Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research

Foreword by
His Holiness the Dalai Lama

In this work, German professor and Buddhist monk Bhikkhu Anālayo illuminates a spectrum of views on rebirth, from ancient scriptures to contemporary research.



304 pages, 6 x 9 inches


ISBN 9781614294467

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eBook Bundle (PDF, epub, mobi)


ISBN 9781614294627

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“Bhikkhu Anālayo offers a detailed study of the much-debated Buddhist doctrine of rebirth and a survey of relevant evidence. He also investigates the Pāli chantings of Dhammaruwan, who at a very young age would spontaneously chant ancient and complex Buddhist suttas. I first met Dhammaruwan when he was seven years old, when my teacher, Anagarika Munindraji, and I visited him and his family in Sri Lanka. Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research illuminates a complex topic with great clarity and understanding.”

Joseph Goldstein, author of Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening

Thu, 11/30/2017 - 16:29 -- Dana Guth

In four chapters, the book leads readers through:

  • the presentation of rebirth in the earliest Buddhist sources and the way it relates to core doctrine,

  • the debates about rebirth throughout Buddhist history and up to modern times, including the role of confirmation bias in the evaluation of evidence,

  • the current research on rebirth, including near-death experiences, past-life regression, and childhood recollection of previous lives,

  • and an examination of a particular case of xenoglossy, the ability to speak languages one has not been taught. As a very young boy, the Sri Lankan Dhammaruwan would chant Pāli-language scriptures that he had not apparently learned in his present life.

Rebirth in Early Buddhism and Current Research brings together the many strands of the debate on rebirth in one place, making it both comprehensive and compact. It is not a polemic but an interrogation of the evidence, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions.

“From his unique perspective as an academic scholar and a monastic, Bhikkhu Anālayo provides a thorough explanation of the early Buddhist doctrine of rebirth and the debates about it in ancient India and early imperial China, as well as a judicious analysis of various phenomena that some people have taken to be evidence for rebirth. This book is essential reading for anyone interested in these fascinating topics.”

Evan Thompson, author of Waking, Dreaming, Being: Self and Consciousness in Neuroscience, Meditation, and Philosophy