from the teachings that there can be birth in four different ways: by way of
the womb, by way of eggs, by way of moisture and by way of spontaneous
People would like to know when life starts in the mother's womb. We cannot
determine the exact moment. Life starts at the moment the patisandhi-citta
arises together with the rūpa which is at the same time produced by kamma.
A lifespan ends when the last citta, the dying-consciousness (cuti-citta) falls
away. So long as the dying-consciousness has not fallen away there is still
life. One cannot know the moment the dying-consciousness of someone else
arises and falls away unless one has cultivated the knowledge of the cittas of
other people. The Buddha or someone else who has cultivated this special
kind of knowledge could know the exact moment of someone's death.
We may wonder which kamma in our life will produce the patisandhi-citta of
the next life. Some people believe that by doing many good deeds in this life
they can be assured of a happy rebirth. But the kamma which produces
rebirth will not necessarily be from this life. We have in past lives as well as in
this life performed both akusala kamma and kusala kamma and these
kammas are of different degrees. Some kammas produce results in the same
life they have been performed, some produce result in the form of rebirth-
consciousness of a future life, or they produce result in the course of a future
life. We have performed deeds in past lives which could produce rebirth but
which have not yet come to fruition. We cannot know which kamma will
produce our next rebirth.