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Reincarnation is the philosophical or religious belief that the non-physical essence of a living being starts a new life in a different physical form or body after biological death. It is also called rebirth or transmigration.[1][2] Resurrection is a similar process hypothesized by some religions, that involves coming back to life in the same body.

Reincarnation is a central tenet of Indian religions, namely Buddhism, most Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and most Paganism, although there are Hindu and Pagan groups that do not believe in reincarnation but believe in an afterlife.[2][3][4][5] In various forms, it occurs as an esoteric belief in many streams of Judaism in different aspects, in some beliefs of the Indigenous peoples of the Americas,[6] and some Indigenous Australians (while most believe in an afterlife or spirit world).[7] A belief in rebirth/metempsychosis was held by Greek historic figures, such as Pythagoras, Socrates, and Plato.[8] It is also a belief in various modern religions. Although the majority of denominations within Christianity and Islam do not believe that individuals reincarnate, particular groups within these religions do refer to reincarnation; these groups include the mainstream historical and contemporary followers of Cathars, Alawites, the Druze,[9] and the Rosicrucians.[10] The historical relations between these sects and the beliefs about reincarnation that were characteristic of Neoplatonism, Orphism, Hermeticism, Manicheanism, and Gnosticism of the Roman era as well as the Indian religions have been the subject of recent scholarly research.[11] In recent decades, many Europeans and North Americans have developed an interest in reincarnation,[12] and many contemporary works mentions it.