Essay on Reincarnation: Death and Previous Life

Submitted By crhein01
Words: 1179
Pages: 5

Religion is natural for people, religious beliefs and practices have been around since the beginning of human culture. One of the more appealing explanations for humanity’s origin and destiny would be the concept of reincarnation. This concept is accepted by most Eastern religions and those who don’t have the need to accept a personal God as an ultimate reality. Reincarnation can be a religious or philosophical concept that states that the soul or spirit, after dying, will move on and begin a new life in a different body. The kind of life one has in the new body will depend on the moral quality of the soul’s previous life, which is the cycle of death and rebirth, governed by karma. There are many different interpretations of this concept, and it varies from religion to religion. For Hindus, there is an eternally existing “self” or “soul” that, after death, reincarnates into another living being. But for Buddhists, there is no eternal “self”, just a “stream of consciousness” that connects life with life. Apart from the religious aspects, the study of parapsychology looks into the scientific reasons reincarnation may be a reality. These studies mainly involved young children, ages 2 to 5, who have memories of former lives, near death experiences, apparitions and after-death communications, out of body experiences, and deathbed visions. These children have been said to have made remarks of a life they would have lived before birth. In researching this, analyses have been done on childhood memories, corresponding birthmarks, and psychological or cultural characteristics. While in religion reincarnation is seen as an eternal “soul” or consciousness continuing from life to life, when researching this idea, it has been referred to as “the survival of personality after death”. Those who study reincarnation don’t necessarily want to suggest that this idea is true, as it hasn’t been proved absolutely, but that it is plausible. There aren’t actual facts that can link lives with lives, but merely coincidences as a child presents information that syncs up with the life of someone who had died. For example, Dr. Ian Stevenson studied a Lebanese boy who knew where a deceased stranger tied up his dog and that the man had been quarantined in his room. Dr. Stevenson also looked into corresponding birthmarks or defects. In many cases, he claimed, “the subjects marks of defects correspond to injuries or illness experienced by the deceased person who the subject remembers; and medical documents have confirmed this correspondence in more than forty cases.” Dr. Stevenson claimed this was the best evidence for reincarnation, as these birthmarks or deformities occurred at the location of fatal wounds on the deceased. Other studies of the personality, abilities and psychological characteristics have been done by Erlendur Haraldsson and his colleges. The children in his studies talk of a previous life they have lived, and even sometimes stated, “This happened in my previous life”, but in most cases the child is talking of something that happened to him and the parent didn’t know it was something that actually happened, and assume it was a memory of a previous life. There are many other explanations as to why children develop these memories. It all is depending on the circumstances under which the children live, such as fantasy, suggestibility, social isolation, dissociation, and attention-seeking, which make a child more likely to claim past life memories. The statements children make of their alleged previous life have many parallels usually involving a violent death, saying their parents are not their parents, giving a location and saying that’s where they live and they’d like to be taken there. In Haraldsson’s “Children Who Speak of Past-Life Experiences: Is there a psychological explanation?” he gives examples of children from Lebanon. In one, a boy named Nazih would made specific statements about his previous life to his family at a young