What is Reincarnation?
Reincarnation is the belief that the soul survives physical death, and is reborn into a new physical life, the passing of the soul from one body to the next. Our souls never really die, we merely change our physical form, forgetting who we once were. Why do we do this? Our souls are striving for perfection, whether we consciously realize it or not. We are born again and again to confront and perfect our Karma. To know the laws of action and reaction so instinctively and purely, that we never transgress them, is true enlightenement. At tha point, our souls are free of Karma, and free to join with “The One” in a state of Nirvana.
Who Believes in Reincarnation?
Reincarnation is a belief with a long and varied history. In modern times, the Eastern religions of Buddhism and Hinduism are often thought of as the source of this belief, but the ancient Egyptians and Greeks, native North and South Americans, and the Aboriginal peoples of Australia also traditionally hold this belief.
We are Not our Body
The concept of reincarnation is easier to grasp if we understand that we are not our bodies, but our souls. The unenlightened and untrained mind blindly and habitually identifies with the physical body. In fact, our true nature is pure awareness. We cannot be the observer (awareness) of an object (the body) and also be that object. Our true nature is awareness itself.
The soul is forever evolving, and ach soul is without beginning or end. Our individual souls have evolved through one celled organisms, plants, animals, and the human form. Most of us have been humans many times. With each lifetime, we learn, growing closer to the state of soul perfection!
What is Karma?
Karma is a law in Hinduism which maintains that every act done, no matter how insignificant, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact. Good will be returned with good; evil with evil. Since Hindus believe in reincarnation, karma knows no simple birth/death boundaries. If good or evil befall you, it is because of something you did in this or a previous lifetime.
Karma is sometimes referred to as a “moral law of cause and effect.” Karma is both an encouragement to do good and to avoid evil, as well as an explanation for whatever good or evil befalls a person.
On one level, karma serves to explain why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. The injustices of the world, the seeming random distribution of good and evil, are only apparent. In reality, everybody is getting what he or she deserves. Even the child brutalized by drugged adults deserves the horror. The mentally ill, the retarded, the homosexuals, and the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis deserved it for evil they must have done in the past. The slave beaten to within a breath of death deserved it, if not for what he did today, then for what he did in some previous lifetime. Likewise for the rape victim. She is just getting what she deserves. All suffering is deserved, according to the law of karma.
What is Dharma?
Dharma is a cosmic principle that is difficult, if not impossible, to define. Our Dharma is our true place in the cosmic process: in time, in space, in awareness, in thought, deed and desire. The eternal principle of Dharma determines the harmonious functions of the cosmic machine. In order that we fulfil our role in the divine play we must behave within our Dharma. That is, we ought to do the right thing, at the right time, In the right way, and for the right reason. By this we attain balance. To establish balance within ourselves ensures our own welfare and the welfare of society. And opens the path prepared for us by the divine.