Are plant and the inanimate a being, are they involved in rebirth?

I read that during a hypnotherapy session a client regressed back to her past life as a bird nest so I want to know more about this from EBT and commentary perspective


Meditation and hypnosis are opposite processes and I wouldn’t put too much faith in hypnotically induced “memories”


The key word is ‘sentience’ meaning responsive to senses. It can be seen there is less sentience in a plant than in a being with mobility. Inanimate objects have no sentience, but they are still subject to changes incurred by the cycle of impermanence.

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Without touching upon rebirth or lacktherof… a matter about on plants

Plants emit sounds when they are thirsty or when they suffer bodily harm. This can of course be explained through evolution by natural selection, but it’s still strange plants would make these noises at all if they do not have the ear faculty and are otherwise immobile.

Animals like monkeys make noises when predators approach because evolution is acting at the group level and selects for certain forms of altruism that allow other members of the species to be warned and survive. But plants. Plants don’t move. Maybe they can release chemicals in response to the sounds, but that’s about it.

What does this lead us to believe? Perhaps plants have access to sense spheres other than touch (like sound) that we don’t immediately realize because of how different they look from us. Maybe their eye faculty is linked to their leaves, for example, and their “brain”/mind is in their root system. I don’t know, but it’s a possibility :slight_smile:

I am reminded of Ajita’s questions to the Buddha. The Brahman Ajita expresses a belief of his to the Buddha and says “Streams flow everywhere, what are the restraint for streams, tell me the constraint for streams, by what are streams damned.” (norman translation)

[Note damned as in beaver dam, not the damn you damn]

Ajita’s perspective appears to be twofold. Ajita believes in streams and assumes a form of panpyschism where there are streams [presumably of consciousness] flowing everywhere. Gotama in response neither outright confirms nor rejects Ajita’s view(s), and skillfully utilizes Ajita’s own language and terms to answer his question.

“Whatever streams there are in the world, Ajita, their restraint is mindfulness. I will tell you the constraint of streams, they are damned by wisdom”. - Snp 5.2

I’m sure the same applies to plants, if it turns out they are capable of discernment of mental objects and experience subsequent states of mind some refer to as streams.

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Buddhism in early texts and later commentarial works doesn’t believe plant and other inanimate objects are involved in rebirth, but Jainism does. According to Jainism, plant and other inanimate objects (earth, water, fire, and air) contain one-sensed jiva (i.e sense of body/tangible) which is the lowest form of life and also can reincarnate to other form of life.


This man’s research proved a Giant Canopy for this type of research. What is sentience?

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how do you prove rebirth exists then ?

if you accept it because of faith, Muslim too don’t accept rebirth because of their faith so faith divides people faith isn’t universal

Spontaneous (usually childhood) memories and past-life recall via meditation tend to be more reliable than those accessed (created) via hypnotic suggestion.

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how do you know their memory are not illusion or imagination ?

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The whole premise of hypnosis and regression is problematic, but I’m sure there are lovely stories to believe in.

Anyhow, when it comes to EBT I think you’ll find most of your questions answered in
Schmithausen - Plants in Early Buddhism and the Far Eastern Idea of the Buddha Nature of Grasses and Trees (2009).

In his conclusion Schmithausen writes:

In Pt. I, I tried to show that in the early Buddhist canon there are, to be sure, sporadic traces of the old belief in plants as living, sentient beings, but that there is no conclusive evidence for the assumption that in early Buddhism such a belief was upheld on a doctrinal level, let alone for the assumption that in early Buddhism plants were regarded as spiritually accomplished, saintly beings (cf. § 50). Pt. II was dedicated to a critical discussion of the suggestion that the assumption of an early Buddhist belief in plants as sentient or even saintly beings is supported by the re-emergence of such a belief in the form of the Far Eastern idea of the ‘Buddha-nature of grasses and trees’. In Pt. II.A, I argued that the passages adduced from Indian sources in support of an Indian origin of the idea of the ‘Buddhanature of grasses and trees’ are either inconclusive or, at best, based on presuppositions alien to early Buddhism, and hence cannot serve as evidence for an undercurrent connecting the Far Eastern developments with the early period (cf. §'117). In Pt. II.B, I tried to demonstrate that such a connection is also improbable from the perspective of a structural comparison (cf. §§ 159-163).


How do you know your memories are real?

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people can hallucinate do you know Schizophrenia ?

people with Schizophrenia see with direct knowledge what others can’t see

I just want to know why you differentiate the memory of a client during regression session and meditation session

Because science. Did you read the articles I took the time to link you to?

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the article you share don’t compare the meditation to retrieve past life data to hypnosis but only mindfulness to hypnosis how can you be sure the meditation to retrieve past life data won’t have the same results as hypnosis ?

Sounds like a great research project! :slight_smile:

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before doing research like that you need to get the samples or meditators who could get past life data using meditation, do you know them can you at least mention 1 ?

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Indeed, that’s the tricky part! I know a couple, but no I can’t out them. Best of luck with your investigation!

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Do read the cases.

I just list down some amazing things the kids did, from various cases.

  1. Birthmark corresponds to fatal wound of previous individual.

  2. Kids provide details, found in real world. includes location and name. This is not as easy as it sounds. Try to provide an exact house, and tell me the name of just one of the occupant in the last say 100 years or so, with the details of how many family members they have etc, the kids did those. Objectively verified. Not all cases are verified, but there’s a lot of them. Some of the cases, they have to dig a lot to find out that the truth is actually as the kid said it, not according to some more surface-level reports. Some kids can point to this house was renovated, this was there. And people who knew the layout before the renovation can verify the kid’s claims.

  3. Secrets of the family, no one else but the deceased person should know. Many cases are pre internet, but even post internet cases, it’s not as if such details are easily found online. Or at all available online.

  4. Some kid can speak language which they never learnt in this life, but had learnt in a past life.

Those who read enough cases and still not convinced rebirth exists basically has closed mind.


those memories don’t tell us rebirth as plant or inanimate being those memories also don’t tell us about rebirth in hell should we just conclude they all don’t exist ?

Sutta didn’t mention plant as one of the realms, and it’s traditional Theravada doctrine that plants are not one of the realms.

As for faith in beings reborn spontaneously (hell, ghosts, gods), then we can establish it via logical deduction.

  1. From the cases we have minimal establishing that death is not the end of a person. Rebirth can exist for human to human.

  2. Extend principle to decide is it reasonable to expect that only certain individuals undergo rebirth and others do not? Like the Avatar in The last airbender world? Or it’s more reasonable that most of us just forgot and can be recalled via recollection of past life power or hypnosis regression.

  3. Given that humans (who are not arahants) gets reborn, then we have to question, where did the extra humans come from due to population increase.

  4. Add in animals as realms of rebirth. Then question, what about the times when there’s mass extinction events, when massive amount of life on earth got killed off in a short time?

  5. We are forced to posit either aliens (in Buddhist classification can be humans and animal realms), or beings reborn spontaneously. The beings reborn spontaneously being explicitly declared in the sutta, whereas aliens is only indirectly implied via the definition of world system (roughly a habitable solar system) and that Buddha’s voice can reach to billionfold world system.

  6. Empirical evidences comes from those who had developed divine eye, ear, etc.

  7. I haven’t investigated ghost hunting cases, might be harder due to the sheer amount of interest in it and thus more fakes, compared to rebirth cases. Rebirth cases being more reliable due to peer reviewed published papers are more trustworthy.

Edit add on:

  1. Say if we only posit aliens, then what about when the universe gets destroyed, or contracted, and life is not possible, or the universe was nearer the start of the cycle, and there’s not enough conditions for life (as we know it) to exist. Too hot, no planets, etc.

So, given that, rebirth must be in realms which can survive universe destructions. Indeed, the sutta identified this as the 2nd Jhana Brahma realm.

Sorry, missing out one more assumption. Put this in no. 2 or 3

Given that rebirth happened at least once, is it logical to expect that it only happened once, or that our past lives also has past lives, and so on and on? It’s more logical to assume no beginning to rebirth. And thus we can investigate the vast timeline of the past and future of the universe to infer something about the nature of rebirth and the realms which can be reborn into.

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