Speaking of Dharma, it looks like 'Lost' will be venturing into the realm of reincarnation. In the most recent episode, "Cabin Fever", five year old John Locke was visited by the apparently immortal Richard Alpert. Alpert's stated purpose was to test John to see if he would be a suitable candidate for the private school run by Mittelos Biotech; but it could be that he was testing John to see if he had the potential to release the spirit of a previous incarnation from his soul.
Alpert laid out about six objects on a table and then told the little boy to choose the one that already belonged to him. Among the items: a baseball mitt, "The Book Of Laws", a vial of a sand-like substance, a compass, a comic book, and a knife.
John chose the knife, and that pissed off Alpert to the point where he withdrew the offer.
It was appropriately weird and usually that's good enough for me when it comes to 'Lost', with the hope that all would be revealed by the end. However, Maureen Ryan, the TV critic/columnist for the Chicago Tribune uncovered a deeper meaning that's rooted in actual events that have occurred over time in our world:
In some Buddhist lineages, monks go out searching for the next incarnation of a tulku, or enlightened spiritual teacher and guide, who has died. If they find a child who appears to be the tulku’s next bodily incarnation, “a number of objects such as rosaries, ritualistic implements, books, tea-cups, etc., are placed together, and the child must pick out those which belonged to the late tulku, thus showing that he recognizes the things which were his in his previous life,” according to the book “Magic and Mystery in Tibet.”
If the DHARMA Initiative does think John is the reincarnation of one of their past leaders, who could he be? This is definitely one time when we can't speculate or claim that he was some character from another show. Eventually 'Lost' will have it all splained out for us, perhaps even before this season ends.
Usually I turn to Wikipedia for the splainins behind my daily Tiddlywinkydinks, but I thought Mo Ryan broke it down to a more comprehensive description. Still, Wikipedia does have an interesting page on tulkus. Check it out.