Meaning of Reincarnation

What is Reincarnation:

Originally from the East, reincarnation is a religious or philosophical belief according to which the soul, after the biological death of the body, migrates and begins a new life in another body.


Reincarnation according to religions

Reincarnation in Hinduism

According to the writings and philosophy Upanishadsthe reincarnating entity is the atma. The atma it can be defined as everything except the personal attributes of each one, therefore it is impersonal.

The spiritual progress that one accumulates to become atma-Brahman is registered in the karma.

The physical and mental complex of a human being is reconstructed in reincarnation according to the karma. And this new human person will encounter experiences that are the fruits of their karma of previous lives in order to break the cycle that they call avidya-karma-samsara.

Reincarnation in Buddhism

Buddhism denies the existence of a permanent self that reincarnates from one life to the next. The illusion of the existence of the self is generated by the five attributes or skandha that are in constant transformation:

  1. Rupa: the body or material form;
  2. vedana: the feelings or sensations that the body perceives through its senses and organs;
  3. sanna: the process of classifying and labeling experiences;
  4. sankhara: the mental construct and state that initiates an action, and
  5. Vijnana: the awareness or sense of awakening of a sensory or mental object.
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Buddhism does not accept the belief that we have a self just because we have consciousness, since consciousness is, like the other elements, in constant transformation, and cannot be identified in a permanent self.

Buddha affirms that the only thing that passes from one life to another is the karma, and gives the example of candlelight. The light passes from one candle to another without anything substantial and proper to the other candle having passed from the first.

Although Buddhism does not specify what survives after death, The Tibetan Book of Death mentions a mental body with instincts that will act at the time of death.

Another teaching of the Buddha regarding reincarnation in Chiggala Sutta is that the chances of reincarnation as a human being are minimal. It is estimated that if the world were the surface of India, we would be reincarnated once in every 5,080 years as human beings.

You may also be interested in the meaning of the nirvana state.

Reincarnation in Taoism

the book of I Ching either Tao Te Ching he does not mention reincarnation directly, but in the writings belonging to Chuang Tzu’s Taoism he says:

“Birth is not a beginning; death is not an end. There is existence without limitations; there is continuity without starting point. Existence without limits of space. Continuity without starting point is time. There is birth, there is death, there is emission, there is absorption. Where one passes in and out without seeing the form of it, that is the portal of God.”

Reincarnation in Christianity

The early spread of Christianity was dominated by Greek philosophy. In the first three Christian centuries the dominant belief in reincarnation stems from Platonism.

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Plato claimed that one life was not enough to return to the original heavenly state of purity, therefore a person’s soul must go through the life of a beast or one life of a beast to become human again.

Plato’s sense of reincarnation is a temporary punishment to return to pure and personal existence.

Current Christianism does not accept the concept of reincarnation because it breaks basic principles of its own religion by using the concept of resurrection more than that of reincarnation.

Does reincarnation exist?

Many question whether reincarnation is true or not. Some of the practices, cases and situations that claim to prove that reincarnation exists are:

  • Regressions to past lives.
  • Hypnosis.
  • Memories of other lives.
  • Studies of unexplained birthmarks that coincide with past situations.
  • People who go on to speak another language after a parapsychology regression.