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Reincarnation: Life After Death

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Reincarnation is a basic teaching in Eastern Religion and Philosophy (1). Though this teaching seem to be missing from 

Christianity in the West, hints of it can be read like in the coming of Elijah in the form of St. John the Baptist (Matthew 17:12-13).

12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them.

13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.

Reincarnation is to be defined as the life after death after life after death, and so on. It is the cyclic existence of the Spirit of the human in a different body in every incarnation. Though the physical body is new per lifetime, the essence of God (Spirit-individualized) is preserved.

What is the cause of Reincarnation?

The cause of reincarnation is “the desire for active life, the thirst for sentient existence”(1). It is the same desire of God/Brahman to manifest, to express himself through us his children. This cycle of life and death is akin to the cycles of day and night, in-breath and out-breath of the universes, sleeping and waking, and systole and diastole of the heart.

How does reincarnation end?

Reincarnation ends when a person reaches Arhatship/Adeptship/Mastery/Christhood/Buddhahood. It is the event when one ceases to sin and desire worldly things that tie one to earthly existence. In the Buddhist Dhammapada it reads: “He who has reached the consummation, who does not tremble, who is without thirst and without sin, he has broken all the thorns of life: this will be his last body.” A beautiful statement from Annie Besant encapsulates the ending of reincarnation and karma through this:

“The condition of Arhatship is unceasing activity without any personal returns; the Arhat must “give light to all, but take from none.”Hence in the upward climbing, one desire after another must be unloosened, desire for personal enjoyment, personal pleasure, personal gain, personal loves, personal attainments, and, last and subtlest of all, desire for personal perfection, for, the personal self must be lost in the ONE SELF, that is the SELF of all that lives.”

Reference:

(1) Besant, A. (1985). Reincarnation. India: Vasantra Press