I'm not sure we will find that in the pali canon (per haps in Abidhamma?), but is there any thera/senior bikkhu that wrote about it? Is it related to past lifes or any special power of the mind?


4 Answers 4


The psychology of C. G. Jung who wrote a preface to Bardo Thodol (The Tibetan Buddhist Book of the Dead) may explain the deja vu experience as restimulation of experiences of the collective unconscious in the bardo interval between death and the next rebirth, that he called "archetypes" or universal prototypes for ideas. However before drawing such a conclusion, know that the Sabbasava Sutta (Majjhima Nikaya 2) warns against questions which are seen as "unwise reflection" and lead to attachment to views relating to a self. They include: Did I exist in the past? Did I not exist in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past?


If you have psychic abilities then you might have foreseen or sensed the event before happening.

Also remember we are a bundle of feeling (one of the 5 aggregates) too. Hence we tend to react to these feelings in different ways. Sometimes this notion of deja vu can just be a conditioned response of your mind, than it having any significance. Certain type of feeling trigger certain memories and which in tern trigger more feelings. Your perception forming part of you mind may identify some similarities and cooks up a concept. (This cooking up is what is called delusion.)


In my experience, it seems to be caused by a precognitive experience--one has a precognitive experience at a previous time and when the event actually comes to pass in the present, the meeting of the two is experienced as deja vu. Many times, I think that people have precognitions in dreams and forget them at the conscious level; in this case deja vu is experienced but without an understanding of its cause.

The idea that the future can be seen is present in the Buddhist tradition. As Suminda mentioned, there is probably a psychic power that allows one to see the future. There is also discussion of seeing the future (incuding future births) through a vipassana power (which is distinct from psychic power) in Pa Auk Sayadaw's Knowing and Seeing (188-196).


The funny part about Buddhism is that teachers in it don't exist. So as soon as I answer this question, I take in the role of the teacher and I guess thus makes anybody my student. However, because I do not know and the great masters have nothing to teach, I suppose cuddly is right. I don't think Buddhist masters would stress much about this question. Instead they would point you out to where the answer isn't, and that's HERE. The Guru is trying to get you to come off it, and if he sees that you don't come off it, he puts you through a series of tests to simply get you to suffer, and frustrate you. This way you simply get yourself right off it and realize that you had it all along from the beginning. So deja vu is a simple experience, just like nothing else.

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