I recall, years ago, reading about Buddhist treatises on rebirth, composed some long time after the Buddhas death.

It was a very brief reference of Johannes Bronkhorst's, probably in a footnote. I've searched various of his big works looking for it, and numerous papers. If anyone happens across a likely candidate, would you please let me know?

It seemed to indicate there was a period in which one faction was trying to convince another that the Buddha taught rebirth. I'm interested in learning anything I can about how far back the debate that lives on today goes.

Thanks for any and all help.

  • hi Linda. The suttas, such as MN 95, refer to how the Buddha compared the Brahmin Pundits to a lineage of blind men. Scholars can be similar, often regurgitating the same often speculative ideas & accepted yet unsubstantiated histories. However, returning to fresh in-depth studies of root sources can be very helpful. While not exactly on the topic of Bronkhurst, you could consider running your ruler over this link: buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/dazz/… Regards May 16, 2021 at 23:53
  • @Dhammadhatu. Spectacular bit of research, thanks. Will take me a while to go through it all, but I can already see how useful it will be. Who is the author? May 19, 2021 at 4:02
  • Thank you for the kind words dear Linda. I am pleased you found it interesting. The author is here: buddhismwithoutboundaries.com/… May 19, 2021 at 4:33

1 Answer 1


I haven't found a quote about disagreement between Buddhist schools on rebirth, but I found this 1998 lecture by Johannes Bronkhorst entitled "Did the Buddha Believe in Karma and Rebirth?".

Perhaps you're thinking about Pudgalavada.

From the Atman (Buddhism) wikipedia article:

According to Johannes Bronkhorst, it is possible that "original Buddhism did not deny the existence of the soul", even though a firm Buddhist tradition has maintained that the Buddha avoided talking about the soul or even denied its existence.

The linked footnote reads:

Johannes Bronkhorst (1993). The Two Traditions of Meditation in Ancient India. Motilal Banarsidass. pp. 99 with footnote 12. ISBN 978-81-208-1114-0.

  • Thanks. Interesting. But -- right -- not quite what I'm looking for. Jun 7, 2021 at 23:25

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