retrofuturist wrote:In the Dhamma, vinnana is conjoined with whatever there is consciousness of... taste, sound, smell, touch, mind, and sight.
The Dhamma Scripture also includes consciousness descends into the womb every time there is a new life.
"If consciousness were not to descend into the mother's womb, would name-and-form take shape in the womb?"
"If, after descending into the womb, consciousness were to depart, would name-and-form be produced for this world?"
Maha-nidana Sutta: The Great Causes Discourse
“Bhikkhus, the descent of the gabbha (misleadingly translated as embryo by Bhikkhu Bodhi) takes place through the union of 3 things – the union of mother and father, the mother is in season, and the gandhabba (stream of consciousness) is present.” From Ven. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s translation of Sutta #38 of the Majjhima Nikāya..
A single embryo may split into 2 or more viable embryos after a certain number of days. Prior to such an event, there cannot be 2 stream of consciousnesses (s.o.c.) co-existing in a single embryo, nor can a single s.o.c. split into two separate streams. Such propositions are excluded by the Buddha’s doctrine of Paṭicca-Samuppāda.
Either a second s.o.c. enters one of the divided embryos after the separation, or two karmically connected s.o.cs. enter the twinned embryos at the same time shortly after division. In either case, this shows that the s.o.c. can descend into the mother’s womb several days after parental union.
The Buddha consistently stated that human life in this body begins when consciousness first manifests inside the mother’s womb.
There are some skilful meditators who can remember their past lives, and also those who can recall past lives through other means. Those who recall the passage from their previous life into their present existence are remarkably consistent in their recollection of being drawn irresistibly into their future mother’s womb. One of the unstated but necessary ingredients for rebirth is the sight of one’s future mother, which acts as a magnet to draw the stream of consciousness in.
When Does Human Life Begin in This Body? By Ajahn Brahm