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I am trying to understand how somebody following the dhamma is supposed to verify what the Buddha said about rebirth. In the past I've been told that once somebody has developed samadhi/calmed the mind to a great extent then they will be able to see that rebirth occurs after death.

Usually samadhi helps along the path by making it easier to observe thing and see the world as it is. It's clear how this helps to see anatta/anicca/dukkha, but I do not understand how samadhi helps with seeing anything related to rebirth. I don't know what anyone would begin to observe to see rebirth.

This question has a very similar title to my previous question but it is not a duplicate. In the previous question I had one idea on how someone could verify rebirth occurs after death but the answers said that my idea was incorrect. This new question is asking for other ideas on how someone can verify rebirth through experience.

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Go into a very deep samadhi. Very deep.

When in that very deep samadhi, make a subtle mental formation arise. Observe.

Notice how with the arising of the mental formation, awareness comes to be. That very same awareness is consciousness. Within it is the subtle sense that feels the mental formation.

Let the mental formation cease by going back to deep samadhi.

Notice how with the ceasing of the mental formation, awareness goes away. That very same going away of the awareness is death. Within it is the absence of the subtle sense that feels the mental formation.

The way to get additional insight about this is to go into a very deep samadhi and arise a VERY pleasant mental formation. Observe.

Notice how with the arising of the VERY pleasant mental formation, awareness comes to be. Within it is the attachment/craving for that pleasant mental formation. As long as craving/attachment is present, the mental formation is there and the feeling is pleasant and awareness is present. That very same pleasure is "being alive".

Now, don't let the VERY pleasant mental formation to cease, but crave for it to maintain it. Crave for it! Want it! Sooner or later the pleasant mental formation will cease by itself. When it ceases, as long as there is craving/attachment for that pleasant mental formation, the feeling is unpleasant and awareness is present. That very same unpleasant feeling is "fear of death". The cessation of that very same unpleasant feeling is "death".

Now, don't let the craving/attachment for that pleasant mental formation to cease, but crave for it! Really crave for it! Want it! Sooner or later the pleasant mental formation will arise by itself. When it arises, as long as there is craving/attachment, there is also the pleasant mental formation and the feeling is pleasant and awareness is present. This very same pleasure is "being alive".

The wisdom you'll gain by experiencing the above is that awareness consists of many little formations arising and ceasing with high frequency, thus making it seem that consciousness is steady and pleasant. In individuals who don't practice the dhamma, there are so many of these formations, that even if you shut off all your body senses (eye, nose, tongue, ear, body, mind), they would still be arising and ceasing. These formations can be dependent on your body or independent of the body. Impossible is to know exactly. They can come from deep within you. It's like a spider web that has no ends. It's these formations that condition other formations until the center of the web is created: your physical body.

With the death of the body awareness ceases similar to going into a deep samadhi, and craving/attachment "fear of death" is present ... this very same craving/attachment responds/reacts to the many little formations, thus creating new formations and rises the awareness because of the many new formations until a new body is created.

This must be experienced. It's the only way to verify that rebirth occurs after death.

Once you get the above insight, it's simple to follow a logical conclusion:

By wishing/acting/deciding/doing we're doing activities that create formations.

By activities we create subtle senses and come into existence. Then, because of our further activities, we create the senses of our body (eye, nose, tongue, ear, body, mind) and we're born.

By gaining knowledge we are changing our current activities and creating new activites.

When we're changing our current activities and creating new ones, we're also changing our first activities that we acted upon that propelled us into this existence.

With the dead of the body our activities on the surface (eye, nose, tongue, ear, body, mind) are destroyed. And what remains? The primary activities that are changed.

Because these primary activities are changed, after death we will come into a new existence that will be changed too.

Thus, there is no death. There is just the changing of awareness from one existence to the other due to activities. This process is constantly happening ... even now in this very same moment. It will happen as long as craving/attachment is present.

Then, the logical way to continue the path towards the ultimate would be: When craving/attachment stops, all activities stop and suffering stops. Thus, the next step is to stop craving/attachment.

  • I think this is a fascinating way of recreating death. I don't think I should expect an answer which shows that the physical brain isn't necessary for awareness. – Hugh Aug 7 '16 at 3:38
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I dont practise Samatha meditation but afaik you can only verify it either by gaining insight and understanding of moment to moment rising and ceasing of reality or by remembering past lives by developing appropriate Samatha meditation.

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It is very important to distinguish between full samadhi and upacara-samadhi (sometimes called neighbourhood samadhi, which is true but also misleading). Upacara-samadhi leads to insight or knowledge because it allows one to form concepts that place the object of awareness into a frame of reference or understanding. This cannot happen in full samadhi because of the one-pointedness of mind removes any context in which the object can be understood. It is for this reason that (in the Vissudhimagga, for example) upacara-samadhi is more important than full samadhi in Buddhist literature. You encounter reincarnation when you happen to recall a previous lifetime. A more formal practice is to remember previous events backwards in time. When you do this, you do not get involved in individual recollections1. With practice, the sequence of recollections becomes something like watching a flat stone skip over water. Eventually, the stone makes an additional skip into your previous life. This may be just the feelings you had before death. You may have to catch several skips before you get perspective on your previous life.


1 By "you do not get involved in individual recollection", I mean that When dealing with unwholesome sankhara in upacara-samadhi (vipassana), it is important to recall the formation of sankhara, one must trace backwards in time its development until you reach the memory of the experience that caused a maladaptive decision (karma). This gives you a chance to revise that decision based upon more recent experience. In this way, unwholesome sankhara can be undone. In this context, an individual recollection is generally not helpful.

In order to understand an individual recollection, it must be placed in a context. The recollections that arise from upacara-samadhi are from another dimension of reality that is difficult to understand. In order to understand karma, for example, you must recall a sequence of events backwards in time that are linked together in a special way. Another problem is that the unconscious is far more intelligent than the conscious mind, making it difficult to understand. Generally, an individual recollection requires a sophisticated explanation.

When saying "another dimension", I am talking about the realm of "mind-forms" that I write about in my book, The Path of Love. This the vast system of chakras and nadis that form the mind-base and the psychic body. My experience of this dimension resulted from my exploration of the Theravadin Abhidharma. Mind-forms are perceived by means of the siddhi called anima, which unfortunately is very rare. All intelligent consciousness is based upon the citta-vithi described in the Abhidharma. Stephen Phillips referred to anima as micro-psi perception. Through the micro-psi perception of atoms, quantum physics will be transformed into a deterministic theory. These studies are far beyond the work needed to achieve Enlightenment. They are the science of the remote future. I mention it only in order to answer the (implied) questions in the comments below.

  • what do you mean by "you do not get involved in individual recollection"? – Andrei Volkov May 18 '18 at 14:54
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    When dealing with unwholesome sankhara in upacara-samadhi (vipassana), it is important to recall the formation of sankhara, one must trace backwards in time its development until you reach the memory of the experience that caused a maladaptive decision (karma). This gives you a chance to revise that decision based upon more recent experience. In this way, unwholesome sankhara can be undone. In this context, an individual recollection is generally not helpful. – Ronald Cowen May 19 '18 at 18:35
  • Thank you, your explanation makes total sense, although the phrase "individual recollection" still hangs there with no context. Why "individual"? Recollection of what? – Andrei Volkov May 19 '18 at 19:04
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    In order to understand an individual recollection, it must be placed in a context. The recollections that arise from upacara-samadhi are from another dimension of reality that is difficult to understand. In order to understand karma, for example, you must recall a sequence of events backwards in time that are linked together in a special way. Another problem is that the unconscious is far more intelligent than the conscious mind, making it difficult to understand. Generally, an individual recollection requires a sophisticated explanation. – Ronald Cowen May 20 '18 at 19:27
  • Not a bit clearer, to be honest. The only another dimension I have experienced first-hand was a dimension of alternative realities within the quantum ambiguity of the metaverse. But it seems you're talking about some other another dimension. – Andrei Volkov May 21 '18 at 4:24

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