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We can easily see how this belief would not just set the Druze apart from fundamentalist Muslims, but could possibly be interpreted as a heresy by the more strict fundamentalists.
All of these things considered, the religious definitions and boundaries of the world begin to be obscured, because there is a message of good, sharing, shedding the flesh of earthly wants and desires that is reflected in the Hindu message of reincarnation. It is not so different than the message that is at the heart of the other religions, including Christianity, Judaism, and Islam. In Judaism, Hasidic Jews believe in reincarnation, they hold, like Hinduism, that individuals are reincarnated into their family lines to complete the work that they had begun, or continued doing in their past lives. Recently, a case was featured on a television program, where a man in his thirties began having dreams of having experienced the Holocaust. As it turned out, in his dream a family heirloom was revealed to him as being in a thrift shop in Canada. The heirloom was a clock, which as it turned out, actually existed in the shop that the man had dreamed about. In addition to the clock, which served really to identify him in his prior life, the man also recalled having been murdered with hundreds of other Jews, and that he did not die from his wounds, but suffocated beneath the bodies of hundreds of others in a mass grave.
As the young man recounted his experiences, his reincarnation was in a sense certified by Hasidic Jewish leaders because the man's ability to recount certain details of his experience, and the way in which he described the death experience itself, was consistent with Hasidic beliefs. The Hasidic Jews took up a collection, and the young man who had the experience was able to purchase back his prior life family heirloom.
The experience recalled by the man in the film documentary is consistent with much of what is told in Hindu religion, and even in the experiences of people within the Hindu community about their own reincarnation experiences. While there are many faiths that go by different names, as we examine them, we find that each of these faiths have commonalities, especially the element of reincarnation, which resemble the Hindu beliefs very closely. This is an amazing and interesting aspect of cultural differences and similarities that can be revealing not just about another culture, but about ourselves too.
Bennett, Anne. "Reincarnation, Sect Unity and Identity among the Druze." Ethnology 45.2 (2006): 87+. Questia. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5019968112.
Dead and Back Again, Unexplained Mysteries, television documentary, December 20, 2008. http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99224212
Dubois, J.A. Hindu Manners, Customs and Ceremonies. Trans. Henry King Beauchamp. Oxford, England: The Clarendon Press, 1924. Questia. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99224216.
Narayan, Kirin. Storytellers, Saints, and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1989. Questia. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5733263.
Pratt, David, Book Review, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect, Ian Stevenson,
Praeger Publishing, 1997, found online at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/stevenson.htm.
Waardenburg, Jacques, ed. Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions: A Historical Survey. New York: Oxford University Press, 1999. Questia. 18 Feb. 2009 http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=114950947.
Narayan, Kirin, Storytellers, Saints and Scoundrels: Folk Narrative in Hindu Religious Teaching, University of Pennsylvania Publishing, 1989, p. 3.
Johnsen, Linda. The Complete Idiot's Guide to Hinduism, Alpha Books, 2001, p. 1.
Waardenburg, Jacques. Muslim Perceptions of Other Religions, Oxford University Press, 1999, p. 288.
Narayan, p. 179.
Duboios, J.A., and Beauchamp, Henry King, Hindu Manners, Customs, and Ceremonies. The Clarendon Press, 1924, p. 198.
Ibid, pp. 198, 689.
Pratt, David, Book Review, Where Reincarnation and Biology Intersect, Ian Stevenson, Praeger Publishing, 1997, found online at http://ourworld.compuserve.com/homepages/dp5/stevenson.htm.
Johnsen, pp. 39-41.
Bennet, Anne. Reincarnation, Sect Unity, and Identity Among the Druze, Ethnology, 45/2, University of Pittsburgh, Department of Anthropology, 2007, p. 87.
Dead and Back Again, Unexplained Mysteries, television documentary, December 20, 2008.[continue]
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