Very Good Question. Lord Buddha gives very simple example with the Deep explanation in one of the Abhidamma 7 books named "Pattana"
He asked few questions taking mango tree.
If we plant a mango seed taking from the [hypothetically we say "A" mango tree] "A"
mango tree. One mango we called it "B" ripen and fallen down. Once this ripen mango started decaying and the seed met with necessary requirements like Soil, Water, and Sun shine, Air to generate a new plant and it gives us "B Mango Tree"
Now A tree gives us "B" Seed and it gives us "B" Mango tree.
But Is A = B? No
Does B has A's qualities and similarities? Yes
How it happend? Genetically A Seed carries its qualities and similarities which now B owes.
Though the fruit has fallen and though the fruit may decay the germ or the energy it has to produce another tree does not die. Once it comes into contact with the earth being nurtured by the four primary Elements – Pathavi (the earth element) Apo (the watery element) Tejo (the heat element) Vàyo (the wind element) it produces another tree of the same kind namely another mango tree.
In this manner action and re-action cause and effect death and birth, prevail and continue to prevail. It is like the tree producing the fruit and the fruit in turn producing the tree and continue to prevail as an unbroken process. We can only see it happening in the present context. But we cannot trace back to the beginning of this process nor can we visualize the end before the attainment. However much we try we would never find the first mango tree nor can we find the last mango tree but we can see how a tree produces the fruit and how the fruit produces another tree.
The separation of the fruit is like the death. Its contact with the earth is birth. There is no interval as such between the tree and the fruit and the fruit and tree. It continues to grow. Thus from the day the fruit was born by the tree and up to the producing of another tree, similarly within the human mind there is an energy to produce another being.
Similarly human being may die but the energy to be reborn does not die completely. It grows gradually. But it faces to the momentary decay and death, as (uppàda, tithi, bhaïga) genetic, static and dissolving. This energy is craving and ignorance and the resultant Karmas or action, which will continue to accumulate till one gets rid of all defilements with the rise of wisdom and the resultant cessation of craving and kamma which will put an end to rebirth ultimately reach Nibbàna.
This process can be thus elaborated :- Ignorance and craving-attachment-kamma-rebirth Wisdom-no craving-detachment-no kamma-no rebirth. This existence of beings is thus determined. Kammàvipàkà vattanti Vipakàkamma sambhavo Tasmà punabbhavo hoti Evaü loko pavattati (Visuddhi Magga)
Because of action cause and craving a being is born. After birth too he accumulates kamma craving and cause. Therefore he is reborn. Thus the Saüsàra or the continuity of life prevails. It is called the Kamma Niyama and it also related to the Citta Niyamaya.
Khandhàna¤ca patipàtã Dhatu ayatanàna ca Abbocchinnaü vattamànaü Saüsàroti pavuccati.
Saüsàra Round of Rebirth, is the unbroken chain of the five-fold Khandha-combination, or aggregates which constantly are changing from moment to moment follow continuously one upon the other through inconceivable periods of time.
Although there is a division of time into past, present and future everybody is living now. We do not live in the past or in the future. We cannot exactly say it is the present. But it moves forward as in the case of the second arm of a watch or as in case of figures that take place in an electronic wrist watch.
Thus what goes to the future is present what goes to the past is also the present. When it goes forward the mind and matter grow. When it goes backwards the mind and matter decay. So growth actually means decay. Thus from the time of birth the mind and matter decay. It is a dual process.
Yathà idaü Nàma Råpaü Paccayato bhavissati Evantãtepi nàgate Abhavittha bhavissati. ( Paññhàna)
Just as now mind and matter exist with cause, they existed even in the past, in future also they will exist.
What the dual process, one can understand by this example is someone travels from Colombo to Anuradhapura by train. When he travels by train he can see the train is moving fast forward and the trees and buildings are moving backward. The same thing happen to our mind and matter.
This is known as Anicca or impermanency. Because of the nature of impermanency there is suffering because of the presence of a mind. Where there is only matter there is no suffering because of the absence of a mind. So where there is a mind and matter there is impermanence and suffering and nothing else. There is no permanent entity in the form of soul or spirit. What prevails is Anàtma (Anicca, Dukkha Anatta).
The Buddha has also mentioned the fact that whatever kamma that we accumulate in this life are being carried over to the next.
Ya¤ca karoti kàyena Vàcàya uda cetasà Tamhi tassa sakaü hoti Ta¤ca àdàya gacchati. Ta¤cassa anugaühoti Chàyàva anapàyinã (Kosala Sanyutha)
Whatever wholesome or unwholesome (kusala, akusala) Kammas that one accumulates by the way of mind speech or action in this life are being carried over to the next.
Eso nidhã sunihito Ajeyya anugàmiko Pahàya gamanãyesu Etaü àdàya gacchati. (Nidhi Kandha Sutta)
Whatever good or bad kammas that you have accumulated, like a treasure, cannot be taken away from you. It follows you and is being carried by you to the next life. How do we carry over these good or bad kammas?
Let us now examine this and the results we derive when we carry over those Kammas to the next life. Let us take the example of the mango tree to elaborate this as well.
If the mango tree in our compound is of “Gira” variety when a fruit that is detached from the branch falls to the ground and produces another mango tree also would be of the “Gira” variety and the fruit that is born by this tree will have the same qualities of the mango fruit that originally fell from the tree. It will also have the same taste and the same shape. This shows that the taste qualities and shape are being carried forward.
Similarly beings also carry forward whatever good or bad kamma that one accumulates in this life and this kamma will determine the nature of the next life.
Suvaõõatà sussuratà Susanthàõa susråpatà âdipacca parivàrà Sabba metena labbhati – (same Sutta)
Golden complexion, softness, correct features, pleasant qualities, leadership and retinue are derived from good kammas.
Mànusikà ca sampattã Deva loke ca yàrati Yàca nibbàõa sampatti Sabba metena labbhati – (same Sutta)
Not only this all comforts and pleasures of the human world and all comforts and pleasures of the world of Devas, ultimately Nibbàna will be achieved by such meritorious actions or kusala kammas which are being carried forward from life to life.
Yàdisaü vapate bãjaü Tàtisaü harate phalaü Kalyaõakàrã kalyàõaü Pàpakàrã ca pàpakaü – (Saüyutta Nikàya)
As you saw, so shall you reap. Good action promotes good results. Bad action promotes bad results.
The mango fruit fell under the same tree. But the ground is not fertile and as such it does not grow properly. It may be a fruitless tree and that depends on the place, where the fruit has fallen.
Someone takes away this mango fruit and plants it in his garden where the place is fertile. He adds compost and waters it. It grows properly. It bears fertile mango fruit. The fertility or infertility depends on the place.
Even so according to the good and bad kamma we will be reborn in hell or heaven. The happiness and unhappiness depend on the place where he was born.
This is happening due to 24 Conditional Relationships called "Pattana"
THE TWENTY FOUR MODES OF CONDITIONAL RELATIONS
- Hetu-paccayo - root condition
- Arammana-paccayo - object condition
- Adhipati-paccayo - predominance condition
- Anantara-paccayo - proximity condition
- Samanantara-paccayo - contiguity condition
- Sahajata-paccayo - co-nascence condition
- Arammana-paccayo - mutuality condition
- Nissaya-paccayo - support condition
- Upanissaya-paccayo - decisive support condition
- Purejata-paccayo - pre-nascence condition
- Pacchajata-paccayo - post-nascence condition
- Asevana-paccayo - repetition condition
- Kamma-paccayo - karma condition
- Vipaka-paccayo - karma result condition
- Ahara-paccayo - nutriment condition
- Indriya-paccayo - faculty condition
- Jhana-paccayo - jhàna condition
- Magga-paccayo - path condition
- Sampayutta-paccayo - association condition
- Vippayutta-paccayo - dissociation condition
- Atthi-paccayo - presence condition
- Natthi-paccayo - absence condition
- Vigata-paccayo - separation condition
- Avigata-paccayo - non-separation condition.
These are twenty-four conditional relations factors that sansara keeps on going transferring the past kamma to the present and making the future kamma.
Below find very important links:
The First one take the basic knowledge about how these conditions working
CONDITIONAL RELATIONS (PATTHANA)
You can find all Abhidhamma 7 Books in pdf download format.
Advise not to read this without knowing the Abhidamma Basics. Without knowing Universal factors it is very difficult to understand this Conditional Relations.
To Learn Basics with the circle of samsara read this site linked pages one by one
to understand the Universal Factors.
- Abhidharma Basics - Loving Kindness
May Triple Gem Bless you!!!