Nature, Reality & Buddhism
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Nature, Reality & Buddhism

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Seek the truth, nothing but the real truth.

Seek the truth, nothing but the real truth.

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Nature, Reality & Buddhism Nature, Reality & Buddhism Document Transcript

  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 1 Nature, Reality & Buddhism by Buddhitakso
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 2 Theoretical Pariyatti Practical Patipatti Realisable Pativedha
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 3 Forewords Why is it so difficult for one to know and see the ultimate truth? Why are we here - breathing, thinking and talking, right now? Why is there a beginning and then an ending? Why something, why not nothing? For one to see into the ultimate truth, one has to unwind everything back to the moment of the origin. We do know things and happenings exist because it can be known and felt by our senses. And our minds interpret event or happening as a condition that one has to go through, to persevere with, to soldier on with, to carry on with or to undertake with, inevitably. Since things and happenings have existed long before we have the slightest opportunity to recognise and understand it well, we are bound to suffer ignorantly. However, as human beings, we have the wisdom to carry out recognition on the entire cycle of events or happenings. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things that we observe right here, right now. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. The changing process would then conjure up an ability of sorts that is known as ‘energy.’ Therefore, we shall be clear by now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. When we deal with the subject of energy, indirectly we also touch on the subject of matter. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in different forms only (as in Einstein's formula, E = mc2). Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. As a summary, we could conclude that energy is a fundamental element in the dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it. Even the so-called souls, spirits, ghosts - are all part of the elements of energy because they can be detected by electromagnetic devices. So when we mention that the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes, it means that there is a need for a balancing act in the View slide
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 4 dependent nature. Otherwise, a constant factor could not be achieved at all and the natural bounding law that dictates this circumstance of equilibrium in the dependent nature is called the law of kamma. In other words, the law of kamma is simply a natural bounding law of balancing. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a chance for the process of formation i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness the emergence of forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness the non-emergence of forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues. For general understanding, the law of kamma is a comprehensive law that runs in a phenomenon full of complexity and in a way beyond the straight forward action-reaction principles being discovered by modern scientists. This is because events or happenings in the dependent nature would appear in varying frequencies under the conditional influences and thus the working result of kamma is non-conjecturable and to speculate about it would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it. Right now, let us take a look at another angle of the nature that is the non- dependent nature. What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non- dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it. So how could we identify the ultimate truth in the nature? Rightfully, we could mention that the nature is ultimately universal and encompassed with both the inherent and the dependent qualities. The inherent quality of nature can be known as the deepest fact about things. It exists beyond mind, beyond concepts and words and it bears with the characteristics of beginning-less and end-less. Our minds are capable of perceiving this reality of nature and Buddhism is all about transforming an ignorant state of mind into a realised one. An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. View slide
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 5 As a conclusion, we shall know by now that the nature is universal that bears with the inherent and the dependent qualities concurrently. The ultimate truth would remain unshaken no matter how one interprets it and one should not waste time trying to prove who is right, who is wrong, which school teaches more truths, etc. Trivial arguments would make one looks more foolish among all the other ignorant beings. And the world is not a closed one. Those who see, read, hear and evaluate for themselves can find the truth they seek. The role of religion in this era is not as a blockage but to help explain and educate in a mature manner. Be bound-less, be stereotype-less, be label-less. Mould a right attitude and it would open up a new horizon of things. Have a nice day! Buddhitakso June 2012 “If the Supreme Truth is unknown, the study of Scriptures is fruitless; and when the Supreme Truth is realised the study of Scriptures becomes fruitless.” From Sri Sankaracharya
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 6 1.0 Life Existence - How it begins and continues to begin? Every existence does contain with the three basic elements - energy, matter and space. These basic elements would subject to the balance and the imbalance phenomena. Under a balance phenomenon, these elements would start to integrate with each other to create aggregation. Under an imbalance phenomenon, these elements would start to disintegrate from each other to create segregation. 1.1 The Cycle of Dependent Origination In the Buddhist context, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. In other words, there is a repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that in turn would give rise to the regular balance and imbalance phenomena as being observed by the mind. This scenario can be portrayed in the cycle of dependent origination shown as below: - Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact. Contact leads to stimulation. Stimulation leads to feeling. Feeling leads to experience. Experience leads to craving. Craving leads to grasping. Grasping leads to clinging. Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming. Becoming leads to creation. Creation leads to birth. Birth leads to energising. Energising leads to mobility. Mobility leads to hauling. Hauling leads to aging. Aging leads to draining. Draining leads to death. Death leads to fragility. Fragility leads to segregation. Segregation leads to diffusion. Diffusion leads to imbalance. Imbalance leads to adjustment. Adjustment leads to alignment. Alignment leads to new balance.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 7 The Cycle of Dependent Origination The principle in effect: - A stream of balance phenomena would conjure up aggregation, A stream of aggregation would conjure up information, A stream of information would conjure up memory, A stream of memories would conjure up ignorance, A stream of ignorance would conjure up volitional impulse, A stream of volitional impulses would conjure up consciousness, A stream of consciousness would conjure up body and mind, A stream of body and mind would conjure up six sense bases, Fragility Segregation Stimulation Draining Becoming Creation Birth Energising Mobility Aging Death Feeling Grasping Balance Memory Six sense bases Conductivity Contact Experience Craving Clinging Unsettling Compulsion Ignorance Disorientation Confusion Awareness Consciousness Manas Mind & body Sensation Information Knowledge Representation Stability Aggregation Agitation Impulse Hauling Blindness Irrationality Sparkling Inkling Volition Imbalance Diffusion Adjustment Alignment Black hole of Emptiness
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 8 A stream of six sense bases would conjure up contact, A stream of contacts would conjure up feeling, A stream of feelings would conjure up craving, A stream of cravings would conjure up clinging, A stream of clinging would conjure up becoming, A stream of becoming would conjure up birth, A stream of births would conjure up aging, A stream of aging would conjure up death, A stream of deaths would conjure up segregation, A stream of segregation would conjure up imbalance phenomenon, A stream of imbalance phenomena would conjure up new balance phenomenon. Thus the conditional phenomena would continue repeatedly to depict the rising and falling activities in the dependent nature, just like the pattern of waves oscillating up and down in continuum. However, the cycle of dependent origination cannot be directly translated as a linear point of reference because the conventional reality does not work in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter- woven since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. 2.0 Energy and Matter Energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in a different form. Just like cause and effect are referring to the same thing - both reflected in a different time of events. Matter is simply something that contains mass and takes up space as a solid, liquid, gas or plasma. The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense, central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons. In other words, matter is also known as concerted, aggregated or concentrated or wrapped energy. As scientists have discovered, energy cannot be created or destroyed – it only transforms itself based on any subjected conditions. Therefore, we could summarise that all activities would evolve around the orientation of energy and matter in space at all times and it can be illustrated as below: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 9 The Orientation of Energy and Matter Key: - The element of energy Electromagnetic vibration The element of matter Gravitational wave The chain of mind consciousness J0 J2 J1 F0 F2 H2 H0 H1 C1 G2 C2 C0 G0 K1 F1 L0 L1 L2 E0 N1 E1 E2 A2 B1 A0 B0 A0 K0 K22 C0 H1
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 10 The Web of Energy Key: - Point of friction = crystalised energy. = a basis of matter.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 11 The Network of Existence Key: - Point of friction = a communion of the two opposite forces. = a balance point. 1. This is how the network of connectivity arises in the dependent nature i.e. all the elements are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another since the dawn of time. 2. Energy is all about vibration. And vibration is about the alternate movement of opposite forces and it travels in a wave pattern shown as below: - FA1 FA2 FA1-2 = FA2-1 FA3 FA4 FA3-2 = FA1-1 FA3-1 = FA4-2 FA2-2 = FXX-X F(A3-1=A4-2)-1 = FXXXX-XXXX F(A3-1-A4-2)-2 = F(A3-2-A1-1)-1 F(A3-2=A1-1)-2 = F(A1-2=A2-1)-1 F(A1-2=A2-1)-2 = F(A2-2=XX-X)-1 Cause-Effect Effect-Cause
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 12 3.0 Energy and Soul What is energy? It is described as the ability to cause change or do work. Now, let us look at soul. Soul is defined as non-material part of a human body, believed to exist for ever, emotional and intellectual energy. As such, is it incorrect to relate soul as part of the elements of energy? On the other hand, one may hear of the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed. It may take on various forms (e.g. kinetic, potential, heat, light, chemical, nuclear, electrical, mechanical, etc.) Therefore, the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant or never changes. When a person is lying dead, both the elements of energy and matter would head off from each other. The elements of energy would sustain a liberty of sorts and over time, the elements of matter would transform into the elements of energy as well before assuming into another new life forms and this cyclic process continues repeatedly. Now, let us take an example of a worn out PC (Personal Computer). Whilst the hardware parts may meet its due time, the software parts may not and it could be recycled and reconfigured before being put to use onto other PC. On another instance, we could summarise that ice, water and steam are different forms deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the subjected conditions. At the end of the day, when the ice form ceased to be, the elements of energy within it would assume into the water or the steam form. The elements of energy within the ice form did not just die out or cease to exist. Also, it is well known that modern scientists who work on hypotheses could not conclusively agree to acknowledge the existence of souls or spirits due to the complication in garnering consistent results at any period of time. However, the so-called souls or spirits could still be detected by electromagnetic devices and this scenario has confirmed that souls or spirits are part of the elements of energy. There are bountiful cases related to souls or spirits available in every corner of the world but most of the investigations merely lead to a mystifying end.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 13 4.0 Ātman In Hinduism, ātman is defined as individual soul or essence that is eternal, unchanging, and indistinguishable from the essence of the universe. However, Buddhism sees no ātman or no eternal soul. Therefore, the correct interpretation is Buddhism recognises no eternal-soul and not no-soul. In other words, Buddhism sees in a basis of blueprints in individuals that is always evolving under the influence of conditional phenomena. Whereas, Hinduism sees in a basis of blueprints that is eternal and never changing under any circumstances. 5.0 Law of Kamma and Newton’s law of motion The law of kamma is a natural phenomenon law discovered and realised by human civilisation long time ago – so as all the natural law principles testified and verified by modern scientists. In other words, all the natural phenomenon laws have been in existence since the dawn of time with or without any discoveries by human beings. For general understanding, the law of kamma is a comprehensive law that runs in a phenomenon full of complexity and in a way beyond the straight forward action-reaction principles being discovered by modern scientists. If we analyse intently into the Newton’s 3rd law of motion and the law of kamma, both of these laws did share a certain degree of similarity. For instance, it is correct to say that good begets good, evil begets evil. When one pays to behave like an animal in the present lifetime, one would be repaid in the next life as an animal. Just as sow apple seeds, reap apple fruits; sow orange seeds, reap orange fruits or Action 1 conjures up Reaction 1; Action 2 conjures up Reaction 2. 6.0 Law of Nature and the Buddha’s teachings If one observes intently at the surroundings, everything that exists would always try to achieve a harmonious balance. All things would only exist in perpetual conditions under balance phenomena. Thus when things run off- balance or when one stirs up in any circumstances, the natural law would take its regular course to balance it in another way across time and the plane of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 14 existence. This natural law is also known as the law of balancing. In the Buddhist context, the law of balancing can also be classified as the law of kamma. The law of kamma is a natural law that is not shaped by someone else; no one owns it; neither Buddhism – but merely to ensure equilibrium in the nature at all times. Also, we need to understand that long before the rising of Buddhadhamma about 2,550 years ago, the realms of existence has run its course in accordance with the natural bounding laws. And the wise Buddha has seen through the reality of it, thus advocating remedies for a permanent liberation. The Buddha has recommended Middle Path (the path of balancing) that acts as a fundamental route to taste enlightenment while facing with the law of kamma (the law of balancing). Middle Path is all about focusing on core, neutral, balance and upright. It means to investigate and break through the core of life and all things without any attitudes of favouritism. Any investigations must commence based on unbiased grounds i.e. on neutral and upright positions. In other words, one needs to investigate the problem from various angles, analyse the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion. Also, the Buddhadhamma lays great emphasis on human thought and action in dealing with the natural environment, society or individual problems. It is concerned with the relationship between thoughts and behaviour, and the relationship between behaviour and its consequences. In short, the Buddha recognises all thoughts and actions as wholesome or unwholesome only. The meaning of wholesome would be in totality of perspective and unwholesome would be in non-totality of perspective. There is no holy or sinful act or thought in the eyes of the Buddha except for skillful or unskillful one. 7.0 Basic elements and Conditional phenomena When the three basic elements - energy, matter and space interact together, the very first dot of integrating process begins under a balance phenomenon. When the billion and trillion dots come together, it would manifest into some sort of beings or things. Respectively, each dot contains a sort of genetic information that is unique and the aggregate of multiple dots would conjure up a pool of behaviour subsequently. Such a unique behaviour would be enfold
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 15 within the same being or thing until the next disintegrating process begins upon a specific time of maturity. During the disintegrating process, the three basic elements would liberate from each other and sustain a freedom of sorts under an imbalance phenomenon. When more different beings go through the same disintegrating processes, more different elements of energy and matter would sustain with freedom of sorts and thus assimilate among each other in the realms of existence before waiting for the subsequent balance phenomena. For instance, the three basic elements would separate from each other when a being is lying dead. Both the elements of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses would depart from the body. It is the same scenario for plants, insects or any material things – but only the elements of subtle consciousness exist and would depart from the body. 8.0 Law of Dependent Origination So far all the available suttas on the Buddha’s teachings have pointed out ignorance as the first link in the wheel of life. However, if we were to observe this aspect of ignorance intently, it simply could not arise out of thin air. Definitely, it has to arise out of some kind of memorised events that have taken place beforehand. In psychology, memory is defined as an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. So when the process of aggregation begins, some sort of information would be produced, stored and recalled within the integrated elements. In a layman term, this process is called the creation or pro-creation within beings or things. If the memory aspect is absent, the process of replication could not arise in any beings or things at all. Let us illustrate the learning of speeches among young children. If a child has no ability of memorising, then whatever lessons that were taught on would be forgotten or erased instantly and the progression into the next advance level would be deemed impossible. However, in Buddhism, there is a recommendation for one to see and live in the present; neither in the past nor in the future. When one lives well in the present, one would lead to a cessation of memories of the past and this would subsequently lead to a cessation of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 16 ignorance in the future. The principle in effect: - The seeing of ultimate truth leads to the cessation of balance phenomenon, The cessation of balance phenomenon leads to the cessation of aggregation, The cessation of aggregation leads to cessation of information, The cessation of information leads to cessation of memory, The cessation of memory leads to the cessation of ignorance, The cessation of ignorance leads to the cessation of volitional impulse, The cessation of volitional impulse leads to the cessation of consciousness, The cessation of consciousness leads to the cessation of body and mind, The cessation of body and mind lead to the cessation of six sense bases, The cessation of six sense bases lead to the cessation of contact, The cessation of contact leads to the cessation of feeling, The cessation of feeling leads to the cessation of craving, The cessation of craving leads to the cessation of clinging, The cessation of clinging leads to the cessation of becoming, The cessation of becoming leads to the cessation of birth, The cessation of birth leads to the cessation of aging, The cessation of aging leads to the cessation of death, The cessation of death leads to the cessation of segregation, The cessation of segregation leads to the cessation of imbalance phenomenon, The cessation of imbalance phenomenon leads to the cessation of conditional phenomena, The cessation of conditional phenomena leads to the cessation of time, The cessation of time leads to the unconditional freedom of basic elements - energy, matter and space. Ultimately, the pure energy would freeze indefinitely in the absence of time – this is the ambience of nibbāna. Let us refer to the following illustration: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 17 SAMSĀRA NIBBĀNA Encircled by Conditional phenomena Release of Conditional phenomena Act of Emptying Act of Extinguishing Act of Neutralising Elements sustain in PERPETUITY Elements sustain in PERMANENCY Presence of Time Absence of Time SUFFERING PEACE 9.0 Balance condition and Sentient beings Balance is generally defined as a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc; a condition of being steady; a state of equilibrium or parity characterised by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces; a harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design. On the other hand, sentient is defined as responsive to or conscious of sense impressions; finely sensitive in perception or feeling. Sentient beings are denoted as beings with consciousness or sentience or specifically it denotes the presence of the five aggregates and are characteristically not enlightened and are thus confined to the death, rebirth and suffering characteristic of samsāra. When we describe the characteristics of sentient beings, we are actually referring to the energy being enfold within the matter that is subject to the rising and the falling events. The consciousness aspects within the sentient beings would initiate thoughts or acts that are devoid of inherent existence. For every rising force of thoughts or acts, a new equal opposing force would arise as well across the time stream (past, present and future) and the plane of Energy Space Matter Matter Space Energy
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 18 existence. Continuous rising and falling of thoughts or acts would shape the wheel of life as in samsāra. As mentioned earlier, energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in different forms per se. Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. Let us look at the following illustrations: - Cause = Effect Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, .., etc. Action = Reaction Action 1 conjures up Reaction 1, Reaction 1 conjures up Action 1-1, .., etc. If present, Cause 1 > Effect 1, Action 1 > Reaction 1 future will be, Effect 1 > Cause 1-1, Reaction 1 > Action 1-1* * This is the typical scenario of a good person having to face with the unfortunate events; a bad person having to enjoy the fortunate events in a lifetime. For example, Loan $100 = Repayment $100 If today, Loan $100 > Repayment $100
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 19 tomorrow will be, Repayment > new Loan $100 In another scenario, the balance condition could be depicted in the act of giving and taking i.e. The rise of free taking or reward leads to the rise of accountable giving or sacrifice, The rise of free giving or sacrifice leads to the rise of unaccountable taking or reward. A cessation in the conditional phenomena would lead to the cessation of cyclic influences i.e. when action ceasing, reaction ceases; when cause ceasing, effect ceases. And the antidote to the cessation of it would be radiating loving- kindness and compassion that act as means for weakening the links of suffering in the wheel of life. The principle in effect: - A stream of loving-kindness and compassion would conjure up empathy, A stream of empathy would conjure up boundless, A stream of boundless would conjure up voidness, A stream of voidness would conjure up stillness, A stream of stillness would conjure up peacefulness, A stream of peacefulness would conjure up enlightenment. As a summary, every existence (sentient, non-sentient, or any material things) consists of energy and matter that would orientate towards a harmonious balance condition that is in accordance with the universal laws. Under a balance phenomenon, one could witness the emergence of forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness the non-emergence of forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 20 10.0 Law of Cause and Effect in Motion Generally speaking, there are two categories of motion i.e. the constant and the variable motion. When we mention that a rising force of something would generate a new equal opposing force under the law of balancing, we are actually referring to a process of action and reaction under a condition of constant motion. However, under a condition of variable motion, the law of balancing would orientate in a unique harmonising mechanism (as in Newton’s 2nd law of motion). Let us look at the following illustrations: - 10.1 Constant Motion Under a circumstance of constant motion, come factor equals to become factor: - Come factor = Become factor 10.2 Variable Motion 10.2.1 Acceleration When come factor accelerates, the relative become factor would decelerate: - Come factor ↑, Become factor ↓ (End results: Mental and physical progresses slow down  the circumstance of time dilation in Einstein’s special theory of relativity.) 10.2.2 Deceleration When come factor decelerates, the relative become factor would accelerate: - Come factor ↓, Become factor ↑ (End results: Mental and physical progresses speed up  the ambience of deep meditation.)
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 21 More examples: - 1. When a car stops suddenly in a quick action, the reacting process becomes slower in relative to the action and this is a basis for greater inertia effects – serious injuries on the passenger. 2. When a car stops steadily in a slow action, the reacting process becomes quicker in relative to the action and this is a basis for lesser inertia effects – mild injuries on the passenger. 3. When one launches a bullet towards a target – too quick an action would take the target longer time to react relatively. If compared with launching a throw of baseball – slower an action would give relatively longer time for the target to react. 4. When one runs water on a piece of paper in low velocity, the atoms or molecules within the paper have sufficient time to react relatively quicker to hold tight as a scale unit and vice versa. Naturally, we always involve in motions that vary in frequencies under the influence of conditional phenomena and this scenario coincides with the Buddha’s saying that the working result of kamma was one of the four unconjecturables and to speculate about it would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it. 11.0 Space and Time Some people may say that time is an illusion and does not exist after all. So what actually is time? Frankly speaking, time is something that is created; not born (a non-natural existence). Time is an indicator for event; whereas length, width and height are indicators for size and volume. All these indicators belong to a category named as dimension. In other words, dimension is created for the task of measurement per se and therefore, not something that arises out naturally. Also, time is a scalar factor. A scalar refers to a quantity or phenomenon that exhibits magnitude only, with no specific direction. Example
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 22 of scalars include speed, mass, electrical resistance, and hard-drive storage capacity. Any interval of time is also scalar - it has magnitude only. On the other hand, space is a natural element in the realms of existence; just like the elements of energy and matter. Space is merely a plane for all the activities or existences i.e. the orientation of energy or matter under the conditional phenomena. Presently, scientists have discovered that space has three spatial dimensions (length, width and height) and one temporal dimension - that is time. In cosmology, the concept of spacetime combines space and time to a single abstract universe. In fact, there is another X-factor dimension exists to accommodate for non-discerning circumstances. As a summary, we could mention that the three spatial dimensions were created for expressing all existences under static phenomena and the combination of 3 + 1 + X-factor dimensions were created for expressing all existences under dynamic phenomena. 11.1 What actually happens to an object under accelerating motion? When an object is set under an accelerating motion, the becoming process of the object would be stretched as compared with a relative object that is set under a constant or a decelerating motion. In other words, the becoming process of the object has been slowed down comparatively; not the time has been dilated or slowed down. Time would only assume the expression that the becoming process has slowed down and not the other way round. Literally, the slowing down of the becoming process would mean the slowing down of the aging process for a sentient being. This is the correct understanding behind the thought experiment of twin paradox which concerns a twin who flies off in a spaceship traveling near the speed of light and returns to discover that his or her twin sibling has aged much more. The principle in effect: - Time is an expression that becoming process exists, Becoming process is not an expression that time exists.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 23 Length, width and height are expressions that size and volume exist, Size and volume are not expressions that length, width and height exist. Shadow is an expression that object and light exist, Object and light are not expressions that shadow exists. Effect A is an expression that Cause A exists, Cause A is not an expression that Effect A exists, Cause A is an expression that Effect pre-A exists. In other words, When no cause arising, no effect would arise, When no object and light arising, no shadow would arise, When no becoming process arising, no time would arise. Similarly, the word of time has been used frequently for expressing different scenario of becoming processes, such as follows: - NO TIME = an expression of no opportunity for a new becoming process to begin. TIME TO TIME = an expression of moving from the past to the present becoming process; the present to the future becoming process. TIME PASSED SLOWLY = an expression of hoping for a faster becoming process. TIME DILATION = an expression that the becoming process slows down. Once again, time is a dimension because it is a scale of measurement created for gauging the events. Therefore, time could not be self-sustainable and has no entity. For one to reflect time as an entity is a point of view based on delusion, just like the misconception of self entity in beings. When there is no becoming process, there is no time. So time does not exist in nibbāna.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 24 12.0 The Concept of Emptiness in Buddhism The concept of śūnyatā (emptiness) in Buddhism has always been the main subject of confusion among the followers. Now, let us analyse into it. We need to understand that long before the rising of Buddhadhamma about 2,550 years ago, the realms of existence has run its course in accordance with the natural bounding laws. The wise Buddha has seen through the reality of it, thus advocating remedies to liberate oneself from these laws permanently. For general understanding, nature is full with wonders and has reached a saturated level of complexity that encompasses all sorts of activities such as aggregation, segregation, evolution, mutation, assimilation, etc. In other words, all of these activities have had happened in a manner long before we have the slightest opportunity to realise it. This scenario is the key to the rising of ignorant aspects in the realms of existence. As a consequence, we always tend to make the observation on events in the context of ‘result’ perspective or from the ignorant point of view. There are plenty of examples for the observation deriving from this conventional perspective i.e. formation, suffering, disease, sickness, terrorism, calamity, existence, etc. Nevertheless, the wise Buddha has realised these circumstances and recommended with a paradigm shift i.e. for one to make the observation on events from the context of ‘cause’ perspective or the awakened point of view instead. Thus far, it is this new-found perspective that could one liberate from the cyclic influence of conditional phenomena. One of the good examples is the introduction of the cardinal doctrine of Dependent Origination. As mentioned earlier, nature has already reached a saturated level of complexity and this circumstance has created difficulties for one to observe the events free from defilements. If we could unwind all the events that have taken place in the nature, we could realise the origin of it i.e. all the activities, events or processes would evolve around the orientation of energy or matter in a plane called space at all times. At the end of the day, we could see that every existence (sentient, non-sentient, or any material things) is nothing but merely basic elements (energy, matter and space) that would orientate in accordance
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 25 with the conditional phenomena. This is the correct understanding on the concept of emptiness in Buddhism. In other words, we could mention that the form entity has a delusive nature and it is generated out of the ignorant point of view or from the context of ‘result’ perspective. We could not view form as an entity because it is an appearance, though not illusive, but devoid of inherent existence and varies under the influence of conditional phenomena. Rightfully, the Buddha has recommended one to see all the circumstances as they truly are (not as they delusively are). And it is through the philosophy of emptiness could one begin to experience the cleansing of ignorant aspects. Once the ignorant aspects have been extinguished or neutralised, the awakening aspects would arise concurrently. An act of emptying = an act of extinguishing = an act of neutralising ≠ an act of annihilating. The principle in effect: - Seeing Dhamma is seeing Buddha, Seeing Buddha is seeing Dhamma. Seeing Buddha is seeing Nibbāna, Seeing Nibbāna is seeing Buddha. Seeing Emptiness is seeing Form, Seeing Form is seeing Emptiness. Seeing Energy is seeing Matter, Seeing Matter is seeing Energy. Seeing Cause is seeing Effect, Seeing Effect is seeing Cause. Seeing Action is seeing Reaction, Seeing Reaction is seeing Action.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 26 13.0 Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form Why do we always hear Buddhists saying, ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form?’ What actually is form? We can actually see form as an appearance but why would we say it is empty? Isn’t it strange, right? Well, for the common populace, form is viewed as an entity. Entity means thing which exists as a separate unit. So is it correct to say that form does exist as a separate unit as what our ordinary mind perceived? Let us make a simple illustration now. Supposedly, you stand in front of a large mirror looking at yourself – what you could see is your own appearance of physical body. Now, if you continue to see inside yourself, search deeper and deeper within yourself, what would you see? You could probably see various internal organs, blood veins, nerves, fluids, unit cells, etc. At the end of the day, can you describe the innermost section of your physical body? After the single unit cell, what else do you see inside further? Can you find any core essence that is eternal or non-changing? You probably couldn’t find anything inside further. When one couldn’t find anything inside further, how does one translate it into? Isn’t it empty? So could we say that form is ultimately empty in the real sense? However, we shall not confuse emptiness with nothingness. Emptiness cannot be meant as nothingness. While we say that form is emptiness, there are still basic elements enfolding it. Just like when we do declare a vessel as empty, it does not literally mean nothing inside the vessel – there could still be air, radiation, dust, viruses, etc. that cannot be discerned by our naked eyes. At the end of the day, we could declare that form is empty in the real sense because there is no core essence within it except for the basic elements that orientate and evolve constantly under the influence of the external conditions. What our naked eyes view as form is actually the matter that is also known as concerted, aggregated or concentrated or wrapped energy. Since we can’t see energy with our naked eyes, we would say that the innermost of form is empty rather than nothing. As a conclusion, everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 27 essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. Energy is the underlying element for all the existences and it is dependent on the conditional phenomena. 14.0 The Concept of Non-self in Buddhism The concept of anattā (non-self or absence of separate self) in Buddhism has always been the main subject of confusion among the followers. Now, let us analyse into it. Simply it means, ‘Now you see it, now you don't.’ This is what the concept of emptiness in Buddhism is all about – the absence of static entity. Nothing stays unchanging even for the slightest moment at all times. By the time you think who you are, you are already not the same ‘you’ seconds ago. So where are you to find the original static of ‘you’ as you assume along every passing of moments? At the end of the day, you could only see a stream of you constantly passing by on every slightest moment. So I repeat, you could only see a stream of you - not the one stop entity of you. Just like you could not step twice into the same river; for other waters are ever flowing on to you. The stream of you would mean you are part of the becoming processes that arise in the nature. All the different shapes and forms that exist in the nature are merely the momentary outcomes of the constant and the continuous becoming processes in the realms of existence. Under a balance phenomenon, one could witness the emergence of forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness the non-emergence of forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly. In addition, the stream of you is devoid of inherent existence. It means that you do not exist independently by the definition of the physical container that you always presume to be. You are merely the results of energy or matter orientation that evolve constantly and continuously in the space at all times. In other words, you are just like part of the Lego pieces or bricks that can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots - anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects. When one is fully awakened to the principle of emptiness or non-self, the state of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 28 egolessness in oneself would arise concurrently. This realisation is part of the fundamental routes to enlightenment as prescribed by the Buddha. 15.0 Non-self, Voidness and Rebirth in accordance with Buddhism Buddhism sees in anattā (non-self) and śūnyatā (voidness or emptiness). But how do we explain it? Firstly, let us analyse what it means by non-self. In Buddhism, the non-self means the non-ownership of self. What we used to claim such as the ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’ is merely an expression for our minds to comprehend on the day-to-day communication with another individual. However, this expression does not grant us with an ownership of our soul or body. And it is easier to explain the non-ownership of our body than our soul because we could see the rising (birth) and the passing (death) of physical bodies every time and anywhere we go. As for the ‘soul’ thing, Buddhism sees in the absence of eternal existence of it. Soul is just a plain description for something that arised in intelligence but without physical appearance. And it is also not permanent and subject to change at all times under the influence of conditional phenomena (voidness in every existence). So again, there is a non-ownership of the soul-of-self. But how do we clarify the reincarnating process in accordance with Buddhism? Actually, Buddhism sees in the rebirth process but not in the reincarnating process. This is because there is no permanent grasping of soul or body during the rebirth process. It means even though the mentioned cycle of process is repeated, every cycle is different from one another, just like the saying, ‘It looks like me, sounds like me, but it is still not me.’ In other words, there are linkages between the past, present and future of an individual but there is no trans-migrating process taking place. A clear example would be how the genetic lineage works for generations. Let us look at the following illustration on how rebirth takes place in accordance with Buddhism: - The Coffee in a Cup Let say Coffee Original is one of the special brewed drinks: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 29 300ml hot liquid water 70% coffee powder 100% Coffee Original in cup Jumbo 30% condensed milk Supposedly, the cup Jumbo has broken apart by accident and the content has splattered around i.e. 30% onto the table, 40% onto the floor, 5% onto the wall, 10% onto the drain, 5% vaporised into thin air, 10% remained in the broken cup. A cleaner took up a rag and wiped off the remaining liquid coffee in sequential order starting from the table, the floor and then the wall. In a repeated gesture, the cleaner squeezed off the wet rag and the remaining coffee liquid flowed into three separate cups i.e. Cup 1 80% already filled with tea liquid mixture. Cup 2 90% already filled with mocha liquid mixture. Cup 3 55% already filled with mineral water. Let say 300ml of properties is a benchmark for a qualified special brewed drink. The cleaner then filled up the respective cup rooms with liquids deriving from the rag that are by and large the remaining of Coffee Original deriving from the table, the floor and the wall. In this case, the respective 300ml of liquids in Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 is dependent on the Coffee Original before a new special brewed drink is made possible. However, this does not mean that Coffee Original is the only dependent source or ingredient. Respectively, Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 would need to depend upon many other sustaining factors as well such as the already partially filled liquids and new cups before qualifying as special brewed drinks. As a conclusion, the new liquid mixture arising in Cup 1, Cup 2 and Cup 3 is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old coffee liquid, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it. There is a conditioned
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 30 relationship between one liquid and the next; it is not identical but neither is it completely distinct. The beauty of the nature is that it allows all sorts of activities taking place such as aggregation, segregation, evolution, mutation, assimilation, etc. As a consequence, every existence would not be totally the same or different from each other. We are all closely inter-depending, inter- waving and inter-relating with each other since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence – just like the Christian believes that all mankind derived from Adam and Eve. Lastly, one should not confuse the ‘non-self’ with ‘no-self’ and the‘non-eternal soul’ with ‘no- soul.’ Buddhism sees in the existence of self or soul but only in a manner of non-ownership or impermanency i.e. there is an influx of self or soul but not the one-off static kind of self or soul. 16.0 What is the purpose of Buddhism? Where is God in Buddhism? Why Buddhism? What is Buddhism? Buddhism is merely a great philosophy that imparts knowledge on seeing the reality of things and happenings in our daily lives. Historical facts have shown that Prince Siddartha Gautama became the Buddha out of his vast compassion and wisdom to see through the vicious cycle of life and to end the suffering of it. And the Buddha means the ‘Awakened One’ i.e. one who sees through the ultimate reality of things and happenings. Perhaps, what Buddhism lacks is the emphasis on the dependence of God. But this doesn’t mean that the Buddha has denied the existence of God. In Buddhism, God is viewed in a different perspective as compared with the other religions. As you may know, according to Buddhism, there are 31 planes of existence in the nature and the deities (the namesake of God) are placed at a higher level of existence than the human realm. Of course, the Buddha did recognise that deities have an important role in the spiritual development of individuals. Deities could help individuals in many ways but still, deities are not permanent and subject to the conditional influences as well. At the end of the day, the Buddha has seen through that ‘dependence’ is part of the key sources of dukkha and to eradicate it, one has to let go the dependence in total aspects. Therefore, Buddhism is an alternative method to seek solace and liberation for an individual who needs it. Buddhism may not be acceptable to individuals who can’t make do without the dependent aspects in
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 31 life. As again, there is no right or wrong element here, but simply a personal choice. 17.0 What does Buddhism believe in? Buddhism believes in, literally, nothing. Yes, nothing! Buddhism merely involves in seeing, knowing and letting go of things or happenings. In other words, Buddhism upholds direct experience and recognition but not the faith system. Perhaps, one has heard the phrase, ‘To see is to believe.’ When one is seeing it, one truly sees it. No one could shake it. A blind belief without seeing on things would only bind one with more curiosities and disputes. We can illustrate the above principle in a class of Mathematics. Supposedly, a new formula was put forward to the class, ‘Should the students adopt with attitudes of understanding on how the formula derive?’ or ‘Should the students adopt with attitudes of simply memorising the formula without any understanding on how such formula derive?’ A wise student would definitely choose the former method because by understanding well the origin of such formula, one could lighten the burden of memorising the formula blindly. This is also how the path to enlightenment works – diminish the ‘bear with’ factor and enhance the ‘let go’ factor. Undeniably, the Buddha has always emphasised the importance for one to utilise wisdom in all thoughts and actions. This is what he meant by wholesome thoughts or acts. The Buddha has never laid commandments that one should think or do this; never think or do that, etc. If one continues to adopt this sort of mentality, one would simply adopt the principle of ‘blind faith’ which is much on the contrary to Buddhism. Likewise, it would be wholesome for parents to expose their children with both the good and bad influences together. Any acts of depriving the children from exposing to the bad influences would only create distorted view or perception in the real society (unwholesome acts). Subsequently, upon the exposure of both the good and bad influences, parents could encourage their children to use their wisdom to lead a more meaningful life in the real and complicated society (wholesome acts).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 32 In short, the Buddha has laid emphasis that one should look in all angles of things or matters and then apply one's wisdom in the decision making. The Buddha has merely left behind guidelines for one to pursue with and it would be meaningless for one to read and tag along the contents of the discourses or suttas on Buddhism blindly without applying any wisdom. No doubt the available discourses or suttas did play an important role in keeping the essence of Buddhism, but how many of the so-called Buddhists nowadays have gained full enlightenment by mere reading or reciting it? The key point here is not merely about the mastering of theoretical knowledge on Buddhism but instead, more on the practicality and the direct experience of it. Preaching Dhamma is not about quoting this or that from various sources on Buddhism. These available discourses or suttas were merely tools for one’s Dhamma practices. And the tools would remain as the tools and it would not turn a person into an enlightened being if the application is without wisdom. Also, the Buddha has recommended the establishment of the Sangha community so that any followers could interact and support each other while pursuing the guidelines of Dhamma. The Buddha has not established the various sects or schools of Buddhism as what we could see nowadays. Once again, Buddhism is never about beliefs. Instead, it is all about direct experience and recognition. Seeing the Dhamma is seeing the Buddha – it is seeing and knowing the ultimate reality of things and happenings and not to get entangle with it. So the choice in the way of life is yours ultimately. Live a life wholesomely at all times! Be freed, be liberated, be neutralised! 18.0 What are Enlightenment, Awakening and Nibbāna? Nibbāna is a phenomenon beyond all conventional phenomena. Conventional phenomenon is subject to the conditional influences – in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. A phenomenon of nibbāna would arise when there is a non-existence of the conditional phenomena i.e. a completely neutralised state of affairs. There is no mind, no thinking, no becoming, no changing, no evolution, no clinging, no wanting, and no impermanency in nibbāna. Moreover, nibbāna is not about desire for nothing. In the first place, there is no desire to begin with. Therefore, desire could not be the cause for nothing and one of the basic footsteps to achieve enlightenment and reach
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 33 nibbāna is to practise ‘letting go.’ Letting go is not the same as giving up hope - a frustrated expression. Not to hope is not to become, not to become is not to cling and suffer. So the choice is yours ultimately – to hope and suffer or not to hope and not to suffer. There is no right or wrong choice but simply wholesome or unwholesome choice. Wholesome would mean seeing things as they truly are and in totality of perspectives; unwholesome would mean seeing things as they delusively are and in non-totality of perspectives. As such, it is entirely a personal aspiration for one to be awakened or otherwise. In Buddhism, there are no commandments to be found, no hierarchical ranking between followers, etc. Any sort of authoritative claims based on personal gratifications are purely egocentric in nature and devoted followers must not put in their faith blindly on anything; come what may. And it is worrisome to see and hear nowadays that many of the so-called Buddhists are mere sutta collectors or interpreters. In the first place, Buddhism is never about what the Buddha has said or not said personally. We have to examine, ‘What is the real meaning of the Buddha?’ It is literally translated as the ‘Awakened One.’ But, what is one awakening to? It is awakening to the ultimate reality of things or happenings and the cessation of it. Now, when we mention the Buddha's saying, are we only referring to Siddartha Gautama alone? How about all the other beings that have had achieved enlightenment along the thousands of years? For general understanding, Siddartha Gautama is a Shakyamuni Buddha (a Samma-sam-buddha), but the Buddha may not necessarily be Siddartha Gautama alone. Buddha is merely a title just like presidency. Presidents may come and go over the years in an organisation or a country but the presidency remains unshaken. And the next question would be, ‘Who wrote all the suttas? When was it written?’ Definitely, Buddhism is not only about the suttas per se but also the other missing links. On this pretext, the Buddha is wise to mention that in order to appreciate the essence of Dhamma, do not believe what he said until one investigates and sees it. This principle is essential to uphold and sustain so that the original essence of Dhamma could remain intact and surpassing time. In other words, there is no place for blind faith in Buddhism. Let us be awakened and not be hampered by the belief boundaries. Nature belongs to the nature; not to any particular religions or beliefs. Liberate ourselves from
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 34 any hindrances and be enlightened. Apply your wisdom and you would find the true answers to it. The door is open and you need to walk in the path by yourself; someone could only shine the light or show the way in. One should always apply wisdom in all thoughts or actions and never be too fascinated or obsessed with what was written and mentioned in the discourses, suttas, or any sorts of supernatural claims, etc. To see it, know it and let go – no need to grasp it – this is how one practises, ‘Seeing things as they really are.’ See only with eyes and mind, don’t get into any involvement - more importantly, let go the self and the ego factors. Be freed, be liberated, be neutralised! 19.0 What is suffering? The word ‘suffering’ seems to appear in every corner of Buddhism. And generally, one would tend to associate suffering with pain, anxiety, agony, sadness, dissatisfaction and all sorts of negativity in one’s lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the eyes of the Buddha. In the Buddhist contexts, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re- birth. When there is samsāra arising, dukkha would arise concurrently. And the meaning of dukkha or suffering would be to ‘bear with’ in the Buddhist context. Any circumstances that would involve one to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; to go through with would mean suffering. Literally, it is not correct for one to put much attention onto the conditions of pain, anxiety, agony, dissatisfaction, joyfulness or happiness - for these conditions merely reflected as the consequences of dukkha arising. To ‘bear with’ is to suffer and the antonym of it is to ‘let go.’ So stop submitting oneself to the conditional circumstances and one would be freed, be liberated and be neutralised! Let us cure the cause, not the symptoms!
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 35 20.0 What is Heaven? What is Hell? For general understanding, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence waiting for any exclusive memberships. Instead, it is the so-called member that has made up the chance for the heaven or hell plane to arise. Just like inhabitant is a necessary prerequisite for any villages to exist; without it, the village would be impossible. Therefore, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence to be found ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’ yearning for the so-called rightful elements. In fact, heaven or hell is simply next to your mind, your eyes, your ears, your prevailing consciousness, your subtle consciousness, etc. When a person is lying dead, the three basic elements i.e. energy, matter and space would separate from each other. Precisely, both the elements of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses would depart the body. However, only the elements of subtle consciousness would sustain in a liberated condition and stay behind in a so-called soul or spirit form but not the elements of prevailing consciousness. The switch for the elements of prevailing consciousness would be turned off and it would not carry on beyond the grave. And it is the characteristics of the elements of subtle consciousness that would determine the next plane of existence for the so-called souls or spirits. Therefore, one should not miss the chance of moulding the subtle mind consciousness correctly before kicking the bucket! For instance, it is correct to say that good begets good, evil begets evil. When one pays to live a hell-like condition in the present lifetime, one would be repaid in the next phase of existence as in hell plane. Just as sow apple seeds, reap apple fruits; sow orange seeds, reap orange fruits or Action 1 conjures up Reaction 1; Action 2 conjures up Reaction 2. The elements of subtle consciousness would retain the so-called ‘hellish’ information that would carry on and surpassing the demise period of time. The ‘hellish’ retention could only be weakened through conscientious goodwill prayers or persuasions being performed by third parties (transference of merit). Therefore, please be mindful on the nature of circumstances that you are exposed to or associated with during your lifetime. And if possible, it is beneficial to create a heaven-like ambience at all times; more importantly during the closing chapter of your present lifetime. This is because where you
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 36 would end up to in the next phase of existence is very much dependent on the retained information in your subtle conscious mind, be it heaven-like or hell- like. As a conclusion, the fate in your subsequent life is very much dependent on the characteristics of your subtle mind consciousness. It is the architect for the heaven or the hell realm. Mould it well at all times and if possible, one should achieve enlightenment to eradicate the suffering of it. 21.0 Who am I? Am I the mind? Am I the body? Or, am I the five body senses? To the Master, I am a Servant, To the Teacher, I am a Student, To the Buddha, I am Empty. So who am I, actually? Am I the flesh and blood? Am I the soul? Am I the consciousness? Who am I, really? Frankly speaking, what we used to claim such as the ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’ is merely an expression for our minds to comprehend on day-to-day communication with another individual. However, this expression does not grant us with an unchanging or a permanent ownership of our minds and bodies. The ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’ (five khandhas) is purely part of the becoming processes in the dependent nature. Both of our minds and bodies would constantly orientate and evolve in accordance with the subjected conditions. The physical body is shaped up as an appearance due to the existence of matter and it is basically concerted, aggregated or concentrated or wrapped energy. In other words, appearance is merely a momentary outcome of the process of aggregation that varies according to the subjected conditions. For example, ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. As for the mind, it is also originated from the process of aggregation that conjures up the elements of memory and consciousness and varies under the influence of conditional phenomena.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 37 So how could we properly describe ourselves? The right way to express ourselves is, ‘I am what I am.’ ‘If you think this is what I am, then I am’ and ‘If you see that is what I am, then I am.’ The phenomena that arise are very much related to the consciousness that perceives them. Phenomenon exists as this or that is dependent on the observers. It is just like describing the same elephant by different blind men – one blind man may say an elephant looks like a tree trunk; another blind man would say an elephant looks like a snake. And this is how we explicate the presence in the waves of dependent phenomena having clouded our minds from discerning the reality of circumstances. But what constitutes an ultimate reality then? An ultimate reality exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In other words, an ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype- less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. So when we talk about Buddhism, it is all about transforming an ignorant state of mind into a realised one – a process of enlightenment. To begin with, one would need to set in a right mentality or determination. One has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened. Have boundless compassion and loving kindness along the way. This would be an everlasting remedy to the rising of dukkha that was recommended by the wise Buddha. A fully awakened state of mind does not require labeling, colouring, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. All subjects and objects are in completely neutralised state of affairs - when this arising, that arises; when this ceasing, that ceases.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 38 22.0 What are Phenomena and Existence? Phenomena appear to arise or are perceived by our senses to arise in and of themselves, but they are not. All phenomena, including emptiness, are dependent-arising. Emptiness, however, did correspond to both the inherent existence and the dependent arising due to its universal qualities. Thus phenomena do not exist inherently as this or that from their own sides, unrelated to the consciousness that perceives them. Phenomena exist as this or that - are dependent on the observers. Now, we need to look at the definition of existence. What exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist. And conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. But in the ultimate reality, things do not exist in the ways that concepts and language imply they do. Things would only exist as in deepest facts i.e. it is beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist as in conventional reality i.e. distinct manners such as wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. And perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. 23.0 What is Emptiness? Everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. Energy is the underlying element for all the existences and it is dependent on the conditional phenomena. And a phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses and therefore, it is empty as well. At the end of the day, we could summarise that emptiness is the beginning for all existences. Every existence is empty and emptiness is in every existence.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 39 24.0 Emptiness Everywhere So how does emptiness derive and why is it crucial for one to ponder at? From direct experience, we know that humans and things cause pleasure and pain, and that they can help and harm. Therefore, phenomena certainly do exist but the question is how? They do not exist in their own quality but only have an existence dependent upon many factors, including a consciousness that conceptualises them. But in what way is consciousness mistaken? Because all phenomena appear to exist in their own quality, all of our ordinary perceptions are mistaken. We have taken in a wrong sense that living beings, things and phenomena appear to exist in and of themselves. It seems that phenomena could be established in their own right or quality, and from the object’s side upon conceptualising our consciousness. Unfortunately, with this false mode, we are hindering ourselves from recognising the discrepancy between appearance and reality. Nevertheless, one could conduct a self-training session to develop wisdom and eliminate one’s ignorance on the ultimate truth. Upon seeking through in- depth analysis, one could find inherent existence of whatever object one is considering — oneself, another person, one’s body, one’s mind, or anything else is completely lacking. For example, when you examine an object such as car, its inherent existence is negated, but what is left is a body dependent on an engine, seats, lamps, window glasses, tires, gases, etc. In other words, what is left after the analysis is a dependently existent phenomenon. Thus it is not that you come to understand that the object or phenomenon does not exist but rather, you find that its inherent existence is unfounded. This is the ultimate discovery about the orientation of the nature. Nature is a system of existence fully occupied with factors that would rise and fall dependently in continuum. At the end of the day, dualism of the subject and object, and the appearance of multiplicity arises out of our ignorance on the true nature would vanish once emptiness is realised. We could then differentiate the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 40 25.0 Emptiness and Existence Emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. Upon in-depth analysis, we could discover that emptiness corresponds to two distinct scenarios: 1. It corresponds to the inherent existence (due to unchanging nature) that all conventional phenomena lack. 2. It corresponds to the dependent arising (a conditional phenomenon) i.e. subject to the same lack of inherent existence as every other object or phenomenon. This is referred to as the emptiness of emptiness. The above is a rather strange paradox but still logical because emptiness is a universal or an infinite phenomenon. Therefore, it is evident that object could arise out of emptiness due to the second scenario clarified above and it is the ambience for the origination of existence. As a summary, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. It is comparable to scientific term of singularity and also the inherent quality of existence. Emptiness is considered the ultimate truth because it inherently exists exactly as it is perceived when it is perceived directly by an enlightened mind. And discovering the ultimate truth is the key to overcoming the ignorant state of mind. 26.0 Reflection of Emptiness When we talk about seeing into emptiness, we talk about the progressive realisation of the mind on the reality of things. Therefore, emptiness can be realised into stages as below: - Stage 1 Elementary Realisation  All things and phenomena are lack of core essence.  Nothing is unchanging and permanent.  Everything is inter-related.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 41 Stage 2 Intermediary Realisation  Ability to differentiate the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist.  Only seeing without believing. Stage 3 Advance Realisation  No dualism of the subject and object, and no appearance of multiplicity.  All things and phenomena rise and fall within a singular condition.  Only uniformity exists. Stage 4 Ultimate Realisation  All dependent arising are completely blown off or extinguished.  No string attached, and nothing is left remaining.  Infinite, unchanging, permanent, and unconditional.  Exists beyond all conventional phenomena. The ultimate realisation of emptiness by the mind would mean a phase of perfect intermediation being accomplished by the mind. A perfect intermediation would mean a comprehensive absence of any or all units under consideration. It is also known as a complete neutralisation of conditional phenomena. But an absence of any or all units under consideration is not equivalent to nothingness of any or all units under consideration. 27.0 Birth and Rebirth For general understanding, rebirth does not mean trans-migration. An individual soul does not migrate from a physical body into another one. No, it just won’t fit at all. Every individual or thing that exists would not be the same - it could only be in a similar condition e.g. twins are similar but never the same individuals. Every individual is unique respectively and no individuals would be the same even though they do share some sort of the same genes before time. On this pretext, you may have heard in various stories whereby a spirit or ghost has the ability to possess into the body of an individual but it never
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 42 absolutely overtakes the soul of the possessed individual. This is because one cannot simply exchange the soul at one’s whim and fancy. Even individuals with the most powerful magic charm could not perform this feat. Also, you have heard of the organ transplant cases, whereby the new recipients need to take immunosuppressive drugs to treat any transplant rejections – live long. In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person (upon death) and the new consciousness arising in the same person (in the new person) is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. For example, a flame is transferred from one candle to another, or a fire spreads from one field to another. In the same way that it depends on the original fire, there is a conditioned relationship between one life and the next; they are not identical but neither are they completely distinct. And it is possible for rebirth to take place from a single source into different identities at any various point of time, just like how the genetic lineage works for generations. This is how we explain the destiny of being siblings, being life partners, being close friends in one’s lifetime. Somehow or somewhere before time, the so-called relevant individuals are inherited from the similar sources of predecessor. Thus in the present lifetime one has the opportunity to meet and know with the relevant beings and not the other non-relevant beings. Inevitably, under the natural law of attraction, anything that belongs to the same ancestry would somehow attract with each other, no matter how far or near distance and how long or short time period. So by now, one would know what the phrase, ‘Destiny is made in Heaven; Man looks for his other half; We shared with a common chemistry’, would mean in the general context. Generally, most individuals could not recall their respective past lives because they have inherited much assimilated element-dots deriving from myriad of predecessors. However, some individuals did remember vividly on their past lives and could relate it well in their present lives. A higher density of any particular element-dot inheritance would mean a higher retention of genetic information that determines the particular pool of behaviour of a predecessor.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 43 Let us look at the following illustrations: - Illustration 1 Key : - Force of Ignorance Prevailing Conscious Mind Dependent phenomenon Force of Awakening Subtle Conscious Mind The Mind of a living being The Mind of a departing being The Subtle Conscious Mind is The force of Ignorance has outdone released into fragments the force of Awakening o A final burst of energy before death.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 44 Key : - Subtle Conscious Mind of Individual A Subtle Conscious Mind of Individual B Subtle Conscious Mind of Individual C Subtle Conscious Mind of Individual D Fragments of liberated Subtle Conscious Mind of different Individuals under an Imbalance phenomenon The Subtle Conscious Mind of different Individuals The Mind of a new being derived congregating under a Balance phenomenon from different predecessors
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 45 Illustration 2 Key: - E = Energy M = Matter Generation 1 Individual A Individual B Individual C E1-1 E1-2 E1-3 E1-4 E2-1 E2-2 E2-3 E3-1 E3-2 E3-3 E1-5 E1-6 E1-7 E2-4 E2-5 E2-6 E3-4 E3-5 M1-1 M1-2 M1-3 M1-4 M2-1 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M3-1 M3-2 M-3-3 M1-5 M1-6 M1-7 M2-5 M2-6 M3-4 M3-5 Disintegrating process E1-1 E1-4 E1-3 E1-7 E2-1 E2-2 E2-4 E2-6 E3-1 E3-2 E3-4 E1-5 E1-6 E1-2 M1-1 M1-2 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5 M1-7 M1-4 M1-5 M2-5 M2-6 E2-5 M1-6 M1-3 E2-3 M2-1 M-3-3 E3-3 E3-5
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 46 Some lapse of time after the disintegrating process M1-2 M1-3 M1-4 M1-5 M2-2 M2-3 M2-4 M2-5 M2-6 M3-1 M3-2 M3-4 M3-5  E1-2-1 E1-3-1 E1-4-1 E1-5-1  E2-2-1 E2-3-1 E2-4-1 E2-5-1 E2-6-1  E3-1-1 E3-2-1 E3-4-1 E3-5-1 M1-6 M1-3  E1-6-1 E1-3-1 M2-1  E2-1-1 M3-3  E3-3-1 E1-2-1 E1-6 E1-5-1 E2-1-1 E2-4 E2-6-1 E3-1 E3-2-1 E3-5-1 E3-5  M1-2-1 M1-6-1 M1-5-1  M2-1-1 M2-4-1 M2-6-1  M3-1-1 M3-2-1 M3-5-2 M3-5-1 New integrating process Generation 2 Individual A1 Individual B1 Individual C1 E2-4 E1-1 E1-2 E2-1 E1-3-1 E1-6 E2-2 E2-3 E3-4 E2-5 E2-6 M-2-4-1 M1-2-1 M1-5-1 M2-6-1 M1-3 M3-5-1 M3-2-1 M3-5-2 M3-1-1 Remarks: - Individual A, Individual B and Individual C are three respective individuals living in separate locations in Generation 1. Individual A1 and Individual B1 are husband and wife in Generation 2. Individual C1 is good friend of Individual A1 and Individual B1 in Generation 2. Type of person - Individual A1 is a perfectly normal or healthy type, Individual B1 is a hyperactive type or supernatural type, Individual C1 is a weak or defective type. The law of kamma applies in determining the above rebirth conditions.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 47 In the above illustration, supposedly Individual A is an ardent pianist then the new being would somehow be naturally talented towards the play of piano or something with similarity. This is how we explain the natural talented skills we always uncovered from young children and it is the same case scenario for the phobic conditions in any particular individuals. Ultimately, it is the wonder of nature that everyone would not be totally the same or totally different from each other. According to Christianity, it is believed that human beings begin with Adam and Eve and this saying may hold its truth literally. 28.0 Transformation from Ignorance into Realisation The Buddha nature exists within all beings or things. It is only a matter of time before one could make the discovery of this so-called the black hole of emptiness. Let us survey into the following illustrations: - The Black hole of Emptiness p 1 p 2 p 3 p 13 p 12 p 4 p 11 p 5 p 10 p 9 p 8 p 6 p 7 NIBBĀNA Singularity & Uniformity SAMSĀRA Duality & Multiplicity Duality & Multiplicity Dependent rising Imbalance condition NO MIND Independent & Permanent MIND Dependent falling Point B Point A Balance condition
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 48 Key : - Point A / Point B = subject / object = phenomenon of duality mind path of awakening p phenomenon energy matter space The Deepest fact about Things Key: - The Mind of Individual Dependent nature of Phenomenon The Black hole of Emptiness The Deepest fact about Things
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 49 The Progressing state of the Mind Listed below is a comparison between an ignorant and an awakened state of the mind as well as the potential movement of the mind towards a state of enlightenment: - 1. Mind A is comparatively stronger and more agile than Mind B. Mind A Mind B 2. Mind C is more ignorant than Mind D. Mind C Mind D 3. Mind E is in tranquil and realised conditions. Mind E (Enlightened Mind)
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 50 4. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation. Presence in the Waves of Absence in the Waves of Dependent phenomena Dependent phenomena 5. The absence in the waves of dependent phenomena enables the mind to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation. 6. In the absence of waves arising, the entire dependent nature of phenomenon would die out and fade away gradually, thus leaving behind the mind fully exposed to the deepest fact about things. This circumstance enables the mind to discern the deepest fact about things in a complete state of realisation without a layer of the dependent phenomenon gets in the way. Disappearance of the The Mind is fully exposed to the Dependent phenomenon Deepest fact about Things
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 51 7. Under a complete realised circumstance, the mind would be absorbed into the black hole of emptiness. The Mind is disappearing into The eternal bliss of Nibbāna the Black hole of Emptiness 8. Ultimately, there is no mind remaining in the infinite, unchanging, permanent and unconditional state of nibbāna i.e. the ambience for an eternal bliss. 29.0 Existence of the Mind Mind is defined as memory, remembrance, way of thinking, feeling, wishing, opinion, intention or purpose. Key: - M = mind S = subject O = object p = phenomenon Subject-object relationship MSA MOB MOC MOD MOE pAC pAD pAE pAB
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 52 Conventional truth Duality or multiplicity would arise in the presence of the mind. This is because there is a subject pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. The subject is mainly the mind. Phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses. In other words, phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is a mind arising, the phenomenon would arise. When there is a phenomenon arising, the dependent nature would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the dependent nature - just like shadow follows the body. This is what the conventional reality is all about. 30.0 Mind in the Dependent nature Mind is the forerunner of all states. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature i.e. with the rise of perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. Beginning of the Dependent nature Ending of the Dependent nature  Rise in the Cause or Effect  Cessation in the Cause or Effect Cause Effect Cause is Effect, Effect is Cause The principle in effect: - When the mind arising, the dependent nature arises, When the mind ceasing, the dependent nature ceases.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 53 Dependent nature is a classification being performed by the mind. Without the mind, there is no classification of the dependent nature. Therefore, both the mind and the dependent nature are inter-dependent of each other. There is no separate case of cause, no separate case of effect. Both the mind and the dependent nature are cause and effect at the same time. In fact, cause and effect are two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in a different time of events. This is because reality does not exist in a linear orientation - therefore, there is no real first cause, no real first effect. Cause and effect are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with each other - this is how the conventional reality works. At the end of the day, there is only rising or falling of phenomenon in the dependent nature. 31.0 Emptiness of the Mind Right now, why is there duality or multiplicity in the dependent nature? It is because there is mind arising. Why is there mind arising in the dependent nature? It is because there are elements of energy. Why are there elements of energy in the dependent nature? It is because there is emptiness. Why is there emptiness in the dependent nature? It is because there is emptiness of emptiness. In other words, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena exists in the way it appears in direct perception and without the need to reference of any other entity. It is completely defined by its own nature. In other words, emptiness of phenomena is an inherent existence that is uncaused. It is indestructible and eternal. It is unchanging when viewed externally and cannot undergo any internal changes of state. It has no constituent parts and nothing can be thrown out or removed from it. Nothing can be added to it and no change in the external conditions can affect it. As a summary, we could see that emptiness exists in all conditional phenomena. Without emptiness, the potential movement of the mind from non- enlightenment towards a state of enlightenment would not be possible – that is
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 54 to say if the mind itself existed inherently. The emptiness of inherent existence of the mind is called the Buddha nature. 32.0 Non-existence of the Mind No Subject-object relationship Ultimate truth No duality or multiplicity would arise in the non-existence of the mind. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In the absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent MOB MOC MOD MOE MSA
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 55 phenomena. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre- conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. 33.0 Conditions of the Mind The mind comprises with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both of these terms would interact differently under the circumstances described as below: - 33.1 Asleep When one is asleep, the prevailing conscious mind would fall into slumber at the same time. Basically, prevailing conscious mind is closely related to the physical body. This means there would be a biological clock being attached within it i.e. there would be duration for staying awake and for resting. However, there is another term of mind i.e. the subtle conscious mind that has no biological clock in it. Subtle conscious mind is somehow independent from the physical body. This is because when the physical body is being ‘switch- off’ temporarily, the subtle conscious mind still works unpretentiously. For example, we could still have visions in our dreams even with our physical eyes closed while asleep. And dreams are succession of images, thoughts, or emotions passing through the mind during sleep. In other words, we could say that subtle mind consciousness is like VCR – recording analog audio and analog video from broadcast television so that the images and sound can be played back at a more convenient time. 33.2 Near-death Experience (NDE) Perhaps, one has heard of many reported incidences related to near-death, out-of-body experience and the tunnel of light vision. How could we explain these phenomena?
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 56 Append below, please find the illustration that could clarify the above scenario: - Key : - Prevailing Conscious Mind Subtle Conscious Mind The Clear Light Dependent phenomenon The Mind of a living being Key : - Prevailing Conscious Mind in dormant Subtle Conscious Mind in active The Clear Light Observation by Subtle Conscious Mind Dependent phenomenon The Mind of a being in NDE During the circumstance of near-death, the two terms of the mind are separated from each other i.e. the prevailing conscious mind would be in a dormant condition but the subtle conscious mind remains in an active
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 57 condition. In other words, the subtle mind consciousness plays an active role in relating the out-of-body experience and the tunnel of light vision. The clear light is actually the Buddha nature within all beings. 33.3 Enlightenment During the circumstance of enlightenment, the two terms of the mind would separate from each other – the prevailing conscious mind would play in a dominant role, whereas, the subtle conscious mind would remain in a submissive condition. Key : - Prevailing Conscious Mind Subtle Conscious Mind The Clear Light Dependent phenomenon The Mind of a non-enlightened being Key : - Subtle Conscious Mind The Clear Light / The Black hole of Emptiness Observation by Prevailing Conscious Mind Dependent phenomenon The Mind of an enlightened being The role of prevailing conscious mind is like mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. An
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 58 enlightened mind can be described as a prevailing conscious mind with liberation from the thoughts i.e. instead of being the thoughts; the perspective is shifted to watching the thoughts churned out by subtle conscious mind. In other words, it means the prevailing conscious mind would make observation without identifying with the thoughts – the subtle conscious mind. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. During the process of observation, the awakened prevailing conscious mind could also discern with the so-called memory fragments of the previous lives subdued within the subtle conscious mind. This is because within the elements of subtle consciousness one would discover the elements of subtle memory. Within the elements of subtle memory one would discover the elements of subtle information. In other words, the awakened prevailing conscious mind could see through the ‘seed treasures’ of kamma accumulated from the retained subtle information throughout the series of one’s past lives in crystal clear and without hesitation. Besides seeing through the past life events, an awakened mind could also foresee into the future events. In a layman term, it is named as a de-ja vu experience or some kind of time travelling to the future condition. This is because an awakened mind is highly luminous and vigilant to any development of circumstances and surpassing time. And from direct experience, time travelling to the future condition is plausible and could be evidently proven. Append below would be the highlights pertaining to several of my future visions or de-ja vu experiences that have taken place: - The sinking of a boat in Johore, Malaysia. – April 29, 2009 The death of Michael Jackson. – June 25, 2009 The political situation in Malaysia revealed by Wikileaks. – December 15, 2010
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 59 The simultaneous big floods in several countries. – January 12, 2011 The death of Osama bin Laden. – May 1, 2011 For the event details, please refer to http://forum.ipoh.com.my/showthread.php?t=9241 In Buddhism, it is mentioned that only a human can attain enlightenment as a fully enlightened Buddha. This is because humans are just one type of sentient being with both the prevailing and subtle conscious mind stream that can find balance between happiness and suffering via the meditating processes. Basically, there are two types of meditation in Buddhism. One is samatha and the other is vipassanā meditation. Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter-dependable throughout the practices in order to achieve favourable results in meditation. Upon entering deeply into a meditative state (in full concentration), the prevailing mind consciousness would separate from the subtle mind consciousness. The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing conscious mind enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle conscious mind until pure awareness is attained. Moreover, when one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind would still exist but with a paradigm shift into seeing all the things or happenings in the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a complete liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body i.e. the passing into parinibbāna. During one last time of disintegrating process, the subtle mind consciousness would be absorbed into the black hole of emptiness and then followed by the prevailing mind
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 60 consciousness. In the absence of the mind, the dependent phenomenon would die out concurrently. Ultimately, there is no mind remaining in the infinite, unchanging, permanent and unconditional state of nibbāna and this is the ambience for an eternal bliss. 34.0 What are Awareness, Consciousness and Mind? Awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time. In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation. Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. On the other hand, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. 35.0 Category of Consciousness In Buddhism, the mind-stream is referring to the stream of consciousness. So to understand our minds, we need to understand our consciousness. Basically, there are two terms of the mind i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. And precisely, consciousness can be categorised into four layers i.e. mind consciousness, sense consciousness, store consciousness and manas consciousness.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 61 35.1 Mind Consciousness It is regarded as the ‘working’ consciousness or the mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. In other words, it is a prevailing conscious mind that makes judgments and plans. Basically, prevailing conscious mind is closely related to the physical body or more specifically, the brain. This means there would be a biological clock being attached within it i.e. there would be duration for staying awake and for resting. Without the brain, there would be no prevailing mind consciousness in existence. Therefore, brain is a necessary prerequisite for any mind consciousness to exist; without it, the mind consciousness would be impossible. 35.2 Sense Consciousness It is a subtle consciousness that is derived from our five senses i.e. sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell. Sense consciousness is sometimes called the ‘gate’, and always engages with three elements – the sense organ, the sense object and the experience of what we are seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, or touching. In other words, physical body is a necessary prerequisite for any sense consciousness to exist; without it, the sense consciousness would be impossible. 35.3 Store Consciousness It is also known as subtle conscious mind that is somehow independent from the physical body. Store consciousness would act like a museum whereby one could discern with the elements of memory and information. This is because within the elements of subtle consciousness one would discover the elements of subtle memory. Within the elements of subtle memory one would discover the elements of subtle information. In other words, it is a place whereby one could see through the ‘seed treasures’ of kamma accumulated from the retained subtle information throughout the series of one’s past lives. Store consciousness is responsible for the birth and rebirth conditions of individuals. When a person is lying dead, all the elements of consciousness would leave the body. However, only the store consciousness would sustain in liberated conditions outside the physical body but not the mind consciousness
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 62 and the sense consciousness. The switch of the mind consciousness and the sense consciousness would be turned off and it would not carry on beyond the grave because these two types of consciousness are dependent on the physical body for arising – just like shadow follows the body. In other words, store consciousness (where all kinds of seeds and information are kept) would stay behind in a condition known as the stream of consciousness (always flowing, always present, never interrupted) and the basic cause for the persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of store consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. The elements of ignorance and memory are closely inter-dependent of each other. The elements of memory have two main functions i.e. deposits and withdrawals of information – the act of retaining and recalling facts. The rise of ignorance has to depend on the withdrawal of deposited information from the previous events and the deposited information can only be redeemed from the elements of memory. Therefore, it is not correct to mention that a newborn being has no memory of a previous life. Every single newborn being would surely bear with the seeds of kamma deriving from the previous lives. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. In other words, it is not that the newborn being has no memory of a previous life but rather the fruits of kamma have not ripened yet. Only upon maturity could the newborn being start to recall events related to his or her previous lives. As a conclusion, without store consciousness, the law of kamma would be impossible in the realms of existence. 35.4 Manas Consciousness It is also known as the cogitating consciousness that is always embracing and attaching to store consciousness. Manas arises from store consciousness and embraces store consciousness as its object. The function of manas is to appropriate store consciousness as its own.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 63 36.0 The Law of Vibration and the Law of Attraction Everything or anything (physical or non-physical) that exists is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but a mere element of vibration. The basic level of a matter is energy. The basic level of energy is vibration. Therefore, matter is a vibrating mass of energy in which the different frequency of vibration would determine the shape and the size of it. So energy and matter are both referring to the same thing - both reflected in different forms per se. Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. According to the Einstein’s formula, E = mc2, energy can be generated by enforcing a matter into a circumstance of extremely high rate of vibration. At the same time, a matter can be formed by compressing energy into a circumstance of extremely low rate of vibration. In the material Universe, this is how we clarify that something arises as in object is not out of nothing but arises out of the elements of energy that exist in a system. And dependent nature of phenomena is a necessary prerequisite for energy or matter to exist; without it, the energy or matter would be impossible. As such, every existence does contain with the three basic elements - energy, matter and space. These basic elements would subject to the balance and imbalance phenomena. Under a balance phenomenon, these elements would start to integrate with each other to create aggregation. Under an imbalance phenomenon, these elements would start to disintegrate from each other to create segregation. Once again, everything in the material Universe is made up of energy. Atoms and molecules are made up of energy. Our bodies, our clothes, our cars, our houses are all made up of energy but what makes them different is their vibration. Energy is always vibrating at a different frequency under the influence of conditional phenomena. Everything has its own vibrational frequency – our thoughts, our feelings, the rock, the table, the car, the animal, the plant, the tree, etc. Even colours are merely expressions of certain vibrational frequencies. These scenarios are guided by a system of universal law known as the law of vibration. In fact, the law of vibration serves as the foundation for the law of attraction. The law of attraction states that we attract what we are sending out i.e. like attracts like, unlike repels unlike. Hence, favourable energies attract favourable energies and unfavourable
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 64 energies attract unfavourable energies. Human thoughts are cosmic waves of energy that penetrate all time and space and it is the most potent vibration that can attracts what is desired or wished for. In other words, all sentient beings are electro-magnetic beings with the subtle mind consciousness that acts as an antenna or a radar detector constantly attracting and magnetising vibrational frequencies. Human thoughts are frequencies to which other similar frequencies are constantly resonating. This resonance is the basis for a universal law – the law of attraction. At the end of the day, the law of attraction and the law of vibration go hand in hand at all times. 37.0 Ion makes the world go round What is an ion? An ion is a charged atom or molecule. It is charged due to the imbalance number of electrons and the number of protons in the atom or molecule. An atom can become a positive charge or a negative charge depending on whether the number of electrons in an atom is greater or lesser than the number of protons in the atom. Ion concentrations can vary over short distances i.e. one may find that one end of a room has an excess of positive ions and the other end, negative. In nature, ions are formed in a variety of ways - about half are created by radioactive gases and the other half are produced from radioactive substances in the soil, cosmic rays, ultraviolet rays, air flow friction, falling water and plants. Basically, positive ions have a negative effect on humans and animals. Some of the side effects caused by high positive ion counts are violent behaviour, road rage, depression, dizziness, chills, tremors, sleeplessness, fatigue, irritability, nausea, lethargy, respiratory symptoms, headaches, migraines, increase in heart attacks, high blood pressure, increase in optical disturbances, anxiety, body aches/pains, etc. Today, the modern homes and offices seal out negative ions. Computer terminals, fluorescent lighting, forced air ventilation systems, and modern building materials generate an over abundance of positive ions. Electrical gadgets such as microwave oven, laptop, desktop computer, television, mobile phone or the alarm clock could be to blame for the lacking of negative ions in the atmosphere. Other positive ionisation could derive from car exhausts, factory fumes, tire dust, cigarette smoke, cooking and heating fumes, dust, etc.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 65 On the other hand, negative ions are beneficial to humans and animals. It has been proven scientifically that a high count of negative ions will decrease fatigue, reduce migraines/headaches, strengthen the function of autonomic nerves, strengthen the body immune system, improves metabolism, improves asthma and other respiratory conditions, lowers blood pressures, etc. Refreshing places, usually located in the mountains and near waterfalls and seashores have high negative ion concentrations. In humans, most researchers think that negative ions act on the capacity to absorb and utilise oxygen, accelerating the blood’s delivery of oxygen to the cells and tissues. Generally, negative ions have much higher rates of mobility as compared with the positive ions due to increase in the number of electrons that are constantly vibrating in standing waves on the surface of the ions. Once again, the charged molecules or ions play a vital role in the physical and the spiritual development of humans. Our frame of mind and body conditions depend on the composition of the air that we breathe. Air is electrically charged, which means it contains in definite proportions, positively charged molecules (positive ions) and negatively charged molecules (negative ions). There is a need for their balance to conjure up favourable vibes for one’s mental and physical progression. In fact, the yin-yang concept is mostly based upon the orientation of positive ions and negative ions in the surroundings. When there is a balance in the definite proportion of ions, whereby the number of positive ions (yin) is almost equal to the number of negative ions (yang), there will be a harmonious ‘chi’ or energy in the surroundings and vice versa. On another front, the definite proportion of ions in the atmosphere has an intimate relevance to the arising of spirit or ghost energies in the human realm. Ordinary spirits or ghosts that are abided with ignorance would be drawn to the cluster of positive ions. This is because positive ions are correlated with the energies of dukkha i.e. ignorance would give rise to unfavourable thoughts, ill- wills, angers, un-satisfactoriness, attachments, restlessness, jealousy, pessimism, etc. Common areas such as windowless and closed rooms, abandoned houses, hospitals, factories, old buildings – in derelict and overgrown states, would usually sustain a higher concentration of positive ions in the surroundings – an ideal passageway for the manifestation of wandering ghosts or spirits in the human realm. And from direct experience, a ghost or a spirit arising in close proximity could evoke with severe headaches, nausea and
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 66 lethargy on our physical body unexpectedly – an apparent sign of soaring density of positive ions in the surrounding area. In other words, a human who is afflicted with a mental or a physical illness would tend to attract or magnetise with the spirits or the ghosts more often than the healthy ones due to higher presence of positive ions in the body and the surroundings. As a conclusion, ions are necessary prerequisites for becoming process to exist; without it, the becoming process would be impossible in the dependent nature. For humans, the presence of high negative ions would bring scores of advantages to the spiritual and the physical development. In fact, the surroundings with high negative ion concentrations would attract or magnetise with favourable energies from devas, angels and other deities that could help individuals in many ways along the path to spiritual liberation. Therefore, it is crucial for one to find balance with the ion concentrations at all times because ions are ‘kingmakers’ in the mental and the physical health condition of individuals. 38.0 The Process of New Creation (Multiplicity) in Samsāra According to the Chinese philosophy, everything has both the yin and yang aspects. Yin and yang are actually complementary but opposing forces interacting to form a whole greater than either separate part; thus bringing forth a dynamic system existing in harmony. The visual representation of this concept is well depicted in the Taijitu symbol or the loosely referred to as yin- yang symbol. Literally, Tai-ji means supreme ultimate – that represents an insightful reality of the dependent nature i.e. highlighting the many natural dualities such as female and male, dark and light, low and high, cold and hot, water and fire, life and death, etc. Whenever one quality reaches its peak, it will naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality. The communion of the two gives birth to things. Yin and yang transform each other – just like an undertow in the ocean, every advance is complemented by a retreat, and every rise transforms into a fall. Generally, yin is associated with water, earth, moon, femininity, night time, etc. and is characterised as slow, soft, yielding, diffuse, cold, wet, and passive. Whereas, by contrast, yang is associated with fire, sky, the sun, masculinity, day time,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 67 etc. and is characterised as fast, hard, solid, focused, hot, dry, and aggressive. The classic principle in effect: ‘Yin creates Yang and Yang activates Yin.’ If one refers to the cycle of Dependent Origination, manas that unfolds against the backdrop of consciousness (preliminary) is an architect or a designer that activates mind and body creations. Mind and body are simply two aspects of the same thing. Manas would vibrate in a certain unique frequency – a wave of collated high and low vibrations. This blueprint of vibrations would subsequently bring forth the conflation of mind and body. The principle in effect: the lower the frequency, the slower the vibration; the higher the frequency, the faster the vibration. Slower vibration would lead to the body and the sense bases formation and faster vibration would lead to the mind formation. Collectively, it brings about a new life existence with a unique individuality that would not allow the disruption by any kind of external interference; thus it maintains a self-identity. In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole. Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised. The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality. As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing. Nevertheless, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses would arise in the sentient beings but for other things, merely the subtle mind consciousness would arise. In addition, it is the mind, the consciousness of individuality, which holds together the atoms and molecules as one integrated body in a lifetime. Scientifically, the atoms are held together by covalent chemical bonds but the synergies of it would give rise to the mind, the consciousness of individuality. For general understanding, subtle mind consciousness does not consume as much energy as prevailing mind consciousness. Subtle mind consciousness can process and store information without a lot of work or the intervention of prevailing mind consciousness. In other words, subtle mind consciousness could operate in the absence of prevailing mind consciousness with the least of energy consumption on 24 hours/day and 365 days/year - this would mean a plenty of energy reserves for prolonging the lifespan of a body in a lifetime.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 68 In fact, for over 90% of the time in a lifespan, the body is administered by subtle mind consciousness and it simply operates like a radar detector – sensing all spectrums of vibrational frequencies from the surroundings and across the time stream (past, present and future). As such, one would notice that an enlightened subtle mind consciousness would operate like a long range radar detector which is highly luminous and vigilant to any development of circumstances and surpassing time. When one has reached the maturity of a lifespan, the mind and body would go through a dying process, inevitably. And the first type of consciousness to depart the body would be the prevailing mind consciousness. In the sentient beings, the prevailing mind consciousness that bonds strongly the atoms and the molecules together would die out and evolve into other energies concurrently. This incidence would lead to an impulse occurrence with a demonstration of a final burst of energy nearing the moments of death. Subsequently, the segregating process would conquest with most of the subtle mind consciousness departing the death body. For an ignorant being, during a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force) would overcome the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force). The elements of subtle consciousness would then liberate into fragments. The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being. And for an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening. A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming. A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments. On the other hand, for an awakened being, the amount of liberated fragments is much lesser than an ignorant being because there is lower intensity of Ignorance as compared with the intensity of Awakening. Also, the dispersion of liberated fragments is more confined and restricted to much fewer new individuals. Last of all, during segregating process, sense consciousness and the lingering subtle mind consciousness would evolve into other energies concurrently with the body decomposing process. At the end of the day, the fragmented subtle
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 69 mind consciousness with some retained subtle information within the elements of subtle memory would sustain freedom of sorts and waiting for the next aligning process and the new balance phenomena to arise, thus depicting the continuous flow or repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth - known as samsāra. 39.0 The Process of Pro-creation (Sexual) in Samsāra A sperm and an egg would contain with subtle mind consciousness respectively. A sexual pro-creating process would begin with the aggregation of sperm and egg under a balance phenomenon. During the integrating process, some new information would be produced and it would evolve into knowledge. Consecutively, the gained knowledge would induce a sense of representation that would then give rise to an element of memory. The elements of memory would stimulate a process of compulsion and this would lead to a broadcasting of kammic imprints in its own vibrational frequency that in turn electro- magnetically attract with similar kammic imprints unearthed from the influx of subtle mind consciousness elsewhere in the dependent nature (as per the law of vibration and attraction). Scientifically, a sperm is an electrically neutral structure with the equal amount of positive and negative charges. An egg is also an electrically neutral structure with the equal amount of positive and negative charges. During the fertilisation period, the sperms are guided by temperature when travelling through most of the fallopian tube and navigate by tuning in to the egg’s chemical call when they get close to the fertilisation site. When a sperm conflates with an egg to form a zygote, it would give rise to energy absorption inside the egg structure. The electron bonded to an atom of the egg absorbs the proper amount of energy deriving from the potential (stored) energy of the sperm. The energy absorbed would then exceed the electric potential barrier that originally confined it, thus breaking the bond and freeing it to move. The electron is then emitted as a free electron from the zygote structure and the amount of energy required is called the ionisation energy. According to the cycle of Dependent Origination, an imbalance phenomenon would lead to an adjusting process. The adjusting process would then lead to
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 70 an aligning process and the aligning process would subsequently lead to a new balance phenomenon. When an atom loses an electron, an imbalance phenomenon occurs. The atom then becomes a charged particle called an ion. These imbalanced ion particles are responsible for the electron flow (energy flow in the form of electricity). Ions will take or release an electron to become balanced again. Therefore, the zygote, an electro-magnetic being with positively charged ions, would be balanced with the ‘jump’ of an electron from an atom elsewhere. In other words, a positively charged ion would electro- magnetically attract to a negatively charged ion elsewhere and this condition is crucial for the development of zygote into embryo. For general understanding, a zygote would develop into an embryo only with the presence of negative ions, positive ions and the compatible ‘free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness as a boost factor. In the absence of any or all of these mentioned elements, the advance development of zygote would be impeded. The ‘free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness under an imbalance phenomenon would go through the adjusting process and subsequently the aligning process. During the aligning process, the ‘free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness would attract and ally with the new body that contains all necessary equal and opposite elements (both in qualitative and quantitative aspects). In other words, this integrating process would arise in the right place at the right time under a perfectly conducive environment. Thus a new being is formed under a new balance phenomenon. As mentioned earlier, a zygote is a newly formed being with positively charged ions. A positively charged ion would naturally attract a negatively charged ion. The negative ions encircling the zygote would permeate into the surface of it, enhancing metabolism of the cell membranes, accelerating the mitosis process and the delivery of oxygen to inner cells and tissues. Last of all, the compatible ‘free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness would be absorbed into the zygote to initiate a sparkling process. The sparkling process is made possible only with the absorption of sufficient like energies elsewhere into the zygote. The electron bonded to an atom of the zygote absorbs the proper amount of energy deriving from the potential (stored) energy of the compatible ‘free- flow’ subtle mind consciousness. The energy absorbed would then exceed the electric potential barrier that originally confined it, thus breaking the bond and freeing it to move. The electron is then emitted as a free electron and it
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 71 upsets the electrical charge equilibrium of the embryo. Thus an embryo is a newly formed being with positively charged ions and it continues to attract negative ions from the surroundings to enhance metabolism of the cell membranes, accelerating the mitosis process and the delivery of oxygen to inner cells and tissues. In addition, during the sparkling process, prevailing mind consciousness and sense consciousness would be newly formed, simultaneously. Sparkling process would lead to the process of fusion and consolidation. This would mean no chance for any subsequent compatible ‘free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness to be absorbed into the embryo after the sparkling process – just like the scenario of the first sperm enters the egg during the fertilising process. The embryo would continue to develop into a fetus and it is a stage of the early development of the nervous system in the new body. The nervous system is an electrical impulses dependent system – this means in the absence of imbalanced ion particles, the nervous system in the new body would be stalled indefinitely. The nervous system includes both the central nervous system and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord and the peripheral nervous system is made up of the somatic and the autonomic nervous systems. The nervous system allows the sentient beings to quickly detect, communicate and co- ordinate information on the external and the internal environment via efficient appropriate responses for survival and/or reproduction. For general understanding, consciousness is synergy. Synergy is generally defined as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc. In other words, synergy is energy that expands through cooperation and it is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness. When the nervous system in a new body is formed, sense consciousness would arise simultaneously. Sense consciousness is a subtle synergy resulted from the interaction of subtle mind consciousness in the new body i.e. the electrochemical transmission along the neurons throughout the nervous system. And this synergy arising is in accordance with the yin-yang principle that states: ‘Yin creates Yang and Yang activates Yin’. Synonymously, subtle mind consciousness is yin and sense consciousness is yang - just as a state of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 72 total yin is reached, yang begins to grow. Yin contains seed of yang and vice versa. Moreover, the central nervous system especially the brain would comprise with the highest density of neurons in the entire nervous system of the new body and this circumstance would give rise to another type of synergy identified as prevailing mind consciousness – a prevalent synergy. In other words, mind consciousness and brain are symbiotic; one never exists without the other. The brain is actually a coagulated form of the conflated prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses itself - just as water looks like ice, the mind looks like the brain, and the body. With high density of neurons, the brain could perform a variety of complex functions beside transmitting signals and sending messages to each other parts of the body. Among the complex functions are controlling, regulating, analysing, organising, wishing, interpreting, memorising, etc. – for these complex functions are basically, the roles of prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses. As a reference, mind and body arising are analogous to the origination of fire. From an article pulled out from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the origin of fire is described as follows: - ‘Fires start when a flammable and/or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen- rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist that can replace oxygen), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction. This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron. Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions. Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not directly involved in any chemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily. Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.’
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 73 The mentioned comparison can be depicted as below: - Combustion  Sparkling process Fire  Sentient being Flame  Prevailing mind consciousness Fuel/combustible material  Sentient body Oxidiser  Oxygen intake Heat  Subtle mind consciousness Chain reaction  Electrochemical impulse/transmission Catalyst  ‘Free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness The principle in effect: When the flame is blown off, the chain reaction stops and the fire would be vanished. However, the ambient temperature (heat) remains temporarily but below the flash point for fuel/oxidiser mix and waiting for all the right elements in place and on the right proportions. Likewise, when a sentient being has passed on, the prevailing mind consciousness dies out and the electrochemical impulse/transmission would lapse. However, the subtle mind consciousness still remains temporarily in liberated forms before subscribing to the next becoming process under a balance phenomenon. As a conclusion, prevailing mind consciousness and sense consciousness would not arise without the manifestation of a physical body. However, subtle mind consciousness is somehow independent from the physical body and would continue to play a significant role in the continuous process of birth, life, death and re-birth - known as samsāra. 40.0 Samsāra - Why is there something rather than nothing? In the Buddhist contexts, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. But why is there such a scenario in samsāra? Now, let us analyse into it. The inherent quality of dependent nature is emptiness. In other words, emptiness is the underlying element that exists everywhere within the dependent nature. On another front, energy is a quality that can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes – as per the Law of Conservation of Energy. Therefore, we
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 74 could conclude that both the emptiness and energy are fundamental qualities in the system of dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. When one sees into energy, one sees into emptiness; when one sees into emptiness, one sees into energy. This is the rationale for the saying, ‘Form is Emptiness.’ The principle in effect: seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness. At the same time, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible and this hypothesis attributes to the saying, ‘Emptiness is Form.’ In the dependent nature, there would be a scenario of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, these are two different aspects of the same thing i.e. cause is effect and effect is cause. For instance, Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, etc. As such, cause and effect are inter- changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter- woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature. Precisely, one should think about the scenario of cause and effect as: this arising, that arises; this ceasing, that ceases. Right now, there is a circumstance of duality or multiplicity in the dependent nature, but why? It is because of mind arising. Why is there mind arising? It is because of energy. Why is there energy? It is because of emptiness. And why is there emptiness? It is because of emptiness of emptiness. In other words, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena exists in the way it appears in direct perception and without the need to reference of any other entity. It is completely defined by its own nature. In other words, emptiness of phenomena is an inherent existence that is uncaused. It is indestructible and eternal. It is unchanging when viewed externally and cannot undergo any internal changes of state. It has no constituent parts and nothing can be
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 75 thrown out or removed from it. Nothing can be added to it and no change in the external conditions can affect it. As mentioned earlier, the elements of energy would give rise to the mind that in turn conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. Therefore, we shall be clear by now that mind is the forerunner of all states i.e. the architect for classifying all the existences in the dependent nature. These circumstances of duality or multiplicity are merely the end result of various activities of aggregation being observed by the mind under the influence of conditional phenomena. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality i.e. it involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects or matters. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a chance for the integrating process i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness shapes or forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness no shapes or forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues. This scenario can be portrayed in the cycle of dependent origination shown as below: - Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact. Contact leads to stimulation. Stimulation leads to feeling. Feeling leads to experience. Experience leads to craving. Craving leads to grasping. Grasping leads to clinging. Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming. Becoming leads to creation. Creation leads to birth. Birth leads to energising. Energising leads to mobility. Mobility leads to hauling. Hauling leads to aging. Aging leads to draining. Draining leads to death. Death leads to fragility. Fragility leads to segregation. Segregation leads to diffusion. Diffusion leads to imbalance. Imbalance leads to
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 76 adjustment. Adjustment leads to alignment. Alignment leads to new balance. For general understanding, every existence would contain with the basic elements of energy, matter and space. In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole, without exception. Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised. The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality. As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing; thus it maintains a self-identity. When one ponders as a subject on the other side of the object or matter, one would notice that energy takes on various forms and reborn all the time in the dependent nature. Therefore, it is correct to mention that all objects are empty and exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders (or precisely, the minds of the beholders). It is difficult for one to see into the ultimate truth because the mind is dependent arising and the presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. With ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature. As a conclusion, both the emptiness and energy are the inherent qualities of the dependent nature. These inherent qualities are the core basis for all the rising and falling activities in samsāra. In fact, the repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth in samsāra is due to its relevance to inherent existence and anything that inherently exists would not involve change. In other words, samsāra is neither identical to, nor entirely different from the inherent existence. This is the correct understanding on the principle of emptiness that is in accordance with Buddhism i.e. all created things or happenings can never be in an absolute discrete orientation. Once again, the dependent nature is all about mind versus matter and mind versus mind. As mentioned by the Buddha, mind is the forerunner of all states. When there is mind arising, the dependent nature arises. In other words, the dependent nature is a classification being performed by the mind. Without the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 77 mind, there is no classification of the dependent nature. Therefore, both the mind and the dependent nature are inter-dependent of one another. And with the presence of emptiness, the potential movement of the mind from non- enlightenment towards a state of enlightenment would be possible. Seeing the Dhamma is seeing the Buddha – it is seeing and knowing the ultimate reality of things and happenings and not to get entangle with it. 41.0 Nibbāna – How can it be described? What is nibbāna? And where is nibbāna? For general understanding, nibbāna is not a state of paradise or some sort of heavenly realms that can be found alongside the planes of existence within the cosmos. In an ultimate sense, nibbāna does not exist at all, but why? This is because there is non-existence of the mind to provide with the descriptions, perceptions, names, shapes, etc. within the state of nibbāna. Furthermore, mind is dependent arising but nibbāna is a non-dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the conventional phenomenon that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. In the dependent nature or samsāra, there is an element of suffering or dukkha. Suffering means ‘bearing with’ in the Buddhist context and ‘letting go’ is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises letting go. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got ‘frozen.’ Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind. Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 78 inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation. However, there is an argument that says nothing stops completely in the scientific world. In physics, there is something called zero-point energy or the lowest level that energy could exist. Scientists have discovered that Hydrogen (the smallest molecule in the material Universe with a single atom) cannot be frozen completely i.e. it would cool down to a specific low temperature and then continues to vibrate again. In other words, the material Universe does not freeze itself completely in the coldest region and there is always energy that vibrates in the outer space. Well, it is a valid argument that energy can neither be stationary nor be created nor be destroyed in the scientific sense. But how then could we best describe a scenario of ‘frozen’ energy here? Let us look at the case of a black hole in the material Universe. Black holes were originally called frozen stars because they appear to ‘freeze’ at a size just slightly bigger than the Schwarzschild radius - the distance at which all matter within that distance will collapse into the singularity. Around the black hole, there is a surface called event horizon that marks the point of no return. Any objects that fall and cross the event horizon would appear to freeze from the perspective of an observer who is stationary at great distance from the event horizon. Just as in Einstein’s special theory of relativity, if you were to enter a black hole, you would find your watch ticking along at the same rate as it always had but someone else at great distance from the black hole would see a different ticking rate on your watch than the usual, and you would see their watch to be ticking at a different than normal rate. For instance, if you were to station yourself just outside a black hole, while you would find your own watch ticking at the normal rate, you would see the watch of a friend at great distance from the hole to be ticking at a much faster rate than yours. Your friend would see his own watch ticking at a normal rate, but see your watch to be ticking at a much slower rate. Thus if you stayed just outside the black hole for a while, then went back to join your friend, you would find that the friend had aged more than you had during your separation. At the end of the day, if you were to cross into the event horizon, you appear to
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 79 freeze, as seen by your friend and it is only an ‘optical’ illusion that makes your friend think that you never cross the horizon when in actual fact you did. Once again, when one talks about energy, one talks about vibration. And energy can never be stationary at any point of time but it can appear to freeze under a special circumstance described as above. In other words, when there are opposing forces, there would be vibration. In the absence of opposing forces, vibration would cease to exist i.e. it is considered to be blown-off but not annihilated. This means in the absence of vibration, energy would still exist but it seems to freeze due to the homologous force arising. In the Buddhist context, there are two opposing forces arising in the dependent nature i.e. the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force) and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force). For an ignorant being, during a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance would overcome the force of Awakening. The elements of subtle consciousness would then liberate into fragments. The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being. And for an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening. A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming. A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments. On the other hand, for a fully awakened being, the force of Ignorance would be blown-off (cease to exist) completely. The remaining force of Awakening i.e. an inward tendency force would conquest in full scale and thus conjuring up a circumstance that is known as the black hole of emptiness i.e. the eternal bliss of nibbāna. As a conclusion, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs that is boundless, timeless and permanent. The ultimate goal in the Buddhist practice is to quest for an everlasting happiness that is unconditional via enlightenment. While enlightenment is about realisation, wisdom is about applying it into one’s daily perspectives and decision making, wholesomely. Therefore, if one wishes to gain enlightenment and wisdom, one would need to walk the walk and not talk the talk. In other words, enlightenment can never be achieved through desire for it is a mere intention of building castles in the air. Buddhism is about
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 80 the sheer determination to pull one’s act together to end the state of suffering conclusively and not just blowing hot air. 42.0 Buddhism: A full transformation of the Mind Buddhism is a philosophy that explores the luminosity of the mind. The Buddha has mentioned that mind is the forerunner of all states. In other words, the mind is ultimately responsible for interpreting the existence under the circumstances of duality – phenomenon arises. Therefore, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist. And conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality i.e. subject to the discriminating activities being carried out by the mind. Furthermore, mind is dependent arising and it is a pattern of consciousness that is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality and it is more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. If one refers to the cycle of Dependent Origination, manas that unfolds against the backdrop of consciousness (preliminary) is an architect that activates mind and body creations. Mind and body are simply two aspects of the same thing. Manas would vibrate in a certain unique frequency – a wave of collated high and low vibrations. This blueprint of vibrations would subsequently bring forth the conflation of mind and body. The principle in effect: the lower the frequency, the slower the vibration; the higher the frequency, the faster the vibration. Slower vibration would lead to the body and the sense bases formation and faster vibration would lead to the mind formation. Collectively, it brings about a new life existence with a unique individuality that would not allow the disruption by any kind of external interference; thus it maintains a self-identity. In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole. Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised. The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality. As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 81 Nevertheless, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses would arise in the sentient beings but for other things, merely subtle mind consciousness would arise. In addition, it is the mind, the consciousness of individuality, which holds together the atoms and molecules as one integrated body in a lifetime. Scientifically, the atoms are held together by covalent chemical bonds but the synergies of it would give rise to the mind, the consciousness of individuality. As a summary, no duality or multiplicity would arise in the non-existence of the mind. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. 42.1 Luminosity of the Mind The pure nature of the mind is luminous and it is due to the presence in the waves of dependent phenomena that has clouded it from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. As such, Buddhism is a philosophy that focuses on transforming an ignorant state of mind into an enlightened one. An enlightened mind can be described as prevailing mind consciousness with liberation from the thoughts i.e. instead of being the thoughts; the perspective is shifted to watching the thoughts churned out by subtle mind consciousness. The role of prevailing conscious mind is like mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. In other words, it means prevailing conscious mind would make observation without identifying with the thoughts – the subtle conscious mind. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. During the process of observation, the awakened prevailing conscious mind could also discern with the so-called memory fragments of the previous lives
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 82 subdued within the subtle conscious mind. This is because within the elements of subtle consciousness one would discover the elements of subtle memory. Within the elements of subtle memory one would discover the elements of subtle information. In other words, the awakened prevailing conscious mind could see through the ‘seed treasures’ of kamma accumulated from the retained subtle information throughout the series of one’s past lives in crystal clear and without hesitation. Besides seeing through the past life events, an awakened mind could also foresee into the future events. In a layman term, it is named as a de-ja vu experience or some kind of time travelling to the future condition. This is because an awakened mind is highly luminous and vigilant to any development of circumstances and surpassing time. In Buddhism, it is mentioned that only a human can attain enlightenment as a fully enlightened Buddha. This is because humans are just one type of sentient being with both the prevailing and subtle conscious mind stream that can find balance between happiness and suffering via the meditating processes. Therefore, in the absence of the prevailing conscious mind, the attaining of full enlightenment is not possible. Basically, there are two types of meditation in Buddhism. One is samatha and the other is vipassanā meditation. Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter-dependable throughout the practices in order to achieve favourable results in meditation. Upon entering deeply into a meditative state (in full concentration), the prevailing mind consciousness would separate from the subtle mind consciousness. The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing conscious mind enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle conscious mind until pure awareness is attained.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 83 Moreover, when one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind would still exist but with a paradigm shift to seeing all the things or happenings in the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a complete liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body i.e. the passing into parinibbāna. During one last time of disintegrating process, the subtle conscious mind would be absorbed into the black hole of emptiness and then followed by the prevailing conscious mind. In the absence of the mind, the dependent phenomenon would die out concurrently. Ultimately, there is no mind remaining in the infinite, unchanging, permanent and unconditional state of nibbāna and this is the ambience for an eternal bliss. 43.0 Two Sides of the Same Coin The wise Buddha has laid emphasis that one should see in all angles of things or matters while searching for the ultimate truth. Without it, any conclusions made out of one’s observation would not be balance or in a wholesome nature. In Buddhism, wholesome would mean in totality of perspective (skillful) and unwholesome would mean in non-totality of perspective (unskillful). There is no holy or sinful thought or act in the eyes of the Buddha. In fact, the Buddha has recommended Middle Path as an ideal approach when addressing a problem. Middle Path is all about focusing on core, neutral, balance and upright. It means to investigate and break through the core of life and all things without any attitudes of favouritism. Any investigations must commence based on unbiased grounds i.e. on neutral and upright positions. In other words, one needs to investigate the problem from various angles, analyse the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion. For general understanding, every subject matter can be viewed in two different ways. Literally, it means all things or matters are very closely related although they seem different. This is what the principle of emptiness is all about i.e. all created things or happenings can never be in an absolute discrete orientation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 84 Therefore, we could rightfully mention that all things or matters are closely inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. This is the rationale for the saying, ‘...neither identical to, nor entirely different from... but forms part of a causal continuum...’ And this scenario explains well on the saying, ‘No two minds are the same.’ In other words, Buddhism sees in a basis of blueprints in individuals or things that is always evolving under the influence of conditional phenomena. Right now, let us study into the elements of energy. As scientists have discovered, energy can neither be created nor be destroyed and it is ever transforming and changing in continuum. But the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes. So is energy a variable or a constant element? Paradoxically, energy corresponds well to both of these elements. As mentioned earlier, every subject matter can be viewed in two different ways and each way is very closely related with one another although they seem different. Therefore, energy is a constant element on one perspective and concurrently, it is a variable element on another perspective. By understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation. As a conclusion, both the emptiness and energy are the fundamental qualities of the nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. On one hand, the nature would bear with the conditions of beginning and ending and on the other hand, it would bear with the conditions of beginning-less and end-less. In other words, the nature is a system that is universal i.e. it is inherent existing and dependent arising concurrently. Likewise, the best way to respond to the question of, ‘Who am I?’ would be, ‘I am what I am.’ ‘If you think this is what I am, then I am’ and ‘If you see that is what I am, then I am.’ At the end of the day, any conclusions made are merely two sides of the same coin.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 85 The Existence of the Nature The Deepest Fact about Things (Path of Omniscience) (Beginning-less & End-less) Inherent Nature EMPTINESS Dependent Nature (Unchanging) (Universal Nature) (Changing) Mind formation Conditional Phenomenon (Transformation) Ignorance of Emptiness Realisation of Emptiness Multiplicity Singularity (duality) (non-duality) Becoming Non-becoming Suffering (to bear with) Liberation (to let go) Continuation of vicious cycle Cessation of vicious cycle SAMSĀRA Non-conditional Phenomenon (Non-eternal Bliss) NIBBĀNA (Eternal Bliss)
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 86 Two facets of the Nature There are two facets of the nature - the dependent and the inherent aspects. These two aspects would exist concurrently and can be illustrated in a mathematical equation as below: - Facet 1 Facet 2 Dependent arising Inherent existence … (-2+2) + (-16+16) + (-22+22) + (-133+133) + (0) + (-54+54) …, etc = 0 Key: - Facet 1 = dependent arising. = the existence of mind - that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the existence of rising and falling phenomena. = the existence of beginning and ending processes. = all subjects and objects are created i.e. inherent existence is devoid. = the emptiness could be realised in various stages. Facet 2 = inherent existence. = the absence of mind to conjure up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the absence of beginning and ending processes. = the absence of conditional phenomena. = nothing has ever been created or changed. = the Buddha nature. This arising, that arises. This ceasing, that ceases. Zero = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 87 Zero (0) = intermediation = absence = emptiness but not nothingness. = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration. ...(-2+2) + ... + (-133+133) ... = values of fluxes that are dependent arising. ... + (-2+2) + (-54+54) + ... = this arising, that arises. ... + (0) + ... = this ceasing, that ceases = a stage of enlightenment. = all dependent arising are completely blown-off or extinguished. = a stage of perfect intermediation = a stage of absence = a complete realisation of emptiness. ( .... ) = the law of kamma = the universal law of balancing. -2+2 or -133+133 = the law of attraction. From the above mathematical equation, one could summarise the conclusions as below: - 1. Nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. It means that nature would orientate towards a state of balance, intermediation or absence at all times. 2. When things run off-balance or when one stirs up in the nature - be it in volitional or non-volitional sense, the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. 3. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. 4. The dependent nature is similar to the inherent nature. An extract from the movie – Avatar: - Neytiri: Our great mother does not take sides, Jake; she protects the balance of life.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 88 44.0 Mind...oh Mind Well, how does the mind derive? Let us analyse into the principle of causality shown as below: - The mind and body are born from manas, The manas is born from consciousness, The consciousness is born from awareness, The awareness is born from volition, The volition is born from inkling, The inkling is born from sparkling, The sparkling is born from impulse, The impulse is born from irrationality, The irrationality is born from confusion, The confusion is born from disorientation, The disorientation is born from blindness, The blindness is born from ignorance, The ignorance is born from compulsion, The compulsion is born from memory, The memory is born from representation, The representation is born from knowledge, The knowledge is born from information, The information is born from agitation, The agitation is born from aggregation, The aggregation is born from stability, The stability is born from balance, The balance is born from alignment, The alignment is born from adjustment, The adjustment is born from imbalance, The imbalance is born from diffusion, The diffusion is born from segregation, The segregation is born from fragility, The fragility is born from death, The death is born from draining, The draining is born from aging, The aging is born from hauling, The hauling is born from mobility,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 89 The mobility is born from energising, The energising is born from birth, The birth is born from creation, The creation is born from becoming, The becoming is born from unsettling, The unsettling is born from clinging, The clinging is born from grasping, The grasping is born from craving, The craving is born from experience, The experience is born from feeling, The feeling is born from stimulation, The stimulation is born from contact, The contact is born from conductivity, The conductivity is born from six sense bases, The six sense bases are born from sensation, The sensation is born from mind and body, The mind and body are born from manas, etc. From the above cycle of dependent origination, one would notice that the mind is dependent arising and it arises in accordance with the principle of emptiness i.e. all created objects or things can never be in an absolute discrete orientation. In the dependent nature, mind is the forerunner of all states. This means it the core basis for all the perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. And with the existence of mind, the state of ignorance and suffering would arise concurrently in samsāra i.e. this arising, that arises. The ultimate goal in the Buddhist practice is to quest for an everlasting happiness that is unconditional via enlightenment. Therefore, one has to explore and understand well the luminosity of the mind (the nature of clarity of the mind) before making the right effort to transform it into an awakening state. In Buddhism, it is mentioned that only a human can attain enlightenment as a fully enlightened Buddha. This is because humans are just one type of sentient being with both the prevailing and subtle conscious mind stream that can find balance between happiness and suffering via the meditating processes. In fact, the prevailing mind consciousness plays a key role in conjuring up one’s sheer
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 90 determination to end the state of suffering conclusively; without it, the attaining of full enlightenment is impossible. When one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind would still exist but with a paradigm shift into seeing all the things or happenings in the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a complete liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body i.e. the passing into parinibbāna. During one last time of disintegrating process, the subtle conscious mind would be absorbed into the black hole of emptiness and then followed by the prevailing conscious mind. In the absence of the mind, the dependent phenomenon would die out concurrently. Ultimately, there is no mind remaining in the infinite, unchanging, permanent and unconditional state of nibbāna and this is the ambience for an eternal bliss. For general understanding, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs that is boundless, timeless and permanent – this is the ultimate goal of Buddhism. The wise Buddha has merely seen the urgency to put a complete end to dukkha that arises in samsāra - right here, right now. All other matters are considered as trivial if compared with the reality of dukkha arising in the samsāra. And the only way to end the dukkha permanently is to get through to the state of nibbāna via enlightenment. All other states of paradise or heavenly realms could promise one with merely conventional happiness that is conditional and impermanent. So the choice in the way of life is yours ultimately – to pursue an ultimate happiness that is non-conditional and permanent or a conventional happiness that is conditional and impermanent. 45.0 No Reincarnation...only Rebirth Buddhism rejects the term ‘transmigration’ or ‘reincarnation’ altogether, but why? Literally, ‘trans-’ is a prefix meaning through or across. And transmigration denotes the movement or conveyance from place to place. If we mention that a soul would transmigrate from a body to another new body, it means the same ‘unchanging’ soul does the movement or conveyance throughout the time stream (past, present and future).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 91 However, in the conventional reality, no ‘unchanging’ soul would transmigrate from one body to another and on this pretext, Buddhism upholds the term ‘rebirth’ or ‘re-arising.’ The Buddha sees in no transmigration of all things or matters but instead, in the constant and continuous transformation of all things or matters via the process of permeation (diffusion). Just like the orientation of energy in the cosmos i.e. energy would only transform - to transform is to change, to change is to become, and to become is to reborn. So energy is ever ‘reborn’ all the time in the dependent nature. By understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation. In the case of rebirth, an individual soul does not migrate from a physical body into another one. No, it just won’t fit at all. Every individual or thing that exists would not be the same - it could only be in a similar condition e.g. twins are similar but never the same individuals (likewise, no two minds are the same). Every individual is unique respectively and no individuals would be the same even though they do share some sort of the same genes before time. For example, you may have heard in various stories whereby a spirit or ghost has the ability to possess into the body of an individual but it never absolutely overtakes the soul of the possessed individual. This is because one cannot simply exchange the soul at one’s whim and fancy. Even individuals with the most powerful magic charm could not perform this feat. Another example will be the human organ transplant cases, whereby the new recipients need to take immunosuppressive drugs to treat any transplant rejections – live long. In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person (upon death) and the new consciousness arising in the same person (in the new person) is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. For example, a flame is transferred from one candle to another, or a fire spreads from one field to another. In the same way that it depends on the original fire, there is a conditioned relationship between one life and the next; they are not identical but neither are they completely distinct.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 92 And it is possible for rebirth to take place from a single source into different identities at any various point of time, just like how the genetic lineage works for generations. This is how we explain the destiny of being siblings, being life partners, being close friends in one’s lifetime. Somehow or somewhere before time, the so-called relevant individuals are inherited from the similar sources of predecessor. Thus in the present lifetime one has the opportunity to meet and know with the relevant beings and not the other non-relevant beings (as per the law of attraction). Ultimately, it is the wonder of nature that every created object or thing is neither identical to, nor entirely different from each other. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter- woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. At the end of the day, the inter- connectedness of all things in the nature is what the principle of emptiness is all about - as per the teachings of the Buddha. 46.0 Buddhism - 31 planes of Existence and Nibbāna Buddhism speaks of 31 planes of existence. These 31 planes are divided into three types of worlds: - 1. Kāma-loka or kāmabhava (the sensuous world) – 11 planes a. Kāmaduggati Bhūmi - Four states of deprivation (apāya) : Niraya (Hell), Tiracchana Yoni (Animals), Peta Loka (Hungry ghosts) and Asura (Demons). b. Kāmasugati Bhūmi - Manussa Loka (Human beings) and Cātumahārājika Heaven, Tāvatimsa Heaven, Yāma Heaven, Tusita Heaven, Nimmānarati Heaven and Paranimmita-vasavatti Heaven (six other planes of heavenly gods).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 93 2. Rūpa-loka or rūpabhava (the world of form/fine material world) – 16 planes The different planes of devas: - a. Pārisajja Brahma – Retinue/Servants of Mahā Brahma. b. Purohita Brahma – Ministers/Advisors of Mahā Brahma. c. Mahā Brahma – Great Brahmas. d. Parittābha Deva – Devas of Limited Radiance. e. Appamāņābha Deva – Devas of Unbounded Radiance. f. Ābhassara Deva – Devas of Streaming Radiance. g. Parittāsubha Deva – Devas of Limited Glory. h. Appamāņāsubha Deva – Devas of Unbounded Glory. i. Subhakiņņa Deva – Devas of Radiant Glory. j. Vehappala Deva – Very Fruitful Devas. k. Asaňňa Sattā – Mindless beings. l. Aviha Deva – Devas not Falling Away. m. Atappa Deva – Untroubled Devas. n. Sudassa Deva – Beautiful Devas. o. Sudassi Deva – Clear-sighted Devas. p. Akanitta Deva – Peerless Devas. 3. Arūpa-loka or arūpabhava (the formless world/immaterial world) – 4 planes The pure abodes of four realms (the purest of the 31 planes of existence): - a. Ākāsānaňcāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Infinite Space. b. Viňňaņaňcāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Infinite Consciousness. c. Ākiňcaňňāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Nothingness. d. Nevasaňňānāsaňňāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Neither - perception nor non-perception. In Buddhism, the human realm is merely one of the above-mentioned 31 planes of existence and these different planes would exist only with the mind arising. For instance, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence waiting for exclusive memberships. Instead, it is the so-called member that has made up the chance for the heaven or hell plane to arise. Just like inhabitant is a necessary prerequisite for any villages to exist; without it, the village would be impossible. Therefore, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence to be found ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’ yearning for the so-called rightful elements. The fate in one’s
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 94 subsequent life is very much dependent on the characteristics of one’s subtle mind consciousness i.e. it is the architect for the 31 planes of existence. Mould it well at all times and if possible, one should achieve enlightenment to eradicate the suffering of it. And finally, one could notice that nibbāna does not belong to any of the 31 planes of existence. In an ultimate sense, nibbāna does not exist at all. This is because there is non-existence of the mind to provide with the descriptions, perceptions, names, shapes, etc. within the state of nibbāna. Nibbāna is a non- dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the 31 planes of existence that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. 47.0 Cause and Condition Buddhism basically touches on the scenario of cause and condition more than the case of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, all phenomenal existences are products of the proper combination of causes and conditions. For example, according to the philosophy of yin-yang, our bodies are made up of the combination of four great elements of earth, water, fire and wind and if any of these elements are not in a harmonious orientation, we would be taken ill physically. These four elements would represent the causes and the conditions would be the need for it to orientate with one another harmoniously at all times or otherwise, our bodies would fall sick as the result. The principle-in-effect: - This arising (the cause and condition), that arises (the result); This ceasing (the cause and condition), that ceases (the result). In other words, everything that exists is the result of multiple causes and conditions. Each of the causes would need other causes to be present together with their respective conditions. Just like for a new house to exist, we need the bricks, cement, wood, iron rods, roof tiles, plastic pipes and other materials. The construction can only be completed when one has all the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 95 essential materials and all the prerequisites are met, such as the skillfulness of the workers, the time allocation, etc. The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, etc. The workers need their parents, their meals, their clothing, their shelters, etc. If we were to observe these scenarios in its entirety, we could realise that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of the new house; without it, the new house would be impossible. The clear fact here is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. The principle-in-effect: - Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, .., etc. Therefore, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing. The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event. In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature. Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters. This means everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. every existence is empty and emptiness is in every existence.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 96 48.0 Everything is One and One is All Why is emptiness an important element to ponder at? Why Buddhism stresses on seeing into emptiness? Frankly speaking, it is imperative for one to realise on the emptiness of all things because this would lead one into seeing all things as they really are. When we examine our usual mind, its delusion is negated, what is left is a nature of clarity of the innate mind. And Buddhism articulates on one’s potentiality of exploring the base level of the mind that is luminous. From direct experience, we know that humans and things cause pleasure and pain, and that they can help and harm. Therefore, phenomena certainly do exist but the question is how? They do not exist in their own quality but only have an existence dependent upon many factors, including a consciousness that conceptualises them. In other words, one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. This means all things exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. all things can never sustain in an absolute discrete orientation. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things that we observe right here, right now. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. The changing process would then conjure up an ability of sorts that is known as ‘energy.’ Therefore, we shall be clear by now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. For general understanding, energy is nothing but mere vibration. When there are opposing forces, there would be vibration. The alternate movement of the opposing forces would generate a pattern of waves oscillating up and down in continuum. This is the main reason for all the repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that one could witness in the dependent nature or samsāra. In other words, by understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 97 Right now, we start to understand that the fundamental qualities in the dependent nature would be energy and emptiness because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. When one sees into energy, one sees into emptiness; when one sees into emptiness, one sees into energy. This is the rationale for the saying, ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.’ The principle in effect: seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness. On the same pretext, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. In order for one to develop the skills of realising into emptiness, one could perform a series of Buddhist virtues known as the four immeasurables or brahmavihāras. Through meditation, one could cultivate and radiate out to all beings in all directions the mental states of: - 1. Mettā (Loving-kindness). 2. Karunā (Compassion). 3. Muditā (Emphathetic joy). 4. Upekkhā (Equanimity). The above four immeasurables are powerful antidotes that would act as means for weakening the links of suffering in the wheel of life and concurrently, it would expedite one’s effort of attaining enlightenment in the present lifetime. The principle in effect: - A stream of loving-kindness and compassion would conjure up empathy, A stream of empathy would conjure up boundless, A stream of boundless would conjure up voidness, A stream of voidness would conjure up stillness, A stream of stillness would conjure up peacefulness, A stream of peacefulness would conjure up enlightenment. Once again, all subject matters are empty and comprise with energy per se. It is the wonder of nature that all things are neither identical to, nor entirely different from one another. The circumstances of duality or multiplicity are merely the end result of various activities of aggregation being observed by the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 98 mind under the influence of multiple causes and conditions. The mind is actually a pattern of consciousness that is born from awareness. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time. Whereas, mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. And one utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. Subsequently, the untrained mind brings forth the false mode that all living beings, things and phenomena could establish their respective rights or qualities. However, one could distinguish between appearance and reality by fully realising on the emptiness via cultivating the four immeasurables or brahmavihāras. Retrospectively, one would realise that all things are born from the same fundamental qualities i.e. emptiness and energy that would orientate as one integrated whole in continuum. This is the ultimate reality of all things or matters. As the saying goes, “The peace of your mind is an ease of my heart.” All subjects and objects are inter- dependent and inter-connected at all times. 49.0 Meditation – The Only Way As the saying goes, ‘Seeing is believing, but practising is perfecting.’ Therefore, it is certainly inadequate for one to gain the knowledge on things by mere reading all the relevant scriptures, discourses, suttas or attending to the Dhamma talking sessions or exchanging thoughts or ideas among each other, etc. While enlightenment is about realising the ultimate reality, wisdom is about applying it into one’s daily perspectives and decision making, wholesomely. Just like the saying goes, “One has to gain the knowledge first and then apply the understanding and the experience with common sense and insight – that is wisdom.” Therefore, if one wishes to gain enlightenment and wisdom, one would need to walk the walk and not talk the talk. In other words, enlightenment can never be achieved through desire for it is a mere intention of building castles in the air. Buddhism is about the sheer determination to pull one’s act together to end the state of suffering conclusively and not just blowing hot air. And the only
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 99 way that one could put in place the end result of seeing, knowing and letting go of things is via upholding direct experience and recognition i.e. cultivating meditation. As Ajahn Chah (an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma) has mentioned, ‘If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.’ This means the basic tool for practising meditation in our daily lives has been taging along with us all the time i.e. our own breath. Therefore, we could make the full use of our breathing flow to begin a meditating session at our convenience or at any interval of time. Basically, we could commence a simple meditation by watching calmly and mindfully the air intake and discharge through our nostrils and lungs. This is what the samatha and vipassanā meditation are all about. Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter- dependable throughout the meditating practices in order to achieve favourable results. Upon entering deeply into a meditative state (in full concentration), the prevailing mind consciousness would separate from the subtle mind consciousness. The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing conscious mind enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle conscious mind until pure awareness is attained. Once we have mastered the breathing skills of meditation, we could progress on developing the skills of realising into emptiness by performing a series of Buddhist virtues known as the four immeasurables or brahmavihāras. Through meditation, one could cultivate and radiate out to all beings in all directions the mental states of: - 1. Mettā (Loving-kindness) – the unconditional and limitless love, goodwill and kindness with all beings or things.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 100 2. Karunā (Compassion) – the aspiration to remove the sufferings or misfortunes from others. 3. Muditā (Emphathetic joy) – the delighting in the well-being of others. 4. Upekkhā (Equanimity) – the balancing of mind in all circumstances. The above four immeasurables are powerful antidotes to expedite one’s effort of attaining enlightenment in the present lifetime. As a conclusion, Buddhism has got nothing to do with the scriptures, discourses or suttas. Historical facts have shown that the teachings of the Buddhadhamma were solely dependent on the oral transmission among the practitioners or followers in the early era of Buddhism. No doubt the available scriptures, discourses or suttas did play an important role in keeping the essence of Buddhism, but how many of the so-called Buddhists nowadays have gained full enlightenment by mere reading or reciting it? The key point here is not merely about the mastering of theoretical knowledge on Buddhism but instead, more on the practicality and the direct experience of it. As Ajahn Brahm has mentioned, ‘Do not eat the menu, just taste the food.’ Therefore, it is imperative for one to emphasise on the direct experience and recognition more than anything else if one is sincere in upholding the Buddhadhamma. Therefore, meditate, meditate and meditate to see and taste the real truth. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but it can be tasted by the practitioner during deep meditation only. Mould a right attitude and it would open up a new horizon of things. 50.0 Mind, Brain & Buddhism What is mind? And where is mind? Is the mind the same as the brain? Buddhism often articulates about mind and matter or mind and body. This means that the mind and the body (matter) cannot be understood separately from one another. Basically, mind is a pattern of consciousness that is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality and it is more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. If one refers to the cycle of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 101 Dependent Origination, manas that unfolds against the backdrop of consciousness (preliminary) is an architect that activates mind and body creations. Mind and body are simply two aspects of the same thing. In the dependent nature, everything that exists would comprise with energy and energy is nothing more than mere vibration. Therefore, manas would vibrate in a certain unique frequency – a wave of collated high and low vibrations. This blueprint of vibrations would subsequently bring forth the conflation of mind and body. The principle in effect: the lower the frequency, the slower the vibration; the higher the frequency, the faster the vibration. Slower vibration would lead to the body and the sense bases formation and faster vibration would lead to the mind formation. Collectively, it brings about a new life existence with a unique individuality that would not allow the disruption by any kind of external interference; thus it maintains a self-identity. In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole. Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised. The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality. As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Nevertheless, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses would arise in the sentient beings but for other things, merely subtle mind consciousness would arise. In addition, it is the mind, the consciousness of individuality, which holds together the atoms and molecules as one integrated body in a lifetime. Scientifically, the atoms are held together by covalent chemical bonds but the synergies of it would give rise to the mind, the consciousness of individuality. For general understanding, consciousness is synergy. Synergy is generally defined as the interaction of elements that when combined produce a total effect that is greater than the sum of the individual elements, contributions, etc. In other words, synergy is energy that expands through cooperation and it is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness. When the nervous system in a new body is formed, sense consciousness would arise
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 102 simultaneously. Sense consciousness is a subtle synergy resulted from the interaction of subtle mind consciousness in the new body i.e. the electrochemical transmission along the neurons throughout the nervous system. Moreover, the central nervous system especially the brain would comprise with the highest density of neurons in the entire nervous system of the new body and this circumstance would give rise to another type of synergy identified as prevailing mind consciousness – a prevalent synergy. The prevailing mind consciousness is regarded as the ‘working’ consciousness or the mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. Basically, prevailing conscious mind is closely related to the physical body or more specifically, the brain. This means there would be a biological clock being attached within it i.e. there would be duration for staying awake and for resting. Without the brain, there would be no prevailing mind consciousness in existence. In other words, mind consciousness and brain are symbiotic; one never exists without the other. The brain is actually a coagulated form of the conflated prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses itself - just as water looks like ice, the mind looks like the brain, and the body. With high density of neurons, the brain could perform a variety of complex functions beside transmitting signals and sending messages to each other parts of the body. Among the complex functions are controlling, regulating, analysing, organising, wishing, interpreting, memorising, etc. – for these complex functions are basically, the roles of prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses. On the other hand, subtle mind consciousness is somehow independent from the physical body. For general understanding, subtle mind consciousness does not consume as much energy as prevailing mind consciousness. Subtle mind consciousness can process and store information without a lot of work or the intervention of prevailing mind consciousness. In other words, subtle mind consciousness could operate in the absence of prevailing mind consciousness with the least of energy consumption on 24 hours/day and 365 days/year - this would mean a plenty of energy reserves for prolonging the lifespan of a body in a lifetime. In fact, for over 90% of the time in a lifespan, the body is administered by subtle mind consciousness and it simply operates like a radar detector – sensing all spectrums of vibrational frequencies from the surroundings and across the time stream (past, present and future).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 103 As such, one would notice that an enlightened subtle mind consciousness would operate like a long range radar detector which is highly luminous and vigilant to any development of circumstances and surpassing time. When one has reached the maturity of a lifespan, the mind and body would go through a dying process, inevitably. And the first type of consciousness to depart the body would be the prevailing mind consciousness. In the sentient beings, the prevailing mind consciousness that bonds strongly the atoms and the molecules together would die out and evolve into other energies concurrently. This incidence would lead to an impulse occurrence with a demonstration of a final burst of energy nearing the moments of death. Subsequently, the segregating process would conquest with most of the subtle mind consciousness departing the death body. For an ignorant being, during a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force) would overcome the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force). The elements of subtle consciousness would then liberate into fragments. The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being. And for an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening. A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming. A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments. On the other hand, for an awakened being, the amount of liberated fragments is much lesser than an ignorant being because there is lower intensity of Ignorance as compared with the intensity of Awakening. Also, the dispersion of liberated fragments is more confined and restricted to much fewer new individuals. As a conclusion, mind and brain are two aspects of the same thing. In fact, the brain is a coagulated form of the mind itself. The prevailing mind consciousness and sense consciousness would not arise without the manifestation of a physical body. In other words, there is a need for the existence of a physical body or precisely, a brain, before the attaining of a full enlightenment by individuals is made possible. This is because prevailing mind consciousness is a necessity for conjuring up one’s sheer determination to end the state of suffering conclusively; without it, the achieving of full
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 104 enlightenment is impossible. On the other hand, subtle mind consciousness that is somehow independent from the physical body and would continue to play a significant role in the wheel of life. During the segregating process, sense consciousness and the lingering subtle mind consciousness would evolve into other energies concurrently with the body decomposing process. At the end of the day, the fragmented subtle mind consciousness with some retained subtle information within the elements of subtle memory would sustain freedom of sorts and waiting for the next aligning process and the new balance phenomena to arise, thus depicting the continuous flow or repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth - known as samsāra. 51.0 Kamma and Wishes Buddhism often touches on the law of kamma. But what does kamma mean? In Buddhism, kamma is translated as ‘volitional action.’ But the general meaning of kamma is beyond that term. Kamma can be loosely translated as mere ‘action.’ Therefore, when we talk about the law of kamma, we talk about the law of action. When we talk about the law of action, we talk about the law of reaction. And these laws are part of the universal laws i.e. the natural phenomenon laws – not shaped by someone else; no one owns it; neither Buddhism. It is merely a natural law of balancing that helps to attain the circumstance of equilibrium in the nature. In other words, when we speak about kamma, we speak about action. When we speak about action, we speak about motion. So for one to gain an insight into kamma, its orientation and consequences (kamma-vipāka), one has to observe and understand thoroughly into the law of motion. Right now, let us ponder at the three physical laws of motion that were discovered by an influential English physicist and mathematician, namely, Sir Isaac Newton, shown as below: - 1st Law of Motion Every object in a state of consistent motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force applied to it.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 105 2nd Law of Motion It is pertaining to the relationship between an object’s mass, its acceleration, and the applied force. In this law, the direction of the force vector is the same as the direction of the acceleration vector. 3rd Law of Motion For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. Generally speaking, there are two categories of motion i.e. the constant and the variable motion. When we mention that a rising force of something would generate a new equal opposing force, such as the Newton’s third law of motion, we are actually referring to a process of action and reaction under a circumstance of constant motion (constant opposing forces). In other words, we could mention that the come factor is equal to the become factor: - Come factor = Become factor However, under a circumstance of variable motion, the opposing forces would orientate in a unique harmonising mechanism, such as the Newton’s second law of motion, shown as below: - Scenario 1 - Acceleration When come factor accelerates, the relative become factor would decelerate: - Force Acome↑ Force Abecome↓ For example, the thought experiment of twin paradox which concerns a twin who flies off in a spaceship traveling near the speed of light and returns to discover that his or her twin sibling has aged much more. This scenario depicts the circumstance of time dilation in Einstein’s special theory of relativity. Literally, the acceleration of spaceship would decelerate the becoming process of the twin who sits inside it. The deceleration of the becoming process would mean the slowing down of the aging process for the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 106 same twin. In other words, the mental and the physical progression of the twin who sits inside the spaceship would slow down relatively. Scenario 2 - Deceleration When come factor decelerates, the relative become factor would accelerate: - Force Acome↓ Force Abecome↑ For example, if the speed of the car decreases, it is literal to speak of deceleration; mathematically, it is acceleration in the opposite direction to that of motion and vice versa. Besides, this scenario explicates that a physically sick or a mentally stressful individual is advisable to go for a full resting at home or a cool vacation elsewhere for this state of affairs would decelerate the come factors in or around the same individual. Consequently, the process of recuperation on the same individual, both mentally and physically, would speed up. In Buddhism, it was mentioned that the precise working out of the results of kamma was one of the four unconjecturables and to speculate about it would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it. But why is it so difficult for one, even the Buddha, to predict the timeline for the end result of kamma? The rational explanation to this enigma lies in the orientation of come factor and become factor under the different circumstances of motion. Naturally, we always involve in motions that vary in frequencies under the influence of conditional phenomena. Therefore it is literally impossible for us to contemplate on the end result of all the different types of motion inter-waving with one another in continuum. As mentioned earlier, when we talk about the law of action, we talk about the law of reaction. This scenario is basically due to the elements of attraction existing in the cosmos and the universal law of attraction states that we attract what we are sending out i.e. like attracts like, unlike repels unlike. Hence, favourable energies attract favourable energies and unfavourable energies attract unfavourable energies. Human thoughts are cosmic waves of energy that penetrate all time and space and it is the most potent vibration that can attracts what is desired or wished for. In other words, all sentient
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 107 beings are electro-magnetic beings with the subtle mind consciousness that acts as an antenna or a radar detector constantly attracting and magnetising vibrational frequencies. Human thoughts are frequencies to which other similar frequencies are constantly resonating. This resonance is the basis for a universal law – the law of attraction. With all the above clarifications, we begin to understand that it is sensibly possible for any wishes to ‘come true’ or ‘be granted’ within the desired timeline. It all depends on the skills of the individuals who conduct the wishes. In Buddhism, there is a cardinal virtue known as mettā bhavana or the cultivation of loving-kindness. It is a foundation for the brahmavihāras and also a powerful antidote to accelerate the realisation of emptiness in the dependent nature. When we talk about realising into emptiness, we talk about the progressive comprehension of the mind on the reality of things. And emptiness would mean the absence of inherent existence i.e. all beings or things are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another. Just like the saying, ‘Part of you is part of me, part of me is part of them.’ This phrase implies the inter-connectedness of all things in the nature and the significance of mettā bhavana is to condition and transform the mind from a delusive state into a non-manipulative and non-discriminatory ones. This is because the mind is naturally something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. And the cultivation of loving-kindness would inspire the deluded mind into seeing all things as they truly are. Basically, the cultivation of loving-kindness is performed by radiating out to all beings in all directions the unconditional and boundless love, goodwill and kindness. Through the practice of meditation, one could begin the radiating of loving-kindness towards oneself, such as, ‘May I be well and happy, may I be peaceful all the time, may I be free from harms and dangers, may I be strong in facing difficulties, etc.’ Thereafter, one could continue with the similar wishes and progress into the immediate family, the good friends, all the known and unknown beings, and gradually the entire universe. When one has fully realised into the significance of cultivating loving-kindness, the state of egolessness and compassion would arise concurrently.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 108 Nevertheless, these strong wishes for the happiness and the well-being of oneself and others must be carried out in a meditative state with full concentration and mindfulness. Mettā bhavana is considered one of the powerful antidotes for alleviating the immeasurable suffering in samsāra because the end result can be witnessed by oneself immediately - right here, right now! This is mainly due to the deceleration of the come factors i.e. the wishes being radiated out in a discretely clear and slow tempo recitation (as per the above illustrated Scenario 2 – Deceleration). As such, we could see that the mettā blessing from a highly revered monk who has attained the advance level of jhāna is very powerful and could generate the immediate and promising results to the recipients. Jhāna is an altered state of consciousness with profound stillness and concentration. At the pinnacle of the jhānas, there is a transformation of the mind consciousness into a potent black hole of emptiness that strongly attracts and magnetises vibrational frequencies and this is the beginning of attaining psychic powers among individuals. In other words, within the innate mind of all individuals, there is a compelling black hole of emptiness and it is also known as the Clear Light in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. At the end of the day, we would realise that ordinary people do not always get what they wish for in life because for most of the time, they have engaged with the wrongful techniques. Any wishes by individuals must be radiated out in a discretely clear and slow tempo recitation and must be in full concentration and mindfulness in order to catch a glimpse of the immediate result. Therefore, meditation is a key tool for realising one’s wishes sooner than later. Besides, there is a need for one to understand well and observe thoroughly the law of motion before gaining insight into the law of kamma. In fact, the law of kamma is nothing more than the law of balancing in the dependent nature. For general understanding, nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. If one stirs up in any phenomena of existence under volitional or non-volitional term, the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. Otherwise, a constant factor cannot be achieved at all in the nature and this is the core basis for the three physical laws of motion that were discovered by Sir Isaac Newton.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 109 52.0 The Power of Stilled Mind A stilled mind is a balanced mind. A balanced mind is a mind that is in a state of equanimity. Equanimity or upekkhā is one of the brahmavihāras (Buddhist virtues) that shapes a ground for wisdom and liberation. In other words, equanimity is all about sustaining the mind that is exalted, radiant, abundant and compassionate in a circumstance of not too tight, not too loose. Therefore, upekkhā touches on the evenness or impartiality of consciousness and it has become the crux for the Middle Path. Middle Path is all about focusing on core, neutral, balance and upright. It means to investigate and break through the core of life and all things without any attitudes of favouritism. Any investigations must commence based on unbiased grounds i.e. on neutral and upright positions. According to the Buddha, mind is the forerunner of all states. This means mind is a key tool for all the manipulation and discrimination in the dependent nature. In addition, a stilled mind is luminous and it is highly commanding and even sharper than a sword that can pierce through the time stream, the space and the plane of existence. Therefore, the best self-defence for oneself lies within the mind innately more than anything else that is external. In fact, the will- power is subdued within the prevailing mind consciousness and as a consequence, one should not seek to surrender in blindfold on the external factors as a way out to any complications faced in one’s life. In other words, it is crucial to master your mind to design your destiny. This is because human thoughts are cosmic waves of energy that penetrate all time and space and it is the most potent vibration that can attracts what is desired or wished for. In other words, all sentient beings are electro-magnetic beings with the subtle mind consciousness that acts as an antenna or a radar detector constantly attracting and magnetising vibrational frequencies. Human thoughts are frequencies to which other similar frequencies are constantly resonating and this resonance is the basis for the universal law of attraction. Therefore, one should not underestimate the vast potentiality or capability of the mind. For general understanding, ordinary mind is comprised with the conflation of prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses. On the other hand, a stilled mind
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 110 can be described as the prevailing conscious mind liberating from the thoughts churned out by the subtle conscious mind i.e. making observation without identifying with the thoughts. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. In fact, the stilled mind is so powerful that it could quell and quash the black magic spells and influence the becoming processes indefinitely. Therefore, ordinary people should not fall prey to any unscrupulous spiritual masters unnecessarily and instead, they should make full use of their own stilled mind - that is intimate, compelling and also a cost-free resource. As a conclusion, a stilled mind is dependent on the manifestation of a physical body. In other words, there is a need for the existence of a physical body or precisely, a brain, before the attaining of a tranquil state of mind by individuals is made possible. Conscientiously, one should free the prevailing mind consciousness from identifying with the thoughts churned out by the subtle mind consciousness. The prevailing mind consciousness is regarded as the ‘working’ consciousness or the mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. But since it is closely related to the physical body or more specifically, the brain, there would be a biological clock being attached within it i.e. there would be duration for staying awake and for resting. In fact, our minds and physical bodies are like rechargeable batteries. As such, it is imperative for one to meditate diligently in order to boost up the mental and physical strengths at all times. And with the attaining of stilled mind, one could carry out the myriad of wonders, just as or when one wishes. 53.0 Let’s Meditate – Right Here, Right Now! As Ajahn Chah (an influential teacher of the Buddhadhamma) has mentioned, ‘If you have time to breathe, you have time to meditate.’ This means the basic tool for practising meditation in our daily lives has been taging along with us all the time i.e. our own breath. Therefore, we could make the full use of our breathing flow to begin a meditating session at our convenience or at any interval of time. Basically, we could commence a simple meditation by watching calmly and mindfully the air intake and discharge through our nostrils and lungs. This is what the samatha and vipassanā meditation are all about.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 111 Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter- dependable throughout the meditating practices in order to achieve favourable results. Upon entering deeply into a meditative state (in full concentration), the prevailing mind consciousness would separate from the subtle mind consciousness. The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle mind consciousness. Thereafter, the prevailing conscious mind enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle conscious mind until pure awareness is attained. Let us look at the following illustrations: - Key : - Prevailing Conscious Mind Subtle Conscious Mind The Clear Light Dependent phenomenon The Mind of a non-meditative being Key : - Subtle Conscious Mind The Clear Light / The Black hole of Emptiness Observation by Prevailing Conscious Mind Dependent phenomenon The Mind of a deep meditative being
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 112 During the circumstance of deep meditation, the two terms of the mind would separate from each other - the prevailing conscious mind would play in a dominant role, whereas, the subtle conscious mind would remain in a submissive condition. The role of prevailing conscious mind is like mind-in- command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. An enlightened mind can be described as a prevailing conscious mind with liberation from the thoughts i.e. instead of being the thoughts; the perspective is shifted to watching the thoughts churned out by subtle conscious mind. In other words, it means the prevailing conscious mind would make observation without identifying with the thoughts – the subtle conscious mind. This liberation from thought identification to thought observation is called the experience of the Buddha nature. Once we have mastered the breathing skills of meditation, we could progress on developing the skills of realising into emptiness by performing a series of Buddhist virtues known as the four immeasurables or brahmavihāras. Through meditation, one could cultivate and radiate out to all beings in all directions the mental states of: - 1. Mettā (Loving-kindness) – the unconditional and limitless love, goodwill and kindness with all beings or things. 2. Karunā (Compassion) – the aspiration to remove the sufferings or misfortunes from others. 3. Muditā (Emphathetic joy) – the delighting in the well-being of others. 4. Upekkhā (Equanimity) – the balancing of mind in all circumstances. When we talk about seeing into emptiness, we talk about the progressive realisation of the mind on the reality of things. Therefore, emptiness can be realised into stages as below: - Stage 1 Elementary Realisation  All things and phenomena are lack of core essence.  Nothing is unchanging and permanent.  Everything is inter-related.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 113 Stage 2 Intermediary Realisation  Ability to differentiate the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist.  Only seeing without believing. Stage 3 Advance Realisation  No dualism of the subject and object, and no appearance of multiplicity.  All things and phenomena rise and fall within a singular condition.  Only uniformity exists. Stage 4 Ultimate Realisation  All dependent arising are completely blown off or extinguished.  No string attached, and nothing is left remaining.  Infinite, unchanging, permanent, and unconditional.  Exists beyond all conventional phenomena. The ultimate realisation of emptiness by the mind would mean a phase of perfect intermediation being accomplished by the mind. A perfect intermediation would mean a comprehensive absence of any or all units under consideration. It is also known as a complete neutralisation of conditional phenomena. But an absence of any or all units under consideration is not equivalent to nothingness of any or all units under consideration. 53.1 Samatha Meditation The main purpose of samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind or more specifically, the subtle mind consciousness, by means of concentration. The subtle mind consciousness would function like a roller coaster and flit all the time. As such, there is a need to sedate the wilderness of subtle mind consciousness before any development in the spiritual mind is made possible. Besides, samatha meditation is crucial to invoke the state of jhāna. Jhāna is an altered state of consciousness with profound stillness and concentration. At the pinnacle of the jhānas, there is a transformation of the mind consciousness into a potent black hole of emptiness that strongly attracts and magnetises vibrational frequencies and this is the beginning of attaining psychic
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 114 powers among individuals. In other words, within the innate mind of all individuals, there is a compelling black hole of emptiness and it is also known as the Clear Light in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition. A focused or concentrated mind is a stilled mind. And a stilled mind is a balanced mind. A balanced mind is a mind that is in a state of equanimity and it shapes a ground for wisdom and liberation. In other words, equanimity is all about sustaining the mind that is exalted, radiant, abundant and compassionate in a circumstance of not too tight, not too loose. Samatha meditation is a necessary pre-requisite for the stilled mind to arise; without it, the state of one-pointedness would be impossible. And a one-pointedness mind is a unique state of mind that glimpses into the within of the within of things and it is highly luminous, commanding and even sharper than a sword that can pierce through the time stream, the space and the plane of existence. Therefore, it is imperative for one to practise the samatha meditation because it would bring forth the transformation of the mind from scatteredness into one-pointedness. This would mean a chance of making inroads into realising the innate mind that is pure, boundless, potent and luminous (the experiencing of the Buddha nature) by individuals. 53.2 Vipassanā Meditation The key objective of vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. For general understanding, the pure nature of the mind is luminous and it is due to the presence in the waves of dependent phenomena that has clouded it from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. As such, vipassanā meditation is a prerequisite for transforming an ignorant state of mind into an enlightened one via thought liberation. An enlightened mind can be described as prevailing mind consciousness with liberation from the thoughts i.e. instead of being the thoughts; the perspective is shifted to watching the thoughts churned out by subtle mind consciousness. Therefore, the main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. In the dependent nature or samsāra, there is an element of suffering or dukkha. Suffering means ‘bearing with’ in the Buddhist context and ‘letting go’ is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 115 grasping when one practises letting go. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got ‘frozen.’ Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind. Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation. The Buddha has merely taught that one has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened i.e. not to get entangled with it ignorantly. And one of the basic footsteps to achieve enlightenment and reach nibbāna is to practise ‘letting go’ via vipassanā meditation. To see it, know it and let go – no need to grasp it – this is how one practises, ‘Seeing things as they really are.’ See only with eyes and mind, don’t get into any involvement - more importantly, let go the self and the ego factors. Be freed, be liberated, be neutralised! 54.0 Meditation: Seeing Things As They Really Are There are two types of meditation in Buddhism - one is samatha and the other is vipassanā meditation. Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter-dependable throughout the practices in order to achieve favourable results in meditation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 116 Emptiness Macroscopic analysis (Zoom out) (Vipassanā meditation) Macro perspective (Uniformity & infinite) Micro perspective (Multiplicity & definite) Microscopic analysis (Zoom in) (Samatha meditation) Emptiness Microscopic analysis of things If one were to zoom in the analysis of a solid ball by looking into the contents and then its basic matters i.e. atoms, one could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence of things (no things). At the end of the day, one could declare that form is empty in the real sense because there is no core essence within it except for the basic elements (energy, matter and space) that orientate and evolve constantly under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, one could mention that the form entity has a delusive nature i.e. it is an appearance, though not illusive, but devoid of inherent existence and constantly varies under the influence of conditional phenomena. Macroscopic analysis of things If one were to zoom out the analysis of a solid ball by receding into a long shot distance indefinitely, the solid ball would appear to be shrinking into a tiniest size and one could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence MIND Jhāna & upekkhā
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 117 of things (no things). In other words, the broader the perspective that one engages in, the lesser the multiplicity of things would appear to be. For example, the viewing of the earth from far and near would yield a different result to the observer’s perception altogether. As a conclusion, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. It is the inherent quality of existence and is considered the ultimate truth because it inherently exists exactly as it is perceived when it is perceived directly by an enlightened mind. And discovering the ultimate truth is the key to overcoming the ignorant state of mind. Transcending the mind via meditation would allow the dilution of one’s personal ego under the light of pure awareness and subsequently, it would give rise to the original source connection – the emptiness of all things. More importantly, one should not confuse emptiness with nothingness. Emptiness cannot be meant as nothingness but instead, it is more associated with no-thing-ness. No thing can mean no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind. Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation. 55.0 Vijja Vijja refers to the higher or the pure knowledge obtained by the mind as a result of attaining the various stages of jhāna (an altered state of consciousness with profound stillness and concentration) via deep meditation. An enlightened mind is a meditative mind that is luminous, highly commanding and could see clearly through the time stream, the space and the plane of existence. Basically, there are eight categories identified as below: - 1. Knowledge of contemplation. - knowledge of mind and body interdependence (mentality- materiality or nama-rupa).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 118 2. Mind created body. - astral projection (out-of-body experience). 3. Psychokinesis. - the various workings of psychic power. 4. Clairaudience. - ability to hear into the celestial conversation. 5. Knowledge of the other’s mind. - ability to know what other people are thinking. 6. Knowledge of the past lives. - ability to review into the events of past lives. 7. Clairvoyance. - ability to see into devas, ghosts, spirits, etc. (heavenly eyes). - not equivalent to yin-yang eyes. 8. Knowledge of the destruction of the āsavas. - āsava refers to the uncontrolled mental outflow (consciousness). - attainment of cessation (Nirodha Samāpatti). - when consciousness ceases, all suffering and existences cease. As a conclusion, vijja would serve as a reflection for the state of awakening being achieved by the mind via meditation. 56.0 The Significance of Memory What is memory? In psychology, memory is defined as an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. But where is it stored? Actually, the elements of memory are stored within the elements of consciousness and it can be categorised into two terms i.e. prevailing memory and subtle memory. The prevailing memory is also known as the ‘working’ memory. It is a short-term store and would exist alongside with the prevailing mind consciousness and the physical body or more specifically, the brain.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 119 Whereas, the subtle memory is a long-term or indefinite store and it would exist concurrently with the subtle mind consciousness, and sustain with or without the physical body. Right now, let us analyse into part of the cycle of dependent origination shown as below: - Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity, etc. For general understanding, every existence would comprise with the three basic elements - energy, matter and space. These basic elements would subject to the cyclic influence of balance and imbalance phenomena. Under a balance phenomenon, these elements would start to integrate with each other to create aggregation. Under an imbalance phenomenon, these elements would start to disintegrate from each other to create segregation. During the process of aggregation, some sort of information would be produced, stored and recalled in the integrated elements. This recorded information would act as a reference for the present and the future consciousnesses. Without any references deriving from the recorded past consciousness, the present and the future consciousnesses could not begin at all i.e. the past consciousness is linked to the present consciousness and the present consciousness is linked to the future consciousness. In other words, memory is a necessary pre-requisite for any consciousnesses to exist; without it, the consciousness would be impossible. Basically, the elements of memory would involve with two key functions i.e. deposits and withdrawals of information – the act of retaining and recalling facts. If the elements of memory are absent, the becoming or rebirth process
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 120 for all things would be deemed impossible. For example, ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In fact, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the appearance i.e. the momentary outcome of the process of aggregation that varies according to the subjected conditions. And without the elements of subtle memory within the H2O properties, it would be impossible for the ice, the water and the steam to resurface into their respective appearances repeatedly under the varying external conditions. Also, it is interesting to note that the process of mutation taking place in the beings or objects can be referred to as the ‘memory loss’ arising in the nucleus of the cells or atoms of the beings or objects. For instance, cancer is a class of diseases that refers to out-of-control cell growth. Normal cells in the body would go along a regulated path of growth, division, and death. When this process goes wrong or breaks down due to the memory loss in the regular cells, a mass of abnormal cells would grow and divide uncontrollably to form masses of tissue called tumors. And for general understanding, mutation is a natural process just like the biological aspects of ageing. In other words, it is an inevitable development among all the natural things; without it, the process of evolution or the condition of multiplicity is impossible in the dependent nature. Therefore, it is just plain impossible to obliterate the disease of cancer from human beings, just like the kamma-vipāka (the law of kamma). Besides, the elements of memory would bear with both the seeds and the fruits of kamma. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. Therefore, it is not correct to mention that a newborn being has no memory of a previous life. Every single newborn being would surely bear with the seeds of kamma deriving from the previous lives. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. In other words, it is not that the newborn being has no memory of a previous life but rather the fruits of kamma have not ripened yet. Only upon maturity could the newborn being start to recall events related to his or her previous lives. Therefore, without the elements of subtle memory, the law of kamma would be impossible in the realms of existence.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 121 In addition, according to Buddhism, suffering arises out of ignorance. But ignorance could not arise out of thin air. Definitely, it needs to arise out of something that has happened beforehand. In this case, we would conclude that ignorance arises out of the elements of memory. When one is proclaimed as an ignorant being, it means the person is uneducated, unaware, uninformed of some kind of things or happenings that arise beforehand and this would mean the past events that have been retained and recalled as references for the present and the future events. Without any references deriving from the recorded past events, the present and the future events could not begin at all i.e. the past event is linked to the present event and the present event is linked to the future event. Let us illustrate, for Ignorance 1 to link to Ignorance 1-1 and Ignorance 1-1 to link to Ignorance 1-1-1, the memory involvement is inevitable. Without it, the linking processes of the past, present and future could not take place at all. In a layman term, this process is called the becoming and re-becoming within beings or things. If the memory aspect is absent, the cycle of rising and falling activities in the dependent nature would be deemed impossible because all the things or happenings are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another. Without the elements of memory, whatever information generated from the past events would be instantly forgotten or erased and the progression of becoming or rebirth process would be impossible across the time stream (past, present and future). Therefore, the elements of ignorance and memory are closely inter-dependent of each other – just like, shadow follows the body. As a conclusion, during the process of aggregation, some sort of information would be produced, stored and recalled in the integrated elements. In a layman term, this process is called the creation or pro-creation within beings or things. If the elements of memory are absent, the process of replication could not arise in the beings or things at all. Let us illustrate the learning of speeches among young children. If a child has no ability of memorising, then whatever lessons that were taught on would be forgotten or erased instantly and the progression into the next advance level would be deemed impossible. However, in Buddhism, there is a recommendation for one to always see and live in the present; neither in the past nor in the future. When one lives well in the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 122 present, one would lead to a cessation of memories of the past and this would subsequently lead to a cessation of ignorance in the future. 57.0 Kamma-vipaka In Buddhism, kamma is described as volitional action and vipaka refers to the end result of any particular volitional actions. For general understanding, kamma literally means action but in Buddhism, there is a focus on the enthusiastic action (potent kamma) that would instigate discernible reaction (potent vipaka). Therefore, it is imperative for one to tell apart the term ‘kamma’ as per Buddhism and the general definition of it in order to avoid any conflicts of understanding that may arise later on. Generally speaking, volition is referred to an act of making a choice or decision. In other words, it is the act of making a ‘conscious’ choice or decision. Therefore, we need to investigate into the state of mind while understanding into the kamma-vipaka because mind is the forerunner of all states. Literally, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses would arise in the sentient beings but for other things, merely subtle mind consciousness would arise. The role of prevailing conscious mind is like mind- in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. However, subtle conscious mind is like herd of wild horses - roaming in discrete directions and needed domestication. This means the prevailing mind consciousness would act as a guarding chain to the wild and monkey-like subtle mind consciousness. In Buddhism, the focal point of kamma is the volitional thought or action and it would arise concurrently with the existence of prevailing mind consciousness. This means in the absence of prevailing mind consciousness, the term ‘volition’ would cease to exist. As such, the prevailing mind consciousness is a prerequisite for the process of kamma-vipaka. Any thoughts or actions that require the utilisation of prevailing mind consciousness would subject to the law of kamma-vipaka as per Buddhism. This is because volitional human thought or action would generate the most potent vibration that penetrate all time, space and subsequently attracts what is desired or wished for. Just like
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 123 the swelling of big waves with the enormous waves of energy would require longer time to fritter away and generate a visible and long-lasting implication to the surroundings. In other words, all sentient beings are electro-magnetic beings with the prevailing mind consciousness that generates potent kamma and the subtle mind consciousness that acts as an antenna or a radar detector constantly attracting and magnetising other similar vibrational frequencies (discernible vipaka) within the cosmos. As a conclusion, when we talk about the law of action, we talk about the law of reaction. This scenario is basically due to the elements of attraction existing in the cosmos and the universal law of attraction states that we attract what we are sending out i.e. like attracts like, unlike repels unlike. Hence, favourable energies attract favourable energies and unfavourable energies attract unfavourable energies. In Buddhism, the initiation of new kamma (volitional thought or action) arises mostly in the human realm if compared with the other higher or lower realms of existence. This is because all the realms of existence with the exception of human realm are merely reaping the end result of the preceding kamma. The main reason is that humans are just one type of sentient beings with both the prevailing and subtle conscious mind stream. This means human realm is a plane of transition whereby it is a centric plane for the process of kamma-vipaka with the faculty of choosing or resolving. As such, one should be grateful for the destiny of being reborn as a human and live it well with all the meaningful purposes. The ultimate purpose of human beings is to attain the opportunity to learn to live wholesomely. It is regardless whether one would live a good life, a luxurious life, a poor life or a pathetic life. By being alive as humans, we have all the liberties or choices of pathway to begin with. Therefore, it is crucial for one to live a life wholesomely at all times – at least there would not be a regret factor arises in one’s life later. Living wholesomely would mean living a healthy life with exploration and enjoyment to the fullest extent with wisdom and not with ignorance.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 124 58.0 Does ‘nothing’ exist? If we were to split up the word ‘nothing’, it would turn up as ‘no thing’. Literally, no thing means no becoming or no changing and it is not the same as nothingness. Instead, no-thing-ness is the same as emptiness. One needs to realise that everything in the cosmos is dependent on one another. All things merely exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. all things can never sustain in an absolute discrete orientation. For instance, from direct experience, we know that humans and things cause pleasure and pain, and that they can help and harm. Therefore, phenomena certainly do exist but the question is how? They do not exist in their own quality but only have an existence dependent upon many factors, including a consciousness that conceptualises them. This means everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. every existence is empty and emptiness is in every existence. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things that we observe right here, right now. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. The changing process would then conjure up an ability of sorts that is known as ‘energy.’ Therefore, we shall be clear by now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. For general understanding, energy is nothing but mere vibration. When there are opposing forces, there would be vibration. The alternate movement of the opposing forces would generate a pattern of waves oscillating up and down in continuum. This is the main reason for all the repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that one could witness in the dependent nature. In other words, by understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 125 Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises the letting go of things. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. And when the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got ‘frozen.’ Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no mind. No mind means no existence. And mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs. For general understanding, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality and consciousness is nothing but mere synergy. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. And one utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. Now, we need to look at the definition of existence. What exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist. And conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. But in the ultimate reality, things do not exist in the ways that concepts and language imply they do. Things would only exist as in deepest facts i.e. it is beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. So, how does something arise from nothing? Frankly speaking, something that arises as in object is not out of nothing. In the material Universe, there are plenty of existences or activities that cannot be discerned by our naked eyes. When we mention that the elements of emptiness and energy are everywhere in a system of dependent nature, it means that both of these qualities have fully occupied such a system. Therefore, we could conclude that something as in object would arise out of the elements of energy that exist in a system. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in different forms per se (as in Einstein’s formula, E = mc2). And
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 126 since we are unable to discern the elements of energy with our naked eyes, we would name it as empty instead of nothing. Then, what is the first cause for the start of the material Universe? Frankly speaking, the ultimate first cause for anything or everything is the nature. Without the nature, nothing would ever exist – no things or happenings would arise. Now, how does the material Universe begin? For general understanding, dependent phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for the material Universe to exist; without it, the material Universe would be impossible. Dependent phenomenon is also known as a conditional phenomenon – that consists of two terms i.e. balance and imbalance. Under a balance phenomenon, aggregation would arise and one could witness multiple shapes or forms. Under an imbalance phenomenon, segregation would arise and one could witness no shapes or forms. The cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly depicting the rising and the falling activities in continuum. Therefore, the material Universe would start with the dependent phenomenon that in turn conjures up the elements of energy. Since the dawn of time, energy has been in existence within the system of dependent nature (inherent existence). Under a balance phenomenon, the elements of energy would turn into the elements of matter through the process of aggregation. Likewise, under an imbalance phenomenon, the elements of matter would turn into the elements of energy through the process of segregation (dependent arising). In other words, the material Universe is merely a momentary appearance conjured up from the orientation of energy and matter in space under the influence of conditional phenomena in continuum. Just like ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. As a conclusion, one could summarise that dependent nature is nothing but merely flux of energy orientating in continuum. No duality or multiplicity would arise in the non-existence of the mind. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 127 conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. Mind is the forerunner of all states. In the absence of the mind, all things would be poised in a completely neutralised state of affairs. A completely neutralised state of affairs would mean a state of no-thing-ness, a state of perfect intermediation, a state of absence of any or all units under consideration. It is not equivalent to a state of annihilation but merely a blown-off state of all things. 59.0 How to look at the mechanism of Dependent Origination correctly? In Buddhism, the introduction of the cardinal doctrine of Dependent Origination is imperative for one to understand well on the principle of emptiness that influences the continuing and repeating cycle of rising and falling of all things in the dependent nature (also known as the vicious cycle of samsāra). Thus far, it has always been shown forth in a rather simplistic causal linkage and this has fueled for additional confusion among novices who are literally unacquainted with the system. Firstly, one needs to make out a correct understanding on the mechanism of Dependent Origination in order to get hold of the proper perspective from the beginning stage. In Buddhism, the Dependent Origination is literally a principle of interdependent causation. Right now, the key argument here is the prefix ‘inter-’. In other words, it is not appropriate for one to emphasise excessively on the word ‘dependence’ as against with ‘inter-dependence’. Let us ponder into the cycle of dependent origination shown as below: - Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 128 Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact. Contact leads to stimulation. Stimulation leads to feeling. Feeling leads to experience. Experience leads to craving. Craving leads to grasping. Grasping leads to clinging. Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming. Becoming leads to creation. Creation leads to birth. Birth leads to energising. Energising leads to mobility. Mobility leads to hauling. Hauling leads to aging. Aging leads to draining. Draining leads to death. Death leads to fragility. Fragility leads to segregation. Segregation leads to diffusion. Diffusion leads to imbalance. Imbalance leads to adjustment. Adjustment leads to alignment. Alignment leads to new balance. For general understanding, Buddhism basically touches on the scenario of cause and condition more than the case of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, all phenomenal existences are products of the proper combination of causes and conditions. Each of the causes would need other causes to be present together with their respective conditions. Just like for a new house to exist (as the result), we need bricks, cement, wood, iron rods, roof tiles, plastic pipes and other materials. The construction can only be completed when one has all the essential materials (as the causes) and all the prerequisites are met (as the conditions), such as the skillfulness of the workers, the time allocation, etc. The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, etc. The workers need their parents, their meals, their clothing, their shelters, etc. If we were to observe these scenarios in its entirety, we could realise that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of the new house; without it, the new house would be impossible. The clear fact here is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else. The principle-in-effect: - Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, .., etc.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 129 Therefore, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing i.e. both of it are inter-be. The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event. In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another. This is the modus operandi of the conventional reality i.e. not in-linear but in interdependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. On this pretext, the coordination of Dependent Origination cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature. Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters. As a conclusion, we could mention that everything is a matrix of everything in the dependent nature. But the dependent nature per se is an inherent existence that is uncaused, indestructible and eternal. The main reason for the arising of duality or multiplicity in the dependent nature is due to the mind. But, why is there mind arising in the dependent nature? It is because there are elements of energy. Why are there elements of energy in the dependent nature? It is because there is emptiness. Why is there emptiness in the dependent nature? It is because there is emptiness of emptiness. In other words, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. For example, let us place a solid ball in front for you to gaze at it effortlessly: - If you were to zoom in the analysis of a solid ball by looking into the contents and then its basic matters i.e. atoms, you could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence of things (no things). This is because in a real sense there is no core essence within it except for the basic elements (energy, matter and space) that orientate and evolve constantly under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, one could mention that the form entity has a delusive nature i.e. it is an appearance, though not illusive, but devoid of inherent existence and constantly varies under the influence of conditional phenomena. On the other hand, if you were to zoom out the analysis of a solid ball by receding into a long shot distance indefinitely, the solid ball would appear to be
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 130 shrinking into a tiniest size and you could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence of things (no things). In other words, the broader the perspective that one engages in, the lesser the multiplicity of things would appear to be. For example, the viewing of the earth from far and near would yield a different result to the observer’s perception altogether. Emptiness  Microscopic analysis (samatha)  MIND  Macroscopic analysis (vipassanā)  Emptiness From the above analysis, we could conclude that the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. It is the inherent quality of existence and is considered the ultimate truth because it inherently exists exactly as it is perceived when it is perceived directly by an enlightened mind. And discovering the ultimate truth is the key to overcoming the ignorant state of mind. Transcending the mind via meditation would allow the dilution of one’s personal ego under the light of pure awareness and subsequently, it would give rise to the original source connection – the emptiness of all things. And the emptiness of inherent existence of the mind is called the Buddha nature. 60.0 Questions and Answers Q1 In your illustrations you seem to be suggesting that there isn't an individual stream of consciousness from life to life but a reformulation of multiple fragments of consciousness. Is that right? And how do you square that with the notion of kamma being passed on from one life to the next or a path to nibbāna taking more than a single life? A1 Dependent Origination How does consciousness derive in the first place? Let us analyse into the law of Dependent Origination, the way as I see it. Every existence does contain with the three basic elements - energy, matter and space. These basic elements would subject to the conditional phenomena. Under a balance phenomenon, these elements would start to integrate with
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 131 each other to create aggregation. Under an imbalance phenomenon, these elements would start to disintegrate from each other to create segregation. The principle in effect: - A stream of balance phenomena would conjure up aggregation, A stream of aggregation would conjure up information, A stream of information would conjure up memory, A stream of memories would conjure up ignorance, A stream of ignorance would conjure up volitional impulse, A stream of volitional impulses would conjure up consciousness, A stream of consciousness would conjure up body and mind, A stream of body and mind would conjure up six sense bases, A stream of six sense bases would conjure up contact, A stream of contacts would conjure up feeling, A stream of feelings would conjure up craving, A stream of cravings would conjure up clinging, A stream of clinging would conjure up becoming, A stream of becoming would conjure up birth, A stream of births would conjure up aging, A stream of aging would conjure up death, A stream of deaths would conjure up segregation, A stream of segregation would conjure up imbalance phenomenon, A stream of imbalance phenomena would conjure up new balance phenomenon. From the above principle, we could notice that consciousness arises out of volitional impulse, volitional impulse arises out of ignorance, ignorance arises out of memory, memory arises out of information, information arises out of aggregation and aggregation arises out of balance phenomenon. According to Buddhism, suffering arises out of ignorance. But ignorance could not arise out of thin air. Definitely, it needs to arise out of something that has happened beforehand. In this case, we would conclude that ignorance arises out of the elements of memory. In psychology, memory is defined as an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. During the process of aggregation, some sort of information would be produced, stored and recalled in the integrated elements. In a layman term, this process
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 132 is called the creation or pro-creation within beings or things. If the elements of memory are absent, the process of replication could not arise in the beings or things at all. Let us illustrate the learning of speeches among young children. If a child has no ability of memorising, then whatever lessons that were taught on would be forgotten or erased instantly and the progression into the next advance level would be deemed impossible. However, in Buddhism, there is a recommendation for one to always see and live in the present; neither in the past nor in the future. When one lives well in the present, one would lead to a cessation of memories of the past and this would subsequently lead to a cessation of ignorance in the future. The principle in effect: - The seeing of ultimate truth leads to the cessation of balance phenomenon, The cessation of balance phenomenon leads to the cessation of aggregation, The cessation of aggregation leads to cessation of information, The cessation of information leads to cessation of memory, The cessation of memory leads to the cessation of ignorance, The cessation of ignorance leads to the cessation of volitional impulse, The cessation of volitional impulse leads to the cessation of consciousness, The cessation of consciousness leads to the cessation of body and mind, The cessation of body and mind lead to the cessation of six sense bases, The cessation of six sense bases lead to the cessation of contact, The cessation of contact leads to the cessation of feeling, The cessation of feeling leads to the cessation of craving, The cessation of craving leads to the cessation of clinging, The cessation of clinging leads to the cessation of becoming, The cessation of becoming leads to the cessation of birth, The cessation of birth leads to the cessation of aging, The cessation of aging leads to the cessation of death, The cessation of death leads to the cessation of segregation, The cessation of segregation leads to the cessation of imbalance phenomenon, The cessation of imbalance phenomenon leads to the cessation of conditional phenomenon, The cessation of conditional phenomenon leads to the cessation of time,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 133 The cessation of time leads to the unconditional freedom of basic elements - energy, matter and space. Ultimately, the pure energy would freeze indefinitely in the absence of time – this is the ambience of nibbāna. The Law of Kamma Now, let us analyse into kamma. What does kamma mean? In Buddhism, kamma is translated as ‘volitional action.’ But the general meaning of kamma is beyond that term. Kamma can be loosely translated as mere ‘action.’ Therefore, when we talk about the law of kamma, we talk about the law of action. When we talk about the law of action, we talk about the law of reaction. And these laws are part of the universal laws i.e. the natural phenomenon laws – not shaped by someone else; no one owns it; neither Buddhism. It is merely a natural law of balancing that helps to attain the circumstance of equilibrium in the nature. In the dependent nature, when a person is lying dead, the three basic elements i.e. energy, matter and space would separate from each other. Precisely, both the elements of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses would depart the body. However, only the elements of subtle consciousness would sustain in a liberated forms but not the elements of prevailing consciousness. The elements of subtle consciousness would stay behind in a so-called soul or spirit form and bears along the seeds of kamma. This is because within the elements of subtle consciousness one would discover the elements of subtle memory. Within the elements of subtle memory one would discover the elements of subtle information. And the retained subtle information in each life cycle would evolve into the so-called ‘seed treasures’ of kamma that were accumulated throughout the series of one’s past lives. Supposedly, the elements of subtle consciousness of: Individual A would bear with ‘Kamma seed A’, Individual B would bear with ‘Kamma seed B’, Individual C would bear with ‘Kamma seed C.’ When a new being is born i.e. Individual ABC, this newly formed individual would bear with all the ‘Kamma seed A’, ‘Kamma seed B’ and ‘Kamma seed C’ during his or her present lifetime. This is what the Buddha means by emptiness in all the things or happenings in the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 134 dependent nature – nothing is absolute, nothing is well-defined and nothing is independent. Therefore, the law of kamma can never be deciphered as an eye for an eye kind of principle because it is impossible for one to carry out a clear separation of things or happenings. Every single thing or happening in this nature is closely inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with each other since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In short, every existence would not be totally the same or different from each other and this is why we called it as ‘emptiness everywhere.’ The Fruits of Kamma Right now, the next question is, ‘When would the seeds of kamma transform into the fruits of kamma?’ The Buddha has mentioned that the working result of kamma was one of the four unconjecturables and to speculate about it would bring madness and vexation to anyone who conjectured about it. But why is it so difficult for one, even the Buddha, to predict the timeline for the fruits of kamma? Let us analyse into the following illustrations: - We do know that cause and effect are two aspects of the same thing; both reflected in a different time of events. Cause = Effect Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, .., etc. Action = Reaction Action 1 conjures up Reaction 1, Reaction 1 conjures up Action 1-1, Action 1-1 conjures up Reaction 1-1, .., etc.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 135 If present, Cause 1 > Effect 1, Action 1 > Reaction 1 future will be, Effect 1 > Cause 1-1, Reaction 1 > Action 1-1* * This is the typical scenario of a good person having to face with unfortunate events; a bad person having to enjoy fortunate events in a lifetime. For example, Loan $100 = Repayment $100 If today, Loan $100 > Repayment $100 tomorrow will be, Repayment > new Loan $100 When we mention that a rising force of something would generate a new equal opposing force (the law of balancing), we are actually referring to a process of action and reaction under a phenomenon of constant motion. But under a phenomenon of variable motion, the law of balancing would orientate in a unique harmonising mechanism (as in Newton’s 2nd law of motion). Let us look at the following illustrations: - Under a circumstance of constant motion, come factor equals to become factor: - Come factor = Become factor Acceleration When come factor accelerates, the relative become factor would decelerate: - Come factor ↑, Become factor ↓
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 136 (End results: Mental and physical progresses slow down  the circumstance of time dilation in Einstein’s special theory of relativity. It means comparatively an individual under an accelerating motion would grow old slower than an individual under a constant motion.) Deceleration When come factor decelerates, the relative become factor would accelerate: - Come factor ↓, Become factor ↑ (End results: Mental and physical progresses speed up  the ambience of deep meditation. For now, we know that meditation is a way to speed up the awakening process.) Naturally, things or happenings do exist in motions that vary in frequencies under the influence of conditional phenomena. Therefore, it is just plain impossible for one to foresee the working result of kamma. So by now, we would know the law of kamma is a comprehensive law that runs in a phenomenon full of complexity and in a way beyond the straight forward action-reaction principles being discovered by modern scientists. Neutralising the Kamma With all the above explanation on how the principle of kamma works, we have come to an apex now on the approach to neutralise the fruits of kamma in order for one to attain the eternal bliss of nibbāna. The first practical step to neutralise the fruits of kamma is to ‘live in the present moment.’ When one sees fully on the present moment, the elements of memory would eventually vanish - for memory of the past would lead to new becoming process in the future, and thus ignorance continues eventually across the plane of existence and time. For general understanding, we are part of the becoming processes and time is merely a tool to quantify it. When the becoming process ceases, the time would cease as well – thus the absence of time stream (past, present and future). When we constantly sustain in the present moment, we leave behind no traces for the past or future moment to arise - just like leaving behind no
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 137 seeds for the fruit bearing in every passing of moments. Under such a circumstance, any new rising or falling activities would cast no chance of emerging at all. At the end of the day, the vicious wheel of life would stop rotating with the absence of conditional phenomena and the ambience of full awakening would emerge concurrently. The second step would be to practise ‘letting go.’ As again, Buddhism is not about circumstances but attitude to circumstances. The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude. To ‘bear with’ is to suffer and the antonym of it is to ‘let go.’ By not submitting oneself to the conditional circumstances, one would be freed, be liberated and be neutralised. Wisely one could see it, know it and let go – no need to grasp it and do not get into any involvement on the other side of the object or matter. The third step is to see things or happenings as they truly are; not delusively are. Just see the things or happenings in direct perception - that is basically label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less or colour-less. In other words, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘- ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. As a summary, enlightenment is not a far-fetched thing, achievable only by the privileged ones or the chosen ones or the qualified ones sitting in ivory towers. Instead, it is such a profound realisation that is achievable by anyone that inculcates with the right attitude or determination. In a layman term, enlightenment means graduation and liberation. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day and night - we observe things, let things pass by, learn on something, let go something and finally realise on something. Somehow and somewhere, we have actually learned, graduated and liberated out of something without much attention on it. In other words, every one of us has actually tasted a ‘little’ awakening moment in one way or another. This will be a good or sweet motivation for one to elevate up spiritually and move forward until one is ready to fully liberate from the vicious cycle of samsāra. Remember - there is no mind, no memory, no becoming, no clinging, no desire, no ignorance, no happiness, no sadness, no changing in the eternal bliss of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 138 nibbāna. Meditate, meditate and meditate! Have boundless compassion and loving-kindness along the way. The principle in effect: - A stream of loving-kindness and compassion would conjure up empathy, A stream of empathy would conjure up boundless, A stream of boundless would conjure up voidness, A stream of voidness would conjure up stillness, A stream of stillness would conjure up peacefulness, A stream of peacefulness would conjure up enlightenment. Q2 Your previous posts about kamma didn't really answer my questions they just explained more of your views. Again, my question is how do you square the notion of an individual kamma passing from life to life, in your description people would be suffering from the effects of other’s actions? Also how can one progress towards enlightenment if it takes more than one life? For example a stream enterer is said to be certain to achieve liberation within 7 lifetimes, if his kammic seeds are scattered at death and arise in others how could this be so? How does one attain enlightenment across more than one life if the kamma/merit is dispersed at death? A2 On the kamma reaping among individuals, one needs an in-depth understanding into the principle of emptiness. If truly one is only to one, an eye is only for an eye, then, there is no need for rebirth, just trans-migration. Can things be in absolute discrete orientation? Please refer to the real meaning of emptiness described in accordance with Buddhism. Stream-enterer (Sotāpanna) It is also known as the first stage of enlightenment and is said to have ‘opened the eye of the Dhamma’ and would reach arahantship within seven rebirths. Let us look at the following illustration on the seven rebirths of stream-enterer: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 139 For an ignorant being During a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force) would overcome the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force). Subsequently, the elements of subtle consciousness would liberate into fragments. The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being. For an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening. A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming. A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments. For an awakened being During a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force) would still overcome the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force). Subsequently, the elements of subtle consciousness would liberate into fragments. However, the amount of liberated fragments is much lesser than an ignorant being because there is lower intensity of Ignorance as compared with the intensity of Awakening. Also, the dispersion of liberated fragments is more confined and restricted to much fewer new individuals. Supposedly, Individual A, Individual B, Individual C are three different beings that have reached the stage of stream-enterer in the same or different lifetime. Let say, 65 points of the realised elements is a minimum benchmark for a qualified stream-enterer, 100 points of the realised elements is for a qualified Arahant.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 140 Note: - RN = the elements of realisation IG = the elements of ignorance SC = the elements of subtle consciousness [ORIGINAL BASE] Individual A Individual B Individual C RN65 IG35 RN65 IG35 RN65 IG35 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-A3 rn10 ig10 SC-B3 rn10 ig10 SC-C3 rn10 ig10 END SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-A5 rn5 ig10 SC-B5 rn5 ig10 SC-C5 rn5 ig10 [1ST REBIRTH] Individual A-B-C Individual B-A-C Individual C-A-B RN65 IG35 RN65 IG35 RN65 IG35 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-A3 rn10 ig10 SC-C3 rn10 ig10 SC-B3 rn10 ig10 EARLY SC-C4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-A4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn5 ig10 SC-B5 rn5 ig10 SC-A5 rn5 ig10 RN70 IG30 RN70 IG30 RN70 IG30 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-A3 rn10 ig10 SC-C3 rn10 ig10 SC-B3 rn10 ig10 END SC-C4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-A4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 [2ND REBIRTH] Individual A-C-B Individual B-C-A Individual C-B-A RN70 IG30 RN70 IG30 RN70 IG30 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5 SC-A3 rn10 ig10 SC-B3 rn10 ig10 SC-C3 rn10 ig10 EARLY SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-A5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 RN75 IG25 RN75 IG25 RN75 IG25 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 141 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 END SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-A5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 [3RD REBIRTH] Individual A-BC Individual B-AC Individual C-AB RN75 IG25 RN75 IG25 RN75 IG25 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn20 ig5 SC-A2 rn20 ig5 SC-C2 rn20 ig5 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 EARLY SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 RN80 IG20 RN80 IG20 RN80 IG20 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 END SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 [4TH REBIRTH] Individual A-CB Individual B-CA Individual C-BA RN80 IG20 RN80 IG20 RN80 IG20 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 EARLY SC-A4 rn10 ig5 SC-C4 rn10 ig5 SC-B4 rn10 ig5 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 RN85 IG15 RN85 IG15 RN85 IG15 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 END SC-A4 rn15 SC-C4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 [5TH REBIRTH] Individual AB-C Individual BA-C Individual CA-B RN85 IG15 RN85 IG15 RN85 IG15 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-C3 rn15 ig5 SC-B3 rn15 ig5 SC-A3 rn15 ig5 EARLY SC-C4 rn15 SC-A4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 142 RN90 IG10 RN90 IG10 RN90 IG10 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-C3 rn20 SC-B3 rn20 SC-A3 rn20 END SC-C4 rn15 SC-A4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 [6TH REBIRTH] Individual BC-A Individual CB-A Individual AC-B RN90 IG10 RN90 IG10 RN90 IG10 SC-A1 rn20 ig5 SC-B1 rn20 ig5 SC-C1 rn20 ig5 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-A3 rn20 SC-B3 rn20 SC-C3 rn20 EARLY SC-C4 rn15 SC-A4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 RN95 IG5 RN95 IG5 RN95 IG5 SC-A1 rn25 SC-B1 rn25 SC-C1 rn25 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-A3 rn20 SC-B3 rn20 SC-C3 rn20 END SC-C4 rn15 SC-A4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 [LAST REBIRTH] Individual A-E Individual B-E Individual C-E RN95 IG5 RN95 IG5 RN95 IG5 SC-A1 rn25 SC-C1 rn25 SC-B1 rn25 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-A3 rn20 SC-B3 rn20 SC-C3 rn20 EARLY SC-A4 rn15 SC-C4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn10 ig5 SC-B5 rn10 ig5 SC-A5 rn10 ig5 RN100 RN100 RN100 SC-A1 rn25 SC-C1 rn25 SC-B1 rn25 SC-B2 rn25 SC-C2 rn25 SC-A2 rn25 SC-A3 rn20 SC-B3 rn20 SC-C3 rn20 FINAL SC-A4 rn15 SC-C4 rn15 SC-B4 rn15 CHAPTER SC-C5 rn15 SC-B5 rn15 SC-A5 rn15 In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person (upon death) and the new consciousness arising in the same person (the new person) is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 143 with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. Q3 In your illustration of how a stream enterer would attain liberation across lives you claim that the fragmented consciousness would only recombine with other fragments at the same stage of kamma. Is that how it works for everyone that our fragments can only combine with those with the same kind of kamma? A3 Perhaps, you have heard of the natural law of attraction i.e. like attracts like, unlike repels unlike. Our thoughts, feelings, words, and actions produce energies which, in turn, attract like energies. For instance, if you initiate with positive thoughts all the time, it would attract favourable energies and things or happenings would turn out positively. This is how the calling of prayers onto someone works – transference of merit via the influence of mind over matter. The natural law of attraction also spells out the orientation of the law of kamma i.e. on how the seeds of kamma would transform into the fruits of kamma. For example, Seed A would emit energy A which, in turn, attract like energies elsewhere. Upon maturity, Seed A would attract sufficient like energies and subsequently transform Seed A into Fruit A. Like energies Therefore, similar characteristics of subtle conscious fragments among different individuals would attract with each other – just like the phrase, ‘Ashes to ashes, dust to dust.’ Seed A Fruit A
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 144 Q4 Another question is why doesn't consciousness disperse entirely at death, why into discrete fragments? A4 Why disperse in discrete fragments? It is because there is an element of grasping among ignorant beings. As a living being, we have intact with both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousness within our physical body. When we perform concentration on an object or a matter, we engage with our prevailing mind consciousness. When the mind is in roaming state as in daydreaming, we engage with the subtle mind consciousness. The prevailing conscious mind is like mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead and convey action. However, subtle conscious mind is like herd of wild horses - roaming in discrete directions and needed domestication. In a departed being, the prevailing conscious mind that acts as a guarding chain to the wild subtle conscious mind would die out and one would notice a final burst of energy taking place before death. Subsequently, the subtle conscious mind would liberate and roam freely in discrete directions. In other words, while being alive, we make use of our prevailing conscious mind to take charge, to lead, to make decision, to concentrate and to contain our subtle conscious mind but not after the demise period of time. By then, the subtle mind consciousness that remains as souls or spirits would continue with its wilderness characteristics. Only when one has progressed into a more awakening state while being alive could the wilderness be tamed i.e. less dispersion into more discrete directions or new individuals. Q5 Regarding beginning-less, the problem is positing a first cause. In your model, what is the very first cause for phenomena to come into balance? In terms of the material Universe, what is the first cause for the start of the Universe, or how does something arise from nothing? A5 Let us regard the world of nature as universal that bears with both the inherent and the dependent qualities – on whether it is a fact or otherwise, I’ll leave it for you to investigate. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. An enlightened mind would see and realise into this fact without hesitation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 145 Buddhism advocates emptiness as a quality that exists everywhere in the dependent nature. Whereas, modern scientists acknowledge that energy is a quality that can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes. In other words, energy is everywhere as well because it has always been in existence within a system. Therefore, we could conclude that both the emptiness and energy are fundamental qualities because every single thing or happening would involve with the elements of emptiness and energy in the dependent nature. For general understanding, conditional phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for energy to exist; without it, the existence would be impossible. On another front, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. Now, how does something arise from nothing? Frankly speaking, something that arises as in object is not out of nothing. In the material Universe, there are plenty of existences or activities that cannot be discerned by our naked eyes. When we mention that the elements of emptiness and energy are everywhere in a system of dependent nature, it means that both of these qualities have fully occupied such a system. Therefore, we could conclude that something as in object would arise out of the elements of energy that exist in a system. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in different forms per se (as in Einstein’s formula, E = mc2). And since we are unable to discern the elements of energy with our naked eyes, we would name it as empty instead of nothing. Then, what is the first cause for the start of the material Universe? Frankly speaking, the ultimate first cause for anything or everything is the nature. Without the nature, nothing would ever exist – no things or happenings would arise. Now, how does the material Universe begin? For general understanding, dependent phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for the material Universe to exist; without it, the material Universe would be impossible. Dependent phenomenon is also known as a conditional phenomenon – that consists of two terms i.e. balance and imbalance. Under a balance phenomenon, aggregation would arise and one could witness multiple shapes or forms. Under an imbalance phenomenon, segregation would arise and one could witness no shapes or forms. The cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly depicting the rising and the falling activities in continuum.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 146 Therefore, the material Universe would start with the dependent phenomenon that in turn conjures up the elements of energy. Since the dawn of time, energy has been in existence within the system of dependent nature (inherent existence). Under a balance phenomenon, the elements of energy would turn into the elements of matter through the process of aggregation. Likewise, under an imbalance phenomenon, the elements of matter would turn into the elements of energy through the process of segregation (dependent arising). In other words, the material Universe is merely a momentary appearance conjured up from the orientation of energy and matter in space under the influence of conditional phenomena in continuum. Just like ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. In the nature, there would be a multiple of material Universes existing under the influence of conditional phenomena. The material Universe in itself is never stagnant; instead it is very much alive – continuously contracting and expanding (in extrapolating manner). As a conclusion, the earliest existence since the dawn of time would be the first cause in the dependent nature. Q6 Can you explain more about what you mean here about the dawn of time and the first cause? Earlier you said that energy and emptiness don’t have a beginning. There is a logic problem with positing a first cause. I don’t really understand what your view is here? A6 The dawn of time means the earliest period of time. Now, let us analyse into time. Some people may say time is an illusion and does not exist after all. So what is time? Frankly speaking, time is something that is created, not born (a non-natural existence). Time is an indicator for event; whereas length, width and height are indicators for size and volume. All of these indicators belong to a category named as dimension. In other words, dimension is created for the task of measurement per se and therefore, not something that arises out naturally. Also, time is a scalar factor. A scalar refers to a quantity or phenomenon that exhibits magnitude only, with no specific direction. Example of scalars include speed, mass, electrical resistance, and hard-drive storage capacity. Any interval of time is also scalar - it has magnitude only.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 147 Time dilation? When an object is set under an accelerating motion, the becoming process of the object would be stretched as compared with a relative object that is set under a constant or a decelerating motion. In other words, the becoming process of the object has been slowed down comparatively and not the time that has been dilated or slowed down. Time would only assume the expression that the becoming process has slowed down and not the other way round. Literally, the slowing down of the becoming process would mean the slowing down of the aging process for a sentient being. This is the correct understanding behind the thought experiment of twin paradox which concerns a twin who flies off in a spaceship traveling near the speed of light and returns to discover that his or her twin sibling has aged much more. Similarly, the word of time has been used frequently for expressing different scenario of becoming processes, such as follows: - NO TIME = an expression of no opportunity for a new becoming process to begin. TIME TO TIME = an expression of moving from the past to the present becoming process; the present to the future becoming process. TIME PASSED SLOWLY = an expression of hoping for a faster becoming process. TIME DILATION = an expression that the becoming process slows down. Time arising in the Dependent Nature There is time in the dependent nature but not in the inherent nature. This is because there are rising and falling events in continuum in the dependent nature. As for the inherent nature, there is non-existence of time because nothing has ever changed i.e. beginning-less and end-less. Right now, is there a first cause in the dependent nature? Yes, there is. The first cause in the dependent nature is the dependent nature itself. Without the dependent
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 148 nature, no things or events would arise. In other words, dependent nature is the earliest existence since the dawn of time. The two sides of Truth We have to realise that there are two sides of truth in existence i.e. the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. When addressing a problem, in the first place, we need to ensure whether our point of view is from the conventional or the ultimate perspective. For example, from the conventional perspective, we would agree that duality or multiplicity does exist. Therefore, nibbāna is a phenomenon because we are speaking as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. In other words, the subject is pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. However, from the ultimate perspective, we would then agree that no duality or multiplicity arises. Therefore, nibbāna is not a phenomenon (also applies on all other things) because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. In other words, no phenomenon arises if we speak from the ultimate perspective. Conventional truth is a subjective and a relative truth. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. Whereas, an ultimate truth is a reality that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. The principle in effect: - If one stays on with seeing the conventional truth only, one would remain in samsāra, If one stays on with seeing both the conventional and the ultimate truth, one has the choice of remaining either in samsāra or nibbāna, If one stays on with seeing the ultimate truth only, one would remain in nibbāna.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 149 The Characteristics of Emptiness and Energy Both the emptiness and energy are universal qualities. It means that emptiness and energy are inherent existing and dependent arising concurrently. Firstly, let us analyse into emptiness. Emptiness corresponds to two distinct scenarios: 1. It corresponds to the inherent existence (due to unchanging nature) that all conventional phenomena lack. It means that if we focus purely on seeing emptiness, it cannot be segmented or dissected further to see the real origin. Emptiness exists in the way it appears in direct perception and does not constitute some false appearances concealing a lack of inherent existence. Therefore, it has an unchanging nature that all conventional phenomena lack. This conclusion is made from the ultimate perspective - seeing into the within of the within. 2. It corresponds to the dependent arising (a conditional phenomenon) i.e. subject to the same lack of inherent existence as every other object or phenomenon. This is referred to as the emptiness of emptiness. It means that emptiness would not exist without a dependent partner. If there were no objects to analyse, then emptiness as such could not be realised. Without objects, there can be no emptiness - a circumstance that points to emptiness of emptiness. This conclusion is made from the conventional perspective - seeing as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. As for energy, it corresponds to the same distinct scenarios: - 1. It corresponds to the inherent existence (due to unchanging nature) – the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes. This phenomenon would give rise to no becoming process i.e. no beginning and no ending processes.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 150 2. It corresponds to the dependent arising (a conditional phenomenon) – energy is ever transforming (changing nature). This phenomenon would give rise to becoming process i.e. beginning and ending processes. In summary, the Buddha has laid emphasis that one should see in all angles of things or matters while searching for the ultimate truth or reality. Without it, any conclusions made out of one’s observation would not be balance or in wholesome nature. Be wise, be wholesome, be neutralised! Q7 Thanks for the explanation, really well thought out. I think the question still remains to me, what was the cause for the first moment of ignorance to arise? Or maybe in your scenario, balance phenomena. Doesn't everything have a cause? Therefore what is the cause for the very first moment of dependent phenomena, why didn't it arise earlier or later than it did? A7 Ignorance in the Dependent Origination Now, let us analyse more into ignorance. Ignorance means the condition of being uneducated, unaware, uninformed or lack of knowledge, education, awareness. So what is being uneducated, unaware, uninformed of? The answer is the mind. For general understanding, mind is a necessary prerequisite for ignorance to exist; without it, the ignorance would be impossible. Therefore, both the ignorance and the mind are empty because each element is inter- dependent on one another to arise. According to the principle of emptiness, all objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. What the Buddha has mentioned is that mind is the forerunner of all states. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature. As such, the first link i.e. ignorance in the doctrine of Dependent Origination as taught by the Buddha cannot be translated as the first cause in the dependent nature. This doctrine did not stress the importance of the first cause in the dependent nature but rather focus on the first cause of suffering. Suffering arises because there is mind arising - with ignorance as the key factor that clouded the mind from
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 151 seeing the reality of things or happenings. The wise Buddha has merely seen the urgency to put a complete end to dukkha - right here, right now. All other matters are considered as trivial if compared with the reality of dukkha arising in the samsāra. In the Buddhist context, we do know that the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. In other words, there is a repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that in turn would give rise to the balance and imbalance phenomena as being observed by the mind. Therefore, the doctrine of Dependent Origination that outlines part of the Buddha’s teachings on the nature of existence cannot be directly translated as a linear point of reference. This is because the conventional reality does not work in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. The discovery of reality cannot be limited by words, be it written or spoken. A single word could spell out a thousand and one interpretations. Nowadays, the essence of the Buddhadhamma still remains intact but not its interpretation and this is one of the biggest challenges faced by Buddhism. As again, one should see the ultimate reality through direct experience and not through blind faith. Be moderate, be balance and be kind to your mind. Once the mind is at ease and in a perfectly still condition, the truth would arise concurrently. Have a lot of patience and compassion along the way. More importantly, have a nice day! Mind and Natural phenomenon Nature is a phenomenon. Phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses. Therefore, natural phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is no mind arising, no natural phenomenon would arise. When there is mind arising, the natural phenomenon would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the mind - just like shadow follows the body. Inherent or dependent nature is a classification being performed by the mind.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 152 Without the mind, the classification of natural phenomenon is impossible. Therefore, the mind and the natural phenomenon are inter-dependent of each other. There is no separate case of cause, no separate case of effect. Both the mind and the natural phenomenon are cause and effect at the same time. In fact, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in a different time of events. And the reality does not exist in a linear orientation - therefore, there is no real first cause, no real first effect. Cause and effect are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with each other. This is how the conventional reality works! Q8 I find your latest explanation here spot on. I think where I disagree is where you say that a moment of ignorance arises from memory. I don't see why a memory can't be free of ignorance and why one moment of ignorance can't be simply said to arise from a previous moment of ignorance. The 12 links of Dependent Origination do have a circular causality and not a linear one. In your initial presentations you talk about a start and even a dawn of time, maybe you're just using these in a loose way and they're throwing me off. A8 Memory and Ignorance Ignorance means the condition of being uneducated, unaware, uninformed or lack of knowledge, education, awareness. Whereas, memory refers to the act of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, etc.; remembrance; recollection; recognising previous experiences or past events or knowledge. When one is proclaimed as an ignorant being, it means the person is uneducated, unaware, uninformed of some kind of things or happenings that arise beforehand and this would mean the past events that have been retained and recalled as references for the present and the future events. Without any references deriving from the recorded past events, the present and the future events could not begin at all i.e. the past event is linked to the present event and the present event is linked to the future event. Let us illustrate, for Ignorance 1 to link to Ignorance 1-1 and Ignorance 1-1 to link to Ignorance 1-1-1, the memory involvement is inevitable. Without it, the linking processes of the past, present and future could not take place at all. In
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 153 a layman term, this process is called the becoming and re-becoming within beings or things. If the memory aspect is absent, the cycle of rising and falling activities in the dependent nature would be deemed impossible because all the things or happenings are inter-depending, inter-waving and inter-relating with one another. Without the elements of memory, whatever information generated from the past events would be instantly forgotten or erased and the progression of becoming or rebirth process would be impossible across the time stream (past, present and future). Therefore, the elements of ignorance and memory are closely inter-dependent of each other – just like, shadow follows the body. The principle in effect: - … Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, Effect 1-1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1-1, …, etc. … Memory 1 conjures up Ignorance 1, Ignorance 1 conjures up Memory 1-1, Memory 1-1 conjures up Ignorance 1-1-1, Ignorance 1-1-1 conjures up Memory 1-1-1-1, …, etc.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 154 Q9 Ignorance isn't merely incorrect intellectual knowledge, it also includes misconception. I can easily imagine someone with severe Alzheimer's still grasping at an innately existing self. A newborn being has no memory of a previous life but still has the ignorance of an ‘I.’ Insects are considered sentient beings but do they have a memory or do they act merely upon instinct, and do they have ignorance or are they enlightened? A9 Let us analyse more into the elements of memory. Memory refers to the act of retaining and recalling impressions, facts, etc.; remembrance; recollection; recognising previous experiences or past events or knowledge. In psychology, memory is defined as an organism's ability to store, retain, and recall information and experiences. During the process of aggregation, some sort of information would be produced, stored and recalled in the integrated elements. This recorded information would act as a reference for the present and the future events. Without any references deriving from the recorded past events, the present and the future events could not begin at all i.e. the past event is linked to the present event and the present event is linked to the future event. Basically, the elements of memory would involve with two key functions i.e. deposits and withdrawals of information – the act of retaining and recalling facts. If the elements of memory are absent, the process of replication could not arise in beings or things at all. When we mention the replicating process could not arise in all beings or things, it means the elements of memory would also involve with non-living things. For example, ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. Without the elements of memory within the H2O properties, it would be impossible for the ice, the water and the steam to resurface into their respective appearances repeatedly under the varying external conditions. Also, the elements of memory would bear with both the seeds and the fruits of kamma. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 155 withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. Now, let us analyse into your three mentioned cases: - Case 1 Misconception is defined as a mistaken thought, idea, or notion; a misunderstanding. Therefore, misconception is part of ignorance that arises within beings. However, a mistaken thought, idea, notion or a misunderstanding could not arise out of thin air. Definitely, it has to arise out of some kind of references, namely, the previous events that have taken place beforehand. Therefore, the elements of ignorance and memory are closely inter-dependent of each other – just like shadow follows the body. Once again, ignorance cannot stand alone. The rise of ignorance has to depend on the withdrawal of deposited information from the previous events and the deposited information can only be redeemed from the elements of memory. Case 2 It is not correct to mention that a newborn being has no memory of a previous life. Remember, the elements of memory have two main functions i.e. deposits and withdrawals of information – the act of retaining and recalling facts. Every single newborn being would surely bear with the seeds of kamma deriving from the previous lives. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. In other words, it is not that the newborn being has no memory of a previous life but rather the fruits of kamma have not ripened yet. Only upon maturity could the newborn being start to recall events related to his or her previous lives. As again, the elements of ignorance and memory are closely inter- dependent of each other – just like shadow follows the body. Case 3 Instinct refers to a natural or innate impulse, inclination, or tendency; inborn pattern of behaviour often responsive to specific stimuli. In other words, the so-called natural, innate impulse or inborn pattern of behaviour can be referred
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 156 as the seeds of kamma or inheritance from the previous lives. As again, the elements of memory involve with two key functions i.e. deposits and withdrawals of information – the act of retaining and recalling facts. The seeds of kamma are comparable to deposits of information and the fruits of kamma are comparable to withdrawals of the deposited information upon maturity. In other words, instinct would give rise to the seeds of kamma and the seeds of kamma would give rise to ignorance. As such, there would be no enlightenment until all the seeds and fruits of kamma are neutralised completely. Q10 My question is simply, the metaphor of the spilled coffee is interesting, but are you saying that because some of the component parts are being reused, that's rebirth? In the metaphor you put the cup of coffee back together. So I am made of atoms born in the heart of an exploding star. Does that make me a reborn star? If so, what is being reborn? A10 The short answer is energy. No one can kill energy. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed and the total sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes as per the Law of Conservation of Energy being acknowledged by modern scientists. Energy would only transform. To transform is to change. To change is to become. To become is to reborn. So energy is ever ‘reborn’ all the time in the dependent nature. All consciousnesses, mental activities, minds, souls, spirits, ghosts, memories, dreams, illusions, emotions, affections are part of the elements of energy. When we talk about energy, we talk about the ability to change or do work. So without energy, there is no chance for such ability to arise and no chance for change at all. Q11 And does then an enlightened person has no memory? A11 When the Buddha has gained enlightenment at age 35, he still has his awakened mind working for the next 45 years i.e. the Buddha still has his mind, memory and body remaining intact until one last time of disintegrating process i.e. the passing into parinibbāna. Only then, could the mind be liberated
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 157 ultimately. In other words, when one has gained enlightenment while sustaining with a living body, the mind would still exist but with a paradigm shift towards seeing all the things or happenings in the ultimate perspectives without delusion or hesitation. The mind has not gained with a complete liberation yet and this circumstance is also known as cessation with remainder. The ultimate liberation or cessation without remainder can only be achieved without sustaining a living body. Arahant is the fourth stage of enlightenment that is also known as the stage of cessation with remainder in contrast with parinibbāna that is known as cessation without remainder. Q12 I need some guidance on this - Whenever I meditate, I reached the 'falling off a step' point.....then it is really very tranquil. Are you familiar with this? There is only the breath at that point. The only thing is that I can’t sustain it, maybe for a minute or so. I have heard it is one pointed-ness, but not sure, any advice? A12 As you are aware, there are two types of meditation in Buddhism. One is samatha and the other is vipassanā meditation. Samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter-dependable throughout the practices in order to achieve favourable results in meditation. Right now, let us analyse into the mind. For general understanding, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. The prevailing mind consciousness would separate from the subtle mind consciousness when one enters deeply into a meditative state (in full concentration), thus the sensation of 'falling off a step' as per your mentioned experience. The main reason for engaging samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the wilderness of the subtle conscious mind. Thereafter, the prevailing conscious mind enters a state of pure observation (mindful) without identification on the flow of thoughts conjured up by the subtle conscious mind until pure awareness is attained.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 158 Q13 I’d like to get your views on the true nature or true self as mentioned somewhere in the Dhamma. I think it is the eight consciousnesses, ‘memory’ or storehouse, any inputs? A13 Well, my short responses would be: the true nature is the Buddha nature and the true self is the non-self. In order for one to search the truth in all things, one would need to see through the origin of all things. One of the more direct ways of searching or seeing it is to refer to the doctrine of Dependent Origination. Append below, please find the version of Dependent Origination from my perspectives on the true nature: - Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact. Contact leads to stimulation. Stimulation leads to feeling. Feeling leads to experience. Experience leads to craving. Craving leads to grasping. Grasping leads to clinging. Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming. Becoming leads to creation. Creation leads to birth. Birth leads to energising. Energising leads to mobility. Mobility leads to hauling. Hauling leads to aging. Aging leads to draining. Draining leads to death. Death leads to fragility. Fragility leads to segregation. Segregation leads to diffusion. Diffusion leads to imbalance. Imbalance leads to adjustment. Adjustment leads to alignment. Alignment leads to new balance. The principle in effect: - A stream of balance phenomena would conjure up aggregation, A stream of aggregation would conjure up information, A stream of information would conjure up memory, A stream of memories would conjure up ignorance,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 159 A stream of ignorance would conjure up volitional impulse, A stream of volitional impulses would conjure up consciousness, A stream of consciousness would conjure up body and mind, A stream of body and mind would conjure up six sense bases, A stream of six sense bases would conjure up contact, A stream of contacts would conjure up feeling, A stream of feelings would conjure up craving, A stream of cravings would conjure up clinging, A stream of clinging would conjure up becoming, A stream of becoming would conjure up birth, A stream of births would conjure up aging, A stream of aging would conjure up death, A stream of deaths would conjure up segregation, A stream of segregation would conjure up imbalance phenomenon, A stream of imbalance phenomena would conjure up new balance phenomenon. Thus the conditional phenomena would continue repeatedly to depict the rising and the falling activities in the dependent nature. Basically, the term ‘self’ that is used in our daily conversation is merely an expression for our minds to comprehend on our day-to-day communication with the rest of individuals. However, this expression does not grant us with an unchanging or a permanent ownership of our minds and bodies. The ‘I’ or ‘you’ or ‘we’ (five khandhas) is purely part of the becoming processes in the dependent nature. Both of our minds and bodies would constantly orientate and evolve in accordance with the subjected conditions. In fact, mind and body are simply two aspects of the same thing. If you refer to the above cycle of Dependent Origination, manas that unfolds against the backdrop of consciousness (preliminary) is an architect that activates mind and body creations. Manas would vibrate in a certain unique frequency – a wave of collated high and low vibrations. This blueprint of vibrations would subsequently bring forth the conflation of mind and body. The principle in effect: the lower the frequency, the slower the vibration; the higher the frequency, the faster the vibration. Slower vibration would lead to the body and the sense bases formation and faster vibration would lead to the mind formation. Collectively, it brings about a new life existence with a unique
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 160 individuality that would not allow the disruption by any kind of external interference; thus it maintains a self-identity. In other words, mind and body are present in every created thing as one integrated whole. Even an atom has a kind of mind that is unique or individualised. The nucleus of the atom, around which electrons vibrate in standing waves, constitutes the atom’s individuality. As a result, one atom distinguishes from another atom – just as one person is different from another person or as one thing is different from another thing. The physical body is shaped up as an appearance due to the existence of matter and it is basically concerted, aggregated or concentrated or wrapped energy. In other words, appearance is merely a momentary outcome of the process of aggregation that varies according to the subjected conditions. For example, ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. As for the mind, it is also originated from the process of aggregation that conjures up the elements of memory and consciousness and varies under the influence of conditional phenomena. So right now, let us see into the relationships between awareness, consciousness and mind. Awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not- knowing state before the appearance of object. Pure nature of awareness is also known as the Buddha nature. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time. In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation. Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. On the other hand, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 161 understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. Thus the delusion of self entity arises among the sentient beings in the dependent nature. In the dependent nature, everything or anything (physical or non-physical) that exists is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but a mere element of vibration. The basic level of a matter is energy. The basic level of energy is vibration. Therefore, matter is a vibrating mass of energy in which the different frequency of vibration would determine the shape and the size of it. So energy and matter are both referring to the same thing - both reflected in different forms per se. Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. No duality or multiplicity would arise in the non-existence of the mind. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well- defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In the absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. In other words, an ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 162 summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. So when we talk about Buddhism, it is all about transforming an ignorant state of mind into a realised one – a process of enlightenment. To begin with, one would need to set in a right mentality or determination. One has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened. Have boundless compassion and loving kindness along the way. This would be an everlasting remedy to the rising of dukkha that was recommended by the wise Buddha. Once again, a fully awakened state of mind would not require any labeling, colouring, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. All subjects and objects are in completely neutralised state of affairs - when this arising, that arises; when this ceasing, that ceases. Q14 Buddhitakso, I am curious as to why these laws exist, and what regulates them? What initiates thoughts? Why are thoughts more powerful than other vibrations? Why does magnetism exist? How did you come to know this? A14 Please find my responses as below: - Why are there universal laws arising in the dependent nature? It is purely because of the emptiness arising. Emptiness represents a quality i.e. a characteristic property. Emptiness is generally understood as absence in the static entity and devoid of inherent existence for all created objects or things. In fact, emptiness is a universal quality that corresponds to the dependent arising and the inherent existence concurrently in a place named as nature. So let us dwell on a bit into nature. Nature is originally referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 163 would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. In other words, there are two aspects of the nature - the dependence and the inherence. These two aspects would exist concurrently and can be illustrated in a mathematical equation as below: - Two Facets of the Nature Facet 1 --> ...(-2+2) + (-16+16) + (-832+832) + (-133+133) + (0) + (-54+54) + ...., etc. = 0 <-- Facet 2 References: - Facet 1 = dependent arising. = the existence of mind - that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the existence of rising and falling phenomena. = the existence of beginning and ending processes. = all subjects and objects are created i.e. inherent existence is devoid. = the emptiness could be realised in various stages. Facet 2 = inherent existence. = the absence of mind to conjure up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the absence of beginning and ending processes. = the absence of conditional phenomena. = nothing has ever been created or changed. = the Buddha nature. Zero (0) = intermediation = absence = emptiness but not nothingness. = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 164 ...(-2+2) + ... + (-133+133) ... = values of fluxes that are dependent arising. ... + (-2+2) + (-54+54) + ... = this arising, that arises. ... + (0) + ... = this ceasing, that ceases = a stage of enlightenment. = all dependent arising are completely blown-off or extinguished. = a stage of perfect intermediation = a stage of absence = a complete realisation of emptiness. (....) = the law of kamma = the universal law of balancing. -2+2 or -133+133 = the law of attraction. Note : Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. What regulates these universal laws? From the above mathematical equation, one could see that nature would orientate towards a state of balance, intermediation or absence at all times. Every existence (sentient, non-sentient, or any material things) consists of energy and matter that would orientate towards a balance condition and in accordance with the equilibrium law of nature. In other words, all things would only exist in perpetual conditions when there is a balance circumstance. Balance is generally defined as a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc; a condition of being steady; a state of equilibrium or parity characterised by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces; a harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design. Thus when things run off-balance or when one stirs up in any circumstances the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. This natural law is also known as the law of balancing. In the Buddhist context, the law of balancing can also be classified as the law of kamma that exists across time and the plane of existence. The law of kamma is a natural phenomenon law that is not shaped by someone else; no one owns it; neither Buddhism. It is merely a law of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 165 balancing for all things in order to attain the circumstance of equilibrium in the nature. Right now, one may put up with some intriguing questions such as, ‘Why are we here - breathing, thinking and talking, right now? Why is there the beginning and then the ending? Why something, why not nothing? Why the law of kamma?, etc.’ For one to see into the ultimate truth, one has to unwind everything back to the moment of the origin. We do know things and happenings exist because it can be known and felt by our senses. And our minds interpret event or happening as a condition that one has to go through, to persevere with, to soldier on with, to carry on with or to undertake with, inevitably. In other words, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist and things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. Since things and happenings existed long before we have the slightest opportunity to recognise and understand it well, we are bound to suffer ignorantly. However, as human beings, we have the wisdom to make recognition on the entire cycle of events or happenings. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things or happenings that we observe right here, right now, then or later. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. When there is a changing process, there is a circumstance that shapes up some sort of abilities in this dependent nature - that is known as ‘energy.’ As such, we are clear now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. When we deal with the subject of energy, indirectly we also touch on the subject of matter. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in different forms only (as in Einstein's formula, E = mc2). Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. As a summary, we could conclude that energy is a fundamental element in this dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it. Even the so-called souls, spirits,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 166 ghosts - are all part of the elements of energy because they can be detected by electromagnetic devices. So when we mention that the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes, it means that there is a need for a balancing act in the dependent nature. Otherwise, a constant factor could not be achieved at all and the natural bounding law that dictates this circumstance of equilibrium in the dependent nature is called the law of kamma. In other words, the law of kamma is simply a natural bounding law of balancing. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a chance for the process of formation i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness shapes or forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness no shapes or forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly. Right now, let us take a look at another angle of the nature that is the non- dependent nature. What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non- dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it. So how could we identify the ultimate truth in the nature? Rightfully, we could mention that the nature is ultimately universal and encompassed with both the inherent and the dependent qualities. The inherent quality of nature can be known as the deepest fact about things. It exists beyond mind, beyond concepts and words and it bears with the characteristics of beginning-less and end-less. Our minds are capable of perceiving this reality of nature and Buddhism is all about transformation from an ignorant state of mind into a realised one. And an enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. What initiates thoughts? Let us ponder into the cycle of dependent origination shown as below: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 167 Balance leads to stability. Stability leads to aggregation. Aggregation leads to agitation. Agitation leads to information. Information leads to knowledge. Knowledge leads to representation. Representation leads to memory. Memory leads to compulsion. Compulsion leads to ignorance. Ignorance leads to blindness. Blindness leads to disorientation. Disorientation leads to confusion. Confusion leads to irrationality. Irrationality leads to impulse. Impulse leads to sparkling. Sparkling leads to inkling. Inkling leads to volition. Volition leads to awareness. Awareness leads to consciousness. Consciousness leads to manas. Manas leads to mind and body. Mind and body lead to sensation. Sensation leads to six sense bases. Six sense bases lead to conductivity. Conductivity leads to contact. Contact leads to stimulation. Stimulation leads to feeling. Feeling leads to experience. Experience leads to craving. Craving leads to grasping. Grasping leads to clinging. Clinging leads to unsettling. Unsettling leads to becoming. Becoming leads to creation. Creation leads to birth. Birth leads to energising. Energising leads to mobility. Mobility leads to hauling. Hauling leads to aging. Aging leads to draining. Draining leads to death. Death leads to fragility. Fragility leads to segregation. Segregation leads to diffusion. Diffusion leads to imbalance. Imbalance leads to adjustment. Adjustment leads to alignment. Alignment leads to new balance. The elements of consciousness within the sentient beings would initiate thoughts or acts that are devoid of inherent existence. For every rising force of thoughts or acts, a new equal opposing force would arise as well across the time stream (past, present and future) and the plane of existence. Continuous rising and falling of thoughts or acts would shape the wheel of life. Why are thoughts more powerful than other vibrations? It is because of the mind arising. For general understanding, awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object. Pure nature of awareness is also known as the Buddha nature. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time. In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation. Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 168 arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. On the other hand, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness - thus the delusion of self entity arises among the sentient beings in the dependent nature. Besides, no duality or multiplicity would arise in the non-existence of the mind. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. In other words, an ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 169 Why does magnetism exist? It is due to the workings of the law of balancing in the dependent nature. As mentioned earlier, nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. If one stirs up in any phenomena of existence under volitional or non-volitional term, the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. Otherwise, a constant factor cannot be achieved at all in the nature. How did you come to know this? It is all from my direct experiences and insights on the nature and its orientation with some co-inputs from the general science and Buddhism. I have deep interest in the teachings of the Buddha but nowadays, what I could see is only the rising of a popular culture known as ‘stamped’ Buddhism. Perhaps, Gautama Buddha was visionary in seeing the rising of Dhamma-Ending Age (the rare attaining of Enlightenment Age) after 1,500 years of his passing into parinibbāna. Q15 Personally, I don't know what enlightenment is? Any advice? A15 Enlightenment means a complete realisation of emptiness, a stage of perfect intermediation, a stage of absence, and a cessation of suffering in the dependent nature. Suffering means to ‘bear with.’ To ‘let go’ is the antonym of it. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. Energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got frozen. Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing processes. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 170 Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. Q16 Correction - In the physical world, nothing stops completely. In physics, we have something called zero-point energy or the lowest level which energy could exist. Scientists have discovered that Hydrogen (the smallest molecule in the Universe with a single atom) cannot freeze completely (which means it will stop moving or vibrating). It will cool down to a specific temperature and then, continue to vibrate and doesn't freeze anymore. This is why the Universe doesn't just freeze itself in the coldest region - there is always energy which vibrates in space. Therefore, metaphysically speaking - as long as there is consciousness, you and I exist. It is a very interesting point here. Yes, I do concur with you that energy can neither be stationary nor be created nor be destroyed in the scientific sense. But how then could we best describe a scenario of 'frozen' energy here? Let us look at the case of a black hole in the material Universe. Black holes were originally called frozen stars because they appear to 'freeze' at a size just slightly bigger than the Schwarzschild radius - the distance at which all matter within that distance will collapse into the singularity. Around the black hole, there is a surface called event horizon that marks the point of no return. Any objects that fall and cross the event horizon would appear to freeze from the perspective of an observer who is stationary at great distance from the event horizon. Just as in Einstein’s special theory of relativity, if you were to enter a black hole, you would find your watch ticking along at the same rate as it always had but someone else at great distance from the black hole would see a different ticking rate on your watch than the usual, and you would see their watch to be ticking at a different than normal rate. For instance, if you were to station yourself just outside a black hole, while you would find your own watch ticking at the normal rate, you would see the watch of a friend at great distance from the hole to be ticking at a much faster rate than yours. Your friend would see his own watch ticking at a normal rate, but see your watch to be ticking at a much slower rate. Thus if you stayed just outside the black hole for a while, then went back to join your friend, you would find that the friend had aged more than you had during your separation. At the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 171 end of the day, if you were to cross into the event horizon, you appear to freeze, as seen by your friend and it is only an ‘optical’ illusion that makes your friend think that you never cross the horizon when in actual fact you did. Once again, when one talks about energy, one talks about vibration. And energy can never be stationary at any point of time but it can appear to freeze under a special circumstance described as above. In other words, when there are opposing forces, there would be vibration. In the absence of opposing forces, vibration would cease to exist i.e. it is considered to be blown-off but not annihilated. This means in the absence of vibration, energy would still exist but it seems to freeze due to the homologous force arising. In the Buddhist context, there are two opposing forces arising in the dependent nature i.e. the force of Awakening (an inward tendency force) and the force of Ignorance (an outward tendency force). For an ignorant being, during a disintegrating process, the elements of prevailing consciousness or so-called the ‘chain of consciousness’ would die out and the force of Ignorance would overcome the force of Awakening. The elements of subtle consciousness would then liberate into fragments. The amount of liberated fragments is very much dependent on the level of Ignorance or Awakening within the being. And for an ignorant being, the level of Ignorance would surpass the level of Awakening and this would mean the intensity of Ignorance is higher than the intensity of Awakening. A higher intensity of Ignorance would mean a higher intensity of becoming. A higher intensity of becoming would mean a higher amount of liberated fragments. On the other hand, for a fully awakened being, the force of Ignorance would be blown-off completely. The remaining force of Awakening i.e. an inward tendency force would conquest in full scale and thus conjuring up a circumstance named as the black hole of emptiness i.e. the eternal bliss of nibbāna. Q17 I have one question - If a monk wishes to be achieve enlightenment, does it means that he has desires (to be enlightened)? Is such desire an awakening force or an ignorant force? Desire is a mere intention of building castles in the air. Enlightenment can never be achieved through desire. If a monk tells someone that he wishes or desires for enlightenment, then it is an ignorant force arising. If the same monk
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 172 realises later and tells someone that he is determined to attain enlightenment, then it is an awakening force arising. Q18 You are trying to create a difference where there is none. It does not matter whether the monk uses the word ‘desires’ or ‘determined.’ Desire is desire – and if a monk meditates and performs spiritual training with enlightenment in mind, that by it can be considered as desire (to achieve something). Yes, I do agree it is rather tricky to define these words clearly for the case of enlightenment. Perhaps, one could replace the word ‘enlightenment’ with ‘wisdom.’ If one is wise, then one is wise. There can never be a desire to be wise. Likewise, if one is stupid, then one is stupid. There can never be a desire to be stupid. Q19 And yet, wise can lead to ego. Is to know all things consider you are wise? Or to accept that you know nothing is considered to be wise? No, I hope you don’t get me wrong on saying enlightenment is equivalent to wisdom. I am just applying a simile comparison whereby there is no way to desire for enlightenment, just the same as, there is no way to desire for wisdom or stupidity. In fact, wisdom is the after-effect of enlightenment, if one may say so. While enlightenment is about realisation, wisdom is about applying it into one’s daily perspectives and decision making, wholesomely. As again, one has to gain the knowledge first and then apply the understanding and the experience with common sense and insight – that is wisdom. Meanwhile, stupidity is about - knowing the truth, seeing the truth but still believing the untruth.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 173 Q20 If there is no way to desire for enlightenment or wisdom, then why commit spiritual acts or practices? It is obvious that not everyone can become enlightened, or we all could become enlightened. So, what are the criteria of a person who can become enlightened over the course of time? As again, enlightenment and wisdom start with one’s resolute determination and not one’s strong desire. If you want to gain enlightenment and wisdom, you’ll need to walk the walk and not talk the talk – that’s the difference between determination and desire. Q21 I don’t see a difference between determination and desire. How can one differentiate between them? A monk can say he is determined to achieve enlightenment and unknowingly, change that into desire to seek enlightenment so much so that he refuses everything worldly (including compassion and mercy toward other less fortunate souls). It is a very thin line between determination and desire. As I have mentioned earlier, it is rather tricky to differentiate these words for any ordinary persons. In fact, there is no absolute condition in every single thing or circumstance that arises. Just like, the yin-yang concept – each contains the seed of the other, which is why we see a black spot of Yin in the white Yang and vice versa. Likewise, a saint can turn into a devil and a devil can turn into a saint merely by a moment of thought. So, in one moment, a monk harbours the thought of wishing or desiring for enlightenment, then it is an ignorant force arising. And on the very next moment, he realises and inculcates a resolute determination to attain enlightenment, then it is an awakening force arising.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 174 Q22 Have any Buddhist writers explored whether lack of attachment might be a bad thing? Personally, I don’t mind enduring some suffering from time to time that comes with attachment, because I would not want to miss out on the joys that come from attachment. I don’t see completely ending all of my suffering as a good thing. It think it takes courage to take risk – to enter into and develop attachment because you know you may experience suffering, but the joy of the attachment is worth the risk. I believe it is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. Could someone point me in the direction of a discourse or dialogue discussing this exact issue? In Buddhism, it is mentioned that all mundane desires or attachments would lead to suffering, ultimately. And desire or attachment is not something that is sinful or something weird that arises in our existence. As humans, we naturally have desires or attachments and there is nothing to be shameful about. What Buddhism has taught is that one should realise the ultimate reality i.e. desire or attachment would lead to suffering. This is the second Noble Truth i.e. recognising the cause of suffering. Therefore, if one wishes to stop the suffering, one needs the determination to see through the origin of the suffering and work diligently on the correct path to end the state of suffering. However, if one chooses to recognise the cause of suffering and let the state of suffering continues in one’s life, then so be it. There is no sin in this decision. At the end of the day, Buddhism is an alternate approach for one who needs it for solace and spiritual liberation. Buddhism may not be acceptable to individuals who can’t make do without the dependent aspects in life. As again, there is no right or wrong element here, but simply a personal choice.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 175 Q23 Buddhism hasn't lived up to its promise for me. I haven't devoted my life to the Dhamma, but I've invested a significant amount of time in studying as much as I'm able to and invested a significant amount of time into meditating. I'm not seeking some some profound religious experience or even jhāna. I'm just seeking peace. Do I need to join a monastery to find it? I suppose you got it all wrong about Buddhism. Buddhism doesn’t promise you anything superficial. The earth would still rotate at 24 hours a day as per the cosmic laws even if you have had attained enlightenment. The first thing that needed adjustment is your attitude. You just need to see things from the profound or inner perspectives rather than the conventional or superficial perspectives. In other words, Buddhism is not about circumstances but attitude to circumstances. Just change the way you see your surroundings and you may get a kind of insight different from yesterday. Q24 There is a “Big Logical Flaw” in saying everything is changing or impermanent. Please see... A motion is always with reference to something that is not moving. A change means with reference to something that is not changing. So earth is moving with reference to...the sun/stars. Earth cannot be moving without a “Frame of Reference” that is stationary. So when I say, ‘Everything is moving...who recognises that change? If the recogniser is also changing...who recognises this change in the recogniser? A change...or a movement...is always with reference to changeless entity. So with reference to what is this changing? “Change is the only thing that is constant”...is a logical flaw...because what about the truth value of this statement then? Please allow me to share with you on some matters pertaining to Buddhism and the circumstances of nature: -
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 176 What is Buddha Nature? Buddha nature is literally referring to the pure awareness per se. Awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time. In addition, consciousness is synergy i.e. energy that expands through cooperation. Synergy is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. On the other hand, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. In Hindusim, the Self or Ātman is similar to the Buddha nature arising within individuals – perhaps, the difference merely lies in the word expression. Middle Path In Buddhism, all thoughts and actions are considered as wholesome or unwholesome only. There is no holy or sinful thought or act in the eyes of the Buddha. The meaning of wholesome would be in totality of perspective (skillful) and unwholesome would be in non-totality of perspective (unskillful). In fact, the Buddha has recommended Middle Path as an ideal approach when addressing a problem. Middle Path is all about focusing on core, neutral, balance and upright. It means to investigate and break through the core of life and all things without any attitudes of favouritism. Any investigations must commence based on unbiased grounds i.e. on neutral and upright positions. In other words, one needs to investigate the problem from various angles, analyse the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion. According to Buddhism, there two sides of truth in existence i.e. the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. When addressing a problem, in the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 177 first place, we need to ensure whether our point of view is from the conventional or ultimate perspective. For example, from the conventional perspective, we would agree that duality or multiplicity does exist. Therefore, nibbāna is a phenomenon because we are speaking as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. In other words, the subject is pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. However, from the ultimate perspective, we would then agree that no duality or multiplicity arises. Therefore, nibbāna is not a phenomenon (also applies on all other things) because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. In other words, no phenomenon arises if we speak from the ultimate perspective. Conventional Truth Conventional truth is a subjective and a relative truth. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. Duality or multiplicity would arise in the presence of the mind. This is because there is a subject pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. The subject is mainly the mind. Phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses. In other words, phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is a mind arising, the phenomenon would arise. When there is a phenomenon arising, the dependent nature would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the dependent nature - just like shadow follows the body. This is what the conventional reality is all about. The Perceiver and the Perceived Mind is the forerunner of all states. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature i.e. with the rise of perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 178 In the dependent nature, the mind is also known as the perceiver, whereas, the object or matter is known as the perceived. And everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. Let us analyse into the following illustration: - 50 years ago Present Day Perceiver Perceived Perceiver Perceived A  B A  B (E.g. boy - David Smith) (E.g. toy - Ultraman) (E.g. man – David Smith) (E.g. toy – Ultraman) Remark : As a young boy, Mr. David Smith has a yearning for an Ultraman toy. But 50 years later, Mr. David Smith has grown up to become a matured adult and no longer yearns for the Ultraman toy. There has been a change in the mindset of Mr. David Smith throughout the time span of 50 years as well as the Ultraman toy. In fact, Mr. David Smith has gone through the rebirth process in each given moment for the past 50 years or so. In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person (upon death) and the new consciousness arising in the same person (in the new person) is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. The Circumstances of Nature Naturally, we do know things and happenings exist because it can be known and felt by our senses. And our minds interpret event or happening as a condition that one has to go through, to persevere with, to soldier on with, to carry on with or to undertake with, inevitably. In other words, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist and conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. Since things and happenings existed long before we have the slightest opportunity to
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 179 recognise and understand it well, we are bound to suffer ignorantly. However, as human beings, we have the wisdom to make recognition on the entire cycle of events or happenings. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things or happenings that we observe right here, right now, then or later. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. When there is a changing process, there is a circumstance that shapes up some sort of abilities in this dependent nature - that is also known as ‘energy.’ As such, we are clear now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. When we deal with the subject of energy, indirectly we also touch on the subject of matter. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in different forms only (as in Einstein's formula, E = mc2). Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. As a summary, we could conclude that energy is a fundamental element in this dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it. Even the so-called souls, spirits, ghosts - are all part of the elements of energy because they can be detected by electromagnetic devices. So when we mention that the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes, it means that there is a need for a balancing act in the dependent nature. Otherwise, a constant factor could not be achieved at all and the natural bounding law that dictates this circumstance of equilibrium in the dependent nature is called the law of kamma. In other words, the law of kamma is simply a natural bounding law of balancing. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a process of formation i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness shapes or forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness no shapes or forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 180 Ultimate Truth Right now, let us take a look at another angle of the nature that is the non- dependent nature. What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non- dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it. So how could we identify the ultimate truth in the nature? Rightfully, we could mention that the nature is ultimately universal and encompassed with both the inherent and the dependent qualities. The inherent quality of nature can be known as the deepest fact about things. It exists beyond mind, beyond concepts and words and it bears with the characteristics of beginning-less and end-less. Our minds are capable of perceiving this reality of nature and Buddhism is all about transformation from an ignorant state of mind into a realised state of mind. And an enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. Generally, nature is referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. In other words, there are two aspects of the nature - the dependence and the inherence. These two aspects would exist concurrently and can be illustrated in a mathematical equation as below: - Two Facets of the Nature Facet 1 --> ...(-2+2) + (-16+16) + (-832+832) + (-133+133) + (0) + (-54+54) + ...., etc. = 0 <-- Facet 2
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 181 References: - Facet 1 = dependent arising. = the existence of mind - that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the existence of rising and falling phenomena. = the existence of beginning and ending processes. = all subjects and objects are created i.e. inherent existence is devoid. = the emptiness could be realised in various stages. Facet 2 = inherent existence. = the absence of mind to conjure up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the absence of beginning and ending processes. = the absence of conditional phenomena. = nothing has ever been created or changed. = the Buddha nature. Zero (0) = intermediation = absence = emptiness but not nothingness. = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration. ...(-2+2) + ... + (-133+133) ... = values of fluxes that are dependent arising. ... + (-2+2) + (-54+54) + ... = this arising, that arises. ... + (0) + ... = this ceasing, that ceases = a stage of enlightenment. = all dependent arising are completely blown-off or extinguished. = a stage of perfect intermediation = a stage of absence = a complete realisation of emptiness. (....) = the law of kamma = the universal law of balancing. -2+2 or -133+133 = the law of attraction.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 182 Remark : Nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. As a conclusion, we shall know by now that the nature is universal that bears with the inherent and the dependent qualities concurrently. The ultimate truth would remain unshaken no matter how one interprets it and one should not waste time trying to prove who is right, who is wrong, which school teaches more truths, etc. Trivial arguments would make one looks more foolish among all the other ignorant beings. And the world is not a closed one. Those who see, read, hear and evaluate for themselves can find the truth they seek. The role of religion in this era is not as a blockage but to help explain and educate in a mature manner. Be bound-less, be stereotype-less, be label-less. Mould a right attitude and it would open up a new horizon of things. Have a nice day! Q25 Do you know anyone who has found spiritual liberation / complete enlightenment? In this life? If I meet the Buddha on the highway, shall I kill him? And the inevitable rhetorical question: If I need a thousand lifetimes to be liberated, is Buddhism not deflecting any real solutions to the by-and-by where it’s conveniently unfalsifiable? Just like any other belief-system does? Yes, I do...personally, I have been there, done that. I really wonder why should you kill a Buddha? By the way, how can one kill a Buddha? Buddha is merely a title attributed to someone who has fully awakened to the ultimate reality of things, just like doctorate in the academic fields. Well, you do know the expression that Rome wasn’t built in a day. At any given moment, all things would go through the rebirth process in continuum. The wonder of nature is that nothing stays unchanging for the slightest
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 183 moment i.e. all created objects would inevitably go through all sorts of processes such as aggregation, segregation, evolution, mutation, assimilation, etc. under the influence of conditional phenomena at all times. So, you are right here, right now – thinking, analysing, writing, talking, etc. not because you just appeared out of nowhere suddenly. You, I, he, she, we, they and every single object are part of the becoming (rebirth) processes and subject to the rising and falling phenomena, just like the pattern of waves oscillating up and down in continuum. And Buddhism promises you nothing. Yes, nothing!. The Buddha did not lay any promises that one would certainly go to heaven with holy thoughts or acts and vice versa. The Buddha has merely clarified the ultimate reality of things and not to get entangle with it ignorantly. In other words, Buddhism upholds direct experience and recognition. Therefore, a leap of faith scenario can never be found in Buddhism. Q26 I feel constrained to point out that I find myself existing and obliged to deal with the implications of existence – you can say it isn’t ‘my’ problem and I’d eager to agree, however, there are various people lined up who’d beg to disagree: spouse, children, clients, various bill collectors, etc. Unless one can stop eating, urinating and defecating, have no need for shelter, and stop interacting with anything, all this talk about ‘there is only states’ seems like kicking a can down the road. It’s a can that won’t go away. Buddhism doesn’t promise one with anything superficial. The earth would still rotate at 24 hours a day as per the cosmic laws even if one has had attained enlightenment. The first thing that needed adjustment is our attitude. We just need to see things from the profound or inner perspectives rather than the conventional or superficial one. In other words, Buddhism is not about circumstances but attitude to circumstances. Just change the way you see your surroundings and you may get a kind of insight different from yesterday. The Buddha has merely taught that one has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened i.e. not to get entangled with it ignorantly. And one of the basic footsteps to achieve enlightenment and reach nibbāna is to practise ‘letting go.’ Letting go is not the same as giving up
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 184 hope - a frustrated expression. Not to hope is not to become, not to become is not to cling and suffer. So the choice is yours ultimately. Q27 Interesting...I was given to understand this was exceedingly rare. I’m sure you have heard the old saying (Zen in origin, if I recall correctly) that if you see the Buddha on the way, kill him. The implication being that anyone claiming enlightenment is lying. Certainly, some of your fellow Buddhists would not approve of your claim to know fully enlightened persons, much less to be one. I don’t judge it myself, I don’t know you and have no basis to do so. It is unusual to hear a Buddhist openly admit to enlightenment. Well, if one has graduated, then one has graduated. There is no need to brag about one’s achievement here – just call a spade a spade. But Buddhism has got nothing to do with witch-hunting the enlightened ones for all of these unwholesome thoughts or acts are reserved for the ignorant followers per se. Any wise followers would heed the Buddha’s golden advice as below: - “Do not believe in anything simply because you have heard it. Do not believe in anything simply because it is spoken and rumored by many. Do not believe in anything simply because it is found written in your religious books. Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.” Therefore, one could see that Buddhism has got nothing to do with believes or witch-hunting the others. The rule of thumb here is that we shall not reject something just because initially we do not understand it. By patiently learning and investigating, something that we previously did not understand can start to make sense. In other words, one has to gain the knowledge first and then apply the understanding and the experience with common sense and insight – that is wisdom. ‘It only takes one person to change your life: YOU’ ~Ruth Casey~
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 185 Q28 It seems in the first quoted sentence you are saying that letting go is good and not the same as giving up hope. In the next breath you’re saying that not hoping is to stop clinging/suffering. These seem contradictory. In your final sentence you are saying that the choice is to hope and not to hope. The only conclusion I can draw is that you’re making some kind of distinction between ‘not hoping’ and ‘giving up hope.’ Would you care to elaborate on that? Because I don’t off-hand see a substantive difference, given that hope is by its very nature, wishing for what we care about. I don’t know that it can be turned off like a switch, with no sense of loss, unless you consider 100% of human hopes, dreams and aspirations to be unworthy and ignorable. First of all, Buddhism did not stress on the argument whether suffering is good or bad for individuals. The Buddha has merely clarified that there is an element of suffering in the dependent nature and there is a chance to end it - right here, right now. Perhaps, Buddhism should reverse the emphasis by saying there is happiness in life and there are ways to find an everlasting happiness. Generally speaking, unconditional happiness is perpetual and conditional happiness is not permanent. In other words, Buddhism is a philosophy about finding the ultimate happiness that is unconditional and permanent instead of the conventional happiness that is conditional and subject to change at all times. Right now, let us analyse more details into the element of suffering. But what is suffering about? Generally, one would tend to associate suffering with pain, agony, sadness, dissatisfaction and all sorts of negativity in one’s lifetime. Unfortunately, this is not the case in the eyes of the Buddha. In the Buddhist contexts, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re- birth. When there is samsāra arising, dukkha would arise concurrently. And the meaning of dukkha or suffering would be to ‘bear with’ in the Buddhist context. Any circumstances that would involve one to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; to go through with would mean suffering. Literally, it is not correct for one to put much attention onto the conditions of pain, agony, dissatisfaction, joyfulness or happiness - for
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 186 these conditions merely reflected as the consequences of dukkha arising. In other words, it is primarily important for one to cure the cause, not the symptoms! The first practical step to end suffering in order to attain freedom, liberation and neutralisation in life is to ‘live in the present moment.’ When one sees fully on the present moment, the elements of memory would eventually vanish - for memory of the past would lead to new becoming process in the future, and thus ignorance continues eventually across the plane of existence and time. For general understanding, we are part of the becoming processes and time is merely a tool to quantify it. When the becoming process ceases, the time would cease as well – thus the absence of time stream (past, present and future). When we constantly sustain in the present moment, we leave behind no traces for the past or future moment to arise - just like leaving behind no seeds for the fruit bearing in every passing of moments. Under such a circumstance, any new rising or falling activities would cast no chance of emerging at all. At the end of the day, the vicious wheel of life would stop rotating with the absence of conditional phenomena and the ambience of full awakening would emerge concurrently. The second step would be to practise ‘letting go.’ As again, Buddhism is not about circumstances but attitude to circumstances. The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude. To ‘bear with’ is to suffer and the antonym of it is to ‘let go.’ By practising ‘letting go’, one could find unconditional balance and peace of mind i.e. no strings attached. Wisely one could see it, know it and let go – no need to grasp it and do not get into any involvement on the other side of the object or matter. The third step is to see things or happenings as they truly are; not delusively are. Just see the things or happenings in direct perception - that is basically label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less or colour-less. In other words, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘- ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. For general understanding, enlightenment is not a far-fetched thing, achievable only by the privileged ones or the chosen ones or the qualified ones sitting in
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 187 ivory towers. Instead, it is such a profound realisation that is achievable by anyone that inculcates with the right attitude or determination. In a layman term, enlightenment means graduation and liberation. Every second, every minute, every hour, every day and night - we observe things, let things pass by, learn on something, let go something and finally realise on something. Somehow and somewhere, we have actually learned, graduated and liberated out of something without much attention on it. In other words, every one of us has actually tasted a ‘little’ awakening moment in one way or another. This will be a good or sweet motivation for one to elevate up spiritually and move forward until one is ready to fully liberate from the vicious cycle of samsāra. Remember - there is no mind, no memory, no becoming, no clinging, no desire, no ignorance, no happiness, no sadness, no changing in the eternal bliss of nibbāna. Meditate, meditate and meditate! Have boundless compassion and loving-kindness along the way. The principle in effect: - A stream of loving-kindness and compassion would conjure up empathy, A stream of empathy would conjure up boundless, A stream of boundless would conjure up voidness, A stream of voidness would conjure up stillness, A stream of stillness would conjure up peacefulness, A stream of peacefulness would conjure up enlightenment. Surely, it is not easy to make a complete paradigm shift in life from the conventional to the ultimate way of thinking or action overnight. At least, one should be honest in all thoughts or acts while striking a balance in life with a complete peace of mind. As again, you have a choice in life – just stay put with the notion you are comfortable with. Taste the food, not eat the menu – that is the true practice of Buddhism.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 188 Q29 Could there ever have been an absolute first cause? For a few reasons I don’t think so but please don’t take that to mean I am completely atheistic because that’s not the case. There could never have been nothing because there must always have been the potential for change. If there is potential, a process is unfolding. Even empty space is not a nothing because something is pulled out of space itself preventing absolute vaccum. When certain conditions come together a thing will arise or manifest...Cause and effect. No thing can predate its own potential to manifest...All effects need their causes. There must have always been conditions or there would be no causes...All causes are also effects. Manifestation is precisely potential and potential is precisely manifestation. Just a thought. The dependent nature is an inherent nature. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change. Within the dependent nature, there are cause and effect. Actually, cause and effect are two different aspects of the same thing. Cause is effect and effect is cause i.e. Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, etc. As such, cause and effect are inter-changing and inter-waving with one another in a complicated network of existence known as dependent nature. This is how the conventional reality works. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference. Therefore, within the dependent nature, no first cause and no first effect can be found. Nevertheless, if one insisted on the first cause in the dependent nature, then the answer should be dependent nature itself since it is also an inherent nature.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 189 Q30 How does nothingness become everything? Spirituality and more specifically, Buddhism emphasises on awaking from the dimension of mind and reaching nothingness with the promise that if one can reach this point they will realise eternal oneness and reach nibbāna. However since it is beyond the scope of mind how can one deal with this impossible mission? The answer lies in the understanding on the nature and its orientation by individuals. What is nature? Nature is originally referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. In other words, there are two aspects of the nature - the dependence and the inherence. These two aspects would exist concurrently and can be illustrated in a mathematical equation as below: - Two Facets of the Nature Facet 1 --> ...(-2+2) + (-16+16) + (-832+832) + (-133+133) + (0) + (-54+54) + ...., etc. = 0 <-- Facet 2 References: - Facet 1 = dependent arising. = the existence of mind - that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the existence of rising and falling phenomena. = the existence of beginning and ending processes. = all subjects and objects are created i.e. inherent existence is devoid.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 190 = the emptiness could be realised in various stages. Facet 2 = inherent existence. = the absence of mind to conjure up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the absence of beginning and ending processes. = the absence of conditional phenomena. = nothing has ever been created or changed. = the Buddha nature. Zero (0) = intermediation = absence = emptiness but not nothingness. = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration. ...(-2+2) + ... + (-133+133) ... = values of fluxes that are dependent arising. ... + (-2+2) + (-54+54) + ... = this arising, that arises. ... + (0) + ... = this ceasing, that ceases = a stage of enlightenment. = all dependent arising are completely blown-off or extinguished. = a stage of perfect intermediation = a stage of absence = a complete realisation of emptiness. (....) = the law of kamma = the universal law of balancing. -2+2 or -133+133 = the law of attraction. From the above mathematical equation, one could summarise the conclusions as below: - 1. Nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. It means that nature would orientate towards a state of balance, intermediation or absence at all times.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 191 2. When things run off-balance or when one stirs up in the nature - be it in volitional or non-volitional sense, the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. 3. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. 4. The dependent nature is similar to the inherent nature. Dependent Nature In the Buddhist contexts, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. When there is samsāra arising, dukkha would arise concurrently. And the meaning of dukkha or suffering would be to ‘bear with’ or ‘contemptible emptiness.’ Any circumstances that would involve one to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; to go through with would mean suffering. Within the dependent nature, there is mind arising that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. According to the Buddha, mind is the forerunner of all states. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature. The principle in effect: - When the mind arising, the dependent nature arises, When the mind ceasing, the dependent nature ceases. In other words, duality or multiplicity would arise in the presence of the mind. This is because there is a subject pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. The subject is mainly the mind. Phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses. In other words, phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is a mind arising,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 192 the phenomenon would arise. When there is a phenomenon arising, the dependent nature would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the dependent nature - just like shadow follows the body. This is what the conventional reality is all about. For general understanding, Buddhism advocates emptiness as a quality that exists everywhere in the dependent nature. Whereas, modern scientists acknowledge that energy is a quality that can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes. In other words, energy is everywhere as well because it has always been in existence within a system. Therefore, we could conclude that both the emptiness and energy are fundamental qualities because every single thing or happening would involve with the elements of emptiness and energy in the dependent nature. For general understanding, conditional phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for energy to exist; without it, the existence would be impossible. On another front, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. Now, how does something arise from nothing? Frankly speaking, something that arises as in object is not out of nothing. In the material Universe, there are plenty of existences or activities that cannot be discerned by our naked eyes. When we mention that the elements of emptiness and energy are everywhere in a system of dependent nature, it means that both of these qualities have fully occupied such a system. Therefore, we could conclude that something as in object would arise out of the elements of energy that exist in a system. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in different forms per se (as in Einstein’s formula, E = mc2). And since we are unable to discern the elements of energy with our naked eyes, we would name it as empty instead of nothing. Then, what is the first cause for the start of the material Universe? Frankly speaking, the ultimate first cause for anything or everything is the nature. Without the nature, nothing would ever exist – no things or happenings would arise. Now, how does the material Universe begin? For general understanding, dependent phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for the material Universe to exist; without it, the material Universe would be impossible. Dependent
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 193 phenomenon is also known as a conditional phenomenon – that consists of two terms i.e. balance and imbalance. Under a balance phenomenon, aggregating activities would arise and one could witness multiple shapes or forms arise. Under an imbalance phenomenon, segregation would arise and one could see no shapes or forms arise. The cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly depicting the rising and the falling activities in continuum. Therefore, the material Universe would start with the dependent phenomenon that in turn conjures up the elements of energy. Since the dawn of time, the elements of energy have been in existence within the system of dependent nature (inherent existence). Under a balance phenomenon, the elements of energy would turn into the elements of matter through the activity of aggregation and under an imbalance phenomenon, the elements of matter would turn into the elements of energy through the activity of segregation (dependent arising). In other words, the material Universe is merely a momentary appearance conjured up from the orientation of the elements of energy and matter in space under the influence of conditional phenomena in continuum. Just like ice, water and steam are different appearances deriving from the orientation of H2O properties under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, it is the orientation of H2O properties that has taken place to conjure up the momentary outcome of it. In the nature, there would be multiple of material Universes existing under the influence of conditional phenomena. The material Universe in itself is never stagnant; instead it is very much alive – continuously contracting and expanding (in extrapolating manner). As a conclusion, the earliest existence since the dawn of time would be the first cause in the dependent nature and the answer is dependent nature itself. Inherent Nature What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non-dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 194 Within the non-dependent nature, there would be absence of mind arising. And with no mind arising, no circumstance of duality or multiplicity would arise. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In the absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. In other words, an ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. So when we talk about Buddhism, it is all about transforming an ignorant state of mind into a realised one – a process of enlightenment. To begin with, one would need to set in a right mentality or determination. One has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened. Have boundless compassion and loving kindness along the way. This would be an everlasting remedy to the rising of dukkha that was recommended by the wise Buddha. A fully awakened state of mind does not require labeling, colouring, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. All subjects and objects are in completely
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 195 neutralised state of affairs - when this arising, that arises; when this ceasing, that ceases. Q31 Is space conscious? In the dependent nature, there would be elements of energy, matter, space and time. Thus, there are activities of rising and falling in continuum i.e. the beginning and ending processes. Space is merely a place for the arising of activities in the nature and activities are mainly comprised with the stream of consciousness. In other words, without consciousness, there can be no space and vice versa. Both the space and consciousness are inter-depending, inter- relating and inter-waving with each other – this is how the conventional reality works. Q32 I’m so confused...what connects us all, what is ‘passed’ kammically from one life to the next, if not the essence of an eternal cosmic force? I believe the Universe and everything within it is subject to change, yes, but I don’t believe its existence came out of non-existence. Our kamma influences our future lives, but how can this be so if the self does not exist, and nothing of a past self remains? Your thoughts, Dhamma brothers and sisters? The self refers to one’s individuality. Buddhism teaches non-self instead of no-self. Non-self means the non-ownership of self. Buddhism merely sees in the non-existence of a ‘fixed’ self. This is what the principle of emptiness is all about. Nothing remains unchanging on any given moment. Just like the saying goes, ‘Now you see it, not you don’t.’ Also, no two minds are the same. Your past mind is not the same as your present mind and your present mind is not the same as your future mind. The flux of your mind continues on beyond the grave but there is no transmigration of your mind happening.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 196 Q33 How come there is no transmigration? Of course, you can say that mind does not transmigrate but when we perceive with our mind to be this body, ‘I am’, we could say that the mind has transmigrated into this body, and if we are in this delusion when we die, it will happen again. Well, Buddhism rejects the term ‘transmigration’ or ‘reincarnation’ altogether, but why? Literally, ‘trans-’is a prefix meaning through or across. And transmigration denotes the movement or conveyance from place to place. If we mention that a soul would transmigrate from a body to another new body, it means the same ‘unchanging’ soul does the movement or conveyance throughout the time stream (past, present and future). However, in the conventional reality, no ‘unchanging’ soul would transmigrate from one body to another and on this pretext, Buddhism upholds the term ‘rebirth’ or ‘re-arising.’ The Buddha sees in no transmigration of all things or matters but instead, in the constant and continuous transformation of all things or matters via the process of permeation (diffusion). Just like the orientation of energy in the cosmos i.e. energy would only transform - to transform is to change, to change is to become, and to become is to reborn. So energy is ever ‘reborn’ all the time in the dependent nature. By understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation. In the case of rebirth, an individual soul does not migrate from a physical body into another one. No, it just won’t fit at all. Every individual or thing that exists would not be the same - it could only be in a similar condition e.g. twins are similar but never the same individuals (likewise, no two minds are the same). Every individual is unique respectively and no individuals would be the same even though they do share some sort of the same genes before time. For example, you may have heard in various stories whereby a spirit or ghost has the ability to possess into the body of an individual but it never absolutely overtakes the soul of the possessed individual. This is because one cannot simply exchange the soul at one’s whim and fancy. Even individuals with the most powerful magic charm could not perform this feat. Another example will be the human organ transplant cases, whereby the new recipients need to take immunosuppressive drugs to treat any transplant rejections – live long.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 197 In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person (upon death) and the new consciousness arising in the same person (in the new person) is neither identical to, nor entirely different from, the old consciousness, but forms part of a causal continuum or stream with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases. For example, a flame is transferred from one candle to another, or a fire spreads from one field to another. In the same way that it depends on the original fire, there is a conditioned relationship between one life and the next; they are not identical but neither are they completely distinct. And it is possible for rebirth to take place from a single source into different identities at any various point of time, just like how the genetic lineage works for generations. This is how we explain the destiny of being siblings, being life partners, being close friends in one’s lifetime. Somehow or somewhere before time, the so-called relevant individuals are inherited from the similar sources of predecessor. Thus in the present lifetime one has the opportunity to meet and know with the relevant beings and not the other non-relevant beings (as per the law of attraction). Ultimately, it is the wonder of nature that every created object or thing is neither identical to, nor entirely different from each other. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter- woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. At the end of the day, the inter- connectedness of all things in the nature is what the principle of emptiness is all about - as per the teachings of the Buddha. Q34 The Self doesn’t refer to individuality or personality. There are different words in Pali and Sanskrit for those terms. The Self described in Buddhism can be found in the Nirvana Sutta – Chapter 3. Perhaps, you need to notice that the ‘self’ and the ‘Self’ denote a different meaning all together.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 198 Q35 Could someone please explain to me, in clear simple words, the Naharjuna/Madhyamaka meaning of emptiness and the two truths? Emptiness is a universal quality and it is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. Upon in-depth analysis, we could discover that emptiness corresponds to two distinct scenarios: 1. It corresponds to the inherent existence (due to unchanging nature) that all conventional phenomena lack. It means that if we focus purely on seeing emptiness, it cannot be segmented or dissected further to see the real origin. Emptiness exists in the way it appears in direct perception and does not constitute some false appearances concealing a lack of inherent existence. Therefore, it has an unchanging nature that all conventional phenomena lack. This conclusion is made from the ultimate perspective - seeing into the within of the within. 2. It corresponds to the dependent arising (a conditional phenomenon) i.e. subject to the same lack of inherent existence as every other object or phenomenon. This is referred to as the emptiness of emptiness. It means that emptiness would not exist without a dependent partner. If there were no objects to analyse, then emptiness as such could not be realised. Without objects, there can be no emptiness - a circumstance that points to emptiness of emptiness. This conclusion is made from the conventional perspective - seeing as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. In addition, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. Emptiness of phenomena exists in the way it appears in direct perception and without the need to reference of any other entity. It is completely defined by its own nature. In other words, emptiness of phenomena is an inherent existence that is uncaused. It is indestructible and eternal. It is unchanging when viewed externally and cannot undergo any internal changes of state. It has no constituent parts and nothing
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 199 can be thrown out or removed from it. Nothing can be added to it and no change in the external conditions can affect it. As a summary, we could see that emptiness exists in all conditional phenomena. Without emptiness, the potential movement of the mind from non- enlightenment towards a state of enlightenment would not be possible – that is to say if the mind itself existed inherently. The emptiness of inherent existence of the mind is called the Buddha nature. Q36 Do we choose our lives/parents? How is kamma involved? In Buddhism, kamma refers to volitional action. And how does the volitional action arise? Let’s refer to the following cycle of dependent origination: - Balance  stability  aggregation  agitation  information  knowledge  representation  memory  compulsion  ignorance  blindness  disorientation  confusion  irrationality  impulse  sparkling  inkling  volition  awareness  consciousness  manas  mind and body, etc. Volitional action would set forth some kind of tracks or directions to the becoming processes. This means no input, no output – this arising, that arises; this ceasing, that ceases. Q37 Do you think that the river of awareness that permeates everything has substance? Is it purely consciousness/modes of mind/energy? I don’t think we can conceive of it with our limited perceptions, but isn’t mind-stream ultimately synonymous with what we Buddhists call anatta? Isn’t the selflessness in and of itself a form of being? I know that I’m getting attached to the labels and the forms, but I do understand there is equilibrium of existence and non existence to all of it, just to clarify. The mind is dependent arising and anything that is dependent arising is lacking of the core substance i.e. the state of emptiness. There is another label for
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 200 the mind i.e. the consciousness of individuality that is born from awareness. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. And consciousness is actually synergy and it is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness – thus the arising of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses. Right now, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist. The fact is that things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. In other words, the arising of the mind would conjure up the circumstances of duality or multiplicity. Therefore, the mind is the key source for all the perceptions, conceptions, delusions, imaginations, etc. This means in the absence of the mind, there would be no state of ignorance and suffering. Q38 I don’t think reincarnation works, theologically speaking. A thousand years ago the world’s population was 500 million – pretty much the same for the previous 5,000 years. Today, we are pushing 7 billions – explain where all of these humans came from? Must have been some very well behaved dogs, cows, fish, flies and so forth – all of whom achieved a higher level rather quickly. I mean in 1900 we only had a tad under 1.5 million humans. Buddhism speaks of 31 planes of existence. These 31 planes are divided into three types of worlds: - 1. Kāma-loka or kāmabhava (the sensuous world) – 11 planes a. Kāmaduggati Bhūmi - Four states of deprivation (apāya) : Niraya (Hell), Tiracchana Yoni (Animals), Peta Loka (Hungry ghosts) and Asura (Demons). b. Kāmasugati Bhūmi - Manussa Loka (Human beings) and Cātumahārājika Heaven, Tāvatimsa Heaven, Yāma Heaven, Tusita Heaven, Nimmānarati Heaven and Paranimmita-vasavatti Heaven (six other planes of heavenly gods).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 201 2. Rūpa-loka or rūpabhava (the world of form/fine material world) – 16 planes The different planes of devas: - a. Pārisajja Brahma – Retinue/Servants of Mahā Brahma. b. Purohita Brahma – Ministers/Advisors of Mahā Brahma. c. Mahā Brahma – Great Brahmas. d. Parittābha Deva – Devas of Limited Radiance. e. Appamāņābha Deva – Devas of Unbounded Radiance. f. Ābhassara Deva – Devas of Streaming Radiance. g. Parittāsubha Deva – Devas of Limited Glory. h. Appamāņāsubha Deva – Devas of Unbounded Glory. i. Subhakiņņa Deva – Devas of Radiant Glory. j. Vehappala Deva – Very Fruitful Devas. k. Asaňňa Sattā – Mindless beings. l. Aviha Deva – Devas not Falling Away. m. Atappa Deva – Untroubled Devas. n. Sudassa Deva – Beautiful Devas. o. Sudassi Deva – Clear-sighted Devas. p. Akanitta Deva – Peerless Devas. 3. Arūpa-loka or arūpabhava (the formless world/immaterial world) – 4 planes The pure abodes of four realms (the purest of the 31 planes of existence): - a. Ākāsānaňcāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Infinite Space. b. Viňňaņaňcāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Infinite Consciousness. c. Ākiňcaňňāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Nothingness. d. Nevasaňňānāsaňňāyatanupaga Deva – Sphere of Neither - perception nor non-perception. In Buddhism, human realm is merely one of the above-mentioned 31 planes of existence and these different planes would exist only with the mind arising. For instance, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence waiting for exclusive memberships. Instead, it is the so-called member that has made up the chance for the heaven or hell plane to arise. Just like inhabitant is a necessary prerequisite for any villages to exist; without it, the village would be impossible. Therefore, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence to be found ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’ yearning for the so-called rightful elements. The fate in one’s
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 202 subsequent life is very much dependent on the characteristics of one’s subtle mind consciousness i.e. it is the architect for the 31 planes of existence. Mould it well at all times and if possible, one should achieve enlightenment to eradicate the suffering of it. And finally, one could notice that nibbāna does not belong to any of the 31 planes of existence. In an ultimate sense, nibbāna does not exist at all. This is because there is non-existence of the mind to provide with the descriptions, perceptions, names, shapes, etc. within the state of nibbāna. Nibbāna is a non- dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the 31 planes of existence that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. Q39 Sorry, I always get this way with Buddhism articles. Sorta blank stare. Basically, you’re saying it’s not a transmigration of souls, because circumstances in life change who we are? Like my girlfriend in one life could be a military guy in (his) former life, then have to stay home in this one? Or am I reading this wrong? No, you are right. Buddhism basically touches on the scenario of cause and condition more than the case of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, all phenomenal existences are products of the proper combination of causes and conditions. Each of the causes would need other causes to be present together with their respective conditions. Just like for a new house to exist (as the result), we need bricks, cement, wood, iron rods, roof tiles, plastic pipes and other materials. The construction can only be completed when one has all the essential materials (as the causes) and all the prerequisites are met (as the conditions), such as the skillfulness of the workers, the time allocation, etc. The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, etc. The workers need their parents, their meals, their clothing, their shelters, etc. If we were to observe these scenarios in its entirety, we could realise that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of the new house; without it, the new house would be impossible. The clear fact here is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 203 The principle-in-effect: - Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, .., etc. Therefore, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing. The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event. In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in interdependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature. Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters. e human realm is merely one of the recognised 31 planes of existence and these different planes would exist only with the mind arising. For instance, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence waiting for any exclusive memberships. Instead, it is the so-called member that has made up the chance for the heaven or hell plane to arise. Just like inhabitant is a necessary prerequisite for any villages to exist; without it, the village would be impossible. Therefore, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence to be found ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’ yearning for the so-called rightful elements. For instance, it is correct to say that good begets good, evil begets evil. When one pays to live a hell-like condition in the present lifetime, one would be repaid in the next phase of existence as in hell plane. Just as sow apple seeds, reap apple fruits; sow orange seeds, reap orange fruits or Action 1 conjures up Reaction 1; Action 2 conjures up Reaction 2. The elements of subtle consciousness would retain the so-called ‘hellish’ information that would carry on and surpassing the demise period of time. The ‘hellish’ retention could only be weakened through conscientious goodwill prayers or persuasions being performed by third parties (transference of merit).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 204 Once again, the fate in one’s subsequent life is very much dependent on the characteristics of one’s subtle mind consciousness i.e. it is the architect for the 31 planes of existence. Therefore, please be mindful on the nature of circumstances that you are exposed to or associated with during your lifetime. And if possible, it is beneficial to create a heaven-like ambience at all times; more importantly during the closing chapter of your present lifetime. This is because where you would end up to in the next phase of existence is very much dependent on the retained information in your subtle conscious mind. Mould it well at all times and if possible, one should achieve enlightenment to eradicate the suffering of it. The principle-in-effect: - This arising (the cause and condition), that arises (the result); This ceasing (the cause and condition), that ceases (the result). Q40 I read that all five aggregates (form, feelings, perception, mental formations, and consciousness) are annihilated upon attaining nibbāna. If consciousness is annihilated, isn't that basically the same as death, since there is no awareness of anything? I'm also confused because I have seen nibbāna described as ultimate happiness, but how can there be happiness if there is no perception or consciousness? The ultimate goal in the Buddhist practice is to quest for an everlasting happiness that is unconditional via enlightenment. For general understanding, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs that is boundless, timeless and permanent. The wise Buddha has merely seen the urgency to put a complete end to dukkha that arises in samsāra - right here, right now. All other matters are considered as trivial if compared with the reality of dukkha arising in the samsāra. And the only way to end the dukkha permanently is to get through to the state of nibbāna via enlightenment. All other states of paradise or heavenly realms could promise one with merely conventional happiness that is conditional and impermanent. So the choice in the way of life is yours ultimately – to pursue an ultimate happiness that is non-conditional and permanent or a conventional happiness that is conditional and impermanent.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 205 However, nibbāna does not exist at all in an ultimate sense, but why? This is because there is non-existence of the mind to provide with the descriptions, perceptions, names, shapes, etc. within the state of nibbāna. Generally, there is another label for the mind i.e. the consciousness of individuality that is born from awareness. And consciousness is actually synergy and it is a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness – thus the arising of prevailing and subtle consciousnesses. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. Thus the delusion of self entity arises among the sentient beings in the dependent nature. In addition, mind is dependent arising but nibbāna is a non-dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the conventional phenomenon that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. In the dependent nature or samsāra, there is an element of suffering or dukkha. Suffering means ‘bearing with’ in the Buddhist context and ‘letting go’ is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises letting go. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got ‘frozen.’ Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means no mind. Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 206 Q41 Energy - is it a form of consciousness? Consciousness is not just energy but synergy. Within the cosmos, energy is a fundamental element because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. Energy denotes the ability to change or become and all things or happenings that exist are dependent on one another via the various orientation or transformation of energy. For instance, we know that humans and things cause pleasure and pain, and that they can help and harm. Therefore, phenomena certainly do exist but the question is how? They do not exist in their own quality but only have an existence dependent upon many factors, including a consciousness that conceptualises them. But how does consciousness derive? Consciousness is actually the end result of several natural activities of energy taken place in the dependent nature. Let’s refer to the following linkage of dependent origination: - Balance leads to stability, stability leads to aggregation, aggregation leads to agitation, agitation leads to information, information leads to knowledge, knowledge leads to representation, representation leads to memory, memory leads to compulsion, compulsion leads to ignorance, ignorance leads to blindness, blindness leads to disorientation, disorientation leads to confusion, confusion leads to irrationality, irrationality leads to impulse, impulse leads to sparkling, sparkling leads to inkling, inkling leads to volition, volition leads to awareness, awareness leads to consciousness, consciousness leads to mind and body, etc. From the above illustration, one could notice that awareness is a ground condition that ‘supports’ consciousness. The nature of awareness is effulgence and it is in a not-knowing state before the appearance of object. Consciousness, on the other hand, is appearance of objects in the mind. When awareness touches on objects, consciousness would arise simultaneously. Therefore, consciousness is synergy that arises through the several activities of energy taken place beforehand. Synergy means energy that expands through cooperation and it becomes a key to the geometric expansion of consciousness and thus the arising of its two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Consciousness is naturally looking outward to objects and it is flitting all the time.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 207 On the other hand, mind is a pattern of consciousness which is born from awareness. In fact, mind is known as consciousness in individuality. Therefore, the origin of individuality is the same as the origin of the mind. Mind is something more objective and involves clear discrimination – differentiates and understands the characteristics of objects. One utilises mind to understand things because mind understands the manipulation of consciousness. Q42 Could you provide an example or two of the distinction you wish to make. An example or two of a proposition that intends to be a relative truth and an example or two of a proposition that intends to be an absolute truth? The two sides of truth can also be known as the two sides of the same coin. Frankly speaking, one should see in all angles of things or matters while searching for the truth. Without it, any conclusions made out of one’s observation would not be balance or in a wholesome (thorough) nature. Any investigations must commence based on unbiased grounds i.e. on neutral and upright positions. In other words, one needs to investigate the problem from various angles, analyse the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion. For general understanding, every subject matter can be viewed in two different ways. Literally, it means all things or matters are very closely related although they seem different. For example, one could declare a glass of water is half full and at the same time half empty – for both are referring to the same end result. Now, let us analyse further into the conventional and the ultimate truths as below: - Conventional Truth Conventional truth is a subjective and a relative truth. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. Duality or multiplicity would arise in the presence of the mind. This is because there is a subject pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. The subject is mainly the mind. Phenomenon is thing that
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 208 appears to or is perceived by senses. In other words, phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is a mind arising, the phenomenon would arise. When there is a phenomenon arising, the dependent nature would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the dependent nature - just like shadow follows the body. This is what the conventional reality is all about. The Perceiver and the Perceived Mind is the forerunner of all states. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. Naturally, we do know things and happenings exist because it can be known and felt by our senses. And our minds interpret event or happening as a condition that one has to go through, to persevere with, to soldier on with, to carry on with or to undertake with, inevitably. In other words, what exists is defined as that which can be known. If it cannot be known by the mind, then it does not exist and conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. Since things and happenings existed long before we have the slightest opportunity to recognise and understand it well, we are bound to suffer ignorantly. However, as human beings, we have the wisdom to make recognition on the entire cycle of events or happenings. In the dependent nature, the mind is also known as the perceiver, whereas, the object or matter is known as the perceived. And everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. Let us analyse into the following illustration: - 50 years ago Present Day Perceiver Perceived Perceiver Perceived A  B A  B (E.g. boy - David Smith) (E.g. toy - Ultraman) (E.g. man – David Smith) (E.g. toy – Ultraman)
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 209 Remark : As a young boy, Mr. David Smith has a yearning for an Ultraman toy. But 50 years later, Mr. David Smith has grown up to become a matured adult and no longer yearns for the Ultraman toy. In other words, the Ultraman toy can be a valuable object and at the same time, a piece of junk. At the end of the day, it all depends on the perception of Mr. David Smith (the beholder). Case Study 1 Right now, let us study into the elements of energy. As scientists have discovered, energy can neither be created nor be destroyed and it is ever transforming and changing in continuum. But the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes. So is energy a variable or a constant element? Paradoxically, energy corresponds well to both of these elements. As mentioned earlier, every subject matter can be viewed in two different ways and each way is very closely related with one another although they seem different. Therefore, energy is a constant element on one perspective and concurrently, it is a variable element on another perspective. By understanding well and observing thoroughly into the characteristics of energy, one could gain insight into the nature and its orientation. Case Study 2 Let’s take a look at another example. On one hand, the nature would bear with the conditions of beginning and ending and on the other hand, it would bear with the conditions of beginning-less and end-less. In other words, the nature is a system that is universal i.e. it is inherent existing and dependent arising concurrently. In the dependent nature, we do know one thing that is consistently constant i.e. becoming. This becoming process is the main reason for all the things or happenings that we observe right here, right now, then or later. When there is a becoming process, there is a changing process. When there is a changing process, there is a circumstance that shapes up some sort of abilities in this dependent nature - that is also known as ‘energy.’ As such, we are clear now that energy is something that has always been in existence and remaining as constant - as per the Law of Conservation of Energy that says energy in a
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 210 system can neither be created nor destroyed and the sum of all energies is a constant or never changes. When we deal with the subject of energy, indirectly we also touch on the subject of matter. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing - both reflected in different forms only (as in Einstein's formula, E = mc2). Just like cause and effect are the same things - both reflected in a different time of events. As a summary, we could conclude that energy is a fundamental element in this dependent nature because every single thing or happening would involve with it, without exception. Even the so-called souls, spirits, ghosts - are all part of the elements of energy because they can be detected by electromagnetic devices. So when we mention that the sum of all energies in a system is a constant or never changes, it means that there is a need for a balancing act in the dependent nature. Otherwise, a constant factor could not be achieved at all and the natural bounding law that dictates this circumstance of equilibrium in the dependent nature is called the law of kamma. In other words, the law of kamma is simply a natural bounding law of balancing. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a process of formation i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness shapes or forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could witness no shapes or forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues repeatedly. Ultimate Truth Right now, let us take a look at another angle of the nature that is the non- dependent nature. What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non- dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it. So how could we identify the ultimate truth in the nature? Rightfully, we could mention that the nature is ultimately universal and encompassed with both the inherent and the dependent qualities. The inherent quality of nature can be
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 211 known as the deepest fact about things. It exists beyond mind, beyond concepts and words and it bears with the characteristics of beginning-less and end-less. Generally, nature is referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. In other words, there are two aspects of the nature - the dependence and the inherence. These two aspects would exist concurrently and can be illustrated in a mathematical equation as below: - Two Facets of the Nature Facet 1 --> ...(-2+2) + (-16+16) + (-832+832) + (-133+133) + (0) + (-54+54) + ...., etc. = 0 <-- Facet 2 References: - Facet 1 = dependent arising. = the existence of mind - that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the existence of rising and falling phenomena. = the existence of beginning and ending processes. = all subjects and objects are created i.e. inherent existence is devoid. Facet 2 = inherent existence. = the absence of mind to conjure up perceptions, conceptions, labels, names, descriptions, shapes, values, languages, etc. = the absence of beginning and ending processes.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 212 = the absence of conditional phenomena. = nothing has ever been created or changed. Zero (0) = intermediation = absence = emptiness but not nothingness. = a mathematical value intermediate between positive and negative values. = the absence of any or all units under consideration. ...(-2+2) + ... + (-133+133) ... = values of fluxes that are dependent arising. ... + (-2+2) + (-54+54) + ... = this arising, that arises. ... + (0) + ... = this ceasing, that ceases = a stage of enlightenment. = all dependent arising are completely blown-off or extinguished. = a stage of perfect intermediation = a stage of absence = a complete realisation of emptiness. (....) = the law of kamma = the universal law of balancing. -2+2 or -133+133 = the law of attraction. Remark : Nature is a system of constant with a factor of intermediation or absence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. As a conclusion, we shall know by now that all subject matters can be viewed in two different ways. The truth (be it conventional or ultimate) would remain unshaken no matter how one interprets it and one should not waste time trying to prove who is right, who is wrong, which school teaches more truths, etc. Trivial arguments would make one looks more foolish among all the other ignorant beings. At the end of the day, one should contemplate the principle of ‘two sides of the same coin’ at all times in order to understand the truth thoroughly.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 213 Q43 Incidentally, have scientists discovered what inertia is? For example, why doesn't a bowling ball stop dead when it leaves our hand? We know it rolls onward because of the inertia in it, but what IS inertia? Is inertia some kind of energy in the ball? Inertia generally refers to an object’s amount of resistance to change in velocity. Everything or anything (physical or non-physical) that exists is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but a mere element of vibration. The basic level of a matter is energy. The basic level of energy is vibration. Therefore, matter is a vibrating mass of energy in which the different frequency of vibration would determine the shape and the size of it. According to the Chinese philosophy, everything has both the yin and yang aspects. Yin and yang are actually complementary but opposing forces interacting to form a whole greater than either separate part; thus bringing forth a dynamic system existing in harmony. In other words, when there are opposing forces, there would be vibration. The alternate movement of the opposing forces would generate a pattern of waves oscillating up and down in continuum. This is the main reason for all the repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that one could witness in the dependent nature. Every existence (sentient, non-sentient, or any material things) consists of energy and matter that would orientate towards a balance condition and in accordance with the equilibrium law of nature. In other words, all things would only exist in perpetual conditions when there is a balance circumstance. Balance is generally defined as a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equal distribution of weight, amount, etc; a condition of being steady; a state of equilibrium or parity characterised by cancellation of all forces by equal opposing forces; a harmonious or satisfying arrangement or proportion of parts or elements, as in a design. Thus when things run off-balance or when one stirs up in any circumstances the natural law would take its course to balance it in one way or another across time and the plane of existence. This natural law is also known as the law of balancing - a natural phenomenon law that is not shaped by someone
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 214 else; no one owns it. It is merely a law of balancing for all things in order to attain the circumstance of equilibrium in the nature. Q44 I’ve read many Chinese books on Buddhism and a lot of them suggested that many of us who suffer a lot in this life or die young from accidents or illness was due to the bad stuff we did in our previous life. I really have trouble with that idea. Does it mean people who died of cancer in their 20s or 30s 40s 50s or worse, death of babies and children are due to their own faults in their previous life? In Buddhism, kamma is described as volitional action and vipaka refers to the end result of any particular volitional actions. Generally speaking, volition is referred to an act of making a choice or decision. In other words, it is the act of making a ‘conscious’ choice or decision. Therefore, we need to investigate into the state of mind while understanding into the kamma-vipaka because mind is the forerunner of all states. Literally, the mind is comprised with two terms i.e. prevailing consciousness and subtle consciousness. Both the prevailing and subtle mind consciousnesses would arise in the sentient beings but for other things, merely subtle mind consciousness would arise. The role of prevailing conscious mind is like mind-in-command i.e. the mind that can lead, take charge, concentrate, make decision and convey action. However, subtle conscious mind is like herd of wild horses - roaming in discrete directions and needed domestication. This means the prevailing mind consciousness would act as a guarding chain to the wild and monkey-like subtle mind consciousness. Therefore, the focal point of kamma in accordance with Buddhism is the volitional thought or action and it would arise concurrently with the existence of prevailing mind consciousness. This means in the absence of prevailing mind consciousness, the term ‘volition’ would cease to exist. As such, the prevailing mind consciousness is a prerequisite for the process of kamma- vipaka. Any thoughts or actions that require the utilisation of prevailing mind consciousness would subject to the law of kamma-vipaka as per Buddhism. This is because volitional human thought or action would generate the most potent vibration that penetrate all time, space and subsequently attracts what is desired or wished for. Just like the swelling of big waves with the enormous waves of energy would require longer time to fritter away and generate a visible
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 215 and long-lasting implication to the surroundings. In other words, all sentient beings are electro-magnetic beings with the prevailing mind consciousness that generates potent kamma and the subtle mind consciousness that acts as an antenna or a radar detector constantly attracting and magnetising other similar vibrational frequencies (discernible vipaka) within the cosmos. On the same front, Buddhism basically touches on the scenario of cause and condition more than the case of cause and effect. Frankly speaking, all phenomenal existences are products of the proper combination of causes and conditions. For example, according to the philosophy of yin-yang, our bodies are made up of the combination of four great elements of earth, water, fire and wind and if any of these elements are not in a harmonious orientation, we would be taken ill physically. These four elements would represent the causes and the conditions would be the need for it to orientate with one another harmoniously at all times or otherwise, our bodies would fall sick as the result. The principle-in-effect: - This arising (the cause and condition), that arises (the result); This ceasing (the cause and condition), that ceases (the result). In other words, everything that exists is the result of multiple causes and conditions. Each of the causes would need other causes to be present together with their respective conditions. Just like for a new house to exist, we need the bricks, cement, wood, iron rods, roof tiles, plastic pipes and other materials. The construction can only be completed when one has all the essential materials and all the prerequisites are met, such as the skillfulness of the workers, the time allocation, etc. The wood needs the forest, the sunshine, the rain, etc. The workers need their parents, their meals, their clothing, their shelters, etc. If we were to observe these scenarios in its entirety, we could realise that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of the new house; without it, the new house would be impossible. The clear fact here is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. A cause must, at the same time, be an effect, and every effect must also be the cause of something else.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 216 The principle-in-effect: - Cause 1 conjures up Effect 1, Effect 1 conjures up Cause 1-1, Cause 1-1 conjures up Effect 1-1, Effect 1-1 conjures up Cause 1-1-1, .., etc. Therefore, cause and effect are simply two aspects of the same thing. The only difference between these two aspects is the time of event. In other words, cause and effect are inter-changing, inter-relating and inter-waving with one another. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In other words, cause and effect cannot be referred independently in a linear point of reference and therefore, no first cause, no first effect can be found within the dependent nature. Instead, there is only inter-dependent co-arising of all things or matters. This means everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence i.e. every existence is empty and emptiness is in every existence. As a conclusion, when we talk about the law of action, we talk about the law of reaction. This scenario is basically due to the elements of attraction existing in the cosmos and the universal law of attraction states that we attract what we are sending out i.e. like attracts like, unlike repels unlike. Hence, favourable energies attract favourable energies and unfavourable energies attract unfavourable energies. In Buddhism, the initiation of new kamma (volitional thought or action) arises mostly in the human realm if compared with the other higher or lower realms of existence. This is because all the realms of existence with the exception of human realm are merely reaping the end result of the preceding kamma. The main reason is that humans are just one type of sentient beings with both the prevailing and subtle conscious mind stream. This means human realm is a plane of transition whereby it is a centric plane for the process of kamma-vipaka with the faculty of choosing or resolving.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 217 As such, one should be grateful for the destiny of being reborn as a human and live it well with all the meaningful purposes. The ultimate purpose of human beings is to attain the opportunity to learn to live wholesomely. It is regardless whether one would live a good life, a luxurious life, a poor life or a pathetic life. By being alive as humans, we have all the liberties or choices of pathway to begin with. Therefore, it is crucial for one to live a life wholesomely at all times – at least there would not be a regret factor arises in one’s life later. Living wholesomely would mean living a healthy life with exploration and enjoyment to the fullest extent with wisdom and not with ignorance. Q45 So is Buddhahood the cause of ignorance demise? Or is ignorance the cause of Buddhahood unmanifest? Is emptiness form or form emptiness? Good thought so. It’s basically the two sides of the same coin or duality versus non-duality. Q46 So, do you think that someone who is born physically disabled or with Down syndrome has anything to do with their past kamma? The essence of emptiness is that one cause is never enough to bring about an effect. All things are neither identical to, nor entirely different from one another. The circumstances of duality or multiplicity are merely the end result of various activities of aggregation being observed by the mind under the influence of multiple causes and conditions. In other words, we could say our present condition is being influenced by our preceding kamma but it should not be taken in as a single or direct source. We shall realize that everything in the cosmos attributed to the existence of our kamma-vipaka; without it, our kamma-vipaka would be impossible.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 218 Q47 What do you do with your thoughts and emotions during meditation? What do you envision or imagine? What image or scene is in your mind? I’ve heard and found things about the physical process but how would you describe the mental and emotional in details? Before going into a deep state of meditation, it is always good to unwind the engrossed mind by chanting: - What is thought? ...is not be, what is pain? ...is not be, what is emotion? ...is not be, what is upsetting? ...is not be, what is pleasing? ...is not be, what is rising? ...is not be, what is falling? ...is not be, what is feeling? ...is not be, what is smelling? ...is not be, what is hearing? ...is not be, what is touching? ...is not be, what is consciousness? ...is not be, what is sensation? ...is not be, etc. Over the next few moments, the mind would be framed to focus purely on the chant of letting go and nothing else. This is called the state of one- pointedness (full concentration). When the mind is set into a full mode of letting go, the state of mental liberation (mindfulness) would conquest. Thereafter, the ambience of serenity sets in and the mind is subsequently put at ease with equanimity and would be fully withdrawn from the external distractions. This is called the state of blissfulness that one could experience during meditation.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 219 Q48 I have been contemplating this question for a little while now. My wife's Gran (who sadly passed last year at the ripe old age of 96) used to say when she was about 90-ish, ‘I still feel like I did when I was 20!’ That got me thinking: All material phenomena arise (or are born), age (quickly or slowly) then die. But does the mind? Is this some kind of proof that the mind carries on after death? It would be interesting to hear the perspective of others. Basically, there are two types of mind in existence. The first type is conscious mind and the second type is subtle conscious mind. The conscious mind is linked directly with our physical body or specifically, our brain. Therefore, it would age alongside with the physical body. In other words, without a physical body, there is no chance for the conscious mind to arise. On the other hand, the subtle conscious mind is somehow independent from the physical body and can exist beyond the demise of the physical body. Just like energy, it can neither be created nor destroyed but would carry on to transform at all times into different forms based on the influencing conditions. Therefore, the subtle conscious mind would remain not as a scale unit but would diffuse into other new forms or conditions based on the principle of kamma-vipaka. Q49 I believe you are confusing the subtle body as commonly understood in Buddhist philosophy (and as you describe as the subtle conscious mind) with the physical or material body which is the projection of our self that appears to everyone else who interacts with it. My view is that they are actually interdependent, which I know contradicts your statement. The reason for me stating my view is that by you stating 'the subtle conscious mind' is independent of the physical body is raising the spectre that there is a 'soul' or 'something esoterically spiritual' that goes beyond the human incarnation. This is not IMHO a Buddhist perspective. I am happy to be corrected. Thanks for your further comments. I suppose 'somehow' independence is not the same as 'absolute' independence. Yes, it is understood that all things that exist in the cosmos are inter-relating, inter-depending and inter-waving with one another. The principle of emptiness denounces any absolute discrete orientation of created things.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 220 Simply, mind and body arising are analogous to the origination of fire. From an article pulled out from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the origin of fire is described as follows: - ‘Fires start when a flammable and/or a combustible material, in combination with a sufficient quantity of an oxidizer such as oxygen gas or another oxygen- rich compound (though non-oxygen oxidizers exist that can replace oxygen), is exposed to a source of heat or ambient temperature above the flash point for the fuel/oxidizer mix, and is able to sustain a rate of rapid oxidation that produces a chain reaction. This is commonly called the fire tetrahedron. Fire cannot exist without all of these elements in place and in the right proportions. For example, a flammable liquid will start burning only if the fuel and oxygen are in the right proportions. Some fuel-oxygen mixes may require a catalyst, a substance that is not directly involved in any chemical reaction during combustion, but which enables the reactants to combust more readily. Once ignited, a chain reaction must take place whereby fires can sustain their own heat by the further release of heat energy in the process of combustion and may propagate, provided there is a continuous supply of an oxidizer and fuel.’ The mentioned comparison can be depicted as below: - Combustion  Sparkling process Fire  Sentient being Flame  Prevailing mind consciousness Fuel/combustible material  Sentient body Oxidiser  Oxygen intake Heat  Subtle mind consciousness Chain reaction  Electrochemical impulse/transmission Catalyst  ‘Free-flow’ subtle mind consciousness The principle in effect: When the flame is blown off, the chain reaction stops and the fire would be vanished. However, the ambient temperature (heat) remains temporarily but below the flash point for fuel/oxidiser mix and waiting for all the right elements in place and on the right proportions. Likewise, when a sentient being has passed on, the prevailing mind consciousness dies out and the electrochemical impulse/transmission would lapse. However, the subtle
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 221 mind consciousness still remains temporarily in liberated forms before subscribing to the next becoming process under a balance phenomenon. Q50 Can someone tell me the Buddhist perspective upon God, Nibbāna and the Truth? How is Nibbāna connected to God, the Truth, and what is the Truth? What is God? According to Buddhism, there are 31 planes of existence in the nature and the deities/devas (the namesake of God) are placed at a higher level of existence than the human realm: - 1. Kāma-loka or kāmabhava (the sensuous world) – 11 planes 2. Rūpa-loka or rūpabhava (the world of form/fine material world) – 16 planes 3. Arūpa-loka or arūpabhava (the formless world/immaterial world) – 4 planes In Buddhism, the human realm is merely one of the above-mentioned 31 planes of existence and these different planes would exist only with the mind arising. For instance, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence waiting for exclusive memberships. Instead, it is the so-called member that has made up the chance for the heaven or hell plane to arise. Just like inhabitant is a necessary prerequisite for any villages to exist; without it, the village would be impossible. Therefore, heaven or hell is not a plane of existence to be found ‘up-there’ or ‘down-there’ yearning for the so-called rightful elements. The fate in one’s subsequent life is very much dependent on the characteristics of one’s subtle mind consciousness i.e. it is the architect for the 31 planes of existence. Mould it well at all times and if possible, one should achieve enlightenment to eradicate the suffering of it. What is Nibbāna? For your information, nibbāna does not belong to any of the 31 planes of existence. In an ultimate sense, nibbāna does not exist at all. This is because there is non-existence of the mind to provide with the descriptions, perceptions, names, shapes, etc. within the state of nibbāna. Nibbāna is a non-
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 222 dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the 31 planes of existence that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. What is the Truth? Basically, there are two sides of truth in existence i.e. the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. When addressing a problem, in the first place, we need to ensure whether our point of view is from the conventional or the ultimate perspective. For example, from the conventional perspective, we would agree that duality or multiplicity does exist. Therefore, nibbāna is a phenomenon because we are speaking as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. In other words, the subject is pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. However, from the ultimate perspective, we would then agree that no duality or multiplicity arises. Therefore, nibbāna is not a phenomenon (also applies on all other things) because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. In other words, no phenomenon arises if we speak from the ultimate perspective. Conventional truth is a subjective and a relative truth. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. Whereas, an ultimate truth is a reality that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. The Orientation of Nature and Nibbāna What is nature? Nature is originally referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 223 qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. Dependent Nature In the Buddhist contexts, the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. When there is samsāra arising, dukkha would arise concurrently. And the meaning of dukkha or suffering would be to ‘bear with’ or ‘contemptible emptiness.’ Any circumstances that would involve one to continue with; to persevere with; to soldier on with; to carry on with; to undertake with; to go through with would mean suffering. Within the dependent nature, there is mind arising that conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names, activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. According to the Buddha, mind is the forerunner of all states. The presence in the waves of dependent phenomena has clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, suffering arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature. The principle in effect: - When the mind arising, the dependent nature arises, When the mind ceasing, the dependent nature ceases. In other words, duality or multiplicity would arise in the presence of the mind. This is because there is a subject pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. The subject is mainly the mind. Phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by senses. In other words, phenomenon is thing that appears to or is perceived by the mind senses. When there is a mind arising, the phenomenon would arise. When there is a phenomenon arising, the dependent nature would arise. In other words, the mind is closely related to the phenomenon, and the phenomenon is closely related to the dependent
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 224 nature - just like shadow follows the body. This is what the conventional reality is all about. Inherent Nature What constitutes a non-dependent nature? A non-dependent nature is also known as an inherent nature of existence. Anything that inherently exists would not involve change and created objects cannot inherently exist since that would involve change. Therefore, we could conclude that all the things or happenings in the dependent nature cannot inherently exist because the changing process is the key element of it. Within the non-dependent nature, there would be absence of mind arising. And with no mind arising, no circumstance of duality or multiplicity would arise. This is because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. When there is no mind arising, no phenomenon would arise. When there is no phenomenon arising, no dependent nature would arise. When there is no dependent nature, there would be no perception, no conception, no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no relation, no description, no stereotyping, no beginning, no ending, etc. An ultimate reality is a truth that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories. In the absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for it is a system of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. In other words, an ultimate reality is such label-less, bound-less, stereotype-less, colour-less, beginning-less, end-less and for the ease of our expression, we could summarise it as the ‘deepest fact about things.’ An enlightened mind is able
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 225 to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the waves of dependent phenomena. So when we talk about Buddhism, it is all about transforming an ignorant state of mind into a realised one – a process of enlightenment. To begin with, one would need to set in a right mentality or determination. One has to see all things as they really are, to liberate from it and to be enlightened. Have boundless compassion and loving kindness along the way. This would be an everlasting remedy to the rising of dukkha that was recommended by the wise Buddha. A fully awakened state of mind does not require labeling, colouring, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. All subjects and objects are in completely neutralised state of affairs - when this arising, that arises; when this ceasing, that ceases. Nibbāna – a state of paradise? For general understanding, nibbāna is not a state of paradise or some sort of heavenly realms that can be found alongside the planes of existence within the cosmos. Nibbāna is a non-dependent arising state of affairs i.e. with no rising and falling activities taking place. In other words, nibbāna is a completely neutralised state of affairs – in contrast with the conventional phenomenon that would subject to the conditional influences i.e. in a continuous and constantly changing state of affairs. In the dependent nature or samsāra, there is an element of suffering or dukkha. Suffering means ‘bearing with’ in the Buddhist context and ‘letting go’ is the antonym of it. Literally, there are no elements of grasping when one practises letting go. When no grasping arises, the becoming process would slow down. This is because everything in the dependent nature is nothing but energy. And energy is nothing but mere vibration. When the becoming process slows down, it means energy is vibrating at lower frequencies. When the becoming process ceases, energy literally stops vibrating. Energy just got ‘frozen.’ Zero vibration means zero becoming. Zero becoming means an absolute cessation of any changing activities. Thus an absolute stage of absence is achieved. Absence means a perfect state of balance. Therefore, absence is not about nothingness but instead it is about no-thing-ness. No thing means no becoming or no changing. No changing means no suffering. No suffering means
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 226 no mind. Mind is the forerunner of all states. No mind means a completely neutralised state of affairs - that is nibbāna. The state of nibbāna is inexplicable in conventional terms but still, it can be tasted by the enlightened ones during deep meditation. Q51 Nibbāna does not exist when there is no arahant or Buddha in the world to experience it. If (A) Nibbāna does not exist when there is no arahant or Buddha in the world to experience it, then (B) Nibbāna is subjective, a psychological phenomenon. If (B) Nibbāna is subjective, a psychological phenomenon, then (C) Nibbāna is a mental fabrication, which being dependent on another cannot be permanent. If (C) Nibbāna cannot be permanent, then (D) There is no true liberation from suffering. So, does nibbāna exist when there is no arahant or Buddha in the world or not? Where is the flaw in the argument? In an ultimate sense, nibbāna does not exist at all. What exists is defined as that which can be known by the mind. Anything that cannot be known by the mind does not exist. And conventionally, things can exist as in fallacy or in reality. But in the ultimate reality, things do not exist in the ways that concepts and language imply they do. Things would only exist as in deepest facts i.e. it is beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Nibbāna can be known as the ultimate cessation of events - a non-dependent nature. Whereas, samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. In other words, there would be plentiful of events within samsāra - a dependent nature, but why is it so? It is because of the mind arising. As the Buddha has mentioned, mind is the forerunner of all states. This means the truth orientation within samsāra is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds. The conclusion is that nibbāna exists under the conventional perspective and
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 227 does not exist under the ultimate perspective. The principle-in-effect: - No mind, no dependent nature, no existence - the eternal bliss of nibbāna. Q52 Can anyone share some meditation methods for cultivating concentration? The mind is a bit too frantic for just observing lately and I want to try something new. Besides focusing on each in breath and out breath or sensations of body what techniques are there? Thanks. There are two ways to assume concentration in meditation: - (1) Microscopic analysis of things. (2) Macroscopic analysis of things. For a start, place a solid ball in front of you and gaze at it effortlessly: - Microscopic analysis of things If you were to zoom in the analysis of a solid ball by looking into the contents and then its basic matters i.e. atoms, you could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence of things (no things). This is because in a real sense there is no core essence within it except for the basic elements (energy, matter and space) that orientate and evolve constantly under the influence of the external conditions. In other words, one could mention that the form entity has a delusive nature i.e. it is an appearance, though not illusive, but devoid of inherent existence and constantly varies under the influence of conditional phenomena. Macroscopic analysis of things If you were to zoom out the analysis of a solid ball by receding into a long shot distance indefinitely, the solid ball would appear to be shrinking into a tiniest size and you could realise that the ultimate result would yield to the absence of things (no things). In other words, the broader the perspective that one
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 228 engages in, the lesser the multiplicity of things would appear to be. For example, the viewing of the earth from far and near would yield a different result to the observer’s perception altogether. Emptiness  Microscopic analysis (samatha)  MIND  Macroscopic analysis (vipassanā)  Emptiness Basically, samatha meditation is to calm or tranquil the mind by means of concentration. Whereas, vipassanā meditation is to mould the mind into seeing all things as they really are – an insight into the true nature of reality. The main focus of vipassanā meditation is to attain pure awareness via mindfulness. Vipassanā is often preceded by samatha but nonetheless, both types are inter- dependable throughout the practices in order to achieve favourable results in meditation. As a conclusion, the emptiness of phenomena is both the cause and consequence of the dependent nature of phenomena. It is the inherent quality of existence and is considered the ultimate truth because it inherently exists exactly as it is perceived when it is perceived directly by an enlightened mind. And discovering the ultimate truth is the key to overcoming the ignorant state of mind. Transcending the mind via meditation would allow the dilution of one’s personal ego under the light of pure awareness and subsequently, it would give rise to the original source connection – the emptiness of all things.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 229 61.0 Intriguing Questions Q1 Which one comes first – the chicken or the egg? A1 The true answer is neither of both. This question in itself is incomplete from a practical point of view. Both the chicken and the egg could not pop out of thin air in a sudden phenomenon. Scientifically, we need to view this process in a thorough perspective rather than a limited view scope. To start with, we need to look at the basic elements – energy, matter and space. These three elements would interact together to initiate the very first dot of integrating process. These same elements would disintegrate from each other at any time of maturity to initiate the segregating process. The whole process of integration and segregation would create myriad of activities in a fully occupied realms of existence. Therefore, to answer correctly on this question, one would need to look at the process of evolution and mutation. It is inevitable that every existence would need to go through some kind of evolving and mutating processes. There is no permanency in any realms of existence due to the conditional law of circumstances that dictates the natural processes. If you were to work in a product manufacturing environment, it would be clearly understood that before the process of initiating any new items, you would need to deploy with the research and development. The eventual outcome of it would be the formation of a near perfect sample. However, samples are not permanent and would subject to various trials and modifications until a stage of perfection. Only then could the next process of mass production or duplication commence - just like producing the chicken and the egg. As such, it is neither the chicken nor the egg that comes first but some kind of life-form samples that become the predecessors for both the chicken and the egg. On the other hand, we could view it from another perspective i.e. the category of perpetual and non-perpetual. Sample would belong to the non-perpetual category, whereas, the chicken or the egg would belong to the perpetual category. At the end of the day, only the perpetuating process would last for some period of time (not permanently) and the non-perpetuating process would disappear over a short period of time. In other words, it is the evolving and
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 230 mutating processes that dictate part of the rising and the falling activities in the realms of existence. Q2 Perhaps, you have heard of destiny; you are my other half; we are destined to meet with each other; we seemed to share with common chemistry; why I happen to meet and love you - not your neighbour? What are all these about? A2 The explanation lies in the wonder of nature again. When the three basic elements interact together, the very first dot of integrating process begins. When the billion and trillion dots come together, it would manifest into some sort of beings - let say human beings. Respectively, each dot of integrating process would contain a sort of genetic information that is unique and the aggregate of multiple dots would subsequently develop into a pool of behaviour. Such a unique pool of behaviour would enfold within the same being until the next disintegrating process begins upon a specific time of maturity. During the disintegrating process, these same basic elements within the billion and trillion dots would liberate from each other and sustain a freedom of sorts. When more different beings go through the same disintegrating processes, more different basic elements within the billion and trillion dots would sustain freedom and thus assimilate among each other in the realms of existence. Let say there are three different beings i.e. Person H, Person O and Person R. Within Person H, let say there are element-dots of h1, h2, h3, h4 and the same manner goes for the other two persons respectively. When Person H, Person O, Person R go through the disintegrating processes, all of their respective element-dots i.e. h1……h4, o1…o4, r1…r4 would liberate and assimilate with each other. Upon a specific conducive time period, the same fragmented and assimilated element-dots would go through the integrating and the copulating processes via Person S and Person E (father and mother), thus forming a new being, let say Person HORSE. As such, Person HORSE would carry with the genetic information deriving not only from Person S and Person E but also Person H, Person O and Person R. Supposedly, Person HORSE would carry with the fragmented and assimilated element-dots of h1, o2, r1, s3, e2. In a second scenario, the remaining fragmented and assimilated element-dots
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 231 of Person H, Person O and Person R would go through the integrating and the copulating processes via Person N and Person Y (father and mother), thus forming a new being, let say Person HORNY. Supposedly, Person HORNY would carry with the fragmented and assimilated element-dots of h2, o1, r2, n2, y2. Now, in a third scenario, the other remaining fragmented and assimilated element-dots of Person H, Person O and Person R would go through the integrating and the copulating processes via Person T and Person I (father and mother), thus forming a new being, let say Person HORTI. Supposedly, Person HORTI would carry with the fragmented and assimilated element-dots of h3, o3, r3, t2, i3. Inevitably, under the natural law of attraction, anything that belongs to the same ancestry would somehow attract with each other no matter how far or near distance and how long or short time period. Supposedly, Person HORSE lives in England, Person HORTI lives in Australia and Person HORNY lives in New Zealand. In their present lifetime, Person HORSE is good friend of Person HORTI, while Person HORTI and Person HORNY are husband and wife. If you view their relationships in a complete perspective, all of them are inter- dependent and inter-related somehow or somewhere before time - just like how the genetic lineage orientates through generations. Thus in their present lifetime they tend to have the opportunity to meet and know with each other and not the other non-relevant beings. So by now, one would know what the phrase, ‘Destiny is made in Heaven, Man looks for his other half, We shared with a common chemistry’, would mean in general context. And according to Christianity, it is believed that all human beings derived from Adam and Eve and this statement may hold its truth literally. Q3 Christians believe that we live only once. However, Buddhists believe in continuous rebirth. Who is telling the truth? A3 Who is telling the truth? The answer is both believers command a certain degree of truth in their respective point of views. Now, let us return to the same illustration i.e. Person HORSE, Person HORTI and Person HORNY. These persons are unique respectively and no individuals would be the same even though they do share some sort of same genes before time. For instance, twins are similar but never the same individuals. As such, Christians are
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 232 correct about living once because we don’t find another same ‘we’ elsewhere, anywhere or any other time. But by living once, it does not mean there is no continuity. The element-dots of Person H, Person O and Person R did inherit into new beings of Person HORSE, Person HORTI and Person HORNY. This is what the Buddhists mean by the continuous rebirth conditions. For general understanding, rebirth does not mean trans-migration. An individual soul does not migrate from a physical body into another one. No, it just won’t fit at all. Every individual or thing that exists would not be the same - it could only be in a similar condition. This is why you have heard in various stories whereby a spirit or ghost has the ability to possess into the body of an individual but it never absolutely overtakes the soul of the possessed individual. This is because one cannot simply exchange the soul with each other at one’s whim and fancy. Even individuals with the most powerful magic charm could not perform this feat. In another instance, you may have heard of the organ transplant cases, whereby the new recipients need to take immunosuppressive drugs to treat any transplant rejections – live long. Ultimately, it is the wonder of nature again that everyone is neither identical to, nor entirely different from each other. Q4 Are books, rocks, shirts, tables, chairs, buildings, minerals, water, earth, plants - all living things or only humans, animals, insects are entitled to be called living beings? What constitutes a living thing or being? A4 Generally speaking, living may refer to having certain characteristics such as heartbeats, self-motions, self-cultivates, self-assimilates, etc. and non- living may refer to having the characteristics of motionless, no heartbeats, decays, etc. On another perspective, we would classify that the living beings would have souls and the non-living things would have no-souls. However, if we were to view it correctly, everything that exists in the realms of existence is alive in their respective nature. Motion-less does not mean dead and non- growing does not mean non-living. As mentioned earlier, all the happenings or activities would start with the three basic elements i.e. energy, matter and space. When these elements interact with each other, a living condition would start from this very first dot of integrating process - regardless whether a thing or being would be self-kicking, self-expanding, self-contracting or vice
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 233 versa. We just could not segregate the living from the non-living things without truly understand the natural law in a thorough perspective. Nature in itself is wonderful that allows all the things to assimilate with each other and it becomes too complex for any acts of separation in clean cut manners. For instance, we always classify humans or animals as living beings and the other material things such as air, water and minerals are otherwise. If this statement is true, then we would fool ourselves with incorrect perception. From an article pulled out from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, the composition of human body is as follows: - ‘The human body's chemical composition consists of a variety of elements and compounds. By mass, human cells consist of 65–90% water (H2O), and a significant portion is composed of carbon-containing organic molecules. Oxygen therefore contributes a majority of a human body's mass, followed by carbon. 99% of the mass of the human body is made up of the six elements oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus.’ If water, air and minerals are non-living things, how could we identify ourselves as living beings when over 90% of our bodies comprise with these non-living substances? Likewise, we used to portray that when a person is lying dead, only his or her soul would depart from the motionless body, but how true is it? If this statement is acceptable, then the next question would be, ‘Has anyone ever seen with pure naked spirits or ghosts?’ So it is appropriate to quote everything that appears in the realms of existence is very much alive. In fact, these so-called non-living things could well communicate and interact with the living beings - just like we used to express our Mother Earth would react to our wrong doings and raging at times. Q5 How big is the material Universe? Can we quantify it? Is there an edge, end or shape to the material Universe? A5 How big is the material Universe? Presently, there can be no appropriate answer to it because we have yet capable of devising any extra-amazing type
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 234 of machinery that can measure the wave length of infinity. Any attempts to quantify the size of the material Universe would require truly extraordinary efforts and there can be no reliable measurement because the material Universe in itself is never stagnant, instead it is very much alive – continuously contracting and expanding at the same time. Nevertheless, the material Universe belongs to a category of perpetual and it contains a perpetual shape but has no edge and no end. So what exactly is the shape of the material Universe? The probable answer is sphere. In the realms of existence, only sphere or round (in-linear) is termed as a perpetual profile design. Any other shapes (in-linear) such as triangle, square, pentagon, octagon, etc. would be termed as non-perpetual profile designs. And it is proven scientifically that round is the most viable shape for perpetuity due to mutual and equal forces on its surface from all angles. There are many examples in the outer space on these perpetual appearances i.e. stars, suns, planets, moons, black holes, etc. As a conclusion, one should not feel bad when losing a particular precious item in the infinite outer space because the same item would return in the opposite direction ultimately. Therefore the saying, ‘What goes around, comes around’, is indeed truthful for any applications in the realms of existence. Q6 Birth and rebirth – past, present and future life; how does it derive? What is the purpose of life? A6 Why am I here? This is a million dollar worth question that no one could provide with a definite answer to it. In order to analyse on this question, we need to segregate it into two categories i.e. the creation by nature and the creation by mankind. It is easier to define the creation by mankind but the definition for the creation by nature would require one’s in-depth knowledge on the orientation of nature. As mentioned earlier, all the activities would start with the integration of the three basic elements i.e. energy, matter and space under a balance phenomenon. These elements would interact together to initiate the very first dot of integrating process or birth as we usually named it. The same elements would disintegrate from each other at any time of maturity to initiate the segregating process under an imbalance phenomenon. Thus the whole process of integration and segregation would create myriad of activities
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 235 in a fully occupied realms of existence. On the same pretext, one would question that if birth and rebirth conditions exist, why don’t most of the humans have clear memories of their respective past lives? Well, it is amusing to mention that most of us couldn’t even recall clearly on all the happenings in the past weeks and what more on our past lives? But in some cases, this statement may not turn out valid. Some individuals did remember vividly on their past lives and could relate it well in their present lives. Some individuals could even see their future lives and relate it in their present lives (with reference to some revered monks). Nevertheless, there is a clear-cut explanation on these exceptional incidences. Let us return to the same illustration i.e. Person HORSE, Person HORTI and Person HORNY. These persons are unique respectively and each one does inherit the element-dots of Person H, Person O and Person R. But let us explore further on the density of element-dots that Person HORSE, Person HORTI and Person HORNY inherited from Person H, Person O and Person R. A higher density of any particular element-dot inheritance would mean a higher retention of genetic information that determines the particular pool of behaviour of a predecessor. In other words, if Person HORSE has inherited with a higher density of element-dots from Person H as compared with the element-dots from Person O and Person R, then the pool of behaviour for Person HORSE would somehow share some kinds of similar characteristics with Person H. Supposedly, Person H is an ardent pianist and naturally Person HORSE would be talented towards the play of piano or something with similarity. This is how we explain the natural and talented skills we always uncovered from young children. The same case scenario applies for the phobic conditions in any particular individuals. Therefore, we conclude that some individuals could remember their past lives because they do inherit with higher density of element-dots deriving from the predecessors with ardent characters or talents. But most people can’t recall their past lives because they only inherit with much assimilated element-dots deriving from myriad of predecessors. Right now, with all the birth and rebirth processes, do we really have any reasons, meanings or purposes for sustaining as living beings? So what is the
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 236 rightful purpose of life? Well, the ultimate purpose of life is to attain the opportunity to learn to live wholesomely. It is regardless whether one would live a good life, a luxurious life, a poor life or a pathetic life. By being alive as humans, we have all the liberties or choices of pathway to begin with. And one should not mention that, ‘I have no purpose in my life’, because this phrase per se already determines his or her life route. Besides, it is crucial for one to live a life wholesomely at all times – at least there would not be a regret factor arises later in one’s life. Living wholesomely would mean living a healthy life with exploration and enjoyment to the fullest extent with wisdom and not with ignorance. Q7 Why are some people born with plenty of blessings? Why some people are lacking of it? Is it due to the law of kamma or the law of natural random selection or simply God’s favouritism? A7 It is commonly established in the society that people have tendencies of searching, fighting or defending for justice or fairness but for most of the time, the circumstances are on the opposite end. The situation of inequality can be seen everywhere and anywhere one moves about. And there is a saying that it is due to the world is round and not square - therefore the ‘fair and square’ slogan cannot apply in this mundane world. Well, one may say that the foremost reason for all these happenings is that God would like to test on our patience, endurance, etc. But how true is it? Can this statement be taken in literally? Then others may say that all these happenings are due to the workings of kamma. So is it due to the workings of kamma or God? Let us analyse into it. Frankly speaking, there are many definitions of God. God is referred as deity or superhuman power for someone who is Hindu or Taoist; and according to Christian, Jewish, Muslim, etc. God is creator and ruler of the Universe. Well, the attributes of God can be never ending and it coincides with the proverb, ‘Beauty is in the eyes of a beholder.’ In other words, God is a subject of reverence for most of the faiths found in this world. Now, what about kamma? According to Buddhism, everything that happens in the world or the material Universe is subject to the law of kamma. Well, for general understanding, the law of kamma is a natural phenomenon law – it is not shaped by someone else;
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 237 no one owns it; neither Buddhism. It is merely a law of balancing that helps to attain the circumstances of equilibrium in the nature. If one observes the surroundings intently, everything that exists would always try to achieve a harmonious balance. Things would only exist in a perpetual condition when there is a balance circumstance. In other words, one should not waste time propagating the idea of justice or fairness. Instead, all efforts would be worth channeled to propagate the balancing act in life i.e. the yin and yang. When there is a state of balance in both the yin and yang, peace and harmony would arise and there would no longer be jealousy, hatred and uproar in the society. Q8 Why anything? Why existence? Why kamma? Why rebirth? Why any of it at all? Why something, why not nothing? A8 If we could unwind to the basic condition on all the happenings and activities in the nature, we could see the appearance of the three basic elements i.e. energy, matter and space. To answer these questions, perhaps, we need to look into the balance and imbalance circumstances. We could mention that all the happenings and activities in the realms of existence would arise from the cyclic influence of balance and imbalance phenomena. Whether the three basic elements would interact or un-interact with each other, it is dependent on these circumstances of duality. Now, let us take an illustration of cancer cell in the human body system. Supposedly, there are elements of cancer in the human body system and when the circumstance is in a balance condition (conducive) these elements would interact with each other to form active cancer cells. Subsequently, the human body system would be overwhelmed and succumbed to the suffering in both the mental and physical senses. On the other hand, when the same human body system undergoes treatment such as chemotherapy and meditation, the cancer cells would be broken down and thus the same elements would disintegrate from each other under an imbalance phenomenon (non-conducive). In other words, the cancer occurrence would prolong until the entire elements of cancer have been fully extinguished or neutralised from the human body
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 238 system. And a complete neutralising of all these basic elements would mean nibbāna, as what the Buddha taught. Q9 Time travel - possible? A9 Is it possible for someone to do a time travelling to change his or her destiny? Yes, it is plausible but with conditions. Generally, time is defined as a non-spatial continuum in which events occur in apparently irreversible succession from the past through the present to the future. In other words, past thoughts or actions would determine the present conditions; whereas, present thoughts or actions would determine the future conditions. Whatever things or events happening now are the consequences of the past events that have taken place. Like a saying, ‘I shall reap for what I sow.’ When one has a chance to a do time travelling, it does not literally mean that one could do this, do that, undo this and that at whim and fancy. No, there can be no reshuffling of happenings. In other words, one could carry out a time travel to the past or the future condition from the present condition but has no influence on it. But then, one may ask since everything has been pre-determined or destined, what is there left for a change? Frankly speaking, while one can’t change the past condition, adjustment can still be done to the present condition to reduce the impact on the future condition. We may have heard of some trained individuals or high ranking monks that could relate the future events while sustaining their physical form in the present phenomenon by doing time travelling in the same plane of existence. This is what is commonly referred to as the future visions or de-ja vu experiences and it could save lives. Let us take an illustration of a forest at Mountain Island surrounded by a sea or ocean. Supposedly, Person A inhabits on a lower ground within a dense forest and Person B inhabits on top of a mountain far-off from the dense forest. On one fine day, there was an underwater earthquake miles and miles away from the island. Both Person A and Person B could not feel anything on the earthquake. But the earthquake has set off tsunami and it was fast approaching the Mountain Island. Still both Person A and Person B continued
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 239 with their respective daily activities with no inkling of the tsunami approaching them. By being positioned at top of the mountain, Person B has an added advantage. He could see the tsunami from far distance and fast approaching the Mountain Island as compared with Person A who could see nothing but the tree surroundings. Person B has estimated the tsunami would hit the island in ten hours and immediately alerted Person A who still has no idea about the imminent danger. At the end of the day, we could conclude that underwater earthquake is equated to the past condition; Person A and Person B is equated to the present condition and tsunami is equated to the future condition. So can Person B prevent the tsunami from hitting the Mountain Island? The answer is a Nay. But can Person B make adjustment on the impact caused by the tsunami? The answer is a Yea. In addition, one could also carry out a time travelling into another plane of existence and return to relate one’s unique experiences. Let us take an example of the Buddha’s experience on reaching nibbāna while still sustaining in samsāra. Literally, time is absent in nibbāna and all the basic elements - energy, matter and space are practically frozen. When one does a time travel to nibbāna temporarily, one could literally glance at samsāra all the events passing from the present to the past conditions until the beginning of events. It is just like the vision from a stationed podium on a moving train locomotive and coaches.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 240 62.0 Food for Thought “One has to gain the knowledge first and then apply the understanding and the experience with common sense and insight – that is wisdom.” “The ‘I’ of I, is not mine. The ‘you’ of you, is not yours. The ‘he’ of he, is not his. The ‘she’ of she, is not hers. The ‘it’ of it, is not its.” “There is no I am reborn, but just the state of rebirth. There is no I am suffering, but just the state of suffering. There is no I am in trouble, but just the state of troublesome. There is no I am happy, but just the state of happiness. There is no I am enlightened, but just the state of enlightenment.” “Buddhism is about the sheer determination to pull one’s act together to end the state of suffering. In the Buddhist context, determination is all about the sheer acts to fix the suffering conclusively - right here, right now! One would need to walk the talk steadfastly to end the suffering and not just blowing hot air. Therefore, it is impossible that one could desire for enlightenment because desire is merely the talking, the expecting or the wishing per se but inclining to do nothing. Enlightenment can never be attained by mere building castles in the air. As such, one should say, ‘I am determined to attain enlightenment’, instead of, ‘I desire for enlightenment.’ In other words, Buddhism is not about circumstances but attitude to circumstances.” “If you wish to attain a long-lasting happiness in life - go naked, go balance mentally at all times.” “The peace of your mind is an ease of my heart.” – All subjects and objects are inter-dependent and inter-connected at all times. Buddhitakso
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 241 63.0 Summary Nature is originally referred to essential qualities or innate disposition; related to the intrinsic characteristics that plants, animals, and other features of the world develop of their own accord. These essential qualities of the nature can be divided into two categories i.e. inherence and dependence. Both of these qualities as observed by the mind would exist concurrently in a harmonious orientation. Therefore, it is imperative for one to understand that the nature is sufficiently universal and infinite in its original disposition and is governed by the universal laws. Right now, what could be the key ingredients of the nature? Precisely, the answer would be energy and emptiness. When one sees into energy, one sees into emptiness; when one sees into emptiness, one sees into energy. This is the rationale for the saying, ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.’ The principle in effect: seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness. Energy is described as the ability to cause change or do work, while emptiness is understood as absence in the static entity and devoid of inherent existence for all created objects or things. Both the energy and emptiness are universal qualities that correspond to the dependent arising and the inherent existence concurrently. For general understanding, conditional phenomenon is a necessary prerequisite for energy to exist; without it, the existence would be impossible. On another front, emptiness is a necessary prerequisite for any objects to exist; without it, the object would be impossible. Therefore, we could conclude that energy and emptiness are essential qualities for the dependent nature to sustain perpetually. When there is no dependent nature arising, no energy or emptiness would arise. Likewise, when there is no energy or emptiness arising, no dependent nature would arise. This is how the conventional reality works i.e. not in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. In the dependent nature, the existence of energy would give rise to the mind that in turn conjures up perceptions, conceptions, labels, boundaries, names,
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 242 activities, shapes, relations, descriptions, stereotyping, beginning, ending, etc. The mind is a necessary prerequisite for the circumstances of duality or multiplicity. As such, we shall be clear by now that mind is the forerunner of all states. These circumstances of duality or multiplicity are merely the end result of various activities of aggregation being observed by the mind under the influence of conditional phenomena. And only when there is a balance circumstance, there is a chance for the integrating process i.e. under a balance phenomenon, one could witness shapes or forms; under an imbalance phenomenon, one could see no shapes or forms - and the cycle of conditional phenomena continues. Therefore, it is correct to mention that all objects are empty and exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders. When one ponders as a subject on the other side of the object or matter, one would notice that energy takes on various forms and reborn all the time in the dependent nature. However, the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant or never changes because energy can neither be created nor destroyed as per the Law of Conservation of Energy. This would mean that energy corresponds to the inherent existence as well due to its unchanging nature as described above. It is the same case scenario for emptiness. Emptiness corresponds to both the dependent arising and the inherent existence concurrently. While emptiness could not exist without a dependent partner, emptiness in direct perception cannot be segmented or dissected further to see the real origin because it does not constitute some false appearances concealing a lack of inherent existence. Therefore, it has an unchanging nature that all conventional phenomena lack. As a summary, we could conclude that energy and emptiness are essential qualities that exist everywhere in the dependent and the inherent nature. In the dependent nature, something as in object would not arise out of nothing but instead, arise out of the elements of energy that exist in a system. This is because energy and matter are simply two aspects of the same thing, both reflected in different forms per se (as in Einstein’s formula, E = mc2). And since we are unable to discern energy with our naked eyes, we would name it as empty instead of nothing. It is difficult for one to see into this ultimate truth because the mind is dependent arising and the presence in the waves of
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 243 dependent phenomena have clouded the mind from discerning the reality of circumstances i.e. ignorance arises. Nevertheless, the wise Buddha has laid emphasis that one should see in all angles of things or matters while searching for the ultimate truth or reality. Without it, any conclusions made out of one’s observation would not be balance or in a wholesome nature. And with the presence of emptiness, the potential movement of the mind from non- enlightenment towards a state of enlightenment would be possible. Perhaps, one may need to understand clearly what qualifies as a Buddha and what Buddhism is all about? Buddhism merely involves in seeing, knowing and letting go of things or happenings. In other words, Buddhism upholds direct experience and recognition but not the faith system. Therefore, Buddhism is never about what the Buddha has said or not said personally. We have to examine, ‘What is the real meaning of the Buddha?’ It is literally translated as the ‘Awakened One.’ But, what is one awakening to? It is awakening to the ultimate reality of things and happenings in the cosmos. The Buddha has laid emphasis that one should look into all angles of things or matters and then apply one's wisdom in the decision making. The Buddha has merely left behind guidelines for one to pursue with and it would be meaningless for one to read and tag along the contents of the discourses or suttas blindly without applying wisdom. No doubt the available discourses or suttas did play an important role in keeping the essence of Buddhism, but how many of the so-called Buddhists nowadays have gained full enlightenment by mere reading or reciting it? The key point here is not merely about the mastering of theoretical knowledge on Buddhism but instead, more on the practicality and the direct experience of it. These available scriptures, discourses or suttas are merely tools for one’s Dhamma practices. And the tools would remain as the tools and it would not turn a person into an enlightened being if the application is without wisdom. Also, the Buddha has recommended the establishment of the Sangha community so that any followers could interact and support each other while pursuing the guidelines of Dhamma. The Buddha has not established the various sects or schools of Buddhism as what we could see nowadays. Now, when we mention the Buddha's saying, are we only referring to Siddartha Gautama alone? How about all the other beings that have had achieved
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 244 enlightenment along the thousands of years? For general understanding, Siddartha Gautama is a Shakyamuni Buddha (a Samma-sam-buddha), but the Buddha may not necessarily be Siddartha Gautama alone. Buddha is merely a title just like presidency. Presidents may come and go over the years in an organisation or a country but the presidency remains unshaken. And the next question would be, ‘Who wrote all the suttas? When was it written?’ Definitely, Buddhism is not only about the suttas per se but also the other missing links. On this pretext, the Buddha is wise to mention that in order to appreciate the essence of Dhamma, do not believe what he said until one investigates and sees it. This principle is essential to uphold and sustain so that the original essence of Dhamma could remain intact and surpassing time. On another matter, the doctrine of Dependent Origination that outlines part of the Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings does not reflect the first cause in the dependent nature. The Shakyamuni Buddha has merely focused his teachings on four subjects i.e. the Four Noble Truths: - 1. The truth of dukkha. 2. The truth of the origin of dukkha. 3. The truth of the cessation of dukkha. 4. The truth of the path leading to the cessation of dukkha. He has discovered that mind is the forerunner of all states. And with ignorance blindfolding the mind since the dawn of time, dukkha arises and continues to arise in the dependent nature. As such, the first link i.e. ignorance in the doctrine of Dependent Origination as taught by the Shakyamuni Buddha cannot be translated as the first cause in the dependent nature. This doctrine did not stress the importance of the first cause in the dependent nature but rather focus on the first cause of dukkha. Dukkha arises because there is mind arising - with ignorance as the key factor that clouded the mind from seeing the reality of things or happenings. The wise Shakyamuni Buddha has merely seen the urgency to put a complete end to dukkha - right here, right now. All other matters are considered as trivial if compared with the reality of dukkha arising in the samsāra. In the Buddhist context, we do know that the dependent nature is known as samsāra. Samsāra literally means ‘continuous flow’- referring to a repeating
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 245 cycle of birth, life, death and re-birth. In other words, there is a repeating cycle of rising and falling activities that in turn would give rise to the balance and imbalance phenomena as being observed by the mind. Therefore, the doctrine of Dependent Origination that outlines part of the Shakyamuni Buddha’s teachings on the nature of existence cannot be directly translated as a linear point of reference. This is because the conventional reality does not work in-linear but in inter-dependence, inter-woven and inter-relation since the dawn of time in a very comprehensive and complicated network of existence. As a conclusion, Buddhism is supremely boundless, stereotype-less and label-less. Buddhism is never about beliefs. Instead, it is all about direct experience and recognition. Therefore, meditate, meditate and meditate to see and taste the real truth. Seeing the Dhamma is seeing the Buddha – it is seeing and knowing the ultimate reality of things and happenings and not to get entangle with it. Happy practising!
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 246 My Immediate Past Life Predecessor
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 247 I am sharing pictures or photos captured depicting some deities or spirits wandering in the human realm. The spirit of a Lohan (Pindola or Nantimitolo?) captured on my I-pad during the start of Jade Emperor prayer in front of my house on 18-02-13.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 248 The supposedly same Lohan reappeared in 2014 at the same place and the same time period – CNY Jade Emperor praying night (photo captured by my I-phone 4 on 08-02-14).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 249 The spirit of Guan Yin (Bodhisatva). This photo was captured on my Nokia handphone in 2009. The background scenery was a beautiful limestone cave in Ipoh, Malaysia.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 250 The spirit of Shou (Longevity) - as in the God of Prosperity (Fu Lu Shou). This photo was captured on my Nokia handphone in 2009. The background scenery was a beautiful limestone cave in Ipoh, Malaysia. The spirit of Jesus Christ. This photo was captured on my Nokia handphone in 2009. The background scenery was a beautiful limestone cave in Ipoh, Malaysia.
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 251 The famous Erawan shrine (4-faced Buddha) in Bangkok. This photo was captured on my wife's Sony Erricsson handphone in 2010. Two cone head or ET-like spirits hanging around the Erawan main shrine (left photo). A female face figurine spirit hanging around the Erawan main shrine (right photo).
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 252 Spirits in the dark limestone cave in Ipoh, Malaysia (Kek Lok Tong) Buddha man Alien face Human face Human face Skeletal face Feline face Gleeful face Lady face Human face
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 253 Human face Old man Chubby face Joker face Shocking face Robotic face Devil face Sleepy face Old man face
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 254 Shrek face Fox face Gremlin face Green man, ape and bald child faces
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 255 Chimpanzee face Gorilla face Scary faces
  • Copyright © 2012-2013 Buddhitakso 256 Smiling face Piggy face Cow face Hippo face Ape couple faces Human face Hippo face