Many people believe that after the death and disintegration of the body, the continuum of the spirit also comes to an end and that the spirit no longer exists, like a candle flame whose wax is burnt. There are even people who contemplate committing suicide in the hope that with their death their problems and sufferings will come to an end, but these views are completely wrong.
As already explained, our body and mind are separate entities. Although the body disintegrates at death, the continuum of the mind is uninterrupted. Instead of coming to an end, the mind simply leaves the present body and moves on to the next life.
Death only brings new sufferings to ordinary beings instead of delivering them from their misery. Since they do not understand this, many people destroy their precious human life by committing suicide.
We can gain an understanding of past and future lives by examining the processes of sleeping, dreaming, and waking up because they are very similar to the processes of death, the intermediate state, and rebirth.
When we fall asleep, our gross internal winds gather and dissolve inward. Our mind becomes increasingly subtle until it transforms into the very subtle mind of the clear light of sleep. While the clear light of sleep is manifest, we are in a deep sleep and look like dead to outsiders. As it ends, our minds become increasingly coarse and we progress through the various stages of the dream state. Eventually, our normal memory and mental control are restored and we wake up. When that happens, our dream world disappears and we perceive the waking state.
A very similar process takes place during our death. As we die, our winds dissolve inward and our minds become increasingly subtle until the very subtle clear light mind of death manifests. The experience of the clear light of death is extremely almost like the experience of deep sleep.
When the clear light of death ceases, we experience the stages of the intermediate state, or bardos in Tibetan, which may be a dream-like state and occurs between death and rebirth. After a couple of days or weeks, the intermediate state ends, and that we are reborn. Just as the dream world disappears when we wake up from sleep and we perceive the world of the waking state, so when we are born again the appearances of the intermediate state cease, and that we perceive the planet of our next life.
The only significant difference between the process of sleeping, dreaming and waking up and the process of dying, intermediate state, and rebirth is that after the clear light of sleep has ended, the connection between our mind and our present body remains intact while it is after the clear light of death breaks off.
If we think about it, we will become convinced that past and future lives exist.