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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

This vijnana thus forms the principle of the new life


We

sometimes find that the Buddhists believed that the last thoughts of the dying man determined the nature of his next

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[Footnote 1: Govindananda in his _Ratnaprabha_ on S'a@nkara's bha@sya, II. ii. 19, explains "bhava" as that from which anything becomes, as merit and demerit (_dharmadi_). See also _Vibhanga_, p. 137 and Warren's _Buddhism in Translations_, p. 201. Mr Aung says in _Abhidhammatthasa@ngaha_, p. 189, that bhavo includes kammabhavo (the active side of an existence) and upapattibhavo (the passive side). And the commentators say that bhava is a contraction of "_kammabhava_" or Karma-becoming i.e. karmic activity.]

[Footnote 2: Prof. De la Vallee Poussin in his _Theoric des Douze Causes_, p. 26, says that _S'alistambhasutra_ explains the word "upadana" as "t@r@s@navaipulya" or hyper-t@r@s@na and Candrakirtti also gives the same meaning, _M. V._ (B.T.S.p. 210). Govmdananda explains "upadana" as prav@rtti (movement) generated by t@r@s@na (desire), i.e. the active tendency in pursuance of desire. But if upadana means "support" it would denote all the five skandhas. Thus _Madhyamaka v@rtti_ says _upadanam pancaskandhalak@sa@nam...pancopadanaskandhakhyam upadanam. M.V._ XXVII. 6.]

[Footnote 3: Poussin's _Theorie des Douze Causes_, p. 23.

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style="text-align: justify;">birth [Footnote ref 1]. The manner in which the vijnana produced in the womb is determined by the past vijnana of the previous existence is according to some authorities of the nature of a reflected image, like the transmission of learning from the teacher to the disciple, like the lighting of a lamp from another lamp or like the impress of a stamp on wax. As all the skandhas are changing in life, so death also is but a similar change; there is no great break, but the same uniform sort of destruction and coming into being. New skandhas are produced as simultaneously as the two scale pans of a balance rise up and fall, in the same manner as a lamp is lighted or an image is reflected. At the death of the man the vijnana resulting from his previous karmas and vijnanas enters into the womb of that mother (animal, man or the gods) in which the next skandhas are to be matured. This vijnana thus forms the principle of the new life. It is in this vijnana that name (_nama_) and form (_rupa_) become associated.

The vijnana is indeed a direct product of the sa@mskaras and the sort of birth in which vijnana should bring down (_namayati_) the new existence (_upapatti_) is determined by the sa@mskaras [Footnote ref 2], for in reality the happening of death (_mara@nabhava_) and the instillation of the vijnana as the beginning of the new life (_upapattibhava_) cannot be simultaneous, but the latter succeeds just at the next moment, and it is to signify this close succession that they are said to be simultaneous. If the vijnana had not entered the womb then no namarupa could have appeared [Footnote ref 3].

This chain of twelve causes extends over three lives. Thus avidya and sa@mskara of the past life produce the vijnana, namarupa,


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