Reincarnation: Does Death Mean The End?

May 17, 2024

The Reincarnation Question

Most of us sleepwalk through life assuming this is our one and only kick at the can. 

But some cultures and religions propose we actually get multiple lives — recycles through different bodies and existences, if you will.

They have a belief in reincarnation.

Two of the best known are Hinduism, and Buddhism (although Buddhism isn’t really a religion or a belief system – which is something I cover in another post).

Although they both believe in reincarnation, they understand it slightly differently, with Buddhists also generally preferring to use the term rebirth rather than reincarnation

So, what’s the difference?

Well, they both acknowledge the idea of transmigration of the ‘soul’.

Hindus believe in the atman (soul) — which is eternal and unchanging — and believe it transmigrates from one body to another body after death.

But in Buddhism, there is no eternal, unchanging soul or self.

The concept of anatta (no-self) means that what is reborn is not a soul but a continuation of a process driven by karma and consciousness.

So, basically, they both agree that when you die, it ain’t the end of the road. 

The lights don’t just go off, and you don’t spend the rest of time up in a spanking sparkly heaven or burning in hell.

Instead, you’re reborn as a human, an animal, or a different kind of living being (including those born in heaven or hell realms), depending on your actions in this life.

It’s just a question of cause and effect.

Reincarnation Research

Reincarnation is a widely known concept, but when we really start to think more deeply about it, and especially when we start reading scientifically documented cases of kids who seem to have memories of past lives, things get REALLY interesting.

One of the heaviest hitters in reincarnation research is Dr. Ian Stevenson, who spent over 40 years at the University of Virginia investigating cases of children remembering past lives.

We’re talking about kids who spilled incredibly specific details about the people who they said they were in a past life.

In some cases they also talked in great detail about people still living — relatives of theirs or close friends.

The level of detail and the level of accuracy were astonishing, especially given it was all coming from children.

And we’re not talking about a handful of cases. 

Stevenson documented THOUSANDS of these cases from around the world and compiled a massive array of mind-boggling examples of apparent reincarnation.


Although in some cases children are triggered by encountering familiar places or people, pictures or objects from their past life, some just seem to remember.

Take the case of a Lebanese Druze girl who Stevenson investigated.

From the age of five, she started recounting vivid memories of being a man named Mohammed Radwan.

She described his village, relatives, the clothes he wore, even the way he walked with a limp from an old injury.

The girl’s parents didn’t know anyone by that name.

But Stevenson tracked down the village and found there had indeed been a Mohammed Radwan who was killed a couple of years before the girl’s birth.

What’s more, the details she provided mapped perfectly to the dead man’s life – from his odd gait to how he earned a living making oven tiles.

Crazy, right?

There’s plenty more.

The Case of Ma Wing War

One of the most startling cases from Dr. Stevenson’s files involves a Burmese girl named Ma Wing War.

From a very young age, Ma Wing War started recounting vivid memories of being a Burmese woman named Randabwe in the 1950s.

She recalled specific details about Randabwe’s life – her husband’s name, the village she lived in, how she earned a living making curry for passing traders on the road.

The girl’s own parents didn’t know anyone by that name or with those details.

But here’s where it gets really wild.

Ma Wing War kept insisting that before Randabwe died, she had buried all her wealth and possessions.

The girl provided shockingly precise directions to find the location of these buried riches over 100 miles from where she lived.

At first, the parents humored these “make believe” stories.

But the details were so abundant and consistent, they eventually decided to journey to the remote area Ma Wing War described.

And sure enough, following her directions, they uncovered three clay pots buried in the ground, filled with jewelry, precious stones, and coins — treasures that perfectly matched a merchant’s wife’s dowry from that era.

Talk about mind-blowing evidence.

Here was a young girl leading her family to unearth riches from a past life she seemed to recall with perfect clarity, despite the people and location being completely unknown to her in this life.

And remember: She was just a little kid

It’s cases like Ma Wing War’s that make even skeptics have to pause and wonder.

After all, how could those intricate, verifiable memories be explained unless reincarnation is real?

There are so many cases (over 3000 of them!) that I could easily bury you in pages and pages more of this stuff.

But let me instead just quickly show you three more. . .

The Case of Imad Elawar

One of Stevenson’s most studied cases involved an Egyptian boy named Imad Elawar.

From a very young age, Imad displayed behaviors like intense phobias of things like radios and cars, which seemed to link back to memories of a previous life.

Stevenson investigated and found that many of Imad’s statements matched the life of a man named Mohamed Waggih who had died in 1946, including describing the place and circumstances of Waggih’s death by a horrific car/train accident.

The Case of Bishen Chand Kapoor

This case from India involved a boy who recounted details of a previous life as Bishen Chand Kapoor, a father who had died in an accident.

The boy recognized former relatives, knew intimate personal details only Kapoor would know, and even had birthmarks matching injuries that caused Kapoor’s death.

The Case of James Leininger

One of Stevenson’s most famous American cases involved a boy named James Leininger who, almost immediately after learning to speak, began describing memories of being a World War II fighter pilot who was shot down.

James recounted accurate technical details of flying missions that he could not have known at his young age.

And the case list goes on (and on, and on). . .

Automatic Amnesia

So then, if reincarnation is legit, why can’t we all remember everything – or at least some parts of our past lives?

Well, imagine what that would be like.

Utter CHAOS, that’s what!

To prevent that from happening, wise old Mother Nature provides us with a dose of amnesia. 

It takes place during the 9 months we spend in the womb. 

Remembering everything we have done in all our past lives would be completely unbearable. Being free of those burdens lets the new life unfold fresh and uncluttered — in most cases.

As babies, we might let a few fragmented past-life glimpses slide through the mental cracks through spontaneous remarks, unusual fears, or talents.

But then the veil of forgetting gradually descends over any remaining openness to our previous existence(s). 

Past Lives Persisting

While most of us pretty much lose any past-life knowledge once we hit childhood, some kids exhibit skills so extraordinarily advanced for their age, it makes you wonder if they’ve reincarnated with talents intact.

We’re talking Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart composing full musical masterpieces at 5 years old.

Akiane Kramarik painting realism art that blew away professors by age 8.

Budhanaath Ghosh crunching crazy calculations mentally when he was barely out of diapers at 3.

The reincarnation theory suggests that for these rare prodigies, the obsessive passions and monumental focus they had in a previous life created impressions so deeply inscribed, faint vestiges carried through into their new childhood form.

While typical kids spend their early years forgetting everything, these reincarnate savants seemingly kept hold of a few vivid strands of hard-earned mastery now manifesting as mind-boggling “gifts” from a very young age.

Another Explanation?

Are we SERIOUSLY supposed to believe these outsider aptitudes spontaneously sparked to life with zero training?

Or are we supposed to believe that their infant brains Keanu’d some next-level kung-fu download from the matrix?

I don’t think so. . .

I’d say that reincarnation – even if it’s considered a wild idea by some – is certainly the most logical potential explanation we’ve got.

The reincarnation lens at least tries to contextualize and normalize these savant outliers into some sort of coherent cycle and process.

All I know is when I see a 4-year-old effortlessly composing entire operettas, something seems FUNDAMENTALLY askew in our models of reality.

That’s the kind of mind-melter that at least makes reincarnation plausible fuel for thought (in my opinion, at least).

A Final Thought

I leave you with this to ponder:

When we talk about the afterlife – assuming there is one – we often think about a heaven or a hell.

But what’s to say that the life you are living RIGHT NOW is not ‘the afterlife’?


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