It's amazing how many people believe in some form of reincarnation. I've been thinking quite a lot about that and here's my view on it.
For me, it boils down to one thing: is there any proof that human Beings have more than one lifetime? I can't find any credible proof for reincarnation other than belief and those who claim to recall different lives. Those who claim they recall their previous lives, never seem to bring with them a knowledge of the details and specifically what they did well and what they have to improve on in their current life. Most also see themselves as "old souls" who have transited many times and have now reached a stage of wisdom surpassing that of us ordinary mortals, or "new souls". In China, there is even a database of "living Buddhas".
A more interesting question to me is why so many people believe in something which is so devoid of proof and seek endlessly for proof. Surely if you know your past lives you don't need proof or even others who believe: you know what you've got to do in this life. And if you don't know what the current step is you need to take, then what use is reincarnation anyway?
So why do people believe in reincarnation? Well, death is brutal. Suddenly everything stops. No more getting up, no more going to work, no more time with loved ones, no more good food, no more games, no more anything! That is brutal and very hard to accept. We want it to go on. We want to right the wrongs we have done; we want to be able to feel love and joy. But we can't and that is very tough.
In such a situation of finality, it is to me not particularly surprising that people don't want to accept that its just over. I have seen dead people and there is definitely nobody left there to laugh or smile or cry or say anything. Nobody home, just a dead corpse waiting to be disposed of with whatever rituals those still alive deem appropriate.
The conclusion I have come to, is that we are so frightened of such a finality that we don't want to accept it. And it is very hard to accept. Nevertheless, I have never seen anyone come back to life, either after a burial or a cremation. I have never read the "Returned to Life" column in a newspaper, only the deceased column. The fear of such an absolute ending leads almost inevitably to the kind of wishful thinking that suggests life continues elsewhere; somewhere we can't see as a living being. So we can invent anything we like. Religions suggest some kind of paradise or a hell "up there" wherever that is. I have also read the we continue on another planet as some kind of higher evolved beings. Many offer the possibility of becoming some kind of God - not the supreme God, of course, but someone with special abilities. There are ghosts and spirits which surround us, we have guides to help us. But everything is in a dimension we can't see. And, of course, it all depends on how you lived your recent life on what the future has in store for you: Karma, Sins, Good Deeds, etc.
Doesn't work for me. I need real proof that I can see and test myself. And so far, that means: die and find out! I'm OK with that. To me the fact of being alive is the most amazing miracle I could ever experience. Having a body and consciousness is a gift which cannot be surpassed as far as I'm concerned and it is there for me to savour up to the last breath. The idea of more is incomprehensible to me. I try to be as consciously appreciative of what I have and to experience gratitude for this life. All else is way beyond imagination. But now; now I have life! And I intend to maximise my appreciation and thankfulness for this life. To ask for more is insulting.