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   Reincarnation, also called metempsychosis or transmigration of souls, is the rebirth in another body (after physical death), of some critical part of a person's personality or spirit. Its occurrence is a central tenet of Hinduism, Jainism, some African religions, as well as various other religions and philosophies. Most modern Pagans also believe in reincarnation.

   It has traditionally also been understood to be akin to the Buddhist concept of Rebirth, but it has always been clear that the two concepts are very distinct - Buddhism teaches that there is no self to reincarnate. There is an alternate view, based on a different set of inherent assumptions, that the teachings of Buddhism as a religion might stress one aspect, the teachings of Hinduism might stress another aspect, but that an advanced Buddhist and an advanced Hindu would directly perceive the phenomenon of reincarnation identically.

   This doctrine has its roots far back in primitive culture. According to some scholars, this idea developed out of three common beliefs: (1) that man has a soul, connected in some vague way with the breath, which can be separated from his material body, temporarily in sleep, permanently at death; (2) that animals and even plants have souls, and are possessed to a large extent of human powers and passions; (3) that souls can be transferred from one organism to another. (This idea still has adherents in many schools of Hinduism, the oldest of extant modern religions)

   Alternatively, some consider that reincarnation as a phenomenon (not simply a belief) has been occurring through history, and has been discovered and re-discovered by societies both primitive and advanced.

Old Souls: Compelling Evidence from Children Who Remember Past Lives

If someone told me that a fairly mainstream journalist was going to travel with Dr. Ian Stevenson, the world's leading scientific researcher on reincarnation, to investigate the scientific proof for reincarnation, and what would I expect, "Old Souls" would fit quite well. I would suspect tnat the book would show more humanity than Dr. Stevenson's rather dry accounts of his cases, but most importantly, if a conventional, rational thinking person needs to travel to various countries to find "proof" of reincarnation to convince them, it is unlikely that they would ever be convinced that reincarnation is a fact.

"Old Souls" is easy and pleasureable to read, and I agree with tne reviewers who compliment Mr. Shroder on the travelogues of his and Dr. Stevenson's tales in Lebanon and India. He very effectively describes the conditions in the two countries, clearly and honestly, and conveys both the terrible effect that many wars have had on Lebanon, as well as the rather gruesome and awful poverty in India. The author also depicts the drama of meeting people in the flesh who can clearly remember what I believe is a fact, their lives in other bodies. There are several cases in "Old Souls" that I feel would convince anyone with an open mind that reincarnation is true.

"Old Souls" in a way is an attempt to vindicate Dr. Stevenson, who comes across as a very noble, persistent, but frustrated scientist, largely ignored by the mainstream scientific community despite thousands of solid cases in many countries which point to reincarnation. And in a way the books succeeds in vindicating Dr. Stevenson.

But unfortunately Mr. Shroder himself, typical of people indoctrinated in cultures which reject reincarnation, can never seem to accept it, and his objections are also the same reasons we hear over and over, e.g., since he can't remember past lives, he can't accept it; since science, which he obviously accepts as the arbiter of truth, cannot "prove" reincarnation, it can't be true; and so on. I found this aspect of the book quite tiresome. I must wonder if there can ever be "scientific proof" of reincarnation, the soul, Karma and so on. And I must ask, "Who cares?" I certainly do not, I do not consider scientific materialism the arbiter of ANY truths when it comes to metaphysical questions.

So as I understand it, "Old Souls" like the author's do indeed keep reincarnating until they learn that evolving as souls through multiple human experiences is indeed our true mission. I can't "prove" that either. There are simply some truths that we must come to by non-rational methods and experiences, and it's really sad that rational proof is the only way so many people can decide on the veracity of crucial matters.

God is an experience, not an experiment. - S.A. Felton

Exploring Reincarnation: The Classic Guide to the Evidence for Past-Life Experiences

I stumbled into this book in the public library a few weeks ago and I'm certainly going to buy it for further reference in the future. It's an eye opener of the best kind! I fully agree with Marc Borisovsky - this is the most complete overview that you can get. I'm glad that this book is available in English too, so that it will reach more people.

First, Hans ten Dam describes reincarnation beliefs in several spiritual and religious settings incl. the three monotheistic religions, hinduism, buddhism, nature religions and recently developed beliefs like theosophy and anthroposophy. The next part of the book contains experiences with reincarnation from different points of view (children's memories, spontaneous and induced regressions, paranormal activities (e.g. through mediums) etc.) Hans ten Dam discusses many questions that may arise, like: the probability of other explanations for the past life experiences, whether we can reincarnate in animal bodies, the way karma works, how experiences and different beliefs correspond etc.

The author read a vast number of books on the subject and rates most of them in the text and in the literature list in the back of the book. This is very useful for further reading, because many books that contain sheer nonsense can be omitted immediately.

Although Ten Dam, a regression therapist himself, is a firm 'believer', he looks at other possibilities to explain memories of past lifes (false memories, fraud, déjà vu etc.) in a very serious way. Also he dares to criticize religious beliefs and work of other authors in the field (often accompanied by a dry sense of humor that made me role on the floor laughing ;-) Especially the chapter on new age beliefs is great in that regard).

If you're interested in reincarnation - either from a professional or from a layman's point of view (and obviously you are, because otherwise you wouldn't be reading this) - I would certainly recommend this book to you. Although the first chapters may seem a bit 'dry', you most probably won't be disappointed. - E Raats

Exploring Reincarnation: The Classic Guide to the Evidence for Past-Life Experiences


Karma Basic Beliefs

Edgar Cayce on Karma

Reincarnation in Eastern religions and traditions:


Reincarnation in Western Religions and Traditions:

Classical Greek Philosophy

Judaism and kabbalah



Contemporary Movements and Thinkers:

New Religious Movements

The Other Side of the Fence:

Objections to Reincarnation

Guide to Lucid Dreaming
Guide to Lucid Dreaming

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