Abraham ibn Daud, Leon de Modena, Solomon ben Aderet, Maimonides and Asher ben Jehiel. Among the Geonim, Hai Gaon argued in favour of gilgulim.

Native American nations

Reincarnation is an intrinsic part of some northern Native American and Inuit traditions.BOOK, Amerindian Rebirth: Reincarnation Belief Among North American Indians and Inuit, 1994, University of Toronto Press, 978-0802077035,weblink Antonia Mills and Richard Slobodin, In the now heavily Christian Polar North (now mainly parts of Greenland and Nunavut), the concept of reincarnation is enshrined in the Inuit language.WEB, Rink, Henry, Tales and Traditions of the Eskimo,weblink adapted by Weimer, Christopher, M., 1 December 2011, The following is a story of human-to-human reincarnation as told by Thunder Cloud, a Winnebago (Ho-Chunk tribe) shaman referred to as T. C. in the narrative. Here T. C. talks about his two previous lives and how he died and came back again to this his third lifetime. He describes his time between lives, when he was “blessed” by Earth Maker and all the abiding spirits and given special powers, including the ability to heal the sick.T. C.'s Account of His Two Reincarnations:{{bquote|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. ... From that place I came to this earth again for the third time, and here I am''.BOOK, Jefferson, Warren, 2008, Reincarnation beliefs of North American Indians : soul journeys, metamorphoses, and near-death experiences, Native Voices, 1-57067-212-1,weblink (Radin, 1923)}}


Founded in the 15th century, Sikhism's founder Guru Nanak had a choice between the cyclical reincarnation concept of ancient Indian religions and the linear concept of early 7th-century Islam, and he chose the cyclical concept of time.BOOK, W.O. Cole, Piara Singh Sambhi, Sikhism and Christianity: A Comparative Study,weblink 2016, Springer, 978-1-349-23049-5, 13–14, BOOK, Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair, Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed,weblink 2013, Bloomsbury Academic, 978-1-4411-5366-1, 176, Sikhism teaches reincarnation theory similar to those in Hinduism, but with some differences from its traditional doctrines. Sikh rebirth theories about the nature of existence are similar to ideas that developed during the devotional Bhakti movement particularly within some Vaishnava traditions, which define liberation as a state of union with God attained through the grace of God.BOOK, John Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann, Religions of the world: a comprehensive encyclopedia of beliefs and practices.,weblink 2, 2002, ABC-CLIO, 978-1-57607-223-3, 632, BOOK, Eric J. Lott, Vision, Tradition, Interpretation: Theology, Religion, and the Study of Religion,weblink 1988, Walter de Gruyter, 978-3-11-009761-0, 49–53, BOOK, Flood, Gavin, 1996, An introduction to Hinduism, Cambridge University Press, 978-0-521-43878-0,weblink 137, The doctrines of Sikhism teach that the soul exists, and is passed from one body to another in endless cycles of Saṃsāra, until liberation. Each birth begins with karma (karam), and these actions leave a karni (karmic signature) on one's soul which influences future rebirths, but it is God whose grace that liberates. The way out of the reincarnation cycle, asserts Sikhism, is to live an ethical life, devote oneself to God and constantly remember God's name.BOOK, Arvind-Pal Singh Mandair, Sikhism: A Guide for the Perplexed,weblink 2013, A&C Black, 978-1-4411-0231-7, 145–147, The precepts of Sikhism encourage the bhakti of One Lord for mukti (liberation).BOOK, H. S. Singha, The Encyclopedia of Sikhism,weblink 2000, Hemkunt Press, 978-81-7010-301-1, 68, 80,

Yoruba religion

{{unreferenced section|date=September 2018}}File:The Childrens Museum of Indianapolis - Egungun masquerade dance garment.jpg|thumb|150px|right|An Egungun masquerade dance garment in the permanent collection of The Children’s Museum of IndianapolisThe Children’s Museum of IndianapolisThe Yoruba believe in reincarnation within the family. The names Babatunde (Father returns), Yetunde (Mother returns), Babatunji (Father wakes once again) and Sotunde (The wise man returns) all offer vivid evidence of the Ifa concept of familial or lineal rebirth. There is no simple guarantee that your grandfather or great uncle will "come back" in the birth of your child, however.Whenever the time arrives for a spirit to return to Earth (otherwise known as The Marketplace) through the conception of a new life in the direct bloodline of the family, one of the component entities of a person's being returns, while the other remains in Heaven (Ikole Orun). The spirit that returns does so in the form of a Guardian Ori. One's Guardian Ori, which is represented and contained in the crown of the head, represents not only the spirit and energy of one's previous blood relative, but the accumulated wisdom he or she has acquired through a myriad of lifetimes. This is not to be confused with one’s spiritual Ori, which contains personal destiny, but instead refers to the coming back to The Marketplace of one's personal blood Ori through one's new life and experiences.{{Citation needed|date=April 2019}}

New religious and spiritual movements



File:Tombe Allan Kardec.JPG|thumb|upright|Tomb of Allan KardecAllan KardecSpiritism, a Christian philosophy codified in the 19th century by the French educator Allan Kardec, teaches reincarnation or rebirth into human life after death. According to this doctrine, free will and cause and effect are the corollaries of reincarnation, and reincarnation provides a mechanism for man's spiritual evolution in successive lives.BOOK, David J. Hess, Spirits and Scientists: Ideology, Spiritism and Brazilian Culture,weblink 1 November 2010, Pennsylvania State University Press, 978-0-271-04080-6, 16–,


The Theosophical Society draws much of its inspiration from India. In the Theosophical world-view reincarnation is the vast rhythmic process by which the soul, the part of a person which belongs to the formless non-material and timeless worlds, unfolds its spiritual powers in the world and comes to know itself. It descends from sublime, free, spiritual realms and gathers experience through its effort to express itself in the world. Afterwards there is a withdrawal from the physical plane to successively higher levels of reality, in death, a purification and assimilation of the past life. Having cast off all instruments of personal experience it stands again in its spiritual and formless nature, ready to begin its next rhythmic manifestation, every lifetime bringing it closer to complete self-knowledge and self-expression. However it may attract old mental, emotional, and energetic karma patterns to form the new personality.{{citation needed|date=December 2016}}


Anthroposophy describes reincarnation from the point of view of Western philosophy and culture. The ego is believed to transmute transient soul experiences into universals that form the basis for an individuality that can endure after death. These universals include ideas, which are intersubjective and thus transcend the purely personal (spiritual consciousness), intentionally formed human character (spiritual life), and becoming a fully conscious human being (spiritual humanity). Rudolf Steiner described both the general principles he believed to be operative in reincarnation, such as that one's will activity in one life forms the basis for the thinking of the next,See e.g. Reincarnation and Karma by Steiner and a number of successive lives of various individualities.Steiner, Karmic Relationships, volumes 1–6

Modern astrology

Inspired by Helena Blavatsky's major works, including Isis Unveiled and The Secret Doctrine, astrologers in the early twentieth-century integrated the concepts of karma and reincarnation into the practice of Western astrology. Notable astrologers who advanced this development included Alan Leo, Charles E. O. Carter, Marc Edmund Jones, and Dane Rudhyar. A new synthesis of East and West resulted as Hindu and Buddhist concepts of reincarnation were fused with Western astrology's deep roots in Hermeticism and Neoplatonism. In the case of Rudhyar, this synthesis was enhanced with the addition of Jungian depth psychology.Jutta Woods. "The Theosophical Heritage in Modern Astrology." The Mountain Astrologer. Aug/Sept 2013 This dynamic integration of astrology, reincarnation and depth psychology has continued into the modern era with the work of astrologers Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green. Their respective schools of Evolutionary Astrology are based on "an acceptance of the fact that human beings incarnate in a succession of lifetimes."WEB,weblink About Evolutionary Astrology, Steven Forrest and Jeffrey Wolf Green, 2014-11-22,


{{See also|Scientology beliefs and practices}}Past reincarnation, usually termed "past lives", is a key part of the principles and practices of the Church of Scientology. Scientologists believe that the human individual is actually a thetan, an immortal spiritual entity, that has fallen into a degraded state as a result of past-life experiences. Scientology auditing is intended to free the person of these past-life traumas and recover past-life memory, leading to a higher state of spiritual awareness. This idea is echoed in their highest fraternal religious order, the Sea Organization, whose motto is "Revenimus" or "We Come Back", and whose members sign a "billion-year contract" as a sign of commitment to that ideal. L. Ron Hubbard, the founder of Scientology, does not use the word "reincarnation" to describe its beliefs, noting that: "The common definition of reincarnation has been altered from its original meaning. The word has come to mean 'to be born again in different life forms' whereas its actual definition is 'to be born again into the flesh of another body.' Scientology ascribes to this latter, original definition of reincarnation."WEB,weblink Scientology Church & Religion – What is Scientology?, Scientology, dead,weblink" title="">weblink 2006-06-13, The first writings in Scientology regarding past lives date from around 1951 and slightly earlier. In 1960, Hubbard published a book on past lives entitled Have You Lived Before This Life. In 1968 he wrote Mission into Time, a report on a five-week sailing expedition to Sardinia, Sicily and Carthage to see if specific evidence could be found to substantiate L. Ron Hubbard's recall of incidents in his own past, centuries ago.

Meher Baba

The Indian spiritual teacher Meher Baba stated that reincarnation occurs due to desires and once those desires are extinguished the ego-mind ceases to reincarnate.Baba, Meher (1967), Discourses, Volume III, Sufism Reoriented, 1967, {{ISBN|1-880619-09-1}}, p. 96.


Wicca is a neo-pagan religion focused on nature, guided by the philosophy of Wiccan Rede that advocates the tenets "Harm None, Do As Ye Will". Wiccans believe in a form of karmic return where one's deeds are returned, either in the current life or in another life, threefold or multiple times in order to teach one lessons (The Threefold Law). Reincarnation is therefore an accepted part of the Wiccan faith.Encyclopedia of Wicca and Witchcraft, Raven Grimassi{{full citation needed|date=December 2016}} Wiccans also believe that death and afterlife are important experiences for the soul to transform and prepare for future lifetimes.{{citation needed|date=December 2016}}

Reincarnation in the Western world

During recent decades, many people in the West have developed an interest in reincarnation. Recent studies have indicated that some Westerners accept the idea of reincarnation including certain contemporary people who were from Catholic families,Tony Walter and Helen Waterhouse, "A Very Private Belief: Reincarnation in Contemporary England". Sociology of Religion, Vol. 60, 1999 modern Neopagans, followers of Spiritism, Theosophists, Anthroposophists, Dianetics, Scientology, Astara and students of esoteric philosophies such as Kabbalah, and Gnostic and Esoteric Christianity as well as followers of Indian religions. Demographic survey data from 1999–2002 shows a significant minority of people from Europe and America, where there is reasonable freedom of thought and access to ideas but no outstanding recent reincarnationist tradition, believe we had a life before we were born, will survive death and be born again physically. The mean for the Nordic countries is 22%.WEB,weblink Popular psychology, belief in life after death and reincarnation in the Nordic countries, Western and Eastern Europe, PDF, 2011-12-06, The belief in reincarnation is particularly high in the Baltic countries, with Lithuania having the highest figure for the whole of Europe, 44%. The lowest figure is in East Germany, 12%. In Russia, about one-third believes in reincarnation. The effect of communist anti-religious ideas on the beliefs of the populations of Eastern Europe seems to have been rather slight, if any, except apparently in East Germany. Overall, 22% of respondents in Western Europe believe in reincarnation. According to a 2005 Gallup poll{{cn|date=October 2019}} 20% of U.S. adults believe in reincarnation. Recent surveys by the Barna Group, a Christian research nonprofit organization, have found that a quarter of U.S. Christians, including 10% of all born again Christians, embrace the idea.weblink{{dead link|date=December 2011}}File:Dalailama1_20121014_4639.jpg|thumb|The 14th Dalai Lama14th Dalai LamaSkeptic Carl Sagan asked the Dalai Lama what he would do if a fundamental tenet of his religion (reincarnation) were definitively disproved by science. The Dalai Lama answered, "If science can disprove reincarnation, Tibetan Buddhism would abandon reincarnation… but it's going to be mighty hard to disprove reincarnation.""The Boundaries of Knowledge in Buddhism, Christianity, and Science", by Paul David Numrich, p. 13, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, {{ISBN|9783525569870}}Other influential contemporary figures that have written on reincarnation include Alice Ann Bailey, one of the first writers to use the term New Age, Torkom Saraydarian, an American-Armenian musician and religious author, and Unity Church founder Charles Fillmore.Ian Stevenson reported that belief in reincarnation is held (with variations in details) by adherents of almost all major religions except Christianity and Islam. In addition, between 20 and 30 percent of persons in western countries who may be nominal Christians also believe in reincarnation.Jane Henry (2005). Parapsychology: research on exceptional experiences Routledge, p. 224.Edgar Cayce an American self-professed clairvoyant answered questions on subjects as varied as healing, reincarnation, wars, Atlantis, and future events while allegedly asleep.According to Dr. Brian Weiss, in 1980 one of his patients, "Catherine", began discussing past-life experiences under hypnosis. Weiss did not believe in reincarnation at the time but, after confirming elements of Catherine's stories through public records, came to be convinced of the survival of an element of the human personality after death.Breakfast with Brian Weiss, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, August 5, 2002, Accessed April 25, 2009. Weiss claims he has regressed more than 4,000 patients since 1980.Weinstein-Moser, Edie. "Interview with Brian Weiss". Wisdom magazine. 2008. Retrieved June 18, 2015.Neale Donald Walsch, an American author of the series Conversations with God who says his books are not channelled, but rather that they are inspired by God and that they can help a person relate to God from a modern perspective claims that he has reincarnated more than 600 times.Being at One: Neale Donald Walsch Interview with Gil Dekel (Part 3 of 3, paragraphs 18–19)One 1999 study by Walter and Waterhouse reviewed the previous data on the level of reincarnation belief and performed a set of thirty in-depth interviews in Britain among people who did not belong to a religion advocating reincarnation.JOURNAL
, 10.2307/3711748
, A very private belief: Reincarnation in contemporary England
,weblink" title="">weblink
, dead
, 2005-06-27
, 1999
, Sociology of Religion
, 187–197
, 60
, 2
, Walter
, T.
, Waterhouse
, H.
, 2009-06-25
, 3711748
, The authors reported that surveys have found about one fifth to one quarter of Europeans have some level of belief in reincarnation, with similar results found in the USA. In the interviewed group, the belief in the existence of this phenomenon appeared independent of their age, or the type of religion that these people belonged to, with most being Christians. The beliefs of this group also did not appear to contain any more than usual of "new age" ideas (broadly defined) and the authors interpreted their ideas on reincarnation as "one way of tackling issues of suffering", but noted that this seemed to have little effect on their private lives.Waterhouse also published a detailed discussion of beliefs expressed in the interviews.JOURNAL
, 10.1080/13537909908580854
, Reincarnation belief in Britain: New age orientation or mainstream option?
, 1999
, Waterhouse, H.
, Journal of Contemporary Religion
, 97–109
, 14
, 1
, 2009-06-26
, She noted that although most people "hold their belief in reincarnation quite lightly" and were unclear on the details of their ideas, personal experiences such as past-life memories and near-death experiences had influenced most believers, although only a few had direct experience of these phenomena. Waterhouse analyzed the influences of second-hand accounts of reincarnation, writing that most of the people in the survey had heard other people's accounts of past-lives from regression hypnosis and dreams and found these fascinating, feeling that there "must be something in it" if other people were having such experiences.

Research into claims of reincarnation

Psychiatrist Ian Stevenson, from the University of Virginia, having grown up with a mother who was a theosophist,WEB,weblink Stevenson 2006,weblink" title="">weblink July 21, 2006, dead, September 1, 2016, , pp. 13–14. dedicated his latter career to investigating claims of reincarnation in hopes of providing evidence that reincarnation happens. Other people who have undertaken similar pursuits include Jim B. Tucker, Antonia Mills,WEB,weblink Mills, Signs of Reincarnation, Satwant Pasricha, Godwin Samararatne, and Erlendur Haraldsson, but Stevenson's publications remain the most well-known.Stevenson conducted more than 2,500 case studies of young children who claimed to remember past lives over a period of 40 years and published twelve books, including Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, (Reincarnation and Biology|Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects, a two-part monograph) and Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect. He documented the family's and child's statements along with correlates to a deceased person he believed matched the child's memory. Stevenson also claimed that some birthmarks and birth defects matched wounds and scars on the deceased, sometimes providing medical records like autopsy photographs to make his case.Cadoret, Remi. Book Review: European Cases of the Reincarnation Type The American Journal of Psychiatry, April 2005. Expecting controversy and skepticism, Stevenson also searched for disconfirming evidence and alternative explanations for the reports, but he argued (not without criticism) that his methods ruled out all possible "normal" explanations for the child’s memories.NEWS, Shroder, T,weblink Ian Stevenson; Sought To Document Memories Of Past Lives in Children, The Washington Post, 2007-02-11, Stevenson's work in this regard was impressive enough to Carl Sagan that he referred to what was apparently Stevenson's investigations in his book The Demon-Haunted World as an example of carefully collected empirical data, though he rejected reincarnation as a parsimonious explanation for the stories.BOOK, Demon Haunted World, Sagan, Carl, Random House, 1996, 978-0-394-53512-8, 300, Carl Sagan, Sam Harris cited Stevenson's works in his book The End of Faith as part of a body of data that seems to attest to the reality of psychic phenomena.BOOK, The End of Faith, Harris, Sam, September 17, 2005, W. W. Norton, 0393327655, Reprint, 41,weblink Critical reviews of these claims include work by Paul Edwards who criticized the accounts of reincarnation as being purely anecdotal and cherry-picked.Rockley, Richard. (2002). weblink" title="">"Book Review: Children who Remember Previous Lives". SkepticReport. Retrieved 2014-10-11. Instead, Edwards says such stories are attributable to selective thinking, suggestion, and false memories that can result from the family's or researcher's belief systems, and thus cannot be counted as empirical evidence.Edwards, Paul. (1996, reprinted in 2001). Reincarnation: A Critical Examination. Prometheus Books. {{ISBN|1-57392-921-2}} The philosopher Keith Augustine wrote in critique that the fact that "the vast majority of Stevenson's cases come from countries where a religious belief in reincarnation is strong, and rarely elsewhere, seems to indicate that cultural conditioning (rather than reincarnation) generates claims of spontaneous past-life memories."WEB,weblink The Case Against Immortality,, 2014-04-11, Further, Ian Wilson pointed out that a large number of Stevenson’s cases consisted of poor children remembering wealthy lives or belonging to a higher caste. In these societies, claims of reincarnation are sometimes used as schemes to obtain money from the richer families of alleged former incarnations.Wilson, Ian. (1981). Mind Out of Time: Reincarnation Investigated. Gollancz. {{ISBN|0-575-02968-4}} Following these types of criticism, Stevenson published a book on European Cases of the Reincarnation Type in order to show the reports were cross-cultural. Even still, Robert Baker asserted that all the past-life experiences investigated by Stevenson and other parapsychologists are understandable in terms of known psychological factors including a mixture of cryptomnesia and confabulation.Baker, Robert A. (1996). Hidden Memories: Voices and Visions from Within. Prometheus Books. {{ISBN|0-87975-576-8}} Edwards also objected that reincarnation invokes assumptions that are inconsistent with modern science.Cogan, Robert. (1998). Critical Thinking: Step by Step. University Press of America. pp. 202–203. {{ISBN|0-7618-1067-6}} "Edwards catalogs common sense objections which have been made against reincarnation. 1) How does a soul exist between bodies? 2) Tertullian's objection: If there is reincarnation, why are not babies born with the mental abilities of adults? 3) Reincarnation claims an infinite series of prior incarnations. Evolution teaches that there was a time when humans did not yet exist. So reincarnation is inconsistent with modern science. 4) If there is reincarnation, then what is happening when the population increases? 5) If there is reincarnation, then why do so few, if any people, remember past lives?... To answer these objections believers in reincarnation must accept additional assumptions... Acceptance of these silly assumptions, Edwards says, amounts to a crucifixion of one's intellect."
  • Edwards, Paul. (1996, reprinted in 2001). Reincarnation: A Critical Examination. Prometheus Books. {{ISBN|1-57392-921-2}} As the vast majority of people do not remember previous lives and there is no empirically documented mechanism known that allows personality to survive death and travel to another body, positing the existence of reincarnation is subject to the principle that "extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence". Researchers such as Stevenson acknowledged these limitations.NEWS,weblink Ian Stevenson; Sought To Document Memories Of Past Lives in Children, Shroder, Tom, 2007-02-11, 2011-12-06,,
Stevenson also claimed there were a handful of cases that suggested evidence of xenoglossy, including two where a subject under hypnosis allegedly conversed with people speaking the foreign language, instead of merely being able to recite foreign words. Sarah Thomason, a linguist (and skeptical researcher) at the University of Michigan, reanalyzed these cases, concluding that "the linguistic evidence is too weak to provide support for the claims of xenoglossy."Thomason, Sarah G.. "Xenoglossy". In Gordon Stein. (1996). The Encyclopedia of the Paranormal. Prometheus Books. {{ISBN|1-57392-021-5}}

See also

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  • BOOK, harv, John Bowker, God: A Very Short Introduction,weblink 2014, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-870895-7,
  • BOOK, harv, Chapple, Christopher Key, W Sargeant (Translator), The Bhagavad Gita: Twenty-fifth–Anniversary Edition,weblink 2010, State University of New York Press, 978-1-4384-2840-6,
  • BOOK, harv, Harold Coward, The Perfectibility of Human Nature in Eastern and Western Thought: The Central Story,weblink 2008, State University of New York Press, 978-0-7914-7336-8,
  • BOOK, harv, Jeaneane D. Fowler, Hinduism: Beliefs and Practices,weblink 1997, Sussex Academic Press, 978-1-898723-60-8,
  • BOOK, Padmanabh Jaini, Wendy Doniger, Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions,weblink 1980, University of California Press, 978-0-520-03923-0, harv,
  • {{Citation| last =Kalupahana | first =David J. | year =1992 | title =A history of Buddhist philosophy | publisher =Motilal Banarsidass}}
  • BOOK, harv, Damien, Keown, Buddhism: A Very Short Introduction,weblink 2013, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-966383-5,
  • BOOK, harv, Mark Juergensmeyer, Wade Clark Roof, Encyclopedia of Global Religion,weblink 2011, SAGE Publications, 978-1-4522-6656-5,
  • BOOK, harv, Stephen J. Laumakis, An Introduction to Buddhist Philosophy,weblink 2008, Cambridge University Press, 978-1-139-46966-1,
  • {{citation |author=Norman C. McClelland |title=Encyclopedia of Reincarnation and Karma |url= |year=2010|publisher=McFarland|isbn=978-0-7864-5675-8 }}
  • {{citation |author=Giannis Stamatellos |title="Plotinus on Transmigration: a Reconsideration" |url= |year=2013|publisher=Journal of Ancient Philosophy 7,1 }}
  • BOOK, Obeyesekere, Gananath, Karma and Rebirth: A Cross Cultural Study, Wendy Doniger, 2005, Motilal Banarsidass, 978-8120826090, harv,
  • BOOK, Kevin, Trainor, Buddhism: The Illustrated Guide,weblink 2004, Oxford University Press, 978-0-19-517398-7, harv,
  • {{Citation|author1=Paul Williams |author2=Anthony Tribe |author3=Alexander Wynne |title=Buddhist Thought |url= |year=2012 |publisher=Routledge |isbn=978-1-136-52088-4}}

Further reading

{{further reading cleanup|date=August 2016}}{{div col|colwidth=25em}}
  • Alegretti, Wagner, Retrocognitions: An Investigation into Memories of Past Lives and the Period Between Lives. {{ISBN|0-9702131-6-6}}, 2004.
  • Archiati, Pietro, Reincarnation in Modern Life: Toward a new Christian Awareness. {{ISBN|0-904693-88-0}}.
  • Atkinson, William Walker, Reincarnation and the Law of Karma: A Study of the Old-new World-doctrine of Rebirth and Spiritual Cause and Effect, Kessinger Publishing, 1997. {{ISBN|0-7661-0079-0}}.
  • Baba, Meher, Discourses, Sufism Reoriented, 1967, {{ISBN|1-880619-09-1}}.
  • Bache, Christopher M., Lifecycles, Reincarnation and the Web of Life, 1991, {{ISBN|1-55778-645-3}}.
  • Barbara O'Brien, 'Rebirth and Reincarnation in Buddhism} weblink
  • Besant, A.W., Reincarnation, Published by Theosophical Pub. Society, 1892.
  • Boulting, W. Giordano Bruno, His Life, Thought, and Martyrdom, London: Kegan Paul, 1914.
  • Bowman, Carol, Children's Past Lives, 1998, {{ISBN|0-553-57485-X}}.
  • Bowman, Carol, Return from Heaven, 2003, {{ISBN|0-06-103044-9}}.
  • Cerminara, Gina, Many Mansions: The Edgar Cayce Story on Reincarnation, 1990, {{ISBN|0-451-03307-8}}.
  • Childs, Gilbert and Sylvia, Your Reincarnating Child: Welcoming a soul to the world. {{ISBN|1-85584-126-6}}.
  • Doniger O'Flaherty, Wendy (1980). Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. University of California Press. {{ISBN|0-520-03923-8}}.
  • Doore, Gary, What Survives?, 1990, {{ISBN|0-87477-583-3}}.
  • Edwards, Paul, Reincarnation: A Critical Examination {{ISBN|1-57392-921-2}}.
  • Foltz, Richard, Religions of the Silk Road, New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010, {{ISBN|978-0-230-62125-1}}.
  • Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang, Joyful Path of Good Fortune, pp 336–47, Tharpa Publications (2nd. ed., 1995) {{ISBN|978-0-948006-46-3}}.
  • Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang, Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully: The Profound Practice of Transference of Consciousness, Tharpa Publications (1999) {{ISBN|978-0-948006-63-0}}.
  • Head, Joseph and Cranston, S.L., editors, Reincarnation: The Phoenix Fire Mystery, 1994, {{ISBN|0-517-56101-8}}.
  • Jefferson, Warren. 2009. “Reincarnation Beliefs of North American Indians: Soul Journeys, Metamorphoses, and Near-Death Experiences.” Summertown, TN: Native Voices. {{ISBN|978-1-57067-212-5}}.
  • Heindel, Max, The Rosicrucian Cosmo-Conception (Part I, Chapter IV: Rebirth and the Law of Consequence), 1909, {{ISBN|0-911274-34-0}}.
  • Leland, Kurt. The Unanswered Question: Death, Near-Death, and the Afterlife. Hampton Roads Publishing (2002). {{ISBN|978-1-57174-299-5}}.
  • Emily Williams Kelly, Science, the Self, and Survival after Death, Rowman, 2012.
  • Klemp, H. (2003). Past lives, dreams, and soul travel. Minneapolis, MN: Eckankar. {{ISBN|1-57043-182-5}}.
  • Luchte, James, Pythagoras and the Doctrine of Transmigration: Wandering Souls, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009, {{ISBN|978-1441131027}}.
  • Newton, Michael, Life Between Lives: Hypnotherapy for Spiritual Regression, 2004, {{ISBN|0-7387-0465-2}}.
  • Newton, Michael, Destiny of Souls: New Case Studies of Life Between Lives, 2000, {{ISBN|1-56718-499-5}}.
  • Nikhilananda, Swami. Gospel of Sri Ramakrishna, (8th Ed. 1992) {{ISBN|0-911206-01-9}}.
  • Prophet, Elizabeth Clare, Erin L. Prophet, Reincarnation: The Missing Link in Christianity, 1997, {{ISBN|0-922729-27-1}}.
  • Palamidessi Tommaso, The Memory of Past Lives and Its Technique, ed. Archeosofica, 1977.
  • Ramster, Peter, In Search of Lives Past, {{ISBN|0-646-00021-7}}.
  • Rinehart, Robin, ed., Contemporary Hinduism, (2004).
  • Roberts, Jane. Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul, (1972). {{ISBN|1-878424-07-6}}.
  • Semkiw, Walter, Return of the Revolutionaries: The Case for Reincarnation and Soul Groups Reunited, 2003, {{ISBN|1-57174-342-1}}.
  • Steiner, Rudolf, Karmic Relationships: Esoteric studies, 8 volumes, various dates, Rudolf Steiner Press. {{ISBN|0-85440-260-8}} and others.
  • Steiner, Rudolf, A Western Approach to Reincarnation and Karma: selected lectures and writings; ed. and intr. by René Querido. Hudson, NY: Anthroposophic Press, c1997, {{ISBN|0-88010-399-X}}.
  • Steinpach, Richard, Hidden Connections Determine Our Earth-Life, 1988, {{ISBN|1-57461-013-9}}.
  • Stevenson, Ian (1980). Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation, second (revised and enlarged) edition, University of Virginia Press. {{ISBN|978-0-8139-0872-4}}.
  • Taylor, Michael, "Master of the Rose", Comstar Media LLC, 1997–2007, {{ISBN|1-933866-07-1}}.
  • Tucker, Jim (2005). Life Before Life: A Scientific Investigation of Children's Memories of Previous Lives, {{ISBN|0-312-32137-6}}.
  • Weiss, Brian L., Only Love is real: the story of soulmates reunited, 1996, {{ISBN|0-446-51945-6}}.
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External links

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