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Reincarnation Report

Biological death is defined and accepted. Winstead- Fry points out that within sensory science, death is the termination of certain biophysical functions. “We can empirically confirm the existence and ending of life. ” ( 163) The criteria for brain death are accepted as proof of biological death. Of course if one considers the human being and the human body as one, then death must be a definite ending. But what about those who believes the soul never dies? There is the belief that the body is like a set of clothes the soul changes when the body gets worn out. Can the human body be considered such a worthless object?

Many ay no and yet others believe it truly. The debate about death is in the question of existence after death. It is not possible at present to recreate or validate existence after death using our senses. This is why there is so much of an interest in near-death experiences. Dr. Morse and his team have proven that a person actually needs to be near death to have a near death experience. The team compared seriously ill people with those near the brink of death and people who had near-death experiences were clinically dead at the time of their experience and were brought back from the dead. 183)

This is the closest one can get o death ; therefore, it is reasonable to use these experiences to learn about death. Near- death phenomena are as old as recorded history. Such an experience is reported in Platos Republic, written in the fourth century before Christ. (Blackmore 79) The phenomenon is wide spread. Over eight million adults in the United States have claimed to have a near- death experience. Dr. Stevenson believes that by him writing books it will 7 encourage more people to share their experience. He believes many people may not share their story for fear of ridicule.

Mr. Underwood reveals that one in three people who ecover from coming close to death or becoming clinically dead reports having a near-death experience. (245) Some critics argue that the near- death experience results from the brains response to distress. They claim that the brain reacts to the threat to the body so that fantasies and memories of the childhood flood the consciousness. (264) However, if the skeptics were right the experience would be unique to the individual. We know what the brain is capable of, but to say that the content of every brain is the same is farfetched.

There are common components in experiences described irrespective of ifferences of the people who experienced it. The sense of being dead, being in a tunnel, meeting people of light, life review and the presence of light. These people were different in age, nationality and religion. It is recognized that every human being is unique. Then, why should everyones brain produce the same images? Children and adults differ in the memories they gather and the way they comprehend the world, yet their core experiences were the same.

Therefore, the argument of the brain flooding one with past memories does not seem logical. Some argue that the experiences contain cultural and personal marks of those who ave them. Then the near- death experiences of Hindus would differ from those of Christians and Americans different from Japanese. But here too the core experiences were the same. There is obviously two sides of the story. One must look at both sides with careful eye and determine for themselves what they believe is true. This is where the idea of reincarnation comes in.

Because it is 7 incorporated in so many religions, you find an answer to a question which you truly want to know the answer to and do not abandon your faith in doing so. Reincarnation is detected in many religions. Reincarnation is normally thought f as a Hindu philosophy and it is traced back to Hinduism, yet it can be found in Judaism, Christianity, Buddhism and in many more religions. In Judaism, reincarnation is known as Gilgul. Though it has a different name it has almost the exact same meaning. Gilgul was a dominant teaching in Judaism for over three hundred years.

Cabala, a book of Judaism which is often studied by Rabbis, one of the holy books of the Jews which talks of reincarnation. Rabbi Steinsaltz (Cranston 181) is an authority on the Cabala. He states: According to Cabalistic doctrine, the Torah contains not only manifest but also hidden truths: the same ranscendent God whom the Bible celebatres as supreme king and law giver is, from the mystical also an infinity of divine knight that exists as the foundation of every human beings soul. For me, every soul is an emanation or spark of the divine, and its ultimate purpose is to rejoin the God it came from….

I hope to demonstrate the secrets of the Cabbala- which rationalistic Rabbis of the nineteenth century dismissed as dangerous magic- are fully consonant with traditional Rabbinic Judaism. (181) 7 This view is also held by a large group of Orthodox Jews known as the Hasidim. Reincarnation is universally aught among them. On the other hand, the soul, its life and immortality are rarely mentioned in the Old Testament. There is also no direct denial of it either. In the Book of Job(14:14), Job plainly asks ” If a man dies will he live again? but receives no answer.

So in the Old Testament, reincarnation is not ruled out it is just not brought up as a major point in the book. On the other hand, if one were to look into the Bible, the question of like after death is brought up and answered. Professor Macgregor writes: Reincarnation is one of the most fascinating ideas in the history of religion, as it is also one of the ost recurrent themes in the literature of the world. It is widely assumed to be foreign to the Christian heritage, and especially alien to the Hebrew roots of biblical thought.

That assumption is questionable…. It has persistently cropped up in various crannies along the Christian Way, from the earliest times down to the present. It has also flourished in Judaism. (367) It is understandable that Christians today frequently object to reincarnation because for some it provides an excuse to postpone salvation 7 for the next life. To make it more confusing for Christians, Protestants and Catholics have ifferent views as to what happens after death. Protestants believe that after death they are asleep until Judgment Day.

Those asleep in the grave include people before and after Christ. They believe that when Jesus returns that they bodies of the saved are transformed and glorified. On the contrary, bodies of sinners are burned eternally. Some also think that between death and Judgment Day there is absolutely nothing. Catholics have an entirely different view point. They believe that damned souls go immediately to hell. Those who gain salvation still require purification and then go to heaven. And finally the aintly go strait to paradise.

Because of this conflict and confusion Christians often look to Reincarnation to explain the mysteries of death. In the Bible, Jesus states, ” Truly, Truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am” ( John 8:56-58) Another example from the Bible says, “[ As Jesus] passed by, he saw a man blind form his birth. And his disciples asked him, Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind? ” ( John 9:1 -2) Christianity has obvious connections with reincarnation as it does with Hinduism. In Christianity, Jesus is the incarnation of Godhead, the Christian trinity.

In Hinduism, Krishna is the incarnation of Vishnu, the Hindu trinity. Both Jesus and Krishna were of royal descent and were born of virgins. Also Krishna was brought up by shepards and called the Shepard of God while Jesus was worshipped by shepards and called the Good Shepard. Because of all these similarities, Christian missionaries in India thought that the Hindus were coping their religion. Only later did they find out that Hinduism began hundreds of years before Christianity. 7 The theory of reincarnation is so common in India it is hardly reinforced any more.

Cranston says: The acceptance of rebirth s so widespread in India that its philosophers and religious teachers felt no need to prove the doctrine, anymore than an instructor in our society would spend time demonstrating that day follows night, and night day. (227) Just as reincarnation pervades Indian thought, it also pervades the Bagavad- Gita. The main story of the Bagavad- Gita is of Arjuna and Krishna and the manner Krishna teaches Arjuna all of lives philosophy while Arjuna awaits a war among all of his relatives. Krishna tries to teach Arjuna that fighting them will not really harm them for their soul will always live on.

Krishna states to Arjuna, ” It s said the soul is invisible, inconceivable, immutable, and unchangeable. Knowing this, you should not grieve for the body . ” ( Text 25) Krishna was trying to convince Arjuna that he should not fear for them for their soul would not die and once the body died the soul would continue to live. ” As a person puts on new garments, giving up old ones, similarly, the soul accepts new material bodies, giving up old ones and useless ones. ” ( Text 22) It is obvious reincarnation is a large part of Hinduism. But as in any great philosophy or theory there is still an argument as to who first came up with the idea.

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