The patisandhi-citta is the result of a previous good deed or bad deed
committed in the past. The object the patisandhi-citta experiences is, as we
have seen, the same as the object experienced by the last akusala cittas or
kusala cittas which arose before the cuti-citta of the previous life.
The Visuddhimagga (XVII, 164-168) explains by way of similes that although
the present is different from the past there is continuity. The being who is
born is not the same as the being of the past life, but it is conditioned by the
past. There is ''neither absolute identity nor absolute otherness'', as the
Visuddhimagga explains. We read with regard to the patisandhi-citta:
An echo, or its like, supplies
The figures here; connectedness
By continuity denies
Identity and otherness.
And here let the illustration of this consciousness be such things as an echo,
a light, a seal impression, a looking glass image,
for the fact of its not coming here from the previous becoming
and for the fact that it arises owing to causes
that are included in past becomings.
For just as an echo, a light, a seal impression, and a shadow,
have respectively sound, etc.,
as their cause and come into being without going elsewhere,
so also this consciousness.
And with the stream of continuity there is neither identity nor otherness.
For if there were absolute identity in a stream of continuity,
there would be no forming of curd from milk.
And yet if there were absolute otherness,
the curd would not be derived from milk.
And so too with all causally arisen things...
So neither absolute identity nor absolute otherness should be assumed here.