Buddhist Scriptures, by E.J. Thomas, , at sacred-texts.com
The king said, "Reverend Nāgasena, what is reborn?" The elder replied, "Mind and body [name and form], O king, are re-born." "Is it just this mind and body that is re-born?" "Not just this mind and body, O king, but with this mind and body a man does deeds [karma], either good or evil, and through these deeds another mind and body is re-born." "If, reverend sir, it is not just this mind and body that is re-born, surely he will be liberated from his evil deeds?" The elder replied, "If he were not re-born, he would be liberated from his evil deeds, but just because he is re-born he is not liberated from his evil deeds."
"Give me an example." "Just as if, O king, a man were to steal a mango from another man, and the owner of the mango were to take him and bring him before the king, saying, 'Your majesty, my mangoes have been stolen by this man'; and the thief were to reply, 'Your majesty, I did not take his mangoes. The mangoes that he planted are not the same as those I stole. I am not liable to punishment.'
[paragraph continues] Now would the man, O king, be liable to punishment?" "Yes, reverend sir, he would." "Why?" "Whatever he might say, he could not deny the first mango, and he would be liable to punishment for the last." "Even so, O king, through this mind and body a man does good or evil deeds, and through those deeds another mind and body is re-born. Hence he is not liberated from his evil deeds. . . ."
"Give me a further example." "Just as if, O king, a man were to buy a pot of milk from a cowherd, and were to leave it in his charge and go away, saying, 'I will come and take it tomorrow'; and he were to come the next day, when it had turned to curds, and say, 'Give me my pot of milk,' and he should give him the curds, and the other were to say, 'I did not buy curds from you; give me my pot of milk.' The other would reply 'Without your knowing it, the milk has turned to curds.' If they came disputing before you, in whose favour would you decide?" "In favour of the cowherd, reverend sir." "Why?" "Because, whatever he might say, nevertheless it is just from the milk that the curds are derived." "Even so, O king, through this mind and body a man does good or evil deeds, and through those deeds another mind and body is re-born. Hence he is not liberated from his evil deeds." "You are a clever man, Nāgasena." (Questions of Milinda, 46 ff.)
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