from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Reincarnation.
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- n. The passage of the soul, as an immortal essence, at the death of the animal body it had inhabited, into another living body, whether of a brute or a human being; transmigration of souls.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. Transmigration of the soul; the passing of the soul of a person after death into another body, either that of a human being or that of an animal: a doctrine held by various ancient peoples and by Pythagoras and his followers, and still maintained by Brahmans and some others: also loosely used of such a transfer of the soul of a living person.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. after death the soul begins a new cycle of existence in another human body
The second doctrine is commonly known as metempsychosis, the transmigration of souls or reincarnation, the last name being the most correct.
It must have grown up among a people to whom the idea of metempsychosis was well known, but who at the same time held a skeptical view of that doctrine.
This passage contains the explanation of what might be called the metempsychosis of certain human souls at the present time; we once heard a great Teacher fully reveal this mystery to a chosen group of
Plato himself had entertained the idea of metempsychosis and much that seems oriental in Plotinus may be not a new importation but the elaboration of Plato's views in a form congenial to the age .
Thus the idea of metempsychosis as one of many passing fancies may be indigenous to China but its prevalence in popular thought and language is undoubtedly due to Buddhism, for Taoism and Confucianism have nothing definite to say as to the state of the dead.
India and imported by Buddhism into all the countries which it influenced — is that called metempsychosis, the transmigration of the soul or reincarnation.
On the other hand, his psychogony, based on the idea of metempsychosis borrowed from the Orient, gives itself up to numerical vagaries.
The doctrine of metempsychosis, which is found in some shape or other all over the world, implies a fundamental identity between the two; the Hindu is taught to respect the flocks browsing in the meadow, and will on no account lift his hand against a cow, for who knows but it may he his own grandmother?
South-eastern Asia, has passed in its protracted existence, it is difficult to determine with any degree of certainty, precisely what its disciples hold; but the belief in metempsychosis, which is one of its fundamental doctrines, must permit us to range it on the side of those who hold to the idea of a middle state.
Origen: That He says of John, "Elias is already come," is not to be understood of the soul of Elias, that we fall not into the doctrine of metempsychosis, which is foreign to the truth of Church doctrine, but, as the Angel had foretold, he came "in the spirit and spirit of Elias."