The Kammic Consequences Of Rebirth From One Existence To Another

Speech by 


During the 4th International Conference on Buddhism a brother monk asked a question regarding my paper on ‘Linking Buddhist Kamma with Telomere Scientific Discoveries’. Sayadaw Bhikkhu Bodhipala from Myanmar asked me to explain the kammic implication of conception and rebirth in one’s current existence. In brief, he wanted me to explain the kammic consequences of rebirth from one existence to another. As time was short, I did not answer that question because the explanation required me to give an explanation that would by far exceed the time slotted to answer the question. Later on, I did some research and found that the question was a good one but not answerable directly in the short timeframe given after my presentation.

In this Paper, I will illustrate “The Kammic Consequences of Rebirth from One Existence to Another” and show the complexity of this question as an extension of my paper and presentation last year while addressing my brother monk’s question in the 5th International Conference on Buddhism in Australia. To address the above question, the topics are as follows:

1) Science Vs. Buddhist form (rūpa) part using the Four Great Elements:

The first topic above will show how the Four Great Elements (Cattāro MahāBhūtā) can relate and is similar to natural Science, and the form (rūpa) part of nāmarūpa.

2) Illustrate Name (nāma) part and the 5th Element, (Akāsa Dhātu) using a Human


The second topic will link name (nāma), the second part of nāmarūpa through kamma (Skt. karma), 5th Element (Akāsa Dhātu) and a Human Life Cycle to highlight the area in question between one existence and another.

3) The Kammic Consequences of Rebirth from One Existence to Another:

The third topic will show in part using Forward Order of Dependent Origination the cyclic nature of rebirth and in brief, the 7th book of Abhidhamma, selective parts of the Patthāna (24 Causal Relations) to illustrate a glimpse of how kammic propensities of the previous life gives rise to the next existence.

In these three ways I hope to briefly address Sayadaw Bhikkhu Bodhipala’s question on the kammic consequences of conception and rebirth from one existence to another, graphically. To fully address the kammic consequences of rebirth from one existence to another, all the above three topics and possibly more must be examined in detail. However, the brief diagrammatical representations will suffice for the 30 minutes paper presentation here.

It is my wish to share my presentation and thoughts as an extension of my first presentation last year with honored members present here in the 5th International Conference on Buddhism in Australia for discussion and consideration.

In life, there are already three known basic conditions for rebirth, which most people know and need not be said. However, in Buddhism, a 4th basic condition for rebirth, relates to the presence of a mind entering during conception. The mind descends on the first heat wave of the Fire Element and becomes relatively trapped in the body (kāya) with the presence of four great elements. In reverse, the mind leaves the body on the last heat wave of the Fire Element and becomes relatively freed from the dead body (kāya) with the absence of four great elements, which return to their natural states over time and space.

At that 4th Conference I established that there are four types of death. There are 3 normal deaths and one abnormal death (akālika maraṇaṃ) like a death in car accident, drowning, or been killed. The 3 Normal deaths are based on one’s kammic lifespan (jivita maraṇaṃ), kammic retribution (kamma maraṇaṃ) or both together (ubhato maraṇaṃ) expire as the causality factor of death occurring in the body. While the body gradually disintegrates, the continues its journey looking for a new rebirth while there is still kammic force to give rise to rebirth n another existence.

So, the invisible, kammic forces is what requires explanation between these two boundaries of each individual’s journey throughout life that science has not been able to uncover the process needed to establish the facts to justify its existence.

Brief Characteristics of What is Mind

  1. Mind is not the brain although the mind may interact with the brain
  2. Mind is the invisible, inorganic and immaterial while the brain is visible, organic and has a material substance.
  3. Mindfulness (sati) refers to awareness and heedfulness of one’s thoughts.
  4. The mind consists of a conscious and unconscious or subconscious part. The conscious mind relates to the present, future and interacts directly with the current environment, memory and the brain. The unconscious mind takes over when the conscious mind needs a rest during the period of sleep to rejuvenate the body directly relates to the past.

In brief, the mind could be defined as the invisible, non-organic and unseen continuum of the conscious and subconscious parts working throughout an individual’s journey and linking past, present and future carrying its’ kammic propensities throughout time and space.

The invisible grey area, the mind has baffled humanity ever since technology has gripped the World, and where the invisible, kammic force for rebirth continues unseen and unfathomed by humankind.

Introduction to Rebirth

As long as one’s kammic force exists there is rebirth, for beings are merely the visible manifestation of this invisible kammic force. Death is the physical end of this temporary phenomenon, and if not exhausted will bring about another rebirth according to this invisible kammic force and continues throughout time and space. The organic life of that existence has ceased, but the kammic force is not destroyed.

As the kammic force remains entirely undisturbed by the disintegration of a relative existence body, the passing away of the present dying thought-moment only conditions a fresh consciousness in another birth. It is kamma, rooted in ignorance and craving, that conditions rebirth. Past kamma conditions the present birth; and present kamma, in combination with past kamma, conditions the future. The present is the offspring of the past, and becomes, in turn, the parent of the future.

If we postulate a past, present, and a future life, then we are at once faced with the alleged mysterious problem — “What is the ultimate origin of life?”[1]

According to Buddhism we are born from the matrix of action (kammayoni), and this continues until our kammic force becomes ineffectual and inoperative to cause a rebirth to arise. When a human being attains that ineffectual and inoperative state to cause a rebirth he or she attains freedom from the cycle of birth and death, the very reason why the Buddha gave up his princely life to uncover for the welfare, benefit and goodness of gods and human beings alike.

As stated above, I will illustrate “The Kammic Consequences of Rebirth from One Existence to Another” and show the complexity of this question as an extension of my paper and presentation last year while addressing my brother monk’s question in the 5th International Conference on Buddhism in Australia. I will cover the following topics as:

1) Science Vs. Buddhist form (rūpa) using the Four Great Elements:

Here, I will show how the Four Great Elements (Cattāro MahāBhūtāni) is similar in nature to Science, and can establish the form (rūpa) part of nāmarūpa.

2) Illustrate Name (nāma) part and the 5th Element, (ākāsa dhātu) using a Human Lifecycle:

Here, I will link name (nāma), the second part of nāmarūpa through kamma (Skt. karma), the 5th Element, Ether or Space (ākāsa dhātu) and a Human Life Cycle to highlight the non-definable area in question between one existence and another.

3) The Kammic Consequences of Rebirth from One Existence to Another:

Here, I will show in part using Forward Order of Dependent Origination the cyclic nature of rebirth and in brief, the 7th book of Abhidhamma, selective parts of the Patthāna (24 Causal Relations) to illustrate a glimpse of how invisible kammic propensities of the previous life gives rise to the next existence.

However, to reiterate, to fully address the kammic consequences of rebirth from one existence to another, all the above three topics and possibly more must be examined in detail. Furthermore, the brief diagrammatical Power Point display will suffice for the 30 minutes presentation here.

1) Buddhism vs Science using the 4GES

A) Four Great Elements (denoted as 4GEs)

In Buddhism, the four great elements relates to the physical world at the macro- and micro-level of physical matter. Everything physical that has a visible form is a composite of the four great elements. Even our own body consists of those very elements too, including all vegetation, bird species and animal life, creatures of the sea, the micro-organisms, plankton and insects of all sizes and shapes gives us a macro view of diversity in the Planet that surrounds us.

However, the micro view can shrink physical matter in the macro-level above into its’ smallest and minute particle of mass like an atom into electrons, protons and neutrons, or a cell into a nucleus, and its’ many micro parts to enable a physical body to function each and every day of one’s life. Science and Advanced Technology has enabled normal people to understand and see the physical body in action, and has helped us become more efficient in the way we perform activities, think, speak and act in such a way.

B) The Four Great Elements (Cattāro MahāBhūtāni) are:

i)Earth Element (Paṭhavī Dhātu) is the heaviest of all the elements, solid, hard, firm, unmoving and lays the foundation for all living and non-living forms to relatively dwell on the planet. The presence of the Earth Element enables all organic and inorganic life forms to support itself within the confines of its environment.

Some cultures, call this element ‘Mother Earth’ for, without it nothing can come into existence. The element supports everything relatively held in place. However, many individuals know that sublimely everything is subject to micro-level changes that cannot be seen using our physical eye organs.

ii) Water Element (Āpo Dhātu) is the most fluid of all elements and has the characteristics of blending, softening, flexible, mixing, transforming and shaping objects, the cohesive bonding force of phenomena. Water enables all organic beings to survive according to the environment of one’s existence. It is the cooling effect on a living being.

iii) Wind Element (Vayo Dhātu) is the most moveable of all the elements and has motion or movement as its main characteristics. Without the wind element, inanimate objects could not spread, seeds could not easily travel to other lands; wet objects cannot be dried easily. The element provides relative momentum to all invisible and visible forms.

iv) Fire Element (Tejo Dhātu) is the driving force of all elements through its’ creation, transformation and destructive stages as its main characteristics of a living being. It is also the most, unstable element that affects all other elements through change. This element has the force to create new forms, change or transform the other elements and sometimes destroy itself too. When the element is properly and usefully used it can benefit the beholder and when it is abused or misused, it can destroy whoever beholds it at the time. Between these two extremes, the longer a person can remain in the transformation stage of change, the longer the beholder can remain living in this existence.

C) How Natural Science Represents Them

i) In Nature, Science presents these four elements in a similar way. The three stable states are solids, liquids and gases, and layered according to its relative density, compactness and size. They approximate to layers of solids like metals, alloys and minerals to liquid metals like mercury, and all types of fluids to gases like hydrogen (H) and Helium (He). Briefly, the three states define and layer visible and invisible things in the periodic table (being about 103+ distinct particles or types – see Table 1 below).

ii) Now, Nature provides us with the Sun, the 4th state that equates to the heat element affects all organic and inorganic life forms, waxing and waning with its’ changes from hot to cold over time and space, and Earth’s planetary orbit around the Sun. The Sun has already been created, and it is currently going through its many transformations until it too, will one day destroy itself.

D) The four Natural States according to the Periodic Table: [2]

i) Solid states are similar to the Earth Element in characteristics. However, according to the above periodic table it is more specifically defined as to what is a solid. In the Table above, we can see all the different types of metals:

a) Alkali metals like Lithium, Sodium, Potassium, Rubidium, Cesium, etc.,

b) Alkaline Earth Metals like Benzene, Magnesium, Calcium, Radium, etc.,

c) Lanthenoid metals like 57-71 types,

d) Actinoid metals like 89-103 types,

e) Transition Metals like Chromium, Iron, Copper, Nickel, Silver, Gold, and,

f) Poor Metals like Aluminum, Zinc, Mercury, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluoride, etc.,

ii) Liquids grouped as other non-metals like Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluoride, Silicon, Phosphorus, Chlorine, Bromide, Iodine, etc.,

iii) Gaseous states like Helium, Neon, Argon, Xenon, Radon Elements [3] , etc.,

iv) Sun radiates heat during the dawn of a day and cools down at the dusk as the Earth rotates or orbits around the Sun. In other word, the Sun has similar properties as the Buddhist fire element of hot and cold states. Only its’ intensity and power differs.

E) Diagrammatically Comparing those Elements with Natural Science

For example, when the earth element is dominant, the other 3 are in much lesser quantities like land and mountains. When the water element is dominant, the other 3 are in much lesser quantities like lakes and rivers. When the wind element is dominant, the other 3 are in much lesser quantities like air or oxygen, necessary for all organic beings to breathe. When the fire element is dominant, the other 3 are in much lesser quantities like volcanic laver, hot springs or things undergoing change or transformations.

As the states are well defined according to the periodic table, the corresponding Four Great Elements (4GEs) will have similar classifications to them too.

Gaseous states equate approximately to the Wind Element, liquid states equate approximately to Water Element, solid states equates approximately to the Earth Element and the Sun equates approximately to the Fire Element in lesser quantities.

The Earth element or solid states are heavier, stronger, more compact and very dense in mass requires more force (by wind or heat) to change or move it while the Wind element and gaseous states are its’ opposites. The water element or liquid states have qualities that blend, transform, mix or change things into something else. All 6 are relatively stable or balanced states or elements on their own and are unable change into something else without the fourth state, the Sun or the fire element. However, the Sun and the fire element is the least stable of all the others shown in the Relationship Diagram 1 above.

To illustrate how a relative stable and unstable state and element interact, let us look generally at a block of ice or snow, being of solid mass. When the Sun radiates onto the block of ice the ice gradually starts to melt, and if collected in a container would lose its solid form and take a liquid shape, water (H2O). When the Sun continues to radiate onto the surface water, the surface evaporation give rise to steam, fog or cloud vapors[4] as a myriad of gases and aerosols released in the air.

A buildup of water vapors in the clouds gradually makes them heavier. Overtime, the clouds become darker, blackish and heavy. When the humidity in the atmosphere is 90-100% rain begins to fall, a simplistic example of the evaporation-condensation cyclic process (possibly not the technical explanation though). [5]

In summary, the Four Great Elements primarily represent the body (kāya) part of name and form (nāmarūpa) composite.


A) The 5th Element, Space Element (ākāsa dhātu) or its’ equivalent Ether Element represents the immaterial, invisible relationships in all phenomena. The wind element comes close in that the observer only knows what the wind element is in terms of how it moves visible matter.

B) The Buddha explains the space element as: In a heap of sand there are particles of trapped space between each particle of sand. Hence we may say that there are as many spaces as there are particles of sand in the heap; and we can also distinguish the particles of sand from one another. The heap of sand when scattered or flattened has the same relative weight, size and density. However, the trapped particles of space are unchanged in weight, size and density when the heap of sand is scattered. Only when space is trapped within or between objects is there a relative displacement between particles of space.

Similarly, in very hard lumps of stone, marble, iron, and metal, there are innumerable atoms and particles of atoms, which are called kalpas or groups. Into every finest, smallest particle of an atom there enters at least these following eight qualities of matter, i.e., the Four Essentials and color, odor, savor, and nutritive essence. And each group is separated by the element of space, which locates itself between them. Therefore there is at least as much of space as there is of the matter of the lump. It is owing to the existence of this space that lumps of stone and iron can be broken up, or cut into pieces, or pounded into dust, or melted.[6]

C) However, as sophisticated Science and Advanced Technology is it is still unable to distinguish between matter and the mind. The dilemma for Science is, facts are bounded by the rules that limit its investigation to go beyond because Science is based on proven facts and cannot clearly agree without those facts being established. Facts have been its yardstick to distinguish between an opinion and truth. With technological advances, the pace of scientific reality is lagging behind, and questions addressed like ‘is the mind part of the brain or is it different?’ is a big hurdle to overcome. [7] In this sense, Science needs radical thinkers to think outside the box – almost extremists to break the ‘opinion over fact’ stranglehold to move forwards. Today, for science to lag behind rather than lead the frontier of discoveries, they are seen as the true skeptics of the Technological and Information Age.

D) From the book, The Secrets of Health and Healing By Raj Kumar an extract is given to illustrate the cause and effect of the 5 elements as:

“ … Originating in Cosmic Consciousness, this wisdom was intuitively received in the hearts of the Rishis. They perceived that consciousness was energy manifested into the five basic principles or elements: Ether (space), Air, Fire, Water and Earth are at the heart of Ayurveda, the Science of Life… Thus, Ether manifested into Air, and it was the same Ether that further manifested into Fire. Through the heat of the Fire certain ethereal elements dissolved and liquefied, manifesting the Water Element, and then solidified to form molecules of the Earth. In this way, Ether manifested into the four elements of Air, Fire, Water and Earth.”

The extract defines the basic interrelationship with the five elements that are used in Buddhist Philosophy from the Theravadan [8] , Mahāyana[9] and Tibetan[10] Schools of Thought.

E) Establishing the Five Elements with Science using a Human Life Cycle

So far, I have shown that the four Natural states approximately correspond to the Buddhist Four Great Elements. Now, by adding a 5th element, Space or Ether Element (the Invisible Aspect, the mind), I wish to show how it is diagrammatically represented below as:

F) The ©2015 John Chen Relationship Diagram 2: 5th Element and Buddhist Concept of a Human Rebirth will illustrate the mind and body (nāmakāya) composite.

a) The area of examination is from clinical death in the current life where the four types of death occur, the Buddhist death to the rebirth of the unborn baby and the four types of birth occur in the next life to be experienced.

b) When we examine Relationship Diagram 2 above with the 5th Element, Space or equivalent Ether Element in Science we can see a more realistic relationship and cyclic nature using a Human Life Cycle to illustrate the example.

c) Diagram 2 shows that the Four Great elements create the physical body (kāya) during conception (1) while the 5th element houses the mental aspect of mind (nāma) that descends on the first heat wave of the Fire Element (2) to cause the initial composite name and form (nāmarūpa) to manifest (3), and once completed (4), the other three elements combine to entrap the mind in that newly conceived body and associated existence according to one’s kammic propensity (5). Hence, the 1st name and form (nāmarūpa) composite begins with the 1st cell division (6).

During a period of 9 months a fully developed baby matures (7-10) and is born into the World of Humans as with other creatures in that existence (11).

d) Once born, the baby develops into a child, a teenager, young adult, gets a education and job, finds a partner and starts their own family. And so, the unborn baby cycle continues on in this way. The parents continue to grow old, maturing and eventually die (12). There maybe other medical indications to suggest that the person is close to death.

Medical science defines a person to be clinically dead when the pulse cannot be located (implying the heart has stopped beating) and that there is no breath, breathing in or out occurring the person. Clinical death maybe the end of the person’s conscious ability to interact with the external environment but for Buddhist, this is not the real end of a person’s life. In Buddhism, we say after clinical death, there is a small window of say half to one hour where the body gradually cools down. Some practitioners may have noticed that the body might be cold but at the top of the head or forehead is still warm.

During this short period of time, when the body gradually cools down a relative or loved one should not touch any part of the body, except if you must – only on the forehead. This is very important for the relatives to understand and do if the welfare, benefit and goodness of the deceased are important to them. The purpose of this is so that the mind of the person leaves the body through the forehead, the most natural and best location for the mind to exit from the dead body. When the relative or loved one doesn’t practice this and holds the deceased hand, kisses or hugs it, cries, etc., the deceased person can still hear or feel but cannot respond. If the unconscious mind completely leaves the body at that moment through that person’s contact junction point that will be to the detriment to the deceased.

The mind should leave on the last heat wave of the Fire Element through the forehead, and every other exit is considered not as favorable.

Everything is cyclic as you will later see – unborn child cycle, the physical form cycle; the four great elements cycle, the 5th element cycle, the material and immaterial cycle and the mind cycle are just a few shown in Diagram 2 above.

Everyone who is born and survives will live out one’s life in a similar way. However, we should ask ourselves, ‘is there something else we are supposed to learn before our departure from this human existence?’

In summary, the Five Elements in Diagram 2 above primarily represent the one name and form (nāmarūpa) composite example as mind (manas) and body (kāya).


A) We have now gained a glimpse of the Immaterial, Invisible or Mental Aspect that Science has yet to establish real substantial proof and facts that has eluded the Science World so far. Here, we can see it has very much to do with the Space Element or Ether Element from which the mind and everything appears or manifests for a period of time and then returns or disappears back to source when the departing conditions occur. The Four Great elements define the Material, Visible or Physical Aspect as shown in the Relationship Diagram 2 above. We are now getting closer to addressing my brother monk’s question of what occurs between one kammic existence and another. To address the brother monk’s question a good knowledge of Suttanta and Abhidhamma Pitakas is required, and hence would require possibly a whole day to give credit to a proper answer. Hence, I will only hint as to its’ complexity by briefly highlighting a few indicators of the complete answer by taking some extracts from the forward order of Dependent Origination (Paticcasumuppāda, Anuloma)[11] and Causal Relations (Paṭṭhāna), the 7th Book of the Abhidhamma Piṭaka.

B) From the Suttanta explanation, I have selected the forward cyclic process of Dependent Origination to illustrate how the kamma is passed from one existence to another and I have numbered each stage from 1 to 12 namely:

  1. Avijjā paccayā Saṅkhārā

(From contact (being present) conditions mental feelings)

(From ignorance conditions mental formations)

  1. Saṅkhārā paccayā Viññāṇa
  2. Viññāṇa paccayā Nāmarūpa
  3. Nāmarūpa paccayā Salāyatanā

(From name & form (being present) conditions six sense organs)

  1. Salāyatanā paccayā Phasso
  2. Phassa paccayā Vedanā
  3. Vedanā paccayā Taṇhā (Desire, Craving)
  4. Taṇhā paccayā Upadānā (Clinging)
  5. Upadānā paccayā Bhavo (Becoming)
  6. Bhavo paccayā Jāti (Birth)
  7. Jāti paccayā Jarā,
  8. Maraṇaṃ (death), sokā parideva dukkha domanass’upāyāsā sambhavanti.

By applying the 12 steps of Dependent Origination to ‘Relationship Diagram 2’ above, approximately we get the following results.

Reviewing the area of examination is ‘from clinical death in the current life where the four types of death occur, the Buddhist death to the rebirth of the unborn baby and the four types of birth occur in the next life to be experienced.’

According to Dependent Origination, the area of examination above begins with number 12, and 1-9, and 10, the birth of the unborn baby. Number 11 explains how current kamma, good and bad actions can occur during that lifespan as illustrated using Diagram 2 established earlier.

C) Dependent Origination tells us that through ignorance all this pile of suffering manifests (Eva’me tassa kevalassa dukkhakhandhassa samudayo hoti). So if a person wants less suffering removing your ignorance (avijjā) is essential to progress forwards. Avijjā has two parts: a (not), and vijjā (knowledge); hence the literal meaning is ‘no knowledge’.

Therefore, to not cultivate our knowledge is the cause and gaining wisdom for our release is the result of practicing the Buddha’s Teaching (Dhamma). The numbers 1-12 just approximates the position of the unborn baby over the nine months cycle. However, the numbers, 1-3, 4+, 9 and 10 are much closer to the mark of the unborn baby cycle and 11-12 are the significant points during one’s life and its’ conclusion.

So, through ignorance, the 50 mental formations (saṅkhārā) develop. With the four mental aggregates developed that gives rise to consciousness (viññāṇa). From consciousness developed, name and form (nāmarūpa) manifests and from that, the six sense organs (salāyatanā) develop and continue until all the other faculties are completed. In Dependent Origination, the initial formation of nāmarūpa is the definition of conception at the cellular level – consciousness (viññāṇa) conditions name and form (nāmarūpa).

Following after this, the finer details of development occur to completely develop our six sense organs; contact (phassa) and feelings (vedanā) develop. For those who know what are the five aggregates of clinging (pañc’upadānakkhandhā) they are all developing at this stage of Dependent Origination: consciousness (viññāṇa), perception (sañña) is inferred through contact, 50 mental formations (saṅkhārā), feelings (vedanā) and body [[[cbe:kāya|kāya]] as one type of form (rūpa)] and generally defined as name and form (nāmarūpa). These developments are occurring internally as the unborn baby grows to maturity.

As name and form (nāmarūpa) details become more specialized in functionality, so mental feelings (vendanā) gives rise to desire (taṇhā) and this in turn gives rise to clinging (upadānā). With desire wanting to manifest, and clinging to this name and form gives rise to becoming, coming into existence (bhavo) and finally its’ birth (jāti) into the world.

Generally, there are three types of bhava, namely: kamma bhavo, rūpa and arūpa bhavo. Here, I am only looking at kamma bhavo.

Having been born, the baby grows into adulthood, grows old (jāra), and dies (maraṇaṃ), sorrow (soka), lamentation (parideva), pain (dukkha), unhappiness and despair (domanass’upāyāsa) come to be (sambhavanti). Thus is the arising of this whole mass of suffering (Evam’etassa kevakassa dukkhakkhandhassa samudayo hoti). This, monks, is called dependent origination (Ayam vaccati, bhikkhave, paṭiccasamuppādo).

D) Dependent Origination teaching is significant in that there are two clear paths to liberation, namely:

a) During one’s lifetime (7) Vedanā paccayā Taṇhā;

b) At the end of one’s lifetime (11) Jāti paccayā Jarā,

  1. Maraṇaṃ (death), sokā parideva dukkha domanass’upāyāsā sambhavanti

Here, we can see by breaking the mental feeling and desire conditional link (7) a person can be liberated before one’s lifespan or kammic retribution or both together ends it. Alternatively, if that fails a person can be liberated at the end of one’s lifespan, kammic retribution or both together ends it (11-12). For a particular individual that realization of liberation could literally occur between the medical clinical death and the Buddhist death. Hence, it is so important not to disturb that person between ‘half to one’ hour period has elapsed. Better to meditation on his realization of Nibbāna.

6) Another significant aspect of Dependent origination is that the forward order of Dependent Origination (Anuloma Paṭiccasamuppadā) and the reverse order of Dependent Origination (Patiloma Paṭiccasamuppadā) relates to the Four Noble Truths (Cattāro Ariya Saccani), being the 2nd and 3rd Noble Truths (Samudaya ca Nirodha ca Saccani) respectively.

Therefore, by practicing the reverse order of Dependent Origination the individual will be practicing the 3rd Noble Truth and reducing negative arising through the 2nd Noble Truth will remove our ignorance, the source of this mass of suffering by breaking the feeling-desire link in this very lifetime.

Through this way, Dependent Origination gives some indicators how the transition from one life to another occurs and the kammic ramifications that result from our ignorance or wisdom to make the right decision. Only through a thorough examination will the reader truly understand the intricacies of an individual been reborn life after life, endless is that cycle until liberation is experienced.

E) Now when we apply the 24 Causal Relations (the 7th Book of Abhidhamma, Paṭṭhāna[12]) to the Relationship Diagram 2 above, more details emerge.

F) There are Four Types of Birth – womb, egg, water born, and spontaneous born beings that possess the 6 sense organs and consciousness. An example of a womb-born being is a human being or marsupials. An ‘egg born’ being is a chicken, some reptiles and birds. Water-born beings are sea creatures, hot spring beings, etc., and a spontaneous born being is a heavenly being, or deity.

We are born because birth is conditional based on kamma born matter (KBM) and conscious born matter (CBM). However, to examine the cellular process of becoming into a human existence, a good understanding of Abhidhamma is necessary, and here I will not go to that level of explanation. I will give individuals the initiative to do further investigations on their own outside of the conference constraints.

G) I have listed the 24 Causal Relations below and grouped them under the headings. A twofold analysis is 1-12 internal (in yellow and red) and 13-24 external (dark blue and crimson) causal relations.

A fourfold analysis is 1-6 Preliminary Causal Relations, 7-12 Conception and Establishing KBM & CBM (defined above); 13-18 Resultant Causal Relations (as resultant actions) and 19-20 (Associations and dissociations – crimson) and 21-24 Causal Relations, which I have decided to use to associate with Dependent origination are:

Preliminary Causal Relations

  1. Hetu paccayo (1) 3 Root Causes of Ignorance, 3 Root Causes of Knowledge;
  2. Ārammana paccayo – initial 6-fold visual contact of sense organ with the object;
  3. Adhipati paccayo, (2) Intention (cetana) in terms of desire (chanda), energy (viriya), mind (citta) & Investigation (vihimsā)
  4. Anantara paccayo, (7) KBM, CBM – Purimā (x2) kusalā dhammā …
  5. Samantara paccayo, (7) KBM, CBM;

Purimā (x2) kusalā dhammā pacchimānaṃ (x2) kusalānam dhammānaṃ …

  1. Sahajāta paccayo, (7) KBM, CBM – forming of 5 Aggregates, name and form

Conception & Establishing KBM and CBM Causal Relations

  1. Aññmañña paccayo, (7) KBM, CBM; – establish the basis of the 5 Aggregates … and the formation of the initial nāmarūpa composite

Cattaro khandha arūpino … Cattaro mahābūta … Okkantikhāne nāmarūpa …

  1. Nissaya paccayo, (7) KBM, CBM; – establish details and kamma of Five Aggregates

… Cittacetasika dhamma … Mahābhūta upadārūpanam linked to sense organs, etc;

  1. Upanissaya paccayo, (9) KBM, CBM propensity establishes (seven past, and

two present kamma propensities) and establishes 4-fold unborn continuance via

‘Utu-bhojanam’pi – Puggalo’pi –Senasanam’pi …’

This causal relationship of great dependency is very significant in many ways because it establishes:

a) Two present kamma propensities in this lifetime to make up 9 in total (see ATTACHMENT B: Kamma Details, No. 3 for a list). By practicing these one, any individual can gradually dig oneself out of kamma’s cyclic hold, or bind one more into cyclic existences (in crimson the causal relations 21-24

b) Four conditions for maintaining the fetus of the unborn child;

c) The conditions for not maintaining the fetus of the unborn child

d) The conditions for a miscarriage of the fetus of the unborn child

e) The conditions for an abortion (or abnormal miscarriage) in the fetus of the unborn child

f) That fate or destiny is not absolute with 2 present kamma propensities to make changes to overcome the 7 past kamma propensities from the previous life

g) That the 7 past kamma propensities passes from the previous life to another existence until one becomes liberated

  1. Purejāta paccayo – establishes details of 6 sense organs & linking sense objects
  2. Pacchajāta paccayo – establishes the details of the five aggregates
  3. Āsevena paccayo, (10) KBM, CBM – consolidation of 3 main (hetu) roots,

being lobha (greed), dosa (hate) and moha (delusion) with kamma (doing good

one receives good, doing bad one receives bad, doing supramundane activities

one receives supramundane activities.

Resultant Causal Relations

  1. Kamma paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM [13] – kammaproduced matter in this life
  2. Vipāka paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM – kammaresultant matter ‘ ‘ ‘
  3. Āhāra paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM – food nutrition in this life
  4. Indriya paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM – 22 faculty resultant matter in this life
  5. Jhāna paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM – 4 material/4 immaterial absorptions
  6. Magga paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM – 4 Paths and 4 Fruits of Arahatship

Common Causal Relations

All Likes and Dislikes condition phenomena

  1. Sampayutta paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM Association with …
  2. Vippayutta paccayo, (7, 10) KBM, CBM Dissociation with …

Four Causal Relations are Present in all Cyclic Processes

  1. Atthi paccayo, Presence condition …
  2. Natthi paccayo, Absence condition …
  3. Vigata paccayo, Appearance condition …
  4. Avigata paccayo, Disappearance condition …

H) Birth is the beginning of ageing and eventual death, grief, lamentation, pain, unhappiness, and rebirth. Just as it occurred in the relative past, it will occur in the relative present and relative future.

Our parents, relatives, friends, enemies, companions, and competitors cannot avoid death. So, having seen that birth as the cause of ageing and death, surely if we want to be free of suffering, we should work to end becoming (bhavo) and birth (jāti).

When there is birth there is suffering …

When birth has ended, the suffering of ageing and death ends.

Ageing is always there. Whatever you do to the surface of the skin or surgery it is cosmetic. It cannot be a solution to ageing. There is always ageing, sickness and death. That is fact.

The best a person can do is to remain as long as possible within the transformation period of life’s journey (shown in Relationship diagram 2 above) by adopting the practice of ‘experiencing bad kamma transform, neutralize or nullify it by acting with positive, good kamma’ unconditionally and not dependent upon the outcome to break free of the bindings of Samsāra..

Alternately, the worst a person can do is to reduce one’s time within the transformation period of life’s journey (shown in Relationship diagram 2 above) by adopting the practice of ‘experiencing good kamma transform, neutralize or nullify it by acting with a negative, bad kamma’ unconditionally and not dependent upon the outcome to bind oneself in the cycle of Samsāra..


With my paper on ‘Is Kamma Similar in Nature to Telomere Functionality’ at the 4th International Conference on Buddhism, Perth Feb 2015, and my brother monk, Sayadaw Bodhipala’s question after my presentation has given me the inspiration and opportunity to examine what Buddhist discourses explain the kammic pathway of one’s lifespan to another existence, a small momentary gap between existences.

I believe Buddhism is the only belief system that has a complete solution to overcome all the woes of Samsara if one has the time to fully investigate the Buddha’s Teachings (Dhamma) in this very lifetime.

In Dependent Origination, mind consciousness (viññāṇa) conditions the formation of name and form (nāmarūpa), while in Causal Relation 7 (Aññmañña paccayo) establishes the detailed basis of the Five Aggregates (Four Mental and one Physical), which is a more detail representation of the 50 mental formations (saṅkhārā). These descriptions denote the initial conception process.

In Dependent Origination, the six internal sense organs (salāyatanā) specialize into their respective functions, while in Causal Relation 8 (Nissaya paccayo) the six internal sense organs are detail linked to the physical organs of eyes, ears, nose, tongue, touch and mind, and the seven past kamma propensities. Furthermore, in Causal Relation 8 (Upanissaya paccayo) all nine (past and present) kamma propensities are linked together completely, and the four conditions – seasons, food nutrient from the mother, dwelling place in the womb and the host to carry the unborn child are intact. These four conditions must continue till the time for giving birth occurs. Once these kamma propensities are established, contact (phassa) conditions feelings (vedanā), the 4th aggregate and last one before that transforms into its corresponding bodily form.

Then, comes the first opportunity as explained in Dependent Origination, feelings (vedanā) conditions desire (taṇhā) to break the rebirth cycle and then in turn conditions clinging or craving (upādāna), while in Causal Relations (10–11. Purejāta – Pacchajāta paccayo), the strengthening of that desire to become (bhava) is completely established and intertwined with the 5 aggregates of clinging.

Now, birth (jāti) of the unborn baby must occur, and having manifested in the World, old age (jāra) and death (maranam) follows like the wheels of the oxcart follows after the hooves of the ox, and the three dominant kamma propensity is finalized with Causal Relation 12 (Asevana paccayo) during becoming into existence (bhavo) and just before birth (jāti).

In Dependent Origination, birth (jāti) conditions old age (jāra) and death (maraṇaṃ), while in Causal Relations 13-18 and 19-24 occurs or not between birth and death, and during the transformation period of a human lifecycle. This is a simplistic explanation using Dependent Origination (Suttanta) discources and 24 Causal Relations (Abhidhamma) to illustrate how a living being moves from one existence to another until enlightenment and liberation is achieved.

Finally, when the Buddha heard his disciples discussing who will be our Teacher when the Buddha attains parinibbāna? He replied, knowing the weaknesses in a predecessor-successor lineage by stating, ‘Let the (completed) Dhamma be your teacher after I am gone.’

This is what Albert Einstein said of Buddhism: “If there was ever a religion that can meet the needs of modern science, it would be Buddhism.”



  1. For those of you who wish to review my paper on ‘Linking Buddhist Kamma with Telomere Scientific Discoveries’ given at the 4th IC on Buddhism in Australia, please go to the website: to read the background on it.
  2. See Website:
  3. Understanding Ourselves Better, Dukkha, The First Noble Truth, Vol. 1, by Venerable Canberra Damita, Published by Daw Moe Kay Khine, Shwe Nathar village, Pale’ (3), Mingalardon, Yangon; Printed in Adhipati Printing House (07094), Mayangone, Kabar Aye, Yangon, Myanmar, 6 January, 2004
  4. In Suttanta, the forward order of Dependent Origination (Anuloma Paṭiccasamuppadā) represents the Second Noble Truth while the reverse order represents the Third Noble Truth. See Website: sn12/sn12.002.than.html)
  5. See Website: http://www.thebestbrainpossible. com/the-mind-and-the-brain-what-is-the-difference/
  6. Atmospheric Chemistry: Models and Prediction of Climate and Air Quality: Chapter 9: Chemical and Physical Processes in Clouds By Christine S. Sloane, T. W. Tesche, Lewis Publishers Inc., L-310, ISBN 0-87371-310-9
  7. The Secrets of Health and Healing By Raj Kumar



Four Types for Rebirth:

  1. Womb-born beings like a human being, mammals, etc;
  2. Egg-born beings like chicken and bird eggs, and other reptiles
  3. Water-born beings like all fishes and sea creatures, small water larves
  4. Spontaneous born beings like heavenly born beings Beings (satta) refers to a living, organic life forms.

Four Death Conditions for Rebirth:

Three normal – kammic fuel, lifespan or both together expires One Abnormal – inopportune situation or unfortunate accident

9 Kammic Propensities (according to the Higher Teachings (Abhidhamma):

  • 1.1 Good kamma followed by good kamma
  • 1.2 Good kamma followed by bad kamma
  • 1.3 Good kamma followed by supramundane kamma
  • 2.1 Bad kamma followed by bad kamma
  • 2.2 Bad kamma followed by good kamma
  • 2.3 Bad kamma followed by supramundane kamma
  • 3.1 Supramundane kamma followed by supramundane kamma
  • 3.2 Supramundane kamma followed by good kamma
  • 3.3 Supramundane kamma followed by bad kamma

Note: Kammic Propensities 1.2 and 2.2 sometimes occur in this lifetime show that fate or destiny is not absolute. The rest are past life Kammic Propensities that determine one’s existence in this lifetime. Kammic Propensities 1.1 and 1.3 imply growth; 2.1 and 2.3 imply decline; 3.1 implies the being enters while 3.2 and 3.3 determines the quality of entry into the supramundane path.

Additional Bibliography



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