The simile doesn't stretch that far. When the last conscious moment in one existence ceases, a new process conditioned by it starts immediately in a new form. The idea of a “person” doesn't occur until a human being achieves growth and maturity. Very young children don't have a concept of self.freedom wrote:When the first flame burns out, how does the second one start? After a person died, how does the next "person" start? What do the second one have from the first one? Do they have anything in common?
The view of a permanent self is an illusion created by the mental process, and persists throughout life unless it is eradicated through the very diligent practice of insight meditation. If we can gain at least some insight into this illusory self-view, a lot of fruitless suffering can be removed. The first direct insights into not-self occur quite early in the progress of insight, but as the personality-view is so deeply-rooted it reasserts itself whenever we stop being truly mindful.
The Nature of Illusion.