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I am very new to buddhism, so my understanding is very basic. My previous world views were very materialistic and deterministic. It might not be surprising that the most confusing concept I find so far is rebirth.

Lets take this theoretical situation: Somebody is declared brain dead.

  • Does this person gets reborn?
  • What if medicine improved and we would bring this person back to life?
  • What if this person would be left in this condition forever by keeping that person alive with medical resources?

Thank you for your help!

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The common stock phrase the Buddha used to describe rebirth process in many suttas:

"...because of performing and undertaking such action, on the dissolution of the body, after death, s/he reappears in a happy/unhappy destination..

A brain-dead person is not dead yet. When the body is officially dead, there'd be the full departure of 3 things: vitality, body heat, and consciousness (MN 43). So, does this person gets reborn? No, since s/he's not dead yet. What if medicine brings him back to life? That'd be great. What if this person would be left in this condition forever by keeping that person alive with medical resources? S/he is still who s/he is, but just like taking a long deep sleep..

  • Even if there's no brain activity? (i.e., consciousness) @santa100 – m2015 Jun 20 '17 at 20:23

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