Reincarnation is the belief that the soul or soul energy is born again and again into different bodies, for different lifetimes. Many religions have beliefs in reincarnation. It is important to vampirism because not only do many of us hold beliefs in reincarnation and often remember past lives, but the vampiric condition is held over from lifetime to lifetime. As far as we know vampirism is not a condition that can be fixed for the most part, of course depending on what the nature of one's vampirism is. We will look at various reincarnation beliefs; it is up to oneself to determine what belief, if any, is held. I will purposely leave wicca, paganism etc out of the list simply because it is so open to interpretation and the individual that any belief can be used.
In Buddhism reincarnation is the act of one living many lives to break the cycle of reincarnation or reaching nirvana. Buddhists believe in karma. Karma is the judgment based on a person's acts and their consequences. For example, a good deed is rewarded with good karma, bad deeds punished with bad karma. Say you are born poor in this life, a Buddhist may say that it is because you horded wealth in another life and so on. Karma is what binds one to the cycle of rebirth, and to escape it and reach nirvana one must be rid of all karma. To do this they say that one must realize four Noble Truths:
1- Life is suffering
2-The cause of suffering is desire.
3- The cure for suffering is to cease desire.
4- To remove suffering follow the Noble Eightfold Path, which consists of right views, right intention, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right-mindedness, and right
To learn more about Buddhism check out Buddhism reincarnation or any books by the Dalai Lama.
Hindu reincarnation entails two very important things, Karma and Dharma. These will lead you to a union with god and also to ensure joy and happiness. Hinduism has four different classes of life and one’s karma affects which caste they will be born into. The castes are; Brahmins (priests or spiritual), Kshatriya (nobility), Vaishya (merchants and farmers) and the Shudras (servants). There are also the untouchables, who were seen as so low and dirty that they are below even the servants in the caste system, they are people who work in jobs such as cleaning or sewage. The first three classes had more rights and were seen as smarter people who had reincarnated more often.
Dharma is the natural universal laws that one must follow to lead a righteous life in accordance to that which is stated in the Vedas and the Upanishads. To obtain good karma, one must lead a life according to dharma. Dharma is seen as anything that would lead one towards god. To do things that would lead you away from god is called adharma. It is said that leading a life of dharma has four aspects, austerity, purity, compassion and truthfulness. Adharma has three pride, contact and intoxication. The ancient sage Manu had ten rules to dharma, patience, forgiveness, piety, control of sense, honesty, sanctity, reason, knowledge or learning, truthfulness and absence of anger.
Karma is cause and effect. It encompasses both the actions and thoughts of a person. Karma can be both good and bad and leads to what will happen to you in your current and future lives. Karma is based on one’s dharma or actions. If one has good karma they may lead an excellent life and be reborn into high standing and great happiness. If they have bad karma they can lead a rather horrible life and even be demoted in the hierarchy of nature (i.e. be reincarnated as an animal, which are seen as lower life forms).
For more information check out Hindu Reincarnation
Tao is believed to be the force which encompasses everything. It is the creation of worlds, heaven, humans etc. It is said that Tao is vast and beyond human logic.
“When there is no desire,
all things are at peace.”
Tao is the essence of everything that is right, and complications exist only because people choose to complicate their own lives. Taoism does not recognize or worship any gods. Instead it is a way to reach the Tao, to find the way. By ridding oneself of desire and shunning physical distraction one can then focus on life itself. It is said that the longer one lives the closer to Tao they have come. The goal in Taoism is to be in harmony with Tao, to reach an immortal state of being at one with everything in the universe. The reason I include this here is that the Taoist doesn’t see life as a beginning and death as an end, there is existance without any limits. It is believed that a Taoist’s soul is not reborn but migrates into another life after death until one has reached Tao and has cut the thread of life, that which keeps one in the cycle of life. If you want more information on Taoism check out the book “The Tao of Pooh” it’s a really great book for those who are new to Taoism.
Judaism and a hint of Christianity
Christianity and Judaism don’t necessarily believe in reincarnation in the physical world. Although there are some sects of each religion that do, the common belief is that if one lives a life according to the bible or torah they will be taken into heaven when the messiah comes. Those who do not follow the teachings will either be sent to hell (Christianity) or that the person will have less shares in Olam ha-ba (the Jewish spirit after-life). The main difference between the two religions is that Judaism is more focused on life and how too live it whereas Christianity is focused on how to get into heaven when one dies.
"Be not like servants who serve their master for the sake of receiving a reward; instead, be like servants who serve their master not for the sake of receiving a reward, and let the awe of Heaven [meaning G-d not the afterlife] be upon you."
(G-d is used to avoid the risk of defacing the name in Judaism). The quote is taken from Pirkei Avot (a book of the Misnah).
Your place in Olam Ha-Ba is determined by your actions and not by your religion. In Judaism the righteous people go to Gan Eden, which is a place of spiritual perfection. The average person goes to a place of punishment or purification called Gehinnom. It is believed that every sin that one commits creates an Angel of destruction or demon, when one goes to Gehinnom they are punished by the angels they have created. It is a time to reflect on one’s life actions and decision. Generally one spends less then a year in Gehinnom before they ascend into Olam Ha-Ba. Souls, who have led a very sinful life, are said to be punished for a full year and some believe that the soul then ceases to exist or they exist in a state of constant remorse.
In some sects of Judaism they believe that Jews are reincarnated as a soul group. Meaning that when a Jew dies they are reincarnated into a Jewish family and that only Jews may be reincarnated as such.
If you would like to learn more check out Judaism Faq this is the site that I took most of my information from.
It is really hard to say whether Christianity once believed in reincarnation. There are those who claim that it did, and those that it didn’t. It is a popular belief that Christianity did once believe in it, but for one reason or another it was taken out of the teachings. No doubt in an attempt to simplify and control the teachings.