I do not know whether or not I believe in reincarnation simply because of all the things that have been fed to me through my church/ school I tend to research on things I do not understand. I have often found myself thinking of such topic when brought to my attention. What happens to us, IF anything happens to us after we die continues to be a subject of debate and mystery among people of all religions as well as philosophers and religious scholars. Have it be Abrahamic religions, who believe in the everlasting life with God after death which is a reward for not living in sin. Death in Dharmic religions generally results in rebirth into this world. With so much interest in the subject, it's no wonder that we have so many theories about what happens to us after death. Reincarnation is arguably the most ancient of these theories and continues at some level.
When the Buddha was sharing his message throughout North India around 500 B.C., reincarnation was an accepted assumption as it had been a dominant belief in Hinduism (Dharmic) . As Buddhism spread throughout Asia, the idea and belief of reincarnation traveled along with it. There it became such an established belief that reincarnation is not so much considered a theory as an established fact. The reincarnation of one's soul is a virtual given.
For those without personal experience, there is often a need to believe in something more; a belief generated, more often than not simply by fear of death. One may choose to believe that the "soul" goes to "heaven" or to "hell", or reincarnates into another bodily form. Those without fear may decide for "the end is the end - end of story" line contrary to some popular belief.
It's tempting to lay out the various evidence and arguments for and against the various reincarnation theories; analyze and choose, but this is like reading poetry looking only for literal interpretations, looking - seeing - no deeper. From a Zen point of...