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Reincarnation is the belief that a person's soul or spirit, after an individual's death, returns to Earth and inhabits another body. Belief in reincarnation is a major tenet of Hinduism, and can also be found among numerous tribal societies around the world. Many adherents to the loose collection of beliefs classified as "New Age" also believe in reincarnation.
The word "reincarnation" comes from a Latin phrase that means, "entering the flesh again." While there is no specific word in either Pali or Sanskrit, the idea is covered in the idea of Samsara, the universal process of life, death, and rebirth. Buddhists, who do not believe in the soul, believe that a person's stream of consciousness is reborn.
The major Abrahamic religions, Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, do not believe in reincarnation, but each religion has minority sects that profess a belief in the concept:
- Kabbalah (Judaism)
- Druze (Islam)
- Rosicrucians (Christianity)
There is no scientific proof for the possibility of reincarnation.
Reincarnation is a part of many Native American religions, especially among the Inuit, and the concept is a part of the Inuit language. Reincarnation is also a fundamental concept in Scientology. Followers believe that each human is a reincarnated thetan, an immortal space alien race that came to Earth billions of years ago.