Thank you for the opportunity to paticipate in your survey. I just wanted to mention that there's something inherently good about the older translations of certain texts that support the idea of rebirth (especially the method of going through recollecting one).
I've read T.W. Rhys Davids translations as an undergrad at university. Years later, when I had my own past life experience, some words were brought into my mind. Powerful, expressive words. Brief utterances about an intrinsically sacred and deeply religious experience.
i) Some recluse or brahmin by means of ardour, of exertion, of application, of earnestness, of careful thought, reaches up to such rapture of thought that, rapt in heart, he calls to mind his various dwelling-places (or birihs) in times gone by — in one birth, or in two, or three, or four, or five, or ten, or twenty, or thirty, or forty, or fifty, or a hundred, or a thousand, or a hundred thousand, or in several hundred, or several thousand, or several hundred thousand births, to the effect that ' There I had such and such a name, was of such and such a lineage and class, lived on such and such food, experienced such and such pains and pleasures , had such and such a span of years. And when I fell from thence I was reborn here ' : — thus does he recollect, both as to the manner thereof and in detail, his various dwelling- places in times gone by
The mention of any "reaching up" or state of being "rapt in heart" is left out in later translations.
31. "In the first case, bhikkhus, some recluse or a brahmin, by means of ardor, endeavor, application, diligence, and right reflection, attains to such a degree of mental concentration that with his mind thus concentrated, [purified, clarified, unblemished, devoid of corruptions], he recollects his numerous past lives: that is, (he recollects) one birth, two, three, four, or five births; ten, twenty, thirty, forty, or fifty births; a hundred, a thousand, or a hundred thousand births; many hundreds of births, many thousands of births, many hundreds of thousands of births. (He recalls:) 'Then I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such as my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose there. There too I had such a name, belonged to such a clan, had such an appearance; such was my food, such my experience of pleasure and pain, such my span of life. Passing away thence, I re-arose here.' Thus he recollects his numerous past lives in their modes and their details.
Well. The second translation avoids poetic phrases, but IMO also leaves some very important details out of what little might remain of esoteric expressions regarding this experience.
'The currents in the world that flow, Ajita,'
said the Blessed One,
'Are stemmed by means of mindfulness;
Restraint of currents I proclaim,
By understanding they are dammed' (Sn.1035)