reincarnation in other faiths?

re-incarnation was a part of early christian techings, up until the second "something or other" of constantinople in 553, when it was removed from christian doctorine, whilst it's interseting to note that neither the pope or one of the fathers who was credited with the ability to remember 10 of his past lives, were present, the theory goes that at that time it was thought that the peopel might take the idea of living a "righteous" live a little more seriously if they thought that they only had one shot at it, so I often wonder how many christians would believe in re-incarnation if it had been left in as facit of their doctorine, nearly all I would imagine.
"Fundementalist Christians who believe that the Bible is the exact word of God, and then, they go and change the bible, "I think what God meant to say....." I've never been that confident." B.H.

re-incarnation was a part of early christian techings, up until the second "something or other" of constantinople in 553, when it was removed from christian doctorine,

Finally someone knows that!
There is a plethora of information on the net on this subject. Here is a sample:

"Early references to reincarnation in the New Testament were deleted in the 4th century by Emperor Constantine when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman Empire. Could it be that the emperor had felt that the concept of reincarnation was threatening to the stability of the empire? Citizens who believed that they would have another chance to live might be less obedient and law abiding than those who believed in a single Judgement Day for all?
In the 6th century, in the year 553 A. D., the 2nd Council of Constantinople officially declared reincarnation a heresy and the doctrine of reincarnation was officially banished by the Christian Church. It was banished for no other reason than it was considered to be too much of an influence from the East. The decision was intended to enable the church to increase its power at that time, and to tighten its hold upon the human mind by telling people their salvation had to be accomplished in one incarnation and one lifetime, and if they didn't make it, they would go to Hell. It would appear that the Church like Constantine was afraid that the idea of `past lives` would weaken and undermine the Church`s growing power and influence by affording followers too much time to seek salvation? During the same Early Christian Era leading up to the Council of Constantinople, notable Church fathers like Origen, Clement of Alexander and St. Jerome accepted and believed in the reincarnation principle. So did the Gnostics and the Christian Cathars of Italy and Southern France and they were severely brutalized for their belief in reincarnation as late as the 12th century! "

Does that mean today Catholics control non -catholic beliefs too?
It is annoying that official rules of belief are actualy choices made by people.

It is repulsive that people died because of these choices.
The Rastafari (Jamaican movement born in 1930's) believe in the reincarnation of the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie I. Jamaicans who had been to some extent influenced by Marcus Garvey connected his prophecies of the crowning of a black king who would deliver black people from their oppressors, with certain biblical passages that confirmed to them that Selassie was indeed the Messiah. Interestingly, these persons are said to have reached this conclusion quite independently of each other.

As Bob Marley put it:

"... The truth is an offence but not a sin
Is he who laughs last, children
Is he who wins
It's a foolish dog bark at the flying bird
One sheep must learn, children
To respect the shepherd
Fools say in their hearts
Rasta your God is dead
But I and I know Jah Jah
Dread it shall be dreader, dread
Let Jah arise
Now that the enemies are scattered
Let Jah arise
The enemies are scattered"

- Jah Live

Though some Rastafari issues are seen differently by it's followers, the general perception is that Selassie was viewed as Christ and they are awaiting his ressurection (the second coming).
I withdraw my statement about reincarnation being part of the Christian doctorine, I think that it was taught by many, even that Jesus may have teached it, but I don't think that it was ever part of the official church cannon, I may be wrong of course but this doesn't seem so, well it didn't before either, but thats not the piont

Matthew 11 'And if you are willing to accept it, he (John the Baptist) is the Elijah who was to come."."

John 9,2, "Who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?";

John 3,3, "No one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again";

James 3,6, "the wheel of nature";

Galatians 6,7, "A man reaps what he sows".

Matthew 26,52, ”all who draw the sword will die by the sword”.

Revelation 13,10, ”If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed.”


vedas: The origin of samsara has to be searched for in Hinduism and its classic writings. It cannot have appeared earlier than the 9th century BC because the Vedic hymns, the most ancient writings of Hinduism, do not mention it, proving that reincarnation wasn’t stated yet at the time of their recording (13th to 10th century BC)

*in the vedas, after death there is only unification with god

Brihadaranyaka Upanishad (4,4,5): "According as one acts, according as one behaves, so does he become. The doer of good becomes good. The doer of evil becomes evil. One becomes virtuous by virtuous action, bad by bad action."

Shvetashvatara Upanishad (5,11): "By means of thought, touch, sight and passions and by the abundance of food and drink there are birth and development of the (embodied) self. According to his deeds, the embodied self assumes successively various forms in various conditions"


Majjhima Nikaya (3,202): "Men have, O young man, deeds as their very own, they are inheritors of deeds, deeds are their matrix, deeds are their kith and kin, and deeds are their support. It is deeds that classify men into high or low status"


*there are some contradictions (?) here as there is no self to reincarnate. the buddha held that the self is really five aggregates.........


Chuang Tzu (23): "Existence without limitation is space. Continuity without a starting point is time. There is birth, there is death, there is issuing forth, there is entering in. That through which one passes in and out without seeing its form, that is the Portal of God"

*nothing in first book


Koran: "And you were dead, and He brought you back to life. And He shall cause you to die, and shall bring you back to life, and in the end shall gather you unto Himself."


zohar: "The souls must reenter the absolute substance whence they have emerged. But to accomplish this, they must develop all the perfections, the germ of which is planted in them; and if they have not fulfilled this condition during one life, they must commence another, a third, and so forth, until they have acquired the condition which fits them for reunion with God."
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Reincarnation in the Modern Age

As we enter the twentieth century, we find the idea of reincarnation attracting the mind of one of the West's most influential artists, Paul Gauguin, who during his final years in Tahiti wrote that when the physical organism breaks up, "the soul survives." It then takes on another body, Gauguin wrote, "degrading or elevating according to merit or demerit." The artist believed that the idea of continued rebirth had first been taught in the West by Pythagoras, who learned it from the sages of ancient India.

U. S. auto magnate Henry Ford once told a newspaper interviewer, "I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was twenty-six." Ford said, "Genius is experience. Some seem to think that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives." In a similar fashion, U. S. general George S. Patton believed that he had acquired his military skills on ancient battlefields.

Reincarnation is a recurring theme in Ulysses, by Irish novelist and poet James Joyce. In one famous passage in this novel, Joyce's hero, Mr. Bloom, tells his wife, "Some people believe that we go on living in another body after death, that we lived before. They call it reincarnation. That we all lived before on the earth thousands of years ago or on some other planet. They say we have forgotten it. Some say they remember their past lives."

Jack London made reincarnation the major theme of his novel The Star Rover, in which the central character says, "I did not begin when I was born, nor when I was conceived. I have been growing, developing through incalculable myriads of millenniums. All my previous selves have their voices, echoes, promptings in me. Oh, incalculable times again shall I be born, and yet the stupid dolts about me think that by stretching my neck with a rope they will make me cease."

In his classic novel of the search for spiritual truth, Siddhartha, Nobel laureate Herman Hesse wrote, "He saw all these forms and faces in a thousand relationships to each other. None of them died, they only changed, were always reborn, continually had a new face: only time stood between one face and another."

Numerous scientists and psychologists have believed in reincarnation as well. One of the greatest modern psychologists, Carl Jung, used the concept of an eternal self that undergoes many births as a tool in his attempts to understand the deepest mysteries of the self and consciousness. "I could well imagine that I might have lived in former centuries and there encountered questions I was not yet able to answer; that I had to be born again because I had not fulfilled the task that was given to me," Jung said.

British biologist Thomas Huxley noted that "the doctrine of transmigration" was a "means of constructing a plausible vindication of the ways of the cosmos to man," and warned that "none but very hasty thinkers will reject it on the grounds of inherent absurdity."

One of the leading figures in the field of psychoanalysis and human development, American psychoanalyst Erik Erikson, is convinced that reincarnation goes to the very core of every man's belief system. "Let us face it: ‘deep down' nobody in his right mind can visualize his own existence without assuming that he has always lived and will live hereafter," the author wrote.

Mahatma Gandhi, one of the greatest political figures of modern times and apostle of nonviolence, once explained how a practical understanding of reincarnation gave him hope for his dream of world peace. Gandhi said, "I cannot think of permanent enmity between man and man, and believing as I do in the theory of rebirth, I live in the hope that if not in this birth, in some other birth I shall be able to hug all of humanity in friendly embrace."

In one of his most famous short stories, J. D. Salinger introduces Teddy, a precocious young boy who recalls his reincarnation experiences and speaks forthrightly about them. "It's so silly. All you do is get the heck out of your body when you die. My gosh, everybody's done it thousands of times. Just because they don't remember, it doesn't mean they haven't done it."

Jonathan Livingston Seagull, hero of the novel by the same name, whom author Richard Bach described as "that brilliant little fire that burns within us all," goes through a series of reincarnations that lead him from earth to a heavenly world and back again, to enlighten the less fortunate gulls. One of Jonathan's mentors inquires, "Do you have any idea how many lives we must have gone through before we even got the first idea that there is more to life than eating, or fighting, or power in the Flock? A thousand lives, Jon, ten thousand! And then another hundred lives until we began to learn that there is such a thing as perfection, and another hundred again to get the idea that our purpose for living is to find that perfection and show it forth."

Nobel laureate Isaac Bashevis Singer often speaks of past lives, rebirth, and the immortality of the soul in his masterful short stories. "There is no death. How can there be death if everything is part of the Godhead? The soul never dies and the body is never really alive."

And British poet laureate John Masefield, in his well-known poem about past and future lives, writes,

I hold that when a person dies
His soul returns again to earth;
Arrayed in some new flesh disguise
Another mother gives him birth
With sturdier limbs and brighter brain
The old soul takes the road again.
Musician, songwriter, and celebrated ex-Beatle George Harrison's serious thinking about reincarnation is revealed in his private thoughts on interpersonal relationships. "Friends are all souls that we've known in other lives. We're drawn to each other. That's how I feel about friends. Even if I have only known them a day, it doesn't matter. I'm not going to wait till I have known them for two years, because anyway, we must have met somewhere before, you know."

Reincarnation is once again attracting the minds of intellectuals and the general public in the West. Films, novels, popular songs, and periodicals now treat reincarnation with ever-increasing frequency, and millions of Westerners are rapidly joining ranks with the more than 1.5 billion people, including Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, and members of other faiths, who have traditionally understood that life does not begin at birth nor end with death. But simple curiosity or belief is not sufficient. It is merely the first step in understanding the complete science of reincarnation, which includes knowledge of how to free oneself from the miserable cycle of birth and death.

A. C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada