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Abhidhamma In Daily Life

Part 4 - How Rebirth Consciousness Appears

Immediately after death-consciousness of one life, rebirth consciousness arises in new life. These two have no interval between them. They are spontaneously connected. A new life, a rebirth occurs instantaneously. Someone who have just departed the human abode is instantly reborn in some plane of existence, whether it be hell or celestial. Right after death, rebirth-consciousness appears and conduces to the formation of a new being, a new existence.

Two Wrong Views

We must be very careful lest we should view death and rebirth in the light of two wrong beliefs - sassata ditthi and uccheda ditthi. The belief that there is a soul which dwells inside the body, and that soul moves to a new body to become another being is sassata ditthi (wrong belief in soul). The belief that both mind and matter of a living being are annihilated at death, and that a new being, created by God, has nothing to do with any other being in the past, is uccheda ditthi (wrong belief in annihilation).

The Right View

The next or coming existences of living beings are determined by avijja (ignorance), tanha (attachment) and kamma (deeds). Ajijja conceals the nature of the mind, matter and khanda (bodily aggregate) if the next existences. Tanha, lust for life, prompts them to cling to bhava (existences). This Tanha makes them crave for a good life, even though they see signs of miserable plane of existence awaiting them. Thus due to the concealment of the sufferings of life and the craving for a new life, kamma exercises its power to conduce to the conception of a new being complete with rupa and nama.

Therefore the prime factors that initiate the conception of a new being that is, new rupa and nama are (a) avijja (b) tanha and (c) kamma. The belief in uccheda ditthi (annihilism) and the belied in sassata ditthi (the soul or ego) are both wrong beliefs. Either nama or rupa can in no way transmigrate to another life. In fact nama and rupa come into being and spontaneously cease to exist in a very short time. There is no such thing as a soul or an ego.

We must be very careful not to be misled by the two views. We must understand that in a new existence, conception, the formation of rupa and nama is the resultant of avijja, tanha and kamma of the previous existence. This is the only righteous belief.

When we shout loudly in the vicinity of a mountain, we hear an echo. This echo is not the original sound produced by the man; nor it is independent of the original sound. When a candle from the flame of a first candle, the new flame is not that of the first; nor it is independent of the first candle. Likewise, a new existence is not the transmigration of the old one; nor it is independent of the old. Bear in mind that if the past kamma is wholesome, the present life will be good, both in mind and matter. If the past kamma is evil so will b the present life. The good and experiences in the present life are account by two factors - the deeds done in the past, the one's knowledge and diligence in this life.

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