Right Thinking about Rebirth

For years I have been meditating on the most difficult aspects of Buddhism-at least regarding my very shallow knowledge base and associated critical thinking. So I need your help in achieving the ‘right view’.

I am grateful for many of the articles and opinions of those more learned than I. If I can name one principle of Buddhism that has stumped me and my critical thinking it has been Rebirth, which is the pivot upon which my previous doubt rested comfortably for too many years. To be clear it is not the possibility of rebirth that has confounded me, but the technical details of how bebirth manifests between the physical and metaphysical world.

Recently I have been assisted in my understanding by a metaphor which has no doubt been used to explain a variety of unseen and difficult processes in science. Thus I have realised that I have been trying to understand Rebirth in the same way a cave woman understood thunder which is produced by lightning-which is to say I have denied the possibility of rebirth as a phenomenon because I could not make sense of it in a materialistic scientific way.

Recently I realized-as if I had been struck over the head with a large rock-that I don’t completely understand wireless technology which seems somewhat analogous to the concept of rebirth: an invisible beam of energy is produced and distributed over time and space-again in a mysterious way.

Yet how to explain to the quantity and quality of a specific random transmission of waves? Then I realized that analogous to wireless technology our Kamma represents the digital material enclosed in the packets which are a central aspect of streaming technology.

Right view…or Looney Tunes? Thank you all with Metta!


I guess you already have a mind set which is conducive to understand rebirth not only as a faith based phenomena but as a scientific reality too.
Right view is the first of the noble eight fold path. Right view in short is the knowledge about the four noble truths. Four noble truths are unsatisfactoriness, its cause which is greed, cessation of greed and the way leading to the cessation of greed.
Impermanence of everything which exists in the so called world is the axis on which unsatisfactoriness depends. Since everything is impermanent, it naturally leads to unsatisfactoriness. If everything is impermanent and unsatisfactory, they cannot be identified as “this is mine, I am this and this is myself”.
How does this situation influence rebirth?. Living beings do not know or care to know this impermanent, unsatisfactory and non self nature of everything. Therefore they crave for more and more of what their six senses demand of their external counterparts. This craving is like a bridge into the future in that it makes one to anticipate things in the next moment, next day, next year and so on. There is no end to this expectation and as a result an invisible yet powerful mental bridge is constantly being built into the future from now.
When the death inevitably takes place, the mental bridge does not collapse because no giving up of craving for the external objects has ever taken place therefore the mental bridge created out of craving has to continue.
This mental bridge is the consciousness which arises in dependence of external objects ie craving for them. How exactly this consciousness gets established in a new base after death is not explained in great detail in the four nikayas IMO but it is the power of craving to continue indefinitely. Said another way it is the continuation of the bridge into the future of the present life and beyond.
Those who counter this phenomena by saying that the bridge collapses at death without a continuity beyond death are without any tangible proof as much as those like me who say that the bridge continues beyond death. This is where a little intuition accompanied by faith on the Buddha and his teaching can help.
I hope this will help you at least to think more strenuously.
With Metta


Most helpful, my friend. Thanks for contributing to my right view.

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Your post reminds me of the simile of the poisoned arrow, found in MN 63. Maybe (re)reading and (re)reflecting on it will be of use to you.


Hi Rosie,
The sutta that helped me understand the ‘how’ of rebirth was DN15 the great discourse on causation.

Ajahn Brahm’s 2 part sutta class on this really nuts it out for me.
Part 1.

Part 2.

So I’m a Mango? LOLThanks for the link. It took me a while because I wanted to digest each byte slowly that I may achieve understanding.

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Hi Rosie- how do You think rebirth might happen? :slight_smile:

with metta

Hey Mat, I am honored by your question, but barely knowledgeable about this most intriguing and somewhat ‘mystifying’ aspect of Buddhism which seems to tie so many Buddhist concepts as I am just beginning to understand them. The process of rebirth seems both essential to our enlightenment and ineffable in its essence.

And to be honest I can’t say that I really do understand rebirth. But what I have gathered in terms of understanding is that the energetic essence of our existence is like a thread carried forward, like a shadow which precedes our next aggregation of personality traits…accompanied of course by the kamma we have created out of the totality of our thoughts and actions based on those thoughts.

But that’s all I got, and I ‘crave’ more enlightenment’ regarding this inevitable return. And I have read a little about ‘once returners’ and twice returners. But the downside, for me at least is that this seems to feed my ego even as I try to detach from me. lol

Please do add whatever you might find in need of correction or clarification. I appreciate your presence and the question you asked which may lead to my continuing education.

With Metta, Friend.


You have said about this ‘energetic essence… being carried forward’ and used WiFi as a simile. I think you on the correct course with those ideas. I would say study this sutta and the Dependant origination as well.


I hope one day you will be able to regress and see your past lives! This would clarify the picture much more than dry study ever could! I believe it starts by getting into deep meditation and slowly wanting to experience the past, in minutes, hours, days, months, years etc into infancy, and beyond. :pray:

With metta


Thank you so much for your kind guidance. I will read this link. And about this:

I certainly hope so too. I am sure that this realization will provide much needed clarification…

Thanks again, Mat namaste

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