The purpose of this research is to examine the literature of reincarnation. The plan of the research will be to set forth the context in which reincarnation has entered the popular and scholarly discourse and then to discuss its meaning in various religious and spiritual traditions, as well as how it has been treated in scientific investigations.
The topic of reincarnation is almost a commonplace of popular culture, even though its origins as a concept can be located in various religious traditions around the world. For the reason that the pop-culture associations of reincarnation may be most familiar to the majority of people and because the concept may be misunderstood by reason of its popularization, it is appropriate to review ways it resonates in various traditions, with a view toward arriving at a more precise understanding of it.
In a wide array of cultures and religious traditions, the concept of reincarnation is associated with concepts of human nature, the meaning of life, and the notion of the fusion and separateness of material and immaterial reality, or the body and soul. Equally, it enters the discourse of the certain consciousness of life and the certainty that the span of human life also involves death. Just how reincarnation is conceptualized helps explain attributes of the culture in which it achieves relevance. Typically, it is associated with religious traditions. Rosen's brief treatment of reincarnation as both doctrine and controversy in the major religions of the world is helpful in positioning the issue. It also succinctly identifies related but distinct terms, such as transmigration, metempsychosis, metensomatosis, and palingenesis (1997).
Ancient Egyptian cosmology included a version of reincarnation belief. The purpose of mummification of royalty and the construction of elaborate tombs was to set the stage for an "transfigured body that resembled its earthly counterpart yet surpassed it in both size ...