Selflessness and next life

Home Forums Basic Programme Selflessness and next life

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • Author
  • #20612
    Libuse Arnostova

    Dear friends,
    I have following thoughts about selflessness and life after death – and maybe I am wrong and you can help me to clarify it.
    I understand to the fact that we are without “I” as that there is something like body and mind etc. which I feel as “I” but this “I” does not belong to me, it is just part of the mental continuum.
    If it is so, then in time of death my mental continuum moves to a new body; this is roughly the principal of the new rebirth. In the new body (like a dog or bird or even a human) this new “I” again does feel as this is “I”.
    So, my good and bad karma, which was not completed earlier, moves to the new “I” which has almost no connection with my present feeling of “I” which I feel (construct) now.
    My mental continuum just moves to somebody totally different from my perception of “I” which I have now.

    Here is an analogy: My non-virtuos and virtuos actions are like different items in shopping bag. Imagine, that your deeds are things that you put in shopping bag. If this bag is full of nice flowers, books or excrements or even dangerous bombs, it depends on my current life actions. Then I die. Then somebody else, my new rebirth, has to deal with the bag full of nice and attractive and useful things or with a garbage or even evil things.

    So, back to theory:
    The result is that if I try hard to be moral and concentrated and wise, it is good deed done for someone else than me. It is an investment to the future; I simply provide someone else with a good life, someone different from my actual “I”. Which is praiseful, because if everybody does so, then there will be plenty of happy living sentient beeings living in dharma after we pass away and they will have nothing common with me as my current feeling of “I”.

    Is that correct thinking?

    Thank you for your opinions/answers in advance!


    Sarah Leach

    Hi Libuse, thank you for such an interesting post! I like your shopping bag analogy and I have attempted to answer using the same analogy. Happy to be corrected or discuss with anybody. Here is what I thought:
    We perceive we are in a supermarket. Our mental continuum is like a shopping trolley in a supermarket. Our current life is the bag you mention which is affected by what is already in the shopping trolley good and bad. The contents of the trolley give it the momentum, and steer the trolley down a certain aisle. However, your bag in the trolley has the ability at anytime to begin to affect what is in the trolley itself and steer it down the right aisle. The goods picked up and placed in the shopping bag in the right aisle contain the capacity for your whole trolley to see there is no real difference between all the bags in your trolley, and all the bags in all the trolleys in the supermarket. By mistakenly thinking there is you keep going round and round the supermarket in bag after bag after bag. By the time you get to the tlll from the right aisle, with all the right goods in your bag, you will be able to see that the perception of the bag, trolley and supermarket itself is wrong.Then the walls of the supermarket fall away and “your” trolley can see the reality that there is and isn’t a supermarket or trolleys, both and neither at the same time. All is emptiness which is itself something and nothing, both and neither, at the same time. At this point “your” bag and trolley can opt to hang around the supermarket trying to help other bags to guide their trolleys down the right aisle, at the same time as being empty of own being. It is almost impossible to understand this inside the supermarket without our bag containing realisations.
    Your trolley must have some great stuff in it for your bag to be on this course! 😊

    Laura Cavina

    Great Q and great A too!
    Won’t be walking the aisles of my supermarket in the same way ever again 😊

    Sarah Leach

    Haha!Thanks Laura:)

    Jared K. Jones

    Hi Libuse,

    These are some very good thoughts. I often think about the continuum of body-mind and karma in this way.

    Here the body-mind is now, experiencing and being the results of past karmas. For simplicity, we will call this state ‘A’: body-mind experiencing and being the results of past causes and conditions. As we experience these results and exist as these results, we generate all sorts of new causes and conditions, let’s call these ‘BCD’: new causes and conditions existing in potential form.

    Technically, these causes and conditions would be described as being established by way of non-disintegratedness. They are not actively ripening, but they have not gone away. They are the sound of an echo before it has hit the mountainside–before it has hit your eardrum. What is that sound? It’s not a sound, but it’s also not gone: it’s non-disintegrated. These echoes are carried on the ‘mere I’, maintained even between lives. The ‘mere I’ is the misperception that there is a ‘real me’ who is unchanging, self-existent, and independently controls the body-mind. This ‘real me’ either pervades the body-mind, is among the parts of body-mind, or is somehow beyond the aggregates of body-mind. In any case, we have this misperception that our body-mind is controlled by this self, somehow existing within or apart from the aggregates.

    So, here you are:


    You are suddenly hit by a bus. All that remains of A dissipates, and B gets triggered. Now, you re-arise as a shrimp:

    B-CD. There is a ‘Mere I’ seeing the shrimp body-mind ‘B’ as ‘MINE’. The continuum of mind is also carrying unripened karmas ‘CD’.

    You start performing actions, creating further causes and conditions (not too many though, because you’re a shrimp):


    You get eaten by a fish. B dissolves.

    You re-arise as C-DE: you’re human again, and this goes on and on.
    You accumulate many karmas as a human:

    C-DEFGH. Death and rebirth. D-EFGHI. Death and rebirth. E-FGHIJ. Death and rebirth. F-GHIJKLM.

    So, there is no unchanging essence or core that continues onwards as you die and are reborn.

    Does this help?

Viewing 5 posts - 1 through 5 (of 5 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.