I just listened to a audio dhamma talk by Ajahn Punnadhammo. Its called "Stop thinking" and can be found here.

In the last 5 minutes of the talk Ajahn Punnadhammo mentions some good exercises for learning about reality. He says that a good exercise is to try to be conscious while entering the dream state from waking state because the stages of falling asleep exactly mirror the stages of dying! He says its like a sneak preview of what happens when one dies.

My question is; if one trains in this and succeeds in being aware and conscious throughout the death process and into the next life will one then be able to remember the previous (this) life?

Thank you for your time.


  • 1
    Sri Lanka, I think that if you try hard enough at anything, you can succeed. I would be interested in your reasons for wanting to do so. I used to think that I have some memories of past lives, etc, but at some point I had an experience that made it basically irrelevant. There is so much here right now. Do you need more?
    – user2341
    Commented Apr 24, 2015 at 11:06
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    Thank you for your answer. I have actually no interest in remembering past lives. Instead i would like to develop through insight meditation. I would like to become a Buddha at one point in time so when that happens i will know all the past lives. I just asked this question because if one can remember just this 1 life when starting the next life, one would know already from infant what direction one should choose. Imagine that - being able to know that one should practice the dhamma already from 3-4 years old. Other than that i have no interest in past lives.
    – user2424
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 10:16
  • Also i wanted to train this because of being prepared for when death comes. Being prepared and trained to stay aware in this magnifizent oppertunity for learning!!
    – user2424
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 10:16
  • From my experience,staying awake while the body falls asleep can lead to Sleep Paralysis.
    – Orion
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 11:39
  • Thank you for sharing that Orion. I have had that experience too and it was scary. But i think one can work through it by using the noting-technique. I havent tried that yet though. What is your opinion on that?
    – user2424
    Commented Apr 25, 2015 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


If one is truly mindful during the process of death, then one of two possibilities exist; either one will pass away into complete liberation as an enlightened being or, if there is still some substratum of clinging, one will be reborn as a deva or brahma and be fully conscious of one's previous life.

  • Thank you for this teaching Bhante. I really appreciate it. For a long time i have been wondering about what would happen if one were mindful throughout the entire death process. This has certainly given me motivation to practice this so i can prepare myself for when death occurs.
    – user2424
    Commented Apr 26, 2015 at 18:25

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