The circle of Saṃsāra, the endless wheel of birth and death, has been going on for such a long time that a beginning point can not be discerned. We all had many past lifes, not just one or a hundred or a thousand, but billions and trillions of past lifes.
The Buddha explained that we had so many past lifes, that the tears we shed is more than the water in the pacific ocean. The blood we shed when we were injured or slaughtered is more than the water in the pacific ocean. The bones of the bodies we left behind in just one aeon would form a mountain greater than the Himalayas. And there have been countless aeons passing along in this beginningless Saṃsāra.
If we have conviction in the reality of this vast number of past lifes, there are certain inferences we have to acknowledge as well, simply as a statistical truth:
1️⃣ Whatever being we encounter that is in a miserable condition, ugly, sick, deformed, or repulsive like cockroaches and canetoads: We can be sure that we ourselves have been just that kind of being in some past life.
➡ How then could be conceited or arrogant, looking down at any being?
2️⃣ Whatever being we encounter in exaulted position, rich, powerful, beautiful; Presidents and Billionaires, Foto Models and Movie Stars: We can be sure that we ourselves have been just that kind of being in some past life.
➡ How then could we suffer from feelings of inferiority, feeling inadequate and useless in comparison?
3️⃣ It is difficult to find a single being that has not been our mother or father or spouse or some form of close loved one in one of those many past lifes.
➡ How then could we feel anger and hatred to them, how could we not develop kindness and compassion to all?
4️⃣ Whatever plane of existence, whether human or deva/angel, whether animal or hell or hungry ghost or any form of spirit, we have been reborn in that plane before at some stage. Whether having a PhD and becoming a Professor, or earning a million (or billion) $$$, or having a dozend children, or being the most famous model or film star, or travelling the whole world: In some past life we actually had achieved already exactly that!
Whatever is on your 'Bucket List' of things you feel you really must do in this life before you die: You have done it already in some of these beginningless past lifes.
Except one thing:
Gaining the Vision or Dhamma, freeing our heart from all defilements and experiencing the end of suffering, partaking of that ultimate reality of the Deathless
➡ That's the only thing we have not yet done. That's the only thing that's really worthwhile to put on the bucket list for a true disciple of the Buddha.
The Buddhist Bucket list has only one item:
🔸 Realizing total Liberation in one's heart
“Anamataggoyaṃ bhikkhave, saṃsāro, pubbā koti na paññāyati avijjānīvaraṇānaṃ sattānam taṇhāsaṃyojanānaṃ sandhāvataṃ saṃsarataṃ..."