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The Idea of Reincarnation

  • Joseph Prabhu
  • Ariel Glucklich
Part of the Library of Philosophy and Religion book series (LPR)

Abstract

I should like in this paper to explore the idea of reincarnation as a metaphysical and moral notion shedding interpretive light on our experience. I shall argue that it provides a plausible and coherent account of our moral and spiritual life. Being concerned with its appeal at a general philosophical level, I shall not go into an exegesis of the idea as articulated in different philosophical and religious systems. Rather, I will borrow freely from these contexts to construct a version of it, that in its generality seems to me worth considering as a view about the nature and destiny of human life, and specifically about the evolution of consciousness.

Keywords

Indian Philosophy Moral Consciousness Ultimate Reality Moral Experience Previous Birth 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Notes

  1. 1.
    Quoted in K. N. Jayatillike, Karma and Survival in Buddhist Perspective ( Kandy: Buddhist Publication Society, 1969 ) pp. 55–5Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    J. Gunther Pratt and Naomi Hintze, The Psychic Realm: What Can You Believe? (New York: Random House, 1975) quoted in Sylvia Cranston and Carey Williams, Reincarnation: A New Horizon in Science, Religion and Society (New York: Julian Press, 1984) pp. 49–69, from which a good deal of the information in the paragraph is taken.Google Scholar
  3. 4.
    John Hick, Death and Eternal Life ( New York: Harper & Row, 1980 ) p. 309.Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Yajnavalaya-Smrti, I, pp. 349–51, quoted in S. Chatterjee The Fundamentals of Hinduism: A Philosophical Study ( Calcutta: Dasgupta, 1960 ) p. 87.Google Scholar
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    Huston Smith, The Religions of Man (New York: Mentor Books, 1959) chapter 2.Google Scholar
  6. 3.
    Cf. J. Bruce Long, ‘The Concepts of Human Action and Rebirth in the Mahābhārata’, in Wendy Doniger O’Flaherty (ed.) Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1980 ) p. 40.Google Scholar
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    Cf. Lawrence Babb, ‘Destiny and Responsibility: Karma in Popular Hinduism’, in Charles F. Keyes and E. Valentine Daniel (eds) Karma, An Anthropological Inquiry ( Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983 ) pp. 163–81;Google Scholar
  8. Kathleen E. Gough, ‘Caste in a Tanjore Village’, in E. R. Leach (ed.) Aspects of Caste in South India, Ceylon and North-West Pakistan ( Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1960 ) pp. 11–60.Google Scholar
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  10. 9.
    Cf. Edward Conze, Buddhist Thought in India (Ann Arbor Paperbacks, 1967) pp. 121–58; James P. McDermott, ‘Karma and Rebirth in Early Buddhism’, in W. O’Flaherty (ed.) Karma and Rebirth op. cit., pp. 165–92.Google Scholar
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    E. B. Cowel (ed.) The Jâtaka, or Stories of the Buddha’s Former Births ( London: Luzac & Company, 1957 ).Google Scholar
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    Karl H. Potter, Encyclopedia of Indian Philosophies, Advaita Vedânta up to Samkara and His Pupils (Princeton University Press, 1981 ) p. 531.Google Scholar
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    Ian Stevenson, Twenty Cases Suggestive of Reincarnation ( New York: American Society for Psychical Research, 1966 ).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Claremont Graduate School 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph Prabhu
  • Ariel Glucklich

There are no affiliations available

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