reincarnation

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reincarnation

(rē'ĭnkärnā`shən) [Lat.,=taking on flesh again], occupation by the soulsoul,
the vital, immaterial, life principle, generally conceived as existing within humans and sometimes within all living things, inanimate objects, and the universe as a whole.
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 of a new body after the death of the former body. Beliefs vary as to whether the soul assumes the new body immediately or only after an interval of disembodiment. Although some religions teach that it may inhabit a higher or lower form of life, most believe that the soul is consistently reincarnated in the same species. See transmigration of soulstransmigration of souls
or metempsychosis
[Gr.,=change of soul], a belief common to many cultures, in which the soul passes from one body to another, either human, animal, or inanimate.
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.

Bibliography

See J. Head and S. L. Cranston, ed., Reincarnation: An East-West Anthology (1961) and Reincarnation in World Thought (1967).

Reincarnation

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Rebirth of the spirit, or soul, in successive bodies. Originally a Christian tenet, the notion of reincarnation was rejected at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 CE. Reincarnation is very much a part of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and, according to Benjamin Walker (Man, Myth and Magic article, 1970), "is being increasingly adopted as an article of faith by a large number of people in other religious denominations." Rosemary Ellen Guiley suggests that approximately twothirds of today's population "accepts some form of reincarnation or rebirth as a fundamental belief."

Belief in reincarnation has existed for thousands of years. The Orphics of ancient Greece believed, through Pythagorean doctrine, that souls returned through a number of incarnations. Through leading a good life, a soul ascended in purity. This cycle continued until total purity was attained, at which time divinity was achieved. This is similar to the Wiccan belief in reincarnation. Witches hold that the spirit goes through a number of incarnations, learning and experiencing in each until all things have been assimilated. At that time, the spirit becomes at one with the gods. The progression has been likened to passing through the grades in a school, where certain curricula have to be absorbed in order to graduate. Since the psycho-physical experience of a male is dissimilar to that of a female, lives as both sexes must be experienced by the spirit in order to gain full knowledge.

Witchcraft does not subscribe to the concept of karma, as found in many other religions. Wiccans believe in the "Threefold Law"—the law of threefold return. Do good, and good will be returned, either three times or at thrice the intensity. Do evil, and that, too, will return threefold. But these returns will be within the current lifetime. There is no "putting off" one's rewards or punishments; they come about in this life. In the Hindu and Buddhist doctrines, the point of reincarnation is to return in subsequent incarnations to expiate one's transgressions. In Witchcraft, incarnations are not determined by previous lives, as they are in Hindu and Buddhist doctrine. Each life is a separate experience with its own agenda.

Enlarge picture
Four-year-old Trulku-la, recognized by Tibetan Buddhists as the reincarnation of a high lama, is shown in January 1996. AP/WideWorld Photos.

Reincarnation

(religion, spiritualism, and occult)

Reincarnation is the rebirth of the spirit or soul in successive bodies. It was originally a Christian tenet but was then rejected at the Second Council of Constantinople in 553 CE. Reincarnation is very much a part of Hindu and Buddhist beliefs, and according to Benjamin Walker (Man, Myth & Magic article, 1970), “is being increasingly adopted as an article of faith by a large number of people in other religious denominations.” A U.S. Gallup Poll of October 2001 asked adults over 18 if they believed in “Reincarnation, that is, the rebirth of the soul in a new body after death.” 25 percent said they did believe in it; 54 percent did not; 20 percent didn’t know; and 1 percent had no opinion. Belief was slightly higher in males than in females while it varied considerably between age groups: belief amongst 28-29 year olds was at 25 percent; 30-49 year olds at 22 percent; and people over 50 were at 28 percent. Rosemary Ellen Guiley suggests that approximately two-thirds of today’s population “accepts some form of reincarnation or rebirth as a fundamental belief.”

The belief has certainly existed for thousands of years. The Orphics of ancient Greece held the doctrine from the Pythagoreans that a soul returned in a number of incarnations, each time gaining in purity by living a good life. This would continue until there was total purity, at which time divinity would be achieved. This is similar to the belief held in Wicca, where reincarnation is one of the primary tenets. Wiccans hold that the spirit goes through a number of incarnations, learning and experiencing in each until all things have been absorbed. At that time, the spirit becomes at one with the gods. The progression has been likened to passing through the grades in a school, where certain curricula have to be observed in order to graduate. Because the psycho-physical experience of a male is dissimilar to that of a female, then lives as both sexes must be experienced by the spirit in order to gain the full knowledge.

In the Hindu and Buddhist doctrines, the point of reincarnation is to return, in other lifetimes, in order to expiate one’s transgressions. But in many doctrines, each individual life is not dependent upon the previous incarnation; each life is a separate experience with its own agenda.

In Spiritualism there is no fixed doctrine on the question of reincarnation. It is left to the individual’s beliefs and feelings. Spiritualists seem evenly split on whether or not they believe in it. However, when Allan Kardec instituted Spiritism, he did make a belief in reincarnation one of the tenets of that particular branch of Spiritualism.

Sources:

Buckland, Raymond: Buckland’s Book of Spirit Communications. St. Paul: Llewellyn, 2004
Dowling, Levi: The Aquarian Gospel. Los Angeles: Leo

W. Dowling, 1925 Holzer, Hans: Born Again—the Truth About Reincarnation. New York: Doubleday, 1970

Kelsey, Denys and Joan Grant: Many Lifetimes. New York: Doubleday, 1967
Litvag, Irving: Singer In the Shadows. New York: Macmillan, 1972
Lutoslawski, W.: Pre-Existence and Reincarnation. London: Allen & Unwin, 1926
Stearn, Jess: Yoga, Youth and Reincarnation. New York: Doubleday, 1965
Stemman, Roy: Reincarnation: True Stories of Past Lives. London: Piatkus Books, 1997
Stevenson, Ian: Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation. Charlottesville: University of Virginia, 1974
Walker, Benjamin: Man, Myth & Magic: Reincarnation. London: BPC Publishing, 1970
Religious Society of Free Thinkers see Laona Free Association

Reincarnation

Dalai Lama
attains his position at birth by absorbing the spirit of his dying predecessor. [Buddhism: NCE, 2745 (Tibetan Buddhism)]

reincarnation

1. the belief that on the death of the body the soul transmigrates to or is born again in another body
2. the incarnation or embodiment of a soul in a new body after it has left the old one at physical death
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