Personal Stories of Reincarnation
24 percent of Americans say they believe in reincarnation, according to a 2008 Harris poll. 53 percent don't believe and 23 percent are not sure. In a recent Fox/News poll 8% responded that they had personal experience with reincarnation.
In religious terms, the human narrative — birth, life, death and rebirth — has for millennia been relatively straightforward in the West. You were born. You lived. You died. After a judgment you went to heaven (or hell) forever and ever. Eternity was the end: no appeals allowed.
But nearly a billion Hindus and a half-billion Buddhists — not to mention the ancient Greeks, certain Jews and a few Christians — have for thousands of years believed something entirely different. Theirs is, as the theologians say, a cyclical view. You are born. You live. You die. And because nobody’s perfect, your soul is born again — not in another location or sphere, and not in any metaphorical sense, but right here on earth. NY Times
The concept of reincarnation has been present in virtually every culture since ancient times. The Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and Aztecs all believed in the "transmigration of souls" from one body to another after death. It's a fundamental precept of Hinduism. Although reincarnation is not a part of official Christian doctrine, many Christians believe in it or at least accept its possibility.
The fact that reincarnation is part of Jewish tradition comes as a surprise to many people. Nevertheless, it's mentioned in numerous places throughout the classical texts of Jewish mysticism, starting with the preeminent sourcebook of Kabbalah, the Zohar. (See: Reincarnation: The Transmigration of a Jewish Idea)