When we die, what exactly gets reborn in the next life? There is no permanent self (no atta), so an impermanent self must be reborn somehow. Through what medium does this self pass into the next conscious form? If some are able to achieve attainments necessary to see past lives, there must therefore be information on past lives stored either in what is transmitted from life to life, or stored somewhere else. How should we understand these inquiries on the basis of the suttas?
I don’t think the suttas say much about it! Causal chains project information forward. They do no project ‘objects’ forwards. If when the cause is impermanent and the effect it gave rise to was impermanent, it’s pointless to speak of a being who is moved forward, through a causal chain.
Maybe this will be of interest
Driven by the impetus of craving (SN 44.9), consciousness arises immediately due to cause and effect, through the medium of consciousness:
“following the death consciousness, there arises the first citta of the next life which springs up with the newly formed physical organism as its basis. The first citta of the new life continues the stream of consciousness which has passed out of the deceased body. The stream of consciousness is not a single entity, but a process, and the process continues. When the stream of cittas passes on to the next life it carries the storage of impressions along with it.”—“Rebirth”, Bikkhu Bodhi
TV transmitting station antenna (to) electromagnetic waves (to) home antenna (to) electrical impulses in wires (to) image on screen! No person was projected forward. Its only an image. An illusion of a person- only 2d…
Nagasena’s answer support the information-only transmission analogy:
‘Do you recollect, great king, having learnt, when you were a boy, some verse or other from your teacher?’
‘Yes, I recollect that.’
‘Well then, did that verse transmigrate from your teacher?’
‘Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.’
‘Very good, Nāgasena!’
What kind of information might be transmitted from one life to the next?
The same that rupa transmits to consciousness to contact to feeling, labelling and intention!