1. The Blessed Lord preached that there was rebirth. But the Blessed Lord also preached that there was no transmigration.
2. There were not wanting people who criticised the Lord for preaching what they regarded as two such contradictory doctrines.
3. How can there be rebirth unless there is transmigration? asked the critics.
4. There is here a case of rebirth without transmigration, they said. Can this be?
5. There is no contradiction. There can be rebirth, although there is no transmigration.
6. This has been well explained by Nagasena in his replies to the questions of King Milinda.
7. Milinda, King of Bactria, asked Nagasena, “Did the Buddha believe in Rebirth (Transmigration)?”
8. His reply was “Yes.”
9. “Is this not a contradiction?”
10. Nagasena replied, “No.”
11. “Can there be rebirth without a soul?”
12. Nagasena said, “Of course, yes, there can be.”
13. “Explain how it can be.”
14. The king said, “Where there is no transmigration, Nagasena, can there be rebirth?”
15. “Yes, there can.”
16. “But how can that be? Give me an illustration.”
17. “Suppose a man, O king, were to light a lamp from another lamp–can it be said that the one transmigrates from, or to, the other?”
18. “Certainly not.”
19. “Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.”
20. “Give me a further illustration.”
21. “Do you recollect, great king, having learnt, when you were a boy, some verse or other from your teacher?”
22. “Yes. I recollect that.”
23. “Well then, did that verse transmigrate from your teacher?”
24. “Certainly not.”
25. “Just so, great king, is rebirth without transmigration.”
26. “Very good, Nagasena!”
27. The king said, “Is there such a thing, Nagasena, as the soul?”
28. “In the highest sense, O king, there is no such thing.”
29. “Very good, Nagasena!”

(Ref: The Buddha & his Dhamma)

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