32. The Reincarnation of a WWII Pilot

The Reincarnation of James Houston Jr. is a well-known and well-documented reincarnation case, broadcasted on NBC in the United States several decades ago. James Houston Jr. was reincarnated as James Leininger, a little boy living in Louisiana with his parents at the time when the broadcast was made. 

When James Leininger was young, he liked to play with only airplanes, helicopters, and aircraft carriers. At the same time, James seemed to know a lot about fighter planes without being exposed to them. Starting when he was about two years old, James began to have frequent and frightening nightmares of himself being trapped in a burning, crashing plane and unable to get out. With violent nightmares occurring three or four times a week, his parents decided to seek the help of Ms. Carol Bowman, who had written books about reincarnation. 

James was encouraged to open up and share his memories under the guidance of Ms. Bowman. Subsequently, James started to talk about details of his life as a former WWII fighter pilot. He told his parents that his plane crashed while on fire because the Japanese shot it down. Furthermore, James knew the type of plane the former fighter flew, Corsair, the aircraft carrier from which the plane was launched, Natoma, and the name of the fighter pilot’s friend, Jack Larson. One day, James casually and matter-of-factly told his mother during breakfast, “Momma, before I was born, I was a pilot; my airplane got shot, and the engine crashed in the water. That’s how I died.” 

James’s father, Bruce Leninger, began researching the information James provided and was able to link it to a pilot named James M. Houston Jr. Just as James Leininger said, James Houston Jr. was a fighter pilot on the aircraft carrier Notoma and the only person who was hot down in the battle of Iwo Jima. James was also correct that a bomb hit James Houston Jr.’s plane head-on. 

As if that was not enough, James also has knowledge he should never have. James Houston Jr. had a sister, Ann. When they were both young, their mother drew a painting for each of them. These two paintings had been stored in Ann’s attic for several decades when James Leiniger asked for James Houston Jr.’s copy from her. Ann, of course, thought it was crazy that James would know about it. According to the narrator, “James believed then, as he does now, that it was the dead pilot’s soul asking for that picture.”  

Furthermore, James had three GI Joe’s toys, and he named them Billy, Walter, and Leon. His parents thought it strange that their son would give these names to the GI Joes and ask who they were. James said they met him when he got to heaven. It turned out that all three were pilots in the same squadron with Jaume Huston Jr. and had all died before him. 

Then, there was this uncanny exchange between father and son.

One day, when they were cleaning up the yard and James was playing in the lead, Bruce Leininger said to his son, “I just love you to bits.” 

James replied, “Well, I knew you would be a good daddy when I picked you.” 

Bruce, “What?????”

James, “When I found you and mommy, I knew you would be good parents.”

Bruce, “What do you mean when you found us?

James, “I found you and mommy in Hawaii.”

The narrator then commented, “James told his father that he saw them in a pink hotel in Hawaii, which was where the Leiningers were staying when they decided to have James.”

In other words, James Houston Jr. found the Leiningers before James was born and decided that he would like to be their kid!

Eventually, the Leiningers took their son to Japan, where James Houston Jr. was shot. Bruce performed a memorial service for James Houston Jr. while his mom sat James down and let him know it was time to say goodbye to James Houston Jr. and move on to live his life as James Leininger. Initially, James was very emotional, but he did say goodbye to James Houston. Shortly after, his parents said, “It was like something had changed. He left something there,” and moved on. “It was kind of when everything really changed!”

Today, James Leininger acknowledges, “I still have James Houston in me, I think. But it’s not so much the bad history; it’s more of the peaceful history of his life.”

Rather than reading the story, it is much better to hear it firsthand. Not only will you learn more details, but it will also be more impressive. You can find the link to the story at Evidence For Reincarnation: This Kid Knows Things He Shouldn’t

Now, let’s see how James Houston Jr.’s Reincarnation story fits what we discussed in the post on Causality.  

1) Mental Intention (Cetana) is the driver that causes the cycle of Causality. For this reincarnation case, the mental intention that started the cycle of Causality was when the mentality of James Houston decided that he wanted to have the Leiningers be his parents. 

2) Condition (Pratyaya) is the subsidiary factor that must be present at the same time to make fruitions possible. The condition that was present simultaneously to make reincarnation for James Houston Jr. possible was that when he saw the Leiningers in Haiwii, it was also when the Leiningers wished to have a kid. 

3) Fruition (Vipaka): The fruition of the cause and condition is the reincarnation of James Houston Jr. as James Leininger. The fruition turned out good because the reason James Houston wanted to have Leiningers be his parents was salutary. 

4) Mental Continuum (Cittasamtana) is the period of continuity of the mentality between one lifetime and the next. For James Houston Jr., it was about sixty years. 

5) Storehouse Consciousness (Alayavijnana) is the foundational form of consciousness that “pervades the entire body during life, to withdraw from the body at the time of death (with the extremities becoming cold as it slowly exits), and to carry the complete karmic record to the next rebirth destiny.” As the post about Causality mentioned, one’s karmic record was one’s memory. In James Houston’s case, his memory was recalled by James Leininger when he was a young kid.  

6) James Leininger’s encounter with Billy, Walter, and Leon in heaven suggests not only that mentality exists after the death of the physical body, but the heaven is not necessarily religious since James did not mention any gates, meet religious deities, nor gatekeepers.

Ultimately, the single reason this website exists, and all that we have done so far, discussing Buddha’s teachings on “Such is the Way Dharma,” and in the quantum realm, verifying them meditatively and through science, discussing epistemology, etc., is for its readers to have faith in Buddhism. 

While knowing that mentality is the only reality in the world may be important, especially for academics, Buddha’s teachings on Causality are the most critical and impactful for ordinary folks. If you do not have faith in Causality, if you do not have faith that rebirth in the lower baleful destinies is real and no fun, to say the least, and that rebirth as a human is fortunate for most, then you do not need Buddhism. Quantum mechanics alone should satisfy all your needs.