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Reincarnation

Reincarnation, literally “to be made flesh again”, as a doctrine or mystical belief, holds the notion that some essential part of a living being (or in some variations, only human beings) can survive death in some form, with its integrity partly or wholly retained, to be reborn in a new body. This part is often referred to as the Spirit or Soul, the ‘Higher or True Self’, ‘Divine Spark’, ‘I’ or the ‘Ego’ (not to be confused with the ego as defined by psychology).

In such beliefs, a new personality is developed during each life in the physical world, based upon past integrated experiences and newly acquired experiences, but some part of the being remains constantly present throughout these successive lives as well. It is usually believed that there is interaction between predeterminism of certain experiences, or lessons intended to happen during the physical life, and the free-will action of the individual as they live that life.

This doctrine is a central tenet within the majority of Hindu traditions such as Yoga, Vaishnavism, Jainism and Sikhism. Although the concept of Rebirth is also a major part of Buddhist philosophy, this often differs somewhat from the Vedic-based viewpoints of the Hindu traditions in defining what it is that is actually born again. Many modern Pagans also believe in reincarnation as do some New Age movements, along with followers of Spiritism and certain African traditions.