Friday, June 30, 2006

Bill Gates in the Land of the Betel Leaves

Betel Tray

Microsoft Chairman Bill Gates visited Viet Nam in April at the invitation of Prime Minister Phan Van Khai. According to an official government web page, Microsoft marked 10 years operation in Viet Nam by launching a series of programmes, including Windows XP Starter Edition, a programme to upgrade and build community technology centres in 64 provinces and cities, and Partners in Learning, a cooperative programme with the Ministry of Education and Training to help schools access new teaching methods.

During his two-day stay, Mr. Gates visited the Bac Ninh University of Technology, where he received a «rock star» welcome.

From Elmoooh's blog []: «Several thounsand of students scrambled to catch a glimpse and later broke security line for a touch of the richest man in the planet. Gates really had to make ways to get inside of the auditorium where he spent nearly two hours talking and taking queries from students.In Vietnam, where the baby IT industry is on its way drawing international attention with Intel's earlier last month declaration of building a chip factory in economic hub HCMC, Gates is a God to the youth. Legend revolutionary leader Ho Chi Minh, few years ago was topped in a poll in his own land by Gates as number one famous man.Not only young people are crazy about him but also farmers, most of whom may have never touched a computer or heard of the word Windows in their entire life. Ignoring the fact, hundreds of them, young, old and even infants surrounded Tam Son cultural center in Hanoi's neighboring province of Bac Ninh to wait for THE man

As a welcoming gesture for such distinguished guest, Bill Gates was offered and bravely agreed to a degustation of the traditional «trâu» or «betel quid». The betel quid is composed of betel leaves which are chewed together with mineral lime and areca nut. The lime acts to keep the active ingredient in its alkaline form, thus enabling it to enter the bloodstream via sublingual absorption. The areca nut contains the alkaloid arecoline, which promotes salivation and is itself a stimulant. Tobacco is sometimes added, and the whole combination gives the chewer a powerful buzz and abundant red-tinted saliva.

Betel leaves and areca nuts play an important role in Vietnamese culture. There is a Vietnamese saying that "the betel begins the conversation", referring to the practice of people chewing betel in formal occasions or "to break the ice" in awkward situational conversations. The betel leaves and areca nuts are also used ceremonially in traditional Vietnamese weddings, where the groom offers the bride's parents betel leaves and areca nuts (among other things) in exchange for the bride. Betel leaves and areca nuts are such important symbols of love and marriage that the expression "matters of betel and areca" (chuyen trau cau) is synonymous with marriage.

Bill Gates chewing a betel quid and wishing he was back home

The thing is, chewing a betel quid stimulates the production of saliva, which is normally spit out in a spitoon or some other container. Obviously, nobody told Bill Gates what to do, so he was stuck with a mouthful of trance-inducing chewing quid and blood red saliva. The richest man on earth came all the way to Vietnam to pronounce a extremely important speech, followed by a question/answer period, and he couldn't just take out the frigging betel quid and stick it under a chair like a wad of chewing gum. Rumour has it that he took a deep breath and swallowed the whole damn thing.*

* I'm kidding... He spit it out.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

A Nguyen is a Nguyen is a Nguyen (Alert : bilingual posting)

A famous Nguyen

The most frequent question all Vietnamese living in Canada (and probably anywhere else but in Vietnam) have heard repeatedly is : «Why are you all called Nguyen?» To save time and energy, I would advise them to print out my post and hand it to the person asking that question. No need to thank me.

Le blog «Langue piquante» du quotidien Le Monde de ce matin porte justement sur ce sujet []

«Nguyen & Nguyen

M. Jacques à l'Elysée, M. Dominique à Matignon, ça vous a un petit côté anna, annana, cette familiarité. Quand on nomme le nouveau président vietnamien, Nguyen Minh Triet, doit-on dire M. Triet? M. Minh? M. Nguyen? A la sauce française, c'est M. Nguyen (le patronyme), mais à la vietnamienne ce sera M. Triet (un morceau du prénom Minh Triet, quelque chose comme “brillant philosophe” ou “philosophe éclairé”). Recommençons l'exercice avec le nouveau premier ministre: Nguyen Tan Dung. Pour Nguyen, vous avez compris, prénom: Tan Dung, “avancer avec force”, et voilà M. Dung.

Tant de
Nguyen au Vietnam..., alors pleins feux sur le prénom

If you can read French, by all means click on the link «Nguyen» for an extremely interesting article on the origin and uses of names in the Vietnamese culture. For my other readers, here’s a brief analysis.

Nguyen is indeed a very common family name in Vietnam, about 50-60% of Vietnamese families carry that name, according to the above-mentioned article. The reason for that is that, historically, the vast majority of the population, composed mainly of farmers and merchants, did not have proper family names. The only ones with a name were princes and war lords, so the population living under their control took on the name of their overlords.

A Vietnamese name is usually composed of three words, e.g. : Nguyen Van Hung for a man or Tran Thi Mai for a woman, whereby :

· «Nguyen» or «Tran» are clan names (belonging to the Nguyen Clan or the Tran Clan). The Nguyen Dynasty being the last one in Vietnam, the Nguyen name is now the most widely shared.

· «Van» or «Thi» are «buffer» names, normally used to denote the gender of the person (in these cases «Van» for man and «Thi» for woman).

· «Hung» or «Mai» are first names. Boys’ names usually denote qualities that are virile, such as Hung (Hero), or intellectual such as Minh (Brightness). Girls’ names usually describe flowers, such as Mai (Plum blossom), or poetic animals and objects such as Nga (Swan or Moon) or Châu (Pearl) and feminine qualities, such as Dieu (Graciousness), Hien (Gentleness), My (Beauty), etc..

As the Langue piquante blog indicates, the polite way to address a Vietnamese is to use his or her first name : Mr. Dung, Miss Thu. The family name is considered more or less sacred and it is neither polite nor auspicious to have it casually bandied about. The following story is very common at international conferences where Vietnamese delegates, being called by their family name, just sat there, not realizing they were being addressed :

"A une conférence internationale, le Président, un Japonais, s'est adressé à M. Nguyen Huu Phu, Vietnamien, en l'appelant par son nom de famille : "Mr Nguyen". M. Phu n'a même pas bougé, ne se croyant pas interpellé, sûr que Mr Nguyen était une autre personne." []

To complicate matters, the Vietnamese have also adopted the Chinese custom of changing their names at various times in their life, usually after momentous or life-changing events. Famous stateman Ho Chi Minh has had many names before settling for his last famous one (Ho Chi Minh = Ho, he who brings light).

The Vietnamese believe that their name will influence their destiny and that an «unlucky» name could hinder future successes. As a matter of fact, in the old days, and still nowadays in the countryside, children do not received a proper first name until they pass their first (or even second) year of life. In order to protect them from unwanted attention from demons, sickness or other dangers, their parents would call them by nicknames, the uglier the better. Examples, taken from the above-mentioned article : Cu (penis), Hĩm (vagina), Chí (louse), Cóc (frog), Đĩ (prostitute), Bùn (mud) etc.

Finally, let me end this long post with one riddle and two extra pieces of information :

- Ho Chi Minh is called «Uncle Ho» by the Vietnamese population. Why Uncle Ho and not Uncle Minh according to custom? By the same token, why is Mao Zedong called Chairman Mao and not Chairman Dong?

- Vietnamese women keep their family name all through life and do not take on their husband’s name. Children take the father’s name.

- The name and surname systems reflect a westernized point of view. In Asia in general and in Vietnam in particular, people traditionally call themselves and others not by their first name or family name, but by their family ranks and relationships. A Vietnamese child referring to herself would not say «I» or «me» but : con (child), or cháu (grandchild), em (younger sister), chi (older sister), etc. She would call the other members of the family : ba or bo or cha (father) , ma or me (mother), (grandmother), anh (older brother). When dealing with non relatives, a Vietnamese would quickly assess the other person’s age, rank and status relative to oneself and call that person : anh (older brother), chi (older sister), chu (younger uncle – father side), cau (younger uncle – mother side), co (younger aunt – father side), mo (younger aunt – mother side), bac (older uncle or aunt, or any older person in general, when you’re not sure) , etc.. Addressing a person by a family rank title, as if he/she were a relative, instead of using the cold and formal «Ông» or «Bà» (Sir, Madam) is a charming custom and a polite and gracious way of expressing good will and inclusiveness. Such a system should be adopted worldwide.

Ho Chi Minh's House

Disclaimer: I am a Nguyen.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

At least, it's not genital mutilation

Breast ironing tools

A nationwide campaign is under way in Cameroon to discourage the widespread practice of "breast ironing" which affects 26% of girls at puberty []

This involves pounding and flattening the developing breasts of young girls with objects such as wooden pestles, used for pounding tubers in the kitchen. Heated bananas and coconut shells are also used as «irons».

The reason some mothers would submit their daughters to such painful experience is to protect them from unwanted interest from boys and men. Some girls willingly flatten their own breasts so that they could complete their studies and not be forced into early marriage as is the practice in their village.

Apparently, the victims do have protection under the law, as long as the matter is reported within a few months. If a medical doctor determines that damage has been caused to the breasts, then the person responsible can go to jail for up to three years.

This does not always deter mothers who see their daughters hitting puberty earlier and earlier thanks to better living standards. But the Association of Aunties hopes their campaign will start to change attitudes and spare other girls future physical and emotional pain.

Of course, the obvious question is: if boys and men are the problem, why punish the girls? But as we say in French: poser la question, c'est y répondre, in other words: to ask the question is to give the answer.

And the answer is that, in mysoginistic cultures, women are always punished for men's shortcomings. They have to cover themselves up because men are incapable of controlling their lust if they get a peek of a woman's hair. Women must submit themselves to a curfew at night because some men are rapists. Women must pound their boobs in because curves might give men ideas. Female adulterers must be stoned to death because some men get tired of their wives. A woman who has been raped is to be blamed because she must have provoked the assault somehow, by the way she dressed or walked or talked, in other words, she asked for it.

Here's an idea: we could lock up men who behave like animals in rut at the sight of a woman, since I'm sure that most men can look at a woman without drooling and going on a rampage. We could also lock up all men at night, so that women can go out and not be worried about the small percentage of men who are rapists. Similarly, if a man get mugged or robbed, we could just shrug and blame him for walking around while carrying a wallet or wearing a watch or expensive sneakers, in other words, he asked for it. Wouldn't it be more logical, more rational, not to mention more equitable, to punish the wicked and reward the innocent?

Yeah, right.

Friday, June 23, 2006

My plans for the long weekend

All pictures from Cute Overload

Scratching my butt and taking long naps....

Monday, June 19, 2006

Tutti Frutti

Yesterday, we celebrated Father's Day with a BBQ and for dessert, I served watermelons that I carved myself. As you can see, they're not bad at all, if I may brag a bit.

No, I'm kidding. The picture comes from Takashi Itoh's webpage []. He's the real artist.

I did serve some fruit art, though. I made a lion out of citrus fruit and olives. Here it is:

Hahahaa! I'm kidding again. This comes from an Italian website called Papillon, where you can enrol to learn how to carve fruits and vegetables or buy the instructions on CD [].

Actually, the whole thing is a lie. We didn't have a BBQ for Father's Day. In fact, we didn't celebrate Father's Day at all.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

No decapitation please, we're Canadians

After last year's London terrorist attacks, the British created a website called "We are not afraid" []. «We’re not afraid is an outlet for the global community to speak out against the acts of terror that have struck London, Madrid, New York, Baghdad, Basra, Tikrit, Gaza, Tel-Aviv, Afghanistan, Bali, and against the atrocities occurring in cities around the world each and every day. It is a worldwide action for people not willing to be cowed by terrorism and fear mongering.»

Following the recent sting operation and arrest of a group of alleged islamic terrorists in Ontario, somebody decided to set up a Canadian version of We are not afraid, called "I am not" [].

Considering the threats made against the Canadian Prime Minister's body integrity, Blamblog [] has the best idea for a slogan that could be a rallying cry for federalist Quebeckers as well as the ROC. Here it is:

Déjà Voudou

"Il est vital que les Irakiens sachent avec certitude que l'Amérique ne les abandonnera pas après être allée aussi loin" - George W. Bush (Le Monde) -

"Pardon, vous avez dit?" - Ngo Dinh Diem, Nguyen Van Thieu, Tran Van Huong, Duong Van Minh

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Another day at work

Huh? What? No, I wasn't sleeping!!.....

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Origami, Origayou (sorry!)

One of my great passions is Origami. When I was a small kid, I had an uncle who patiently folded all sorts of figures for me: birds, flowers, boats, etc.. He didn't have any money so he practiced with old newspapers. I loved all his creations and collected the ones he made for me for a long time.

As I grew older, I gradually realized that my uncle's pieces were simple and crude, and I only kept a couple of them, for their sentimental value. Nowadays, the art of origami has matured and evolved a lot. Instead of the usual cranes and frogs, origami artists are now boldly pushing the envelope and thinking outside the box, to use two tiresome clichés. For example, the piece above is a woman in ao dai, made by Phạm Diệu Huy, a member of the Vietnam Origami Group [].

There are thousands of other websites dedicated to origami. One of the most famous is Joseph Wu's website at

I myself like the buddha shown below. It was made by Takashi Hojyo, whose website is at:

His works are also shown at:

I give myself two years to reach this level of competence and creativity.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Sunday Family Musical Event

For once, parents and children should agree on this one.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Friday, June 09, 2006


I have this reputation at work as a gruff and churlish misanthrope. Not quite as crazy and aggressive as the dog in the video, although I also cannot stand myself sometimes.

Taking the elevator with other people every morning has always been an unpleasant chore. Most of them are way too chirpy, sunshiny and chattative for my taste: hello, how are you, hot/cold enough for you, and then they insist on telling me what they did last evening, which is usually watching something uninteresting on TV. Normally I pretend to be claustrophobic, to avoid getting into the same elevator with them. I realize that it can look very rude sometimes, but I'm too curmudgeonish to really care.

Taking the elevator down in the evening is just as unpleasant. That's when your co-passengers would talk about what they did today and/or what they will do tonight, usually in loud, high-pitch voice, laughing at each others' lame jokes, as I smile weakly and nod while invisibly rolling my eyes.

Yesterday though, one of my co-workers busted me. I found an empty elevator going down and was looking forward to a nice quiet ride when three of my colleagues squeezed in at the last minute. A cry of despair escaped my lips before I could stop it: «Tchaaah!». The colleagues laughed and joked: You thought you could go without us? How nasty of you to try to close the elevator doors before we could get in. Then, as the elevator stopped to pick up more passengers, one of them said loudly: «You know L. (that's me), she doesn't like to share elevators. Why, she'd rather use the freight elevator than be with us.» And another passenger piped in: «That's true, I've seen her near the freight elevator every morning!». By that time, we've reached the ground floor and everybody started rushing out as I growled impotently at them.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

New Cellphone

I cracked and bought myself a new cellphone. I've been waiting for my old one to break down but the bastard kept going and going like a Duracell bunny, even after I dropped it many times, once on a cement floor where it burst open and once into a toilet bowl at work.

After waiting and doing research for about a year, I finally decided on the Sony Ericsson W810i.

It's a phone of course, but it's also a photo/video camera, FM radio, MP3 player, sound recorder, PDA, web browser, email, gaming engine, with Bluetooth and infra-red connectivity.

I should be receiving it in a couple days and I'm quite excited, as you can imagine.

Sometimes, life is sweet.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

World Cup

If you are going to bet, know that the FRG team will be the winner this year. At least that's what I think a well-known psychic is saying.

But I've also just learned from Down and Out in Saigon [] that Muqdada Al-Sadr, one of the big powers in Iraq, has decided to issue a fatwa - a religious proclamation - on football. He thinks it is blasphemous and his fatwa prohibits the game. So that might skew the prediction a bit.

Give me money for my charity and in exchange I'll do something completely irrelevant to you that I enjoy doing anyway

We're admirable cause we walk against Breast Cancer

Sorry for the long title but a friend just hit me for money cause she's participating in the Marathon for Breast Cancer or something like that. In this case, I gladly gave, because she's my friend and the cause is good.

But I remember when I first arrived in Montreal from Asia via Europe, two continents where the concept of walkathon, danceathon, whateverathon is completely unknown (at least at the time).

Practically every other week, a little boy or a little girl would ring my doorbell, and when I answered, asked me for money for some school project. I was supposed to sign on his/her sponsorship pledge list whereby, in exchange for my 5 bucks, he/she would eat a pie or skip rope or ride a bike, etc. for a certain period of time... In other words, he/she would do whatever fun stuff he/she was going to do anyway, but because it's a charity drive, it's considered to be a great sacrifice he/she is doing for the school project, so I have to pay him/her to make it worthwhile. And the more I pay, the longer he/she will do that fun stuff.

Did I describe the something-or-other-athon properly and correctly? Now, can someone explain the whole nonsense to me?

Monday, June 05, 2006

Two solitudes

To get rid of immigrants, the natives should have given them smallpox blankets

I like to bitch and make fun of PureLaineDeSouche Quebeckers from Quebec City or some other little village who freak out whenever they cross a dark-skinned person on their path. The PureLaineDeSouches' fear of being invaded by yellow, brown, or red hordes seems genuine enough, but they are rather harmless.

Rightwing nuttery in Quebec is practised by relatively small groups, because the Quebec population and its government are generally much more liberal and open-minded than the ROC (rest-of-Canada). Montreal, for example, is the Canadian equivalent of New York (don't laugh!), with its cosmopolitan sophistication and its diverse ethnic groups, cultures, cuisines, arts, etc.. Here, people from all areas of the world live side by side in a more or less peaceful and harmonious setup. And probably 99% of the province population disapprove of George Dubya Bush and his administration's policies.

Last week however, someone sent me a email that has obviously been going around the internet, where the author complains about the Canadian government cowering under Muslim pressure and adopting Islamic laws. The main thrust of the email was : they came to our country, let them adapt themselves to our way of life and not the other way round. I deleted it half-way without reading it through. I now regret the deletion, because I can no longer quote from the original text, but I’m not sorry for avoiding «soiling» my eyes with its hateful message, since I’ve read the same arguments so many times before in US blogs.

In contrast to Quebec, the rest of Canada, especially the western provinces, is much more conservative and much more prone to admire the United States and follow their policies. The email I received was copied from the various screeds posted on US rightwing blogs, with small changes made to adapt it to Canadian readers. «Mexicans» are replaced by «Muslims» and «Arabs», but the content is the same: immigrants are freeloaders, who come to Canada to breed like rats and take advantage of Canadian generosity while imposing their filthy customs and backward cultures; they are better treated than the regular Canadian citizens and unfairly receive extra benefits, usually monetary.

Ten or twenty years years ago, the targets of such hatred were the natives: they don’t pay taxes, they are drunk and filthy, they live on welfare supported by regular taxpayers etc..

The rightwing conservatives are predictable like clockworks: every other week, they would issue emails, petitions, articles, blog postings, targeting their victims du jour. This time it’s immigrants, but next time, it could be women and their uppity desire for abortion or the Jews with their control of the media, or may be some Third World countries that are yet again asking for financial help. The arguments presented try to sound reasonable, but they are based on distorted data and sometimes pure lies. And the conclusion always fingers some group to hate. And that's how one can recognize their hate message: it's always somebody else's fault if the Christian white straight males cannot find happiness.

Canada is a society bound by the rule of law. If some of the laws are not satisfactory, there are legal processes that could be used to change them. It is not by circulating hateful emails against some defenseless minorities that one can build a better country. And it certainly is not by blindly parroting the worst elements of another country that one can prove one’s patriotism.

Multiculturalism is what happens when you live in the world and not behind a gate.
(Steve Gilliard -

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Got Salt?

This is a cool video. Warning: lower the volume as high pitch sound could be uncomfortable.

Explanation: Salt is spread on the membrane of a speaker. The membrane vibrates differently according to various pitches/frequencies: some portions of the membrane are immobile while other portions vibrate. The salt accumulates into those portions that do not vibrate, creating different patterns.

Friday, June 02, 2006

La mort selon les bouddhistes

Que se passe-t-il au moment de la mort ?
Explication du Vénérable Tich Thien Châu, moine vietnamien
(Publié dans BuddhaLine - 2 octobre 2002)

Les phénomènes psychophysiques qui nous constituent naissent et meurent perpétuellement, à chaque instant pendant toute la durée de cette vie. En d’autres termes, la dissolution et la disparition sans cesse répétée de chaque combinaison psycho -physique momentanée.

À propos de l'instantanéité de l'existence, Buddhagosa a écrit, dans le Visuddhimagga, VIII: "Au sens absolu, nous n'avons qu'un temps de vie très court. La vie ne dure que le temps d'un unique instant de conscience. Tout comme la roue d'un chariot, qu'il roule ou soit immobile, ne s'arrête jamais que sur un point de la jante. Ainsi, la vie d'un être ne dure qu'un unique instant de conscience. Dès que cesse cet instant, l'être cesse aussi."

La biologie nous informe aussi qu’en un an 98% des cellules de notre corps changent. Ainsi, la mort en tant que rupture des facultés vitales d’une forme d’existence n’est que l’interruption temporaire d’une forme, d’une apparence ; elle n’est pas l’annihilation complète d’un individu ; elle est, bien plutôt, la manifestation du passage immédiat à une autre existence. Seules les formes des organismes cessent de fonctionner, mais l’énergie, la soif d’existence inclue dans la force karmique, continue de se manifester dans une autre forme de vie. En conséquence, la loi de cause à effet opère sans interrompre les processus de vie.

L’individu est toujours responsable de ses actions et héritera de leurs résultats. En examinant la mort (la conception de la mort dans le Bouddhisme) à l’aide de ces points de doctrine, nous considérons de toutes façons la mort comme un phénomène aussi normal que la naissance. Sur ce sujet, voyons les explications du Bouddhisme concernant ce qui se passe au moment de la mort.

Généralement les gens sur le point de mourir étant physiquement faibles, ne peuvent contrôler ou diriger leurs pensées. Aussi, des impressions provoquées par des événements importants de leur vie présente ou de leurs existences passées, apparaissent activement dans leur esprit qui se trouve incapable de les rejeter.

Ceci constitue les trois sortes de pensées au moment de l’approche de la mort :

1. Le souvenir d’actions importantes, bonnes ou mauvaises, accomplies précédemment (karma)
2. Le symbole de ces actions (Kammanimitta), par exemple, le fusil avec lequel on a tué quelqu’un.
3. L’image de l’endroit où l’on doit renaître (gatini mitta), par exemple le lieu de souffrance extrême (naraka) pour les meurtriers, ou le lieu bienheureux (devaloka) pour les généreux.

Ces trois objets de pensée que l’on ne peut choisir consciemment apparaissent clairement dans l’esprit au moment de la mort. Ces pensées à l’approche de la mort constituent des actions près de la mort (maranasanna kamma) influençant et déterminant le caractère de l’existence à venir de la même façon que la dernière pensée précédant le sommeil peut devenir la première pensée au réveil.

De même, les actions les plus importantes d’une vie (garuka kamma), ainsi que les actions habituelles, bonnes ou mauvaises deviennent les pensées actives et prédominantes dans les dernières minutes. Si quelqu’une de ces actions est absente au moment de la mort, l’action cachée (katatta kamma) constitue la force qui produit la naissance. Il y a ainsi quatre catégories d’actions (Kamma) qui conditionnent l’apparition des pensées qui précèdent le mort. Après que ce processus de pensée soit apparu dans la conscience directrice (tadalambana) dont la fonction est d’enregistrer les impressions réelles, la pensée de la mort (cuticitta) advient. C’est la fin de cette existence.

Du raisonnement aux preuves: Que se passe-t-il après la mort ?

A ce propos, le Bouddha a exposé la "doctrine de la renaissance". Cette doctrine a son origine dans l’illumination du Bouddha et non dans aucune des croyances pré-bouddhistes avec lesquelles elle a souvent été, à tort, confondue.

D’après cette doctrine de la renaissance, la mort est une porte qui s’ouvre sur une autre forme de naissance. Les deux existences sont réunies par la conscience de renaissance (patisandhi-vinnana) qui est conditionnée par la pensée précédant la mort (maranasanna javanacitta) et qui réapparaît au moment de la conception, c’est à dire avec la formation d’une nouvelle vie dans la mère. Cette conscience est identifiée comme "l’être à naître" (gandhabha). Immédiatement après, elle disparaît dans le courant subconscient de la nouvelle vie (bhevangasota) qu’elle conditionne sans interruption.

C’est la conscience de renaissance qui détermine le caractère latent d’un individu. Il faut remarquer que le Bouddhisme ne dénie nullement l’hérédité parentale, mais insiste sur le fait que l’hérédité essentielle est la force karmique incluse dans le troisième facteur, qu’on appelle couramment "l’être à naître" (gandhabha), de la conscience de renaissance. De la mort à la renaissance, le courant de conscience est transmis sans l’intervention d’aucun intermédiaire (antarabhava).

De même, la conscience de renaissance ne transmigre jamais d’une existence passée à une existence ultérieure. Il peut être utile de comparer cela à des phénomènes tels que l’écho, la lumière d’une lampe, l’impression d’un sceau ou l’image dans un miroir. Les deux existences consécutives ne sont ni identiques ni différentes (Milindapanha p. 40).

Comme la conscience de renaissance est conditionnée par la force karmique, on peut renaître après la mort dans l’une ou l’autre des cinq possibilités suivantes :

1. le lieu de souffrance extrême
2. le règne animal
3. les esprits
4. l’humanité
5. les mondes célestes.

Il est bon de dire à ce propos que la doctrine de la renaissance qui est une théorie de la continuité de l’être après la mort, est différente de la doctrine de la réincarnation ou de la transmigration Hindoue ; car c’est en effet une doctrine séparée et tenant le milieu entre les deux extrêmes :

- la théorie de l’éternité (sassataditthi) qui admet l’existence d’un ego persistant ou d’une personnalité existant indépendamment de ses processus psychophysiques.
- la théorie de l’anihilation (uccedaditthi) qui, à l’opposé, admet l’existence d’un ego ou d’une personnalité qui s’identifie entièrement à un processus psycho-physique et, par conséquent, est annihilé par la mort.

La doctrine de la renaissance n’est pas un dogme qui doit être accepté d’avance, mais plutôt un principe qui peut être vérifié. Les 20 cas de renaissance recueillis et analysés par le Docteur Ian Stevenson Department of Neurology and Psychiatry School of Medicine, University of Virginia, et publiés sous le titre de "20 cases suggestive of reincarnation" en constituent une preuve.