In Islam, Christianity and other major religions, there’s the concept of heaven or a paradise where the souls or spirits of the dead will go to spend eternity. Members of these faiths believe that it is true for animals as well. But other religions like Buddhism and Hinduism have another option for the animal soul, that is, reincarnation.
Buddhist mainly tackles human spirit or soul reincarnation. Most Buddhists believe the Dalai Lama of today is the reincarnation of the previous Dalai Lamas. But the most interesting concept of all is Buddha’s reincarnation (Emanation Body). Members of the faith believe the Enlightened One had three emanation bodies: in the human form or Buddha himself; in an artistic form appearing as intellectuals, artists, craftsmen, etc; and the incarnate form which includes all other living and non-living forms like animals, plants, rivers, bridges, etc. Buddhists additionally believe that the cycle of death and rebirth is associated with the concept of karma. In fact, early Buddhists believe negative karma can reincarnate someone into a lower form of being like an animal. On the other hand Hindus widely believe in both human and animal reincarnation. Many also believe than a human or even their deities can reincarnate and take the form of an animal and vice versa.
A large number of Americans believe that animals have their own “life after death” concept. The study aimed at determining the correlation between demographics and belief of animal afterlife suggested that animal life is also perceived as sacred like those of humans. Out of the 900 survey respondents, 60 percent agree to the concept of human afterlife and majority of which, 70 percent, also believe the same applies to animals.
When it comes to gender, race, religion and location, it is the women, Native Americans, African Americans, Buddhists, and those living in the southern regions that are more inclined to believe in animal afterlife and reincarnation.The kind of animal is an important factor in such belief. Respondents are more likely to acknowledge life after death for the conventional pets or domesticated animals like dogs, cats, cows, horses, etc, while only few agree when it comes to insects and reptiles.