Reincarnation (quotes)

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What is reincarnation?

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Reincarnation is a belief in the immortality of the soul …

  • Finding myself to exist in the world, I believe I shall, in some shape or other always exist. Benjamin Franklin
  • I believe … that the soul of man is immortal and will be treated with justice in another life, respecting its conduct in this. Benjamin Franklin
  • I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time. Walt Whitman
  • 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. Erik Erikson
  • Only one who denies that the soul lives on can deny reincarnation. For the rest … it must be considered. Edward Reaugh Smith
  • The soul comes from without into the human body, as into a temporary abode, and it goes out of it anew it passes into other habitations, for the soul is immortal.” “It is the secret of the world that all things subsist and do not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again. Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals… and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some strange new disguise. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • The soul is not born; it does not die; it was not produced from anyone… Unborn, eternal, it is not slain, though the body is slain. Emerson quoting Katha Upanisad
  • Our birth is but a sleep and a forgetting; The Soul that rises with us, our life’s Star, Hath had elsewhere its setting. And cometh from afar. William Wordsworth
  • KarmaThe soulDeathReligionSpirituality
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… a soul that passes from one physical body to another

  • Reincarnation: The rebirth of a soul in another body. Oxford Dictionary
  • Reincarnation: The belief that a dead person’s spirit returns to life in another body. Cambridge Dictionary
  • It can be shown that an incorporeal and reasonable being has life in itself independently of the body… then it is beyond a doubt bodies are only of secondary importance and arise from time to time to meet the varying conditions of reasonable creatures. Those who require bodies are clothed with them, and contrariwise, when fallen souls have lifted themselves up to better things their bodies are once more annihilated. They are ever vanishing and ever reappearing. Origen
  • 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. J D Salinger
  • Souls are poured from one into another of different kinds of bodies of the world. Jesus Christ in Gnostic Gospels: Pistis Sophia
  • The soul is not the body and it may be in one body or in another, and pass from body to body. Giordano Bruno
  • 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. Isaac Bashevis Singer
  • When the physical organism breaks up, the soul survives. It then takes on another body. Paul Gauguin
  • The Celts were fearless warriors because “they wish to inculcate this as one of their leading tenets, that souls do not become extinct, but pass after death from one body to another… Julius Caesar
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Through reincarnation, we each live thousands of lives

  • 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. Jack London
  • As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life… and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real life of God. Count Leo Tolstoy
  • I am certain that I have been here as I am now a thousand times before, and I hope to return a thousand timesJohann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time. Walt Whitman
  • This is just one little lifetime in a succession of lifetimes. Dr. Frederick Lenz
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Birth and death are doors through which we pass from one dream to another

  • All the lives we ever lead are only dreams, these walking moments, that look so solid to you when you consider yourself awake, are just dreams. Dr. Frederick Lenz
  • As we live through thousands of dreams in our present life, so is our present life only one of many thousands of such lives which we enter from the other more real life… and then return after death. Our life is but one of the dreams of that more real life, and so it is endlessly, until the very last one, the very real life of God. Count Leo Tolstoy
  • Birth and death are doors through which you pass from one dream to another. Someone is born on Earth in France as a powerful king, rules for a time, then dies. He maybe reborn in India, and travel in a bullock cart into the forest to meditate. He may next find rebirth in America as a successful businessman; and when he dreams death again, reincarnates perhaps in Tibet as a devotee of Buddha and spend his entire life in a lamasery. Therefore, hate none and be attached to no nationality, for sometimes you are a Hindu, sometimes a Frenchman, sometimes an Englishman, or an American or a Tibetan. What is the difference? Each existence is a dream within a dream, is it not? Paramhansa Yogananda
  • Death
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The belief in reincarnation is widespread

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Many cultures and spiritual walks believe in reincarnation …

  • Many cultures have independently developed a belief system in reincarnation that includes return of the unit of consciousness to another physical lifetime on Earth. Stanislav Grof
  • 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. James Joyce
  • Belief
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… a belief that many believe to be a very satisfactory one

  • The theory of Reincarnation, which originated in India, has been welcomed in other countries. Without doubt, it is one of the most sensible and satisfying of all religions that mankind has conceived. This, like the others, comes from the best qualities of human nature, even if in this, as in the others, its adherents sometimes fail to carry out the principles in their lives. Luther Burbank
  • I am no Hindu, but I hold the doctrine of the Hindus concerning a future state (rebirth) to be incomparably more rational, more pious, and more likely to deter men from vice than the horrid opinions inculcated by Christians on punishments without end. William Jones
  • Reincarnation contains a most comforting explanation of reality by means of which Indian thought surmounts difficulties which baffle the thinkers of Europe. Albert Schweitzer
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Evidence for reincarnation

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Some would say there is plenty of evidence for reincarnation

  • The extent of the logical evidence for reincarnation is amazing. It is found to explain justly many of the problems of daily life … it reasonably accounts for such psychological problems as sudden friendships, awakening memories of past associations, certain strange actions of children, the nature of genius, obsession, and dual personality…. By this doctrine the world becomes a huge training school, guided by law, and ruled by Divine Justice, instead of being a bewildering maze of chaotic and chance accidents. F. Goudey
  • We all have some experience of a feeling, that comes over us occasionally, of what we are saying and doing having been said and done before, in a remote time – of our having been surrounded, dim ages ago, by the same faces, objects, and circumstances. Charles Dickens
  • Have you ever met someone for the first time, but in your heart, you feel as if you’ve met them before? Joanne Kenrick
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The strongest evidence comes from some children’s’ verifiable memories of past lives

  • Ian Stevenson spent 40 years studying young children who spontaneously recall past lives, compiling data from over 2,600 case studies in his massive book, Reincarnation and Biology: A Contribution to the Etiology of Birthmarks and Birth Defects. He has found numerous incidences in which children recall specific details of their past life, and has documented, in some instances, startling physiological evidence – birthmarks and birth defects – that seem to carry over from their former existence.  In a number of cases, especially ones in which the past life ended in violent death, Stevenson has found, and photographed, highly unusual birthmarks on the children that perfectly match the placement of the mortal wounds that ended their remembered past life…  The recollection usually commences at a very young age – between two and four – and ends within the next five years.  Stevenson has accompanied some of these children to meet the families, corroborating their specific memories.  “The birthmarks and birth defects in these cases do not lend themselves easily to explanations other than reincarnation,” he notes.  In the cases he has studied, the average period between death and rebirth is fifteen months.  Daniel Pinchbeck
  • For the first forty days a child is given dreams of previous lives. Journeys, winding paths, a hundred small lessons and then the past is erased. Michael Ondaatje
  • Memory
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Our memories from past lives are forgotten but lie just under the surface

  • And only the enlightened can recall their former lives; for the rest of us, the memories of past existences are but glints of light, twinges of longing, passing shadows, disturbingly familiar, that are gone before they can be grasped, like the passage of that silver bird on Dhaulagiri. Peter Matthiessen
  • That which is part of our souls is eternal. . . Those lives are countless, but the soul or spirit that animates us throughout these myriads of existences is the same; and though “the book and volume” of the physical brain may forget events within the scope of one terrestrial life, the bulk of collective recollections can never desert the divine soul within us. Its whispers may be too soft, the sound of its words too far off the plane perceived by our physical senses; yet the shadow of events that were, just as much as the shadow of the events that are to come, is within its perceptive powers, and is ever present before its mind’s eye. Helena Blavatsky
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We live many lives in order to grow and evolve

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We live many lives in order for the soul to evolve …

  • Reincarnation is the evolution of spirit through matter. Over thousands and millions of lifetimes, the soul evolves. It comes into the light. The growth is slow. Dr. Frederick Lenz
  • Reincarnation, at least as I conceive it, does not nullify what we know about evolution and genetics. It suggests, however, that there may be two streams of evolution — the biological one and a personal one — and that during terrestrial lives these streams may interact. Ian Stevenson
  • When I was an animal I evolved through selfishness. Now that I am a man my evolution can be achieved only through self-sacrifice. Sri Chinmoy
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… until it has reached a state high enough for it to be reunited with God

  • The soul grows by reincarnation in bodies provided by nature, more complex, more powerful, as the soul unfolds greater and greater faculties. And so the soul climbs upward into the light eternal. And there is no fear for any child of man, for inevitably he climbs towards God. Annie Besant
  • 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. Zohar
  • Reincarnation is essential to enable the soul to evolve to its Divine right. F. Goudey
  • God generates beings, and sends them back over and over again, till they return to Him. Koran
  • GodUnityOneness
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We live many lives in order to learn, grow and understand

  • All human beings go through a previous life… Who knows how many fleshly forms the heir of heaven occupies before he can be brought to understand the value of that silence and solitude of spiritual worlds? Honore Balzac
  • 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!… We choose our next world through what we learn in this one… But you, Jon, learned so much at one time that you didn’t have to go through a thousand lives to reach this one.’ Richard Bach
  • My life often seemed to me like a story that has no beginning and no end. I had the feeling that I was an historical fragment, an excerpt for which the preceding and succeeding text was missing. 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 been born again because I had not fulfilled the task given to me. Carl Jung
  • In the light of reincarnation life changes its aspect, for it becomes the school of the eternal Man within us, who seeks therein his development, the Man that was and is and shall be, for whom the hour will never strike. Annie Wood Besant
  • My whole belief system is that our paths are drawn for us. I believe in reincarnation. I believe we’re here to learn and grow. We choose how we come into this life based on what it is we have to learn. Some people have harder lessons than others. Gillian Anderson
  • LearningUnderstandingGrowth
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We live many lives in order to grow in virtue

  • The virtues we acquire, which develop slowly within us, are the invisible links that bind each one of our existences to the others – existences which the spirit alone remembers, for Matter has no memory for spiritual things. Honore Balzac
  • Virtue
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We live many lives in order to grow in experience

  • For thirty years I have leaned toward the theory of Reincarnation. It seems a most reasonable philosophy and explains many things. No, I have no desire to know what, or who I was once; or what, or who, I shall be in the ages to come. This belief in immortality makes present living the more attractive. It gives you all the time there is. You will always be able to finish what you start. There is no fever or strain in such an outlook. We are here in life for one purpose—to get experience. We are all getting it, and we shall all use it somewhere. Henry Ford
  • I adopted the theory of reincarnation when I was 26. Genius is experience. Some think to seem that it is a gift or talent, but it is the fruit of long experience in many lives. Henry Ford
  • I believe we are reincarnated. You, I, we reincarnate over and over. We live many lives and store up much experience. Some are older souls than others and so they know more. It seems to be an intuitive “gift.” It is really hard-won experience. Henry Ford
  • The object of our sojourns on earth, as apart from the gaining of experience, is but one. The loosing of ourselves from the coil of reincarnation, which, over and over again, brings us back to earth as on a coiled spring, until, having learned the last lesson of matter, leaped the last barrier, we are freed for ever from earth. Shaw Desmond
  • Experience
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We live many lives in order for the soul to gain many perspectives

  • This life is but a brief tenure, one of many perspectives a spirit must experience in the quest for eternity. Brian Rathbone
  • Perspective
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We live many lives in order to improve on previous lives

  • I’m a great believer in the hereafter, in karma, in reincarnation. It does make sense. I believe that God is not just a law-giver, but a creative artist. The greatest of all. And what characterises artists is that they want to redo their work. Maybe it didn’t come off perfectly, so they want to see it done again, and improved. Reincarnation is a way for God to improve his earlier works. Norman Mailer
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The rewards of a belief in reincarnation

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A belief in reincarnation can give life greater meaning

  • The knowledge of reincarnation assures us that life is worth living. Life is not a one-shot deal. It is forever. Frederick Lenz
  • Without an understanding of myth or religion, without an understanding of the relationship between destruction and creation, death and rebirth, the individual suffers the mysteries of life as meaningless mayhem alone. Marion Woodman
  • As long as you are not aware of the continual law of Die and Be Again, you are merely a vague guest on a dark Earth. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
  • Meaning
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A belief in reincarnation puts life into greater perspective

  • What goes on in this one little lifetime is not so important as you might like to think it is because you’re in it. When you can see the larger picture, it’s just a tiny breath in a succession of breaths. Frederick Lenz
  • Perspective
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A belief in reincarnation detracts from the fear and sting of death

  • Seeing death as the end of life is like seeing the horizon as the end of the ocean. David Searls
  • To the well-organized mind, death is but the next great adventure. K. Rowling
  • Death is not a period, but a comma in the story of life.  Amos Traver
  • I look upon death to be as necessary to the constitution as sleep. We shall rise refreshed in the morning. Benjamin Franklin
  • Why should we be startled by death? Life is a constant putting off of the mortal coil – coat, cuticle, flesh and bones, all old clothes. D. Thoreau
  • Death is the return to the very beginning of one’s life, with the possibility of repeating it again. Samael Aun Weor
  • I died as a mineral and became a plant, I died as a plant and rose to animal, I died as an animal and I was Man. Why should I fear? When was I less by dying? Rumi
  • It is a secret of the world that all things subsist and so not die, but only retire a little from sight and afterwards return again… Nothing is dead; men feign themselves dead, and endure mock funerals and mournful obituaries, and there they stand looking out of the window, sound and well, in some new and strange disguise. Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • I know I am deathless. No doubt I have died myself ten thousand times before. I laugh at what you call dissolution, and I know the amplitude of time. Walt Whitman
  • Death
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A belief in reincarnation is motivation to grow and evolve …

  • Reincarnation … makes life what it is intended to be — a glorious adventure in which victory is absolutely sure to be ours if we persist. It proves that man is master of his fate on his road to the stars. Shaw Desmond
  • Reincarnation involves a free choice of action constantly, and constantly an opportunity for re-making one’s self and one’s surroundings. Eustace Miles
  • GrowthEvolution
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… while also allowing you to ease up a bit

  • This belief in immortality makes present living the more attractive. It gives you all the time there is. You will always be able to finish what you start. There is no fever or strain in such an outlook. We are here in life for one purpose—to get experience. We are all getting it, and we shall all use it somewhere. Henry Ford
  • There are future lives. It is not necessary to cram everything into this lifetime. You can enjoy this lifetime, go with the flow, and know it will lead you to a better life in your next incarnation. Dr. Frederick Lenz
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A belief in reincarnation should never stop you from making the most of the life you are living

  • Until we find out who was born this time around, it seems irrelevant to seek earlier identities. I have heard many people speak of who they believe they were in previous incarnations, but they seem to have very little idea of who they are in this one. . . . Let’s take one life at a time. Perhaps the best way to do that is to live as though there were no afterlife or reincarnation. To live as though this moment was all that was allotted. Stephen Levine
  • Live so that thou mayest desire to live again – that is thy duty – for in any case thou wilt live again! Friedrich Nietzsche
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A belief in reincarnation and karma are often closely linked

  • When we cross the gates of death, our karma is all we take with us. Everything else that we enjoyed in this life we leave behind…. Our karma is the only thing that will count in determining our rebirth, for our next life is nothing but the effects of our karmic tendencies that materialize in our perception. Tulku Thondup
  • Has it occurred to you that transmigration is at once an explanation and a justification of the evil of the world? If the evils we suffer are the result of sins committed in our past lives, we can bear them with resignation and hope that if in this one we strive toward virtue out future lives will be less afflicted. William Somerset Maugham
  • I have been told that Reincarnation is a very gloomy religion; that the law of karma leaves life without hope. I can answer this by saying that Reincarnation has nothing to do with religion. Reincarnation is a natural law in operation, a penetration into the laws of cause and effect. Science has taught us (in the physical world) that nothing can die, for nothing is ever totally extinguished. When one form of animation leaves the body another is switched on. The body which is alive in all its cells begin to function in another direction. It fertilizes life, which life in turn fertilizes other life. Gervee Baronte
  • Karma
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Implications of reincarnation

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Use each life to explore and savour wonder and mystery

  • I feel as though I have lived many lives, experienced the heights and depths of each and like the waves of the ocean, never known rest. Throughout the years, I looked always for the unusual, for the wonderful, for the mysteries at the heart of life. Leni Riefenstahl
  • WonderMystery
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Maybe friends are souls that we’ve known in other lives

  • 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. George Harrison
  • Have you ever met someone for the first time, but in your heart you feel as if you’ve met them before? Joanne Kenrick
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Every day is a kind of rebirth

  • Each night, when I go to sleep, I die. And the next morning, when I wake up, I am reborn. Mahatma Gandhi
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Every moment is a kind of rebirth

  • Due to having made karma, rebirth consciousness arises. But we need not think of rebirth only in a future life. We are in actual fact reborn every moment with new thoughts and feelings, and we bring with us the karma that we made in past moments. If we were angry a moment ago, we are not going to feel good immediately. If we were loving a minute ago, we would be feeling fine now. Thus we live from moment to moment with the results of our karma. Ayya Khema
  • It is the Buddhist belief that at every moment the universe is not only dying but being reborn. Frederick Lenz
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Not all eastern spiritual teachers believe in reincarnation

  • Were you somebody different a thousand years ago? Will you be somebody different a thousand years from now? What is this One Self that is forever your own deepest being? Must you believe the lies of time? Must you swallow the insanity that One Spirit does not exist? Can you show me your Original Face, of which there is One and Only One in all the entire World? Ken Wilber
  • Reincarnation implies a reincarnating self. There is no such thing. The bundle of memories and hopes, called the “I”, imagines itself existing everlastingly and creates time to accomodate its false eternity. To be, I need no past or future. All experience is born of imagination; I do not imagine, so no birth or death happens to me. Only those who think themselves born can think themselves re-born. All exists in awareness, and awareness neither dies nor is re-born. It is the changeless reality itself. Nisargadatta Maharaj
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On a lighter note

  • I don’t believe in reincarnation, and I didn’t believe in it when I was a hamster. Shane Ritchie
  • I have been born more times than anybody except Krishna. Mark Twain
  • I think reincarnation is possible. Hopefully, we all get recycled. Christina Ricci
  • If all else fails, immortality can always be assured by spectacular error. John Kenneth Galbraith
  • If I were to come back in another life, I’d like to be reincarnated as my own clone. Jarod Kintz
  • If there is reincarnation, I’d like to come back as Pamela Andersons fingertips. Woody Allen
  • If you’re really a mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop. Kurt Cobain
  • Sex is one of the nine reasons for reincarnation. The other eight are unimportant. Henry Miller
  • I don’t believe in reincarnation, but I did in my last life.
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