My critique of reincarnation is that the doctrine in the west at best misses some crucial metaphysical aspects, and at worst is just a 'sentimental distortion' of the original doctrine to appease one's inner fears. The thought that one can 'keep coming back' until one gets it right is quite appealing, but it's not any part of an authentic doctrine of reincarnation, neither in Hinduism nor Buddhism. Actually it's a rehash of the Greek idea of metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls, but not at all the Asiatic doctrine. The eschatological myth which closes Plato's Republic tells how Er, the son of Armenius, miraculously returned to life and recounted the secrets of the other world. After death, he said, he went with others to the place of Judgment and saw the souls returning from heaven, and proceeded with them to a place where they chose new lives, human and animal. He saw the soul of Orpheus changing into a swan, Thamyras becoming a nightingale, musical birds choosing to be men, the soul of Atalanta choosing the honours of an athlete. Men were seen passing into animals and wild and tame animals changing into each other. After their choice the souls drank of Lethe and then shot away like stars to their birth. In Plato's view the number of souls was fixed; birth therefore is never the creation of a soul, but only a transmigration from one body to another. This, I think you can see, ticks all the boxes of the western notion of reincarnation. The Asiatic metaphysic is something else altogether! Here I shall offer some pointers from the Perennial Tradition: In the infinite variety of Universal Being, no single realisation of any particular mode of being is ever repeated, which is to say that the true self that emanates from that universal state will incarnate as a human being only once, never revisit that state ever again, since it has an infinite variety of states in which to manifest itself ... It is only the ego, which knows its own state of being and that alone, that sees reincarnation as 'coming back' into this world, because this is the only world it knows. In the Asiatic traditions there are multiple heavens, multiple hells, multiple worlds and multiple states of being. It is a given, therefore, that if the Universal Being manifests as corporeal state, it will be in another corporeality altogether, a radically different bodyin a radically different world, both different to this one, and both, for the ego, unimaginable. St Paul points to this in his First Letter to the Corinthians: "Behold, I tell you a mystery. We shall all indeed rise again ... and the dead shall rise again incorruptible: and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption; and this mortal must put on immortality. And when this mortal hath put on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy victory? O death, where is thy sting?" The 'death swallowed up in victory' is the death of the self-identifying ego – which alone experiences corruptibility, sin and death – whereas the true Self knows it is incorruptible and immortal, even though it manifests Itself in an infinite number of finite and thus corruptible 'little-states'. Death is but a rebirth into another state, and that the true self doesn't engage in any form of 'transmigration' from state to state, because It is conscious of all states, simultaneously (being outside time and space), and not sequentially, as common and populist reincarnation affirms. That 'sequentially' signifies the 'little-self' has not grokked its true Ground (the Ur-Gründ of Eckhart, and 'the Mystical Body of Christ' in the Catholic tradition, that is All-Possibility (the Logos of God). It's still thinking of the corporeal by-product called 'ego' as its own ground. Thus it is destined to Fall. From the standpoint of Universal Being, the Christ, all states are co-existent or ‘co-present’, meaning that they do not occur in a sequential or serial manner. There is no time and space from the perspective of the totality of being, there is only the eternal now. Popular western reincarnation asserts that the true self is continually manifested in this order of corporeal body in this world, but this is because it has no concept of the All-Possible, nor of the Multiple States of Being, nor of the other worlds spoken of in Hindu and Buddhist doctrine. In the west we have one heaven, one earth, one life, one hell – an entirely closed system. Reincarnation as it is commonly perceived is pure anthopocentric idealism. Anecdotal evidence for reincarnation – past life experience – results from 'psychic residue' (logismoi in the Greek Christian Tradition), left over from other incarnations, the dreams and impressions of previous past lives can be explained as a function of these psychic residues that attach themselves by the tuning fork principle of psychic attraction. This explains the occurrence of ghosts, apparitions, the various permutations of the homonculus, succubus, incubus and egregore, and a sense of familiarity that one might find with places and events in the near or distant past. The true self, representing the indelible and immutable part of an individual being – the soul – is actually Universal Being manifesting Itself as a being with selfhood, this manifestation is in accord with the 'Divine Idea' of that possibility. The 'Divine Idea' exists eternally in God and we call it 'logoi'. The soul is the created nature according to its Idea, its 'blueprint' in the Mind of God, and thus the soul is the mirror and window of the True Self, its logoi, manifest in this particular corporeal existence, the 'veil of tears' in which the egoic self sees itself as all there is. Illusion, Maya and the attachment to 'suffering'. Enlightenment is the realisation of the True Self, 'rending the veil' to use a Biblical term, of our illusions. As the Johannine scribe said so luminously "Dearly beloved, we are now the sons of God (according to our logoi); and it hath not yet appeared what we shall be. We know, that, when He (the Logos) shall appear (we see Him), we shall be like to Him: because we shall see Him as he is (without any illusion) (1 John 3:2). Until then, as St Paul says, "We see now through a glass in a dark manner (the clouded soul); but then face to face (without illusion of self). Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known" 1 Corinthians 13:12. The last bit is staggering: The self-ientification of the known with the Knower, the true self with the Universal Self. Marco Pallis, the Tibetan Buddhist, said this (italics my emphasis): On the view of self: Lastly: The reason why I write this extended essay is that I think I have found, and demonstrated through Biblical reference, the common ground on the question of the authentic doctrine of reincarnation between the Christian (Latin and Greek) traditions, and the Hindu and the Buddhist, on condition that reincarnation is seen in the light of its original and authentic expression, and not the western syncretic exposition that conflates it and metempsychosis. If so ... like my other post ... this is, as far as I know, establishes a new and untested ground of reading the Tradition and a coherence between traditions from within the traditions themselves, rather than a syncretic 'overlay' that necessarily redefines the terms used to make them all conform to model that is essentially alien to all of them! This, I really believe, offers a possibility of 'breakthrough' in the realm of interfaith dialogue, which is why I have laboured it so far. But as ever, DA, I very much fear that what will happen will not be a discussion of the actual thesis proposed above, but a rehearsal of private opinion. And taking yours and ACOT's advice, I shall not engage with anything other than the thesis itself.