I wanted to ask how Buddhism explains why we don't remember our past lives? Why bother with the Buddhist path when we will not remember this temporary life in our next? I heard that for example contrary to rebirth in the human realm, beings who are reborn in the Pureland of Amitabha can remember their past life. Why bother practice other methods and not only just focus on reaching Sukhavati? If I won't remember the temporary "me" of this life in the next, why bother practicing at all? Isn't it better to know about my continuity in the next life for progression?

  • You can practice for happiness in this life. Whether you believe in rebirth or not, practicing for happiness in this life is a main concern. Some people attain the ability to recollect their previous births. But this ability comes after decades of consistent, disciplined practice. Aug 30, 2020 at 11:51

4 Answers 4


Do you remember what you had for lunch yesterday? We remember only if we are interested in that thing or it is extremely important for us. We continually become because we are not happy with the past or present. The time of the arrow goes only forward.


Many new to Buddhism are stuck into these matters and created a feeling of discomfort, including myself.

But when I longer study Buddhism, it leads me to study something easier to understand like Karma in current life instead of past life. I.e. how to utilize the SWOT analysis soft skill?

If you are talking about past life, likely it will lead to past life Karma thinking which is very difficult to digest; even Einstein was not able to decode it completely.

So, why do you bother too much on it? Secondly, thinking too much about the past that you are unable to change or back to the future, that is impossible, just simply making you suffer psychologically and it is a negative thought.

Most of us spend a lot of time inside our own mind — worrying about the future, replaying events in the past, and generally focusing on the parts of life that leave us dissatisfied


Here is a so called proven story about incarnation by Mahatma Gandhi that is hardly believed to be false.


In the essay "To Suffer Is an Active Verb", Thanissaro Bhikkhu wrote:

This is one of the reasons why the Buddha doesn’t have us try to go back into the past and ask, “What did I do to deserve an illness, a mental state, a situation in life?” He said that if you tried to trace all those things back, you’d go crazy. In fact, he said, you can’t trace back and find a beginning point for the ignorance that underlies suffering. But you can see what you’re doing to sustain it now.

So when things come up in life, don’t ask yourself, “What kamma did I do in the past that’s making me suffer now?” or “What is somebody else doing to me that’s making me suffer?” The question is: “What am I doing right now? To what extent am I actively creating the suffering? To what extent can I see that it really is true that to suffer is an active verb, that it all comes from my own actions?” When you see that, you also see the opportunity not to do those things anymore. You’re not compelled to do them anymore. That’s when you’re free. As for where the outside conditions came from in the past, that’s no longer an issue. The suffering you were creating moment to moment was the only suffering that was weighing down the mind. And now you’ve stopped.

The Buddha taught us to cultivate virtues and be ashamed of committing acts of misconduct, in order to avoid suffering in future. But we're not supposed to wallow in remorse over the past. Just learn the lessons of the past and move on quickly.

It's skillful to be ashamed of committing bad kamma, but it is not skillful to feel remorse over past kamma.

From AN 5.57:

“And for the sake of what benefit should a woman or a man, a householder or one gone forth, often reflect thus: ‘I am the owner of my kamma, the heir of my kamma; I have kamma as my origin, kamma as my relative, kamma as my resort; I will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that I do’? People engage in misconduct by body, speech, and mind. But when one often reflects upon this theme, such misconduct is either completely abandoned or diminished.


I wanted to ask how Buddhism explains why we don't remember our past lives?

Sabbe Dhamma Anatta. Memory is not me, mine or myself. If so, how do you expect to remember past lives?

Why bother with the Buddhist path when we will not remember this temporary life in our next?

We do not wish to return. No more rebirths. We wish that this is the last birth of me. Why do we wish so? Because birth leads to suffering. How do we ensure we do not return? By following the noble 8 fold path (or the Buddhist path).

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