If we have been born once already then the absolute certainty we will not be reborn again is not so certain. — W.G. Wobbermann
Some people would like to believe that after they die, they will no more. The only problem with this theory is that doesn't stop rebirth. There is no assurance that after the body’s death we become thoroughly dead. And it almost goes without saying that the mystery of birth is the greater mystery because death is, obviously, dependent upon birth. With regard to our state of being right now, we can’t explain why we are here—in the present moment—rather than not. Moreover, we have no 100% guarantee that we won’t be born again just like before.
Do any of us really believe that when we were conceived in our mother’s womb that it was blind chance sufficient to never happen again? In fact, the chances are that it will happen again. According to the Buddha, rebirth happens when certain conditions are met. If these conditions are not sufficiently ended a sentient being is open to rebirth. Their mind will take up another body, in other words.
According to the Buddha, mind transmigrates which has a proclivity for a certain fertilized embryo this being termed, the entry of consciousness. At this stage, mind enters into time or samsara which is often depicted has a twelve-spoked wheel comprised of the Twelve Fetters which are also called the great oppressors.
Becoming born is not the manifestation of an eternal soul. Being born is phenomenal outgrowth in which, as a consciousness, we are interwoven with a manifold of conscious-objects from which there is no apparent escape. That which is not bound in this condition is hidden from us, hence, our suffering as a result of not finding it.
Death can be thought of as change-into-other. We will either change into a demon, an animal, a hungry ghost, a human or a god depending on the strength and dominance of certain proclivities our mind, from habit, resonates with. While the process is seemingly blind, nevertheless, at this moment we are willing our future destiny. For example, we might be willing good things that are only found in the godly realms. Again, we might enjoy pushing people around and dominating them. In this case we are acting like a demon. After we die we will be reborn into demonic worlds. This is why morality is so important. By it we can reach either heaven or hell.
We can usually tell what our next rebirth will be. If our destiny, after we die, is the hells, before we die we constantly have horrible thoughts. We feel we are always being tormented and persecuted. We can never relax. We are in a constant state of anxiety. If we are going to become a hungry ghost in our next life, we are always hungry no matter how much we eat. We crave food, alcohol, drugs, money, and many more things, of which we cannot get enough!
If we are truly to escape a bad rebirth, we must follow the Buddha’s path or one like it. It is important to understand that mind is really the transmigrant. It is always willing itself into some condition, thus falling into a particular kind of rebirth.
“Craving is what produces a person; his mind (citta) is what runs around; a being enters upon samsara; he is not freed from suffering” (S.i.37).
The various representations that mind produces fill mind with craving causing it to run around insofar as mind does not know itself. Mind’s non-knowledge (avidya) of itself is the fist fetter of the Twelve Fetters. Were mind to actually realize itself it would no longer be engaged in samsara going from one existence to another. With the fetter of non-knowledge overcome one realizes nirvana.