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Rebirth: Past and future lives

36 The Foundation of Buddhist Practice

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book The Foundation of Buddhist Practice, second volume in “The Library of Wisdom and Compassion” series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • How events arise, abide, and cease at the same moment
  • Reflection on the three principles of causality and establishing the causes for the mind
  • Does not perceiving something negate its existence?
  • Seeing the beginningless and endless continuity of the moments of mind to establish past and future lives
  • Accounts of people remembering their past lives
  • Buddha’s teaching to the Kalamas about cultivating positive states of mind whether or not rebirth exists
  • Does it help to examine the events or thoughts or memories to think about rebirth?

The Foundation of Buddhist Practice 36: Rebirth: Past and Future Lives (download)

Contemplation points

  1. What would the implications be if phenomena, thoughts, and emotions were inherently existent?
  2. Even if you don’t believe in future lives, what benefit comes from accepting rebirth?
Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.