What continues from one life to another?

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What continues from one life to another?

Postby Mal » Sun Sep 30, 2012 10:13 am

In http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/oneLife2Another.htm Bhikkhu Bodhi says

"The stream of consciousness is not a single entity, but a process, and the process continues. When the stream ... passes on to the next life it carries the storage of impressions along with it."

Does this include the felt impression of "me"?

If I go to sleep and wake up I have a strong feeling of "this is the same old suffering me as yesterday". Does the same happen when I wake up as "new born" after I die? Of course, I will have no memories of my past life, and my character may be very different, but do I have the same felt presence of "me"?
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Sun Sep 30, 2012 3:07 pm

The presence of "me" as a concept is, according to the Buddha, an illusion. You might feel "me" or a self but it isn't really there.

When you are reborn, I'm sure you will have the same assumption that there is a self, but it's hard to say if it will be the same "me" that you have now, because that "me" doesn't exist. It's like asking if the imaginary friend of one child is the same as the imaginary friend of another child; you can compare them, but in the end, neither is real so it's hard to say concretely.

Your illusion of self will probably be similar though - unless you practice hard in this life!
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby santa100 » Sun Sep 30, 2012 4:26 pm

Notice although there's no permanent and constant "soul" to be carried over from life to life, your accumulated "kamma" does. And this stream of kamma carries all the imprints of wholesome and unwholesome entities. Among them are the 3 notorious unwholesome entities of: conceit (the sense of "I"), craving (the sense of "mine"), and wrong view (the sense of "myself")..
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby dhammapal » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:24 am

Dr. R.L. Soni wrote:At death the continuity of the potential results of kamma (kamma-vipaaka) in the stream of mind — which includes feeling (vedanaa), perception (sa~n~naa), mental formations (sankhaaraa) and consciousness (vi~n~naa.na) — are the only real traces of the individual, his body (ruupa) having suffered disintegration.
These potential results of kamma must fruit, and the only way that this can happen is through rebirth."
From: Life's Highest Blessings: The Maha Mangala Sutta Translation and Commentary by Dr. R.L. Soni


Also see: The Same Person, Both or Neither? by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

With metta / dhammapal.
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby drifting cloud » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:42 pm

Somebody once asked this of Chogyam Trungpa, and he is reported to have replied, "Your bad habits!"

I think that actually works well as "the short answer". Instead of "bad habits" we might say "karmic/volitional formations" or sankharas.

For the "long answer", see the following:

http://bhikkhucintita.files.wordpress.c ... stiny1.pdf
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby mile83 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 6:38 pm

but isn't it that the next person will not be 'you', the you in the now will be forever dead only the karma or sorry kamma survives, is that right?
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:29 pm

mile83 wrote:but isn't it that the next person will not be 'you', the you in the now will be forever dead only the karma or sorry kamma survives, is that right?

The you in the now is already dead because it doesn't really exist. The fact is, "you" are dying and being reborn every single moment, and every single moment, only the kamma and sankhara continue.

Does that make sense?

Have you ever played pool? When you hit one ball into another, nothing is transferred physically between them, but the struck ball will travel in the same direction as the first. Lives are like that too. Your next life is going to head in the same "direction," at the same "speed" as your life now.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby Magoo » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:23 am

Hi all,

Since time began for human existance, the world population of humans has never stopped increasing. Given this, it obviously is true that more people are being born than are dieing. This is one of the few points that create doubt or confusion for me in regard to re-birth (the other is that it is one teaching that cannot be experienced, and thus known...it really has to be believed, in my experience anyway?).

So if a stream of conciousness, via a process passes on to the next life and carries the storage of impressions along with it, there would not be enough streams of consciousness for all the conceptions occuring at any given time? What happens to those that miss out? Are they the enlightened ones? Ie no bad habits inherited?

This question has some seriousness and rhetoric but in the essence has me a little perplexed.

Anyone have any clarity and wisdom they can shed on this?

Thanks
With Metta
Eamonn
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby mile83 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:48 am

Thanks LonesomeYogurt :D

I get that metaphor, but IMHO there's nothing personal (from this life) which will be transmitted to the next? I've tried to find a definitve anwer on that topic but it seems that even the opinions are divided?

greets
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby Mal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:14 pm

LonesomeYogurt wrote:The presence of "me" as a concept is, according to the Buddha, an illusion. You might feel "me" or a self but it isn't really there.


So there's no way to say that this "me" is the same one that had a cup of coffee half an hour ago?

Fair enough, I guess, there's no way I can compare this me to that me "now", under the microscope. And any memory of "me" might just be an illusion.

Maybe a new "me" is generated in each moment that just thinks that the guy who drank the coffee was the same "me"?

So you can only know "me" now. But then "me in the moment" isn't an illusion, is it? "I think therefore I am" as Descartes said. But you have to make sure this applies only to the moment of "me knowing me".

"I am thinking now, therefore I am now, but I might not be in the next moment, and I perhaps wasn't "I" in the last moment"

So "I" might, indeed, be as impermanent as anything can be - disappearing and appearing in a moment - but it's not an illusion is it?
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby gavesako » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:07 pm

Beware of objectification!


... So the question is, what is it about the thought “I am” or “I am the thinker” that leads to ways of thinking that cause inner and outer conflict? The answer lies in the Buddha’s explanation of what it means to be a being. The act of taking on the identity of a being is primarily a mental act. In other words, it’s because you have passion, desire, delight, or craving for something that you identify with it (SN 23:2). In identifying with it, you become tied there. That’s what makes you a being. Your choice of what to desire defines the type of being you are. This process happens both on the macro level–in the events leading from death to rebirth–and also on the micro level, as one sense of identity is shed for another on a moment-to-moment basis in the mind.

For instance, before you left your last body, you identified yourself as the thinker that craved continued existence. With the demise of that body, the craving born of the root of objectification-labels led to your present birth (SN 44:9). Your continued craving to stay here is what maintains your present identity. On the micro level, in your search for pleasure, you identify with the desires for specific pleasures, as well as with the areas of your awareness that you can control–”I am this”–in the search for those pleasures.

The act of assuming an identity on either level requires looking for food–both physical and mental (SN 12:64)–for if you don’t find food for it, you can’t maintain that identity. In fact, the need to subsist on food is the one thing that characterizes all beings (AN 10:27). This fact is so central to the Buddha’s teachings that it’s the first item in the catechism memorized by novice monks and nuns. It’s also the fact that shows why the mental labels of objectification lead to conflict. As a being looking for food, you need a world to provide you with that food. Without a world to provide you with food, your identity as a being couldn’t last.

From this observation about what it means to be a being, the Buddhist notion of “becoming”–a sense of identity in a particular world of experience–derives. Your sense of who you are has to inhabit a world that can provide for the desires around which you’re defined. This applies both on the external, physical level and on the internal, psychological level. This is why the views and questions of objectification cover not only who you are, but also where you are, where you’ve come from, and where you’re going.


http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=9567
http://www.bcbsdharma.org/wp-content/up ... issaro.pdf

Visual illustration: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QsWEbx2wOBM
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby santa100 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:45 pm

Magoo wrote:
"Since time began for human existance, the world population of humans has never stopped increasing. Given this, it obviously is true that more people are being born than are dieing. This is one of the few points that create doubt or confusion for me in regard to re-birth (the other is that it is one teaching that cannot be experienced, and thus known...it really has to be believed, in my experience anyway?)."


It's all a matter of scope. Quick analogy, if all one sees is 1 single bucket of water half filled, if someone else pours some more water into this bucket and fill it up, then it'd seems like there's an increase in the water amount. Now, if one sees that there're actually 2 buckets of water, and the water from bucket 2 was used to fill up bucket 1, then one'll see that the amount of water actually stays constant, it's just a simple transfer of water from one bucket to another. Similarly, the human realm is not the only "bucket of water". There're 6 other buckets out there. The Buddha mentioned beings constantly live, die, and reborn into different realms outside of their existing realm..
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby Mal » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:56 pm

gavesako wrote:Beware of objectification!


So, in our everyday experience, do we need to seek to avoid the "sense of me"?

Think of a tennis player "in the zone", they are just playing Tennis, there is no sense of "Me, I'm great...", there is no sense of "Me" at all.

Do we need to get into that zone permanently? Is that enlightenment?
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby LonesomeYogurt » Wed Oct 03, 2012 5:02 pm

Magoo wrote:Hi all,

Since time began for human existance, the world population of humans has never stopped increasing. Given this, it obviously is true that more people are being born than are dieing. This is one of the few points that create doubt or confusion for me in regard to re-birth (the other is that it is one teaching that cannot be experienced, and thus known...it really has to be believed, in my experience anyway?).

So if a stream of conciousness, via a process passes on to the next life and carries the storage of impressions along with it, there would not be enough streams of consciousness for all the conceptions occuring at any given time? What happens to those that miss out? Are they the enlightened ones? Ie no bad habits inherited?

This question has some seriousness and rhetoric but in the essence has me a little perplexed.

Anyone have any clarity and wisdom they can shed on this?

Thanks
With Metta
Eamonn

There are many different realms through which beings transfer themselves. Just the number of animals who die at slaughter is enough to provide minds for the rising human population. Considering that there exist six infinitely large realms of existence, there's no reason to believe that the transfer in and out of human birth doesn't even out.
Gain and loss, status and disgrace,
censure and praise, pleasure and pain:
these conditions among human beings are inconstant,
impermanent, subject to change.

Knowing this, the wise person, mindful,
ponders these changing conditions.
Desirable things don’t charm the mind,
undesirable ones bring no resistance.

His welcoming and rebelling are scattered,
gone to their end,
do not exist.
- Lokavipatti Sutta

Stuff I write about things.
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby gavesako » Wed Oct 03, 2012 6:08 pm

The Buddha used some interesting illustrations to describe how this happens. See this video:

Avijjāpaccayā sankhārā (Video)
http://www.theravada-dhamma.org/blog/?p=7538

or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iKZ3kZN1shk
Bhikkhu Gavesako
Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

ajahnchah.org - Teachings of Ajahn Chah in many languages
Dhammatube - Videos on Buddhist practice
Ancient Buddhist Texts - Translations and history of Pali texts
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby cooran » Wed Oct 03, 2012 8:23 pm

Magoo wrote:Hi all,

Since time began for human existance, the world population of humans has never stopped increasing. Given this, it obviously is true that more people are being born than are dieing. This is one of the few points that create doubt or confusion for me in regard to re-birth (the other is that it is one teaching that cannot be experienced, and thus known...it really has to be believed, in my experience anyway?).

So if a stream of conciousness, via a process passes on to the next life and carries the storage of impressions along with it, there would not be enough streams of consciousness for all the conceptions occuring at any given time? What happens to those that miss out? Are they the enlightened ones? Ie no bad habits inherited?

This question has some seriousness and rhetoric but in the essence has me a little perplexed.

Anyone have any clarity and wisdom they can shed on this?

Thanks
With Metta
Eamonn

Hello Magoo,

One of the things to be aware of is that Rebirth as a human is one of the rarest occurrences of all.

Does Rebirth make sense? – by Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://diydharma.org/rebirth-and-kamma- ... kkhu-bodhi

Rebirth – Bhikkhu Bodhi
http://www.beyondthenet.net/dhamma/rebirth.htm

Suttas about Rebirth
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/index-su ... ml#rebirth

with metta
Chris
---The trouble is that you think you have time---
---It's not what happens to you in life that is important ~ it's what you do with it ---
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby Magoo » Wed Oct 03, 2012 11:37 pm

Thanks to those who responded to my question.

The responses were clear and unifed which has put this little dilema to bed for me. 6 different realms is something I forgot about. Thanks for the reminder.

With Metta
Eamonn
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby gavesako » Wed Dec 19, 2012 3:59 pm

Perhaps we are stuck in a mechanistic way of imagining this process, and this mechanistic way of thinking also gave rise to such concepts in later Indian Buddhism and Abhidhamma as "stream of consciousness containing seeds" or the "bhavanga". However, there might be a better way to understand it -- and to understand nature and the universe as a whole. In this video R. Sheldrake describes his theory of the morphic fields which contain past memories and shape the physical structure of living organisms:


Rupert Sheldrake: The Presence of the Past (excerpt)

http://youtu.be/KP-PXCLHp4o
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Kiṃkusalagavesī anuttaraṃ santivarapadaṃ pariyesamāno... (MN 26)

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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby detrop » Wed Dec 19, 2012 5:21 pm

To me, terms like "stream of consciousness" ... "storage of impressions" ... "stream of kamma" ... "dying and being born every single moment" raise much more questions than they possibly answer. Their accessibility in real life is not better than that of the good old permanent Self - both can be assumed all day long, but none of them can be actually found by someone like me.
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Re: What continues from one life to another?

Postby Gena1480 » Thu Dec 20, 2012 5:23 am

what continues from life to life?
Ignorance and
Craving continues.
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