y not, Sybe07, yann: “Yes, that the last thought moment determines the next birth may be quite unsettling.
The key to understanding here is the following.
That last thought-moment does not come to the mind arbitrarily.
Usually, it is related to the strongest kamma (good or bad) that one has done in all previous lives (including the present life). The Buddha gave the following analogy, which I have discussed before.
In those days, cows were kept in barns overnight. In the morning, the gate would be opened and the cows will go out and start eating grass. The cows are anxious to come out by the morning, but only the strongest push their way to the front to be close to the gate.
– In the same way, stronger kamma would come to the mind of a dying person.
There is a second factor that comes into play, and that is what y not is referring to.
– One may have attained a magga phala (or at least the Sotapanna Anugami stage) during life. Then that person’s mind would not grasp any thought object suitable for rebirth in lower realms. Then it will be replaced by a thought object corresponding to the next strongest kamma in line. If that is also not compatible with the mindset of the person that would not be grasped either. That process would happen very quickly until an arammana (thought object) compatible with the mindset is grasped.
– Of course, an Arahant’s mind would not grasp any arammana due to any previous kamma. Thus an Arahant would not be reborn anywhere in the 31 realms.
A good example is Angulimala who killed almost a thousand people. But he attained the Arahanthood, and thus became free of all rebirths. If he had not attained the Arahanthhod, he would have been born in a lower realm.
See, “Account of Angulimāla – Many Insights to Buddha Dhamma.”