Majjhima Nikaya 2

This is how they attend improperly: ‘Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? After being what, what did I become in the past? Will I exist in the future? Will I not exist in the future? What will I be in the future? How will I be in the future? After being what, what will I become in the future?’ Or they are undecided about the present thus: ‘Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? This sentient being—where did it come from? And where will it go?’

How is that all wrong view? I don’t understand that, because when you don’t think about what you were in the past and will be in the future you cannot have right view about samsara. How can one have samvega and follow the path without ever thinking about what they were in the past and what they will be in the future?

These questions constitute unwise attention not wrong view. Indeed, mundane right view includes belief in karma and rebirth, but the extraordinary thing about belief in karma is that it actually reduces the degree to which we need to think about the past and future. Simply trust that wholesome actions in the present will lead somewhere good, and let go of trying to predict exactly where your actions will lead or exactly what causes shaped you. Hope that helps!


Listening/reading causes theoretical right view, and appropriate attention is the factor directly causing experiential right view to arise:

“Monks, there are these two conditions for the arising of right view. Which two? The voice of another and appropriate attention. These are the two conditions for the arising of right view.”—AN 2, 125-126

The OP quote is referring to an uninstructed ordinary person who routinely has those ideas running round in their heads, having not been exposed to the teaching. The instructed person can consider those questions clinically and come to an informed conclusion, then put them aside.