TripleGemStudent wrote: “I asked myself “why am I practicing the Buddha dhamma for?” Since after this jati, if there’s a next bhava/jati, I wouldn’t be able to remember anything from this jati, as well it won’t be the current “I/me/self” that is suffering or enjoying, why should I care what happens to my next bhava/jati?.”
Yes. That is a question that comes to the mind of many people when I try to explain that there is no “soul” going from one life to another AND it is also not the case that they are totally different.
The answers that you have come up with are all valid.
Another way to look at it is the following.
1. You are not the same as when you were a few years ago. That is true in both your rupa and your mindset (vedana, sanna, sankhara, vinnana).
– However, you have the same PERCEPTION of “me” and “mine.”
– Those children who describe their previous birth always have that perception too. They say “I was this and that. I died this way, etc.”
2. In some births (for example, peta or hungry ghost births), one can recall what happened in previous lives that led to that particular birth (just like those children can their past life.)
3. If anyone cultivates jhana (Ariya or anariya) to the fourth jhana, they can see their past lives as well.
Even though the PERCEPTION of “me” is not correct in the ultimate sense, the suffering is real. That is the main point. Suffering does not stop until that perception of “me” goes away at the Arahant stage.
– At the Sotapanna stage, one only realizes that the perception of “me” is not correct AND that is why one is engaged in the rebirth process in the hopes of “enjoying life”.
– But that craving for enjoyment (kama raga) itself is the cause for future rebirths!
– One thing that Susima Thero explains well is the dangers of kama raga.