SN 22.59 states experiencing Nibbana requires the dispassion (viraga) that occurs from completely realising the impermanence, unsatisfactoriness & not-self of every type of consciousness & the other four aggregates.

Now what do you think of this, O monks? Is consciousness permanent or impermanent?

Impermanent, O Lord.

Now, what is impermanent, is that unsatisfactory or satisfactory?

Unsatisfactory, O Lord.

Now, what is impermanent, unsatisfactory, subject to change, is it proper to regard it as: 'This is mine, this I am, this is my self'?

Indeed, not that, O Lord.

Therefore, surely, O monks, whatever consciousness, past, future or present, internal or external, coarse or fine, low or lofty, far or near, all that consciousness must be regarded with proper wisdom, according to reality, thus: 'This is not mine, this I am not, this is not my self.'

O monks, the well-instructed noble disciple, seeing thus, gets wearied of form, gets wearied of feeling, gets wearied of perception, gets wearied of mental formations, gets wearied of consciousness. Being wearied he becomes passion-free. In his freedom from passion, he is emancipated. Being emancipated, there is the knowledge that he is emancipated. He knows: 'birth is exhausted, lived is the holy life, what had to be done is done, there is nothing more of this becoming.'"

This the Blessed One said. Pleased, the group of five monks were delighted with the exposition of the Blessed One; moreover, as this exposition was being spoken, the minds of the group of five monks were freed of defilements, without attachment.

Indeed, at that time there were six arahants in the world.

Many suttas describe Nibbana as the ending of the perception (sanna) & asava (defilement) of 'becoming' (MN 121) and the calming of all formations (MN 26; sabbasamathosankhara).

Therefore, can the thought of or belief in 'rebirth' in the mind result in Nibbana?

Is the belief in 'rebirth-reincarnation' not a type of 'becoming' & not a 'thought formation'?

  • this is not exegesis tho, is it? not being mean, just combatative
    – user2512
    Sep 14, 2017 at 19:41
  • who will take rebirth? it is the delusionary "I" . But this 'I" dissolves while journeying on the path as development of anitya and anatta. So all beliefs of heaven ,hell,rebirth,etc etc etc are vanished as the nibbana stage comes closer and closer. So this is just begining on the path, and even if we have so many beliefs of rebirth,heaven,hell not be worried at all. just to keep going Jun 12, 2018 at 11:00

7 Answers 7


"Therefore, can the thought of or belief in 'rebirth' in the mind result in Nibbana?"

No, it can't.

In the same way, the thought of or belief in "non existence of rebirth" in the mind, can't result in Nibanna.

"Is the belief in 'rebirth-reincarnation' not a type of 'becoming' & not a 'thought formation'?"

It is a type of "becoming" and a "thought formation".

In the same way, a belief in "non existence of rebirth-reincarnation", is a type of "becoming" and a "thought formation".

When a thought or belief arises in a being due to ignorance, that being clings and craves on that thought or belief. This clinging and craving will not result in Nibanna.

When a thought arises in a being due to wisdom, that being does not cling nor crave on that thought. This absence of clinging and craving will result in Nibanna.

A belief is something that is accepted as the only truth. Thus, no belief can ever arise in a being who truly destroyed ignorance. That would be impossible. The one who destroyed ignorance, dwells in wisdom. He is the knower of the truth. How could the knower of the truth say "this is the only truth", when he knows "all truths are non truths"? That would be impossible. That's why the knower of the truth stays in the middle.

  • I marked this answer down because the belief in no rebirth leads to the abandoning of craving, attachment & self-view; never thinking about rebirth & fully acknowledging impermanence; which is a foothold in the deathless, This answer sounds like a hatred of impermanence. This answer is like arguing atheism (non-belief in god) is an obstacle to Nibbana. Next it will be posted disbelief in Santa Claus is an obstacle to Nibbana. Sep 14, 2017 at 0:31
  • 1
    I think this answer is similar to this one -- saying that any fixed views of self (including e.g. "I exist" or "I don't exist" or "I believe in the existence of rebirth" or "I believe in the non-existence of rebirth") are views or beliefs, which are obstacles -- and saying that both polarities (e.g. "I believe in the existence of rebirth" and "I believe in the non-existence of rebirth") are extremes, attachments, and not right view.
    – ChrisW
    Sep 14, 2017 at 0:51
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    I upvote this answer for the poster's anology indicated he penetrated deep into the question answered with self-generated wisdom (not parroting some doctrines or some quotes of Suttas, nor any authorities' intepretations); his argument is sound and logical. Sep 14, 2017 at 3:04
  • @ChrisW it is not the view is right or wrong, it's the view that indicated a residue in one's consciousness. Mahayana Sutras often have the Buddha used this parable: like a bird flys over the sky, left no trace [of its flying] in space. Sep 14, 2017 at 3:17
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    @Dhammadhatu Suppose a noble monk, fully versed in the Dhamma, the knower of the truth, fully liberated, fully awakened and fully compassionate, is on a SINGLE TELEVISION SHOW where the WHOLE PLANET Earth is watching him answer to ONLY ONE SINGLE question. Suppose the monk is allowed to answer only with "yes" or "no", but not with silence.Suppose he agreed on these rules and came to the show. Suppose the host of the show asks him the ONE SINGLE QUESTION: "Is the belief in no rebirth the way to the abandoning of craving, attachment and self-view?" Would the noble monk answer with "yes" or "no"?
    – beginner
    Sep 14, 2017 at 7:58

Rebirth in a Buddhist context does not involve a belief in a soul. It merely refers to the continuation of the mental-physical causes and effect process after death. It should not be confused with the Hindu belief of reincarnation.

However if a person clings to the view that everything ends after death, he/she wont be able to attain Nibbana as it falls under Uccedavada.


Yes. It can. The belief that rebirth results in more suffering provides motivation to find liberation and escape samsara.


Zhiyi claimed that teaching rebrith was the 1st teaching, even before meditation. I think he called it the teaching of the inferior herbal grass.

This does not mean it is not true.


"Birth is ended, the holy life fulfilled, the task done. There is nothing further for the sake of this world"

Would not make much sense, if there were only one birth to end or no births to end. Rebirth is part of (mundane) right view:

And how is right view the forerunner? One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view. And what is wrong view? 'There is nothing given, nothing offered, nothing sacrificed. There is no fruit or result of good or bad actions. There is no this world, no next world, no mother, no father, no spontaneously reborn beings; no brahmans or contemplatives who, faring rightly & practicing rightly, proclaim this world & the next after having directly known & realized it for themselves.' This is wrong view...

Rebirth is the understanding that within conditionality, a beginning and an end cannot be conceived. As such, death is a misnomer - redeath would be better really, but with rebirth being used instead of birth already, the description would gain a slightly more Essentialist sound.

Rebirth is a 'thing' that is given an unlimited and full range to balance kamma within conditionality. Because rebirth is an attempt to describe dependent origination in a concrete, 'one truth' way, it doesn't fit very well with the spirit of the Buddha's words imo.

But if some form of being subject to kamma is defined, then rebirth is an accurate description of how kamma remains in balance across conditioned existence. It reminds me of Nagarjuna's claim that Samsara is unconditioned, in that when looked at as a whole, there is no 'thing' external to Samsara to provide a condition for it. This leads to a very still image of Samsara, because

"Where there is neither an addition of nirvana nor a removal of samsara; There, what samsara is discriminated from what nirvana?"

Gives an image of Samsara as still, empty (the image swings a little towards the nihilistic for my mind), then all this perceived change and dis-balance must balance out. Rebirth is a description of that balance act.

Really though, because it does not lead to the cessation of objectification (not in my mind at least), it is best put aside.

  • 1
    arahants declared ""Birth is ended". Arahants do not lie or speak conjecture. if arahants are alive, how can they declare in truth that "physical birth has ended?" the birth that ends is the birth of self-view or the view of "beings" ("satta"). When the mind enters the stream, it will know this without any doubts whatsoever. The view of Brahmali is the view of Mara, as explained in SN 5.10. SN 5.10 states to believe "a being" is anything but a mere view (ditthi) is the view of Mara. SN 12.2 defines jati as the production of the view of "beings" ("satta"). Satta is in SN 23.2. best wishes Sep 15, 2017 at 9:39
  • Certainly the ending of the birth of self-view is key, but that is why there is a remainder before parinibbana, otherwise the declaration would imply that a free mind could then just wander on for ever at peace, from body to body. One can talk about conditioned beings, the subjective 'mere views', but for no good reason from the point of view of Buddhism. Rebirth, in trying to unify the whole field of living beings into one complete and coherent process, suffers from the same problems other conditioned linguistic descriptions of a unifying principle suffer. Sep 15, 2017 at 15:32
  • But if seen as defining something that is only not impermanent, it's reasonable speculation. Sep 15, 2017 at 15:34
  • Arahants could just be saying there there will be no further birth in next life. Arahants didn’t say life is ended. They just said that “birth is ended”
    – user14213
    Nov 22, 2018 at 18:25

We have may duplicate topic, today.

  1. Anti-rebirthist = ucchedadiṭṭhi = one extreme.
  2. Rebirth-lover = sassatadiṭṭhi = another extreme.
  3. Profit-follower = eightfold path = middle way.

1st and 2nd see brahmajālasutta.

3rd see dhammacakkappavaḍḍhanasutta. (I am in plan to re-translate this sutta, but I can't not done it now. So if something wrong, I am sorry. I can't not check it deeply now, because my english still not good enough.)

"There are these two extremes that are not to be indulged in by one who has gone forth. Which two? That which is devoted to sensual pleasure with reference to sensual objects: base, vulgar, common, ignoble, unprofitable; and that which is devoted to self-affliction: painful, ignoble, unprofitable. Avoiding both of these extremes, the middle way realized by the Tathagata — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

"And what is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding? Precisely this Noble Eightfold Path: right view, right contemplate, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration. This is the middle way realized by the Tathagata that — producing vision, producing knowledge — leads to calm, to direct knowledge, to self-awakening, to Unbinding.

What is profit?

6 profit: self profit, the others' profit, public's profit (common interest), this life's profit, next life's profit, and nibbāna-profit. (pali for search: attattha, parattha, attaparattha, ditthadhammika, samparāyika, and paramattha.)

Self profit, the others' profit, and public's profit (common interest) are done together by sati.

"Because of what I have said here, monks, you should train yourselves such that the gifts of those whose requisites we use — the robes, alms-bowl, chair, bed, and medicine as a support when sick — will have great fruits, great merits [for the people who give them], and our going forth will not be in vain, will be fruitful, will have a result. Thus should you train yourselves, thoroughly seeing that for your own benefit, monks, it is right to strive with heedfulness; thoroughly seeing that for the benefit of others, monks, it is right to strive with heedfulness; and thoroughly seeing that for the benefit of both, monks, it is right to strive with heedfulness."

This life's profit and next life's profit are done together by sati (appamāda). So, person who do just this life's profit or next life profit is pamāda person. see:


Nibbāna profit can be accessed by practitioner after he perfect finished to meditate magga. And that magga can start to meditate after sīla is done.

SN 45.149 Just as, bhikkhus, whatever actions are to be performed with strength are all performed on dependence on the earth, supported by the earth; in the same way, bhikkhus, it is on dependence on virtue, supported by virtue, that a bhikkhu develops the noble eightfold path (magga), that he cultivates the noble eightfold path.

Above sīla give this life's profit and next life. See (1st-4th are this life's profit, 5th is next life's profit):

Mahāparinibbānasutta 24. "Five blessings, householders, accrue to the righteous man through his practice of virtue: great increase of wealth through his diligence; a favorable reputation; a confident deportment, without timidity, in every society, be it that of nobles, brahmans, householders, or ascetics; a serene death; and, at the breaking up of the body after death, rebirth in a happy state, in a heavenly world."

So, anti-rebirthist & rebirth-lover are pamādo (person who has not meditating mindfulness).

That is one of many reasons that why I, who have never seen any ghost or any spirit, am not deny next life.


Only Buddha know the possibles, and the impossibles. It was one of his exclusive qualities. You will need to know every possibility to come up with yes or no questions. That why I am very skeptical when people answer yes or no for possibility questions without referencing words from Buddha. Root cause of ucchedadiṭṭhi and sassatadiṭṭhi are from sakkaya ditthi. It seems strange for both to come from same causal.

Following is from personal experience so please take it with grain of salt. With sakkaya ditthi, self identity view, it creates boundary lines around self and with that the inside, and outside. if one chooses the inside is self, it emphasis on annihilation. And opposite for outside. So in a nutshell, if there are boundary lines around self, it comes with one of these two extremes; "this life" or "next life" . But when boundary lines are blurred, together with depended origination, there is really no next life or this life. As long as root causes are there, it will just keep going even at the breakup of this body. When consciousness causes by this name-form is broken, sattanam or latching on as self will reappear with other name-form.

for your question, this is what i think. Believing in rebirth (if you meant sassatadiṭṭhi/soul) then that means that person is still have first fetter binding tight.

If I understand correctly, your view of sattanam or self view does not go beyond name/form of current 5 skandha? so it is impossible to have self view on anything beyond the current of what is yours now? forgive me if i was wrong.

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