Reincarnation: Have We Been Here Before? Is There Life After Death?

life after death reincarnation

What Ancient Texts Say About Reincarnation & Life After Death

What happens to us when we die? According to Christian tradition, the viewpoint most widely held in the United States, it is believed that when we die, our soul exit the body and we go to one of two places: heaven or hell. If we are good, honest or pure in life, there is a good chance we will go to heaven. There, we will spend eternity in a virtual paradise or as some people envision it, with us sitting on clouds, playing harps for eternity. If, on the other hand, we live a life filled with hate, evil or ill intent, it is believed that we will be spending eternity in the pits of darkness, amongst fire and brimstone. Yes, we will be calling Hell home.

Once you step outside of Christianity the viewpoint of what happens after death changes dramatically. The concept of reincarnation or the transmigration of the soul is believed in cultures around the globe. Reincarnation is the belief that after death our soul leaves the body and in time will come back to Earth embodied in the body of new born baby, human or otherwise. Instead of spending eternity in paradise or torment, we experience cycles of life and death here on earth.

Reincarnation Outside The Bible

The concept of reincarnation and life after death is most often associated with the wisdom of the East. It only takes a little digging to quickly discover that it is not only the yogis who believe in cycles of life on earth.

It was 323AD, at the Council of Nicea, that the concept of reincarnation was tossed out of Christian theology. The purpose of the Council of Nicea was for early Christians to settle their disputes regarding Christ. These disputes ranged from, who was Christ. Was he man or divine? What was his relationship to the One true God. Included in these arguments was the concept of life after death. Obviously, by the end of the council meeting, the belief of reincarnation was out. Along with it was a group of early Christians, who were now considered heretics, call the Gnostics.

The Appearance Of Reincarnation In Ancient Texts

Reincarnation: Life After Death

The believe in reincarnation clearly exists within the tradition of the Gnostics. Their writings, now known as the apocrypha were rejected by the early church fathers for inclusion in the bible. These early Christian texts included the Secret Book of John and the Pistis Sophia. In the Secret Book of John, the concept of a soul reentering a body is clearly described. The Pistis Sophia takes this concept even further where it describes the consequences one can expect after death and during their next lifetime.

Judaism, the forefather of Christianity, also holds a belief in reincarnation. Flavius Josephus, a first-century Jewish historian states that the belief in reincarnation was held the Pharisees. The Pharisees were a group of strictly observant Jews in the first century. According to Josephus the Pharisees believed that the when the soul moves into another body we all have the power to live again.

In the Zohar, a foundational work of Jewish mysticism, reincarnation is also clearly described. It says that all souls are subject to revolutions.  Additionally, at birth it infers that at birth we lose our memory of our earlier lives and the judgment we incur at death.

In his book “The Republic“, the early Greek philosopher, Plato describes what happens to the soul after death. According to Plato, after death the we are either rewarded or punished for one thousand years. At the end of that time we each make a choice of what kind of life we wish to be born into. A clear indication of a belief in life after death.

Reincarnation In The East

The Aborigines of Australia believe that soul of man come from spirits left behind by beings who roamed the earth during a mythical period they call the Dreamtime. Likewise, after death, the person’s spirit returns to the abode of the ancestral spirits.

The Buddhism the concept of reincarnation takes a slight shift. Instead of each of us containing an eternal soul or spirit there is only a stream of consciousness that links us with life.

In Hinduism, the belief in reincarnation plays an integral part of their philosophical tradition. In the sacred text the Vishnu Purana, gestation, birth, life, death and what awaits us in the afterlife are all clearly described. It is believed that at birth we lose all knowledge of ourselves and our previous existences here on earth. Without the knowledge of where we have been and where we should go, we are left to our own devices to do good or suffer the consequences. In this tradition, there is only pain and suffering, that is until we let go of the illusion of self and merge once again with God. Apparently it takes us all a very long time to ever reach this state of development.

Reincarnation & Near Death Experiences

In recent years, the search for what happens after death has been revitalized. Individuals who have had a near death experience have come forward and told their stories. Their tales often include moving into a bright light, transversing a long tunnel or hallway and being met on the other end by friends and loved ones. Individuals who have had near death experiences are often directed to go back to their physical bodies or are given a choice as to whether they stay in their new home or go back. Reluctantly, they return but all are filled with a newfound understanding of living and life.

Scientific Proof Of Reincarnation

Scientific proof of life after death has been allusive at best. As we have learned from ancient sources, we lose our memories of our earlier lives. If we don’t know where we have been, how can we know if we have existed before. One scientist, Dr. Ian Stevenson spent years documenting cases of children with recall of their last life here on earth. With over 3000 case files, his work is the best collection of data that reincarnation is real.

Children who remember their earlier life will often make spontaneous remarks about their previous life including specific names, locations and details of their lives and personal possessions they owned. Children between the ages of two and four are the most common to utter recalled memories and remarks about the previous life usually ceased by the time the child reaches the age of eight. When the claims made by these children are investigated many of them are found to be true.

Proof Of Reincarnation

The concept of reincarnation, life and the existence of life after death is something that has been contemplated since the earliest of times. Even today what happens to us after death is still a mystery. Do we return to earth in cycles of life and death or do we spend eternity is perpetual bliss? The scientific jury is still out, but based upon ancient traditions what will happen to us when our time here on earth is through does seem clear. And if we don’t remember it, we will have the chance to learn it all over again.

© By: Dr. Rita Louise: Copyright Rita Louise, Inc. – All rights reserved.

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