Remember countless past lives

If the Buddha or some Arahants have had the ability to remember countless past lives, then I guess:
1: They witnessed every kind of technology that is possible
2: Every kind of being that is possible
3: have knowledge about every observable metaphysical truth

Why then are there no suttas that fit these conclusions? It seems as if the buddha and the first Arahants knew/believed only the things the normal ancient indians knew/believed. But I cant believe that something so essential is a lie…

All the best


Interesting question. Maybe the remembering is very specific to the only technology that matters, the technology of suffering.
In other words, maybe it is very specific to how despite different roles and identities certain choices, behaviours and livelihoods lead to the same situations over and over again, in which only suffering, stress and struggled perpetuates and persists.
To the point of accessing memories of ancient technologies, there’s SN56.3 in which the Buddha says his knowledge was very vast but he focused only on what was enough and essential for teaching and inspiring towards awakening.


There are!

3. Every observable metaphysical truth is listed out e.g. in DN1

2. There are lots of suttas about the various kinds of beings: demonic, heavenly, animal, hellish, titanic… And the metta sutta even tells us how to handle them all!

1. The most important technology is psychotechnology, and the Buddha spent his entire career teaching it, especially the most important technology of all: Mindfulness.



Say you take a person from Ancient Greece to the modern world and you show them modern aircraft, space travel, computers and robotic technology. How would they describe this? They only have the cultural and linguistic framework of their world, so they would see this world as a world of gods or demi-gods, with flying chariots, magic infused armors and so on. They may see all of this, but they cannot give the description that a modern could.

So one may suspect that while the traces of memory from past lives can show those who access them that one has lives in certain worlds, one may still only be able to describe it from within one’s own cultural and linguistic reality. And of course, the Buddha was teaching this stuff to ancients, so he would have used language that they could understand (the language of gods and ashuras etc).


I have had a question dormant in the background about the temporal direction of re-birth. I’ve heard people talk about rebirth in both directions or only forward.

Given that rebirth has a conditioned cause (DO), and therefore must operate only within samsara (including Buddhist cosmos/ universes and 31 realms etc), what are the temporal possibilities in samsara?

Is samsara governed by temporal laws? (eg principle of entropy) I know Buddha said thinking about these things would only ‘give one a headache’, but perhaps there is something in the suttas about this :smiley:

Once beyond the conditioned, I take it that along with all other things, the application of ‘time’ ceases, but what about in the conditioned worlds?

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The Buddha knew a forest’s worth yet taught only a handful of leaves - only what’s conducive to liberation.


The conditioned worlds will still marry go-round in its cause and effects.

There is always unique laws that govern its own realm, when I did some astral travelling, it always amuse to see what kind of gravity in that realm, what kind of beings are there, how they travel etc

If you ask who done this? It might be the emptiness or whatever god, no certain answer, but there is energy there which allow only certain possibilities there

But if you ask who have done “you” / your birth? Then obviously there is a certain answer. And your energy which allow only your limited possibility

When observing past lives, we are actually only observed the upadanas of 5 khandas , as in sn22.79

In other words, only the impressions of past memories that imprint into our current memory.
Like do you remember when you’re a toddler, what political party winning? What kind of technology in those days transportations?

But you do remember those situation which you emotionally involved clearly


Thanks for pointing to this sutta! :anjal: