Question: What is true and what is false in the theory of reincarnation?
.... So, I want to know if the 'I' continues. The 'I', which is a total process, a psychological as well as physiological process, which is with the body and also apart from the body - I want to know if that 'I' continues, if it comes into being after this physical existence ends. Now, what do we mean by continuity? We have examined more or less what we mean by the 'I: my name, my characteristics, my frustrations, my achievements - you know, all the varieties of thought and feeling at different levels of consciousness. So, we know that. Then, what do we mean by continuity; to continue, what does it mean? What is it that gives continuity? What is it that says,'I shall or shall not continue'? What is it that is clinging to continuity, permanency, which is security? After all, I seek security here in possessions, in things, in family, in beliefs; and when the body dies, the permanency of things, the permanency of family, has gone, but the permanency of idea continues. So, it is the idea that we want to continue. We see that property is going to disappear, that there will be no family; but we want to know whether the idea continues, whether the idea of 'I', the thought 'I am', is continuous. Please, it is important to see the difference. I know that I shall be burnt, that the body will be destroyed. I know that I shall not see you, that I shall not see my family; but does not the idea of the 'me' continue to exist? Is not the idea of 'me' continuous - continuous meaning becoming, moving from time to time, from period to period, from experience to experience. So, that is the real enquiry: whether the 'I', the idea or formulation of the 'me', will continue.
Public Talk 29th February, 1948