Of the 31 levels of existence where beings can be reborn, humans are at Level 5. See: The 31 Planes of Existence: http://www.accesstoinsight.org/ptf/dhamma/sagga/loka.html
We think that suffering exists in the world, but suffering is really in the mind The prison it is not out there in the world, but in here in our own mind. We think something is wrong with the world, but instead it is our mind that is the problem. We can repair the mind, but we cannot repair the world. When we make efforts to repair the mind, then we must continue doing so. If we work on repairing it and then stop training the mind, then we fall back into old habits and the same suffering again, like an alcoholic who stops drinking for a while, and then resumes drinking again.
We are addicted to life and our experiences through the senses. It is a deep addiction. So we are afraid of Nibbana, the Deathless dimension, because we fear losing our body and consciousness. But we don’t really lose anything because our ego never really existed in the first place. We can’t lose an ego that we never actually had. Neither inside our mind, nor outside our mind it is a self or ego ever to be found. If we lose the ego, there is extreme bliss, and no fear. We lose the feeling and selfdeception that “I am” and that “I exist” and then there is no fear even of death. This entails a sublime bliss not of this world …
At the moment of death, the rebirth transmigration destination depends on the dominant constituent of the mind. If delusion is dominant in the mind, then one has rebirth as an animal. If the dominant constituent is desire, then one has rebirth as a peta:
If anger and hate is dominant in the mind, then one has rebirth as an angry demon and in hell.
These different destinations or dimensions of time phases exists due to the fact that intentional mentality selects which physical aspects of many possible should manifest in the world. We and all conscious beings are thereby
co-creators of the physical universe. Our evil thoughts have selected and thereby manifested the lower worlds, while our lofty aspirations have cocreated the divine higher worlds.
Our thought-effects accumulate in our mind, like etching out a groove in our mind that becomes deeper and deeper. If we have anger, then we may replay that anger again and again in our mind, reinforcing the anger. Then later, if we did not stop these thoughts, we have regret, which is painful. Therefore we need to change the object of our mind to calm it. We should redirect it to an advantageous object.
Desire or aversion leads to shame, which should lead us to make amends, such as asking forgiveness or apologizing. But some people does not do that. They cannot admit they did wrong, and they deny it or hide it. In that case, they should look for the cause of why they want to hide it. We should be open. We should stop up and ask, why do we want to hide it? There is a story of a woman whose dog jumped on her and she did not get him off of her, with the result that the dog had intercourse with her. She did not admit it to her husband. After she died, her husband wanted to know where she was, and the Buddha did not want to tell him the bad news that she was in a hell-world. So the Buddha avoided his question and every day for a week when the king asked the question, he evaded the subject. After a week she got out of the hell-world and then the Buddha could tell him that she had a good rebirth. This is an example of hiding a misdeed for a good reason. But normally it is very dangerous if you hide or deny your bad thoughts, which lead to believing your own lie, convincing yourself that you did not do it, or that you only did a little misdeed. The echo of that karma will return to you in the future. If you deny you are wrong, you will not apologize, you will not stop it, so you neglect it, and then it builds up inside you and comes back full blown at the death-moment, affecting your next rebirth. We tend to do the same actions again and again. Denial of doing wrong is yet another evil deed. Also, you may accuse someone else, which is even more bad kamma.
We all love ourselves most in the world. Even if we love someone else dearly, we still really love ourselves most. A king once asked his beloved wife whom she loved most in the world. Even though she loved him, she replied that she loved herself the most. She asked him whom he loved the most. The king also admitted that he loved himself the most. That is true for everyone – there is not one person or thing in the entire universe that you love more than yourself! This ego-love is tragic as it kills beings endlessly by causing them to be reborn and thus die again and again virtually endlessly…
The story of The Emperor’s New Clothes is reflected in Buddhism. But in Buddhism, there are no clothes, and also no emperor, and there never was any. We all admire this imaginary ego, a mere outer appearance and this false sense of self as the center of our universe. But both are only conceptual appearances and not really ours, lasting or even existing as entities. The Ego is just a dressed-up puppet. We are admiring something that does not exist really. There is no ego to defend. If there is no ego to defend, then there is neither pride, envy or jealousy. We think “my form, my feeling, my perception, my pain, my consciousness, I own it, this is what ”I am.” The false feeling that “I am” or “I exist” disappears at the level of an Arahant. A person who is 75% enlightened still has some trace of ‘ego’, some subtle remnant of believing “I exist.” If there is pain, he thinks that it is he “himself” who feels, has or posses the pain. But really there is no one to experience the pain – pain itself really has the pain, there is no one who feels the pain. Animals think they are a self too, that they are unchanging. Ancient Greeks thought there was a “small man=homonculus” inside the big man (the person) that drives the big man like a robot. But this is not the case. You cannot find anything in there that is the same and identical from moment to moment. If nothing is identical, how can there ever really exist any identity? It is impossible!
There is no self that stays the same, either inside or outside the 5 Aggregates. For example, this stone looks the same, but it is actually “blinking” at a frequency of a million or a billion per second, changing from micro-moment to micro-moment. Microscopically, there is evaporation from the stone and there are changes on the ground, so it is not exactly the same stone from moment to moment. Similarly, the self is gone once we experience it, because it is not the same from moment to moment. But in the relative and conventional world, we perceive it as the same, because there is same name, we are thinking there exists the same identity, though this name is only a label. For reference and for our language in the relative world we keep the same name. We think of you always as Asoka, same name, but this is only because it is too impractical to call you Asoka 1, Asoka 2, Asoka 3, as you change each moment. But we are changing each moment. If we put 5 things in a box, that all actually are moving in and out of the box at a fantastic speed ever being replaced by a new set of 5 similar things, we will still call that box by the same name, using the same label, even though that which is inside the box never is the same. Nothing is never exactly the same thing in the ‘box’, or in the ‘body-box’, or in the ‘world-box’, or in the ‘mind-box’ from one moment to next moment. Also memories change. Even the same memory is recalled a bit differently each time we recall it. No two moments are the same. If there was no change in the world, life would be like in a deep freezer. If we had a happy thought there, then it would never change, then we would be like a happy statues experiencing only this same happiness. But we would not really like that in a world habituated to ever new objects. If we get a particular food one day, we do not want to eat the same food every day forever hereafter. We would get disgusted with the same food every day. The mind has dissatisfaction if it only has contact with the same object every day since it wants increase and variation. Mind itself is thus a process of change, anicca. Even devas, who are happy, have to change; they cannot remain the same.
There is no soul, no identity, no self, because nothing is identical from one moment to the next. But there is the echo of karmas, a process, like a river which is a flow of water that never contains the same water, but always is a flux of new water. It is not a static entity; it never comes back to what it was. Objects are always running forward in time like a river. There are individual “clumps” of processes, so in a sense there is a self, but that collective self affects the entire universe so it is inseparable and thus not a true entity
No one ever became a Buddha at the deva level. They only became a Buddha as a human. Gotama Buddha took a long time to become enlightened. He spent 6 years suffering and starving himself until he was so weak he would fall down on his nose when passing urine or excrement. This is because in an earlier life, he had once as a very proud Brahmin youth offended the prior Buddha Kassapa in a short moment of contempt calling the Buddha Kassapa a “bald-head” without apologizing. This folly kamma then led to the 6 years of suffering in the later life as Gotama Siddhartha. See:
A solid object only appears as solid, but really is moving, in blinking states like a cinema, which makes us think it as continuous. When you see a train moving on the cinema you really see 16 still pictures of the train. Quantum mechanics tells us that there is arising and ceasing, re-arising and ceasing of the natural state. This is like a quantum jump, where an electron jumps from one orbit to a new orbit without ever being in between the orbits. Quantum jumps occur not only at the microscopic level but also at the macroscopic level. When traversing a river without ever being in the middle of it, the Buddha also performed a macroscopic quantum jump! So quantum jumps are not only possible for one single particle, but also for billions of them acting synchronously. In contemporary Physics are such aggregates of particles, which all are acting as one unit simultaneously, called Bose-Einstein condensates.
With the theory of relativity, we understand that space and time are related to each other. The faster the approach of an object, the shorter will the object if measured in the direction it is going. As one approaches the speed of light, time is dilated. We live in a matrix of space-time. Space and time are one and are not continuous (constant) but are contiguous (one after the other). So the matrix is not a continuous matrix but a contiguous matrix. There are different phases of time. We are all in one phase of time, but another world or many worlds could exist in the very same location, but in a different time phase, not exactly in the same time phase as our world. Such two worlds would never interact as they basically do not exist or blink at exactly the same time. When one is in being, then the other is absent, and vice versa. Still both worlds are blinking billions of times per second and thus subjectively experienced as continuously being in existence by its inhabitants due to their slow-minded sampling of the discrete blinks of reality. In summary: Other worlds “blink” in their own time phase. These worlds or time-phases cannot interact with other worlds blinking in other time-phases, because they are not in the same time phase.
All matter is energy. The universe is made up of energy. The universe is expanding, and eventually it will contract. There is enormous mass in the universe that is not accounted for. Almost nine times the weight of the universe cannot be accounted for! This is dark energy and dark matter, but scientists do not know really what it is.
Probability and information – are they physical or mental? They are in between! They are conditional relationships. Probability is not theoretical, but is a conditional relationship. For example, rolling dice is a relationship between the dice, gravity and the table. There is a conditional relationship between everything. This mutual connectedness of all the Buddha called conditional-co-arising Paticca-Samuppada.
Mara can pull us around and can pull friends apart. Devas also pull us around. Mara is a real personality, very intelligent, very powerful and the most frightening and perverse psychopath any world ever will see! He can instantly induce a memory or craving or an idea in anybody. He cannot get pleasure by doing things himself, since he only gets pleasure, when making other people do often evil things…
World cycles are extremely long periods of time. Certain beings appear in each world cycle. Maha Brahmas and Maras appear in each world cycle. There is this regularity in the world. There is consciousness that is not created by someone else, and cannot be split into components. Observers are required for a world to exist. When the world implodes, higher Brahma levels of beings will continue. Beings of light (Brahmas) will continue with form. When there is only light then there is no distinction between radiation and color. There is social interaction between these beings. Those ‘pure abode’ beings would never again go to a human level. Higher Brahma devas do not like the smell of humans, and are repulsed by sex, similar to the way we think of pigs. They do not have gender. But lower devas can have feelings of revenge, jealousy and also enjoy sex, intoxicating drinks, games, war, etc.
There is one quantum state, wholeness, unity that could be called atman.
Because the universe is compensatory — when one thing changes, the whole universe changes in compensation. But the idea in Hinduism that one reunites with atman is not accurate. There is the sutta of Maha Brahma who was the first to appear in a universe. He had thoughts and wishes and saw other beings who fell from a higher light level, and he saw planets gradually appear, so he thought he was the creator. These devas live very long lives there, many millions or even billions of years, but they learn they are not eternal, when a Buddha teaches them about anicca. So actually a deva fooled by himself created the false idea of a first mega-creator. On an even more profound level: There is no creator, agent or actor of any action. Hate, aversion, desire, jealousy – only these mental states or conditions act; there is not a permanent ‘being’ that acts. There is no actor, no agent, no self, only some passing mental states themselves conditioned or shaped by other prior conditions. There are thus an endless row of pre-conditions existing because of past preconditions, which again are caused by other prior conditions, etc.
Samsara is thus basically a round of conditions or states conditioning new future states.
Because these mental states are impure Buddhism also call Samsara for kilesa-vatthu= the round of defilements, meaning that it is not a “being” or “entity” that is endlessly reborn, but just a bunch of mental impurities effecting and resulting in new future mental impurities! Greed causing new and more greed. Hate causing new and more hate. Ignorance causing new and more future ignorance! Not to speak of the diluted derivatives of these states such as desire, lust, envy, jealousy, anger, violence, conflict, doubt, uncertainty, hesitation, perplexity etc… Needless to say: All this is Dukkha = 1st Noble Truth!
However: Free will exists! There are certain probabilities and affinities for certain conditions, but yet there are options to choose. Any decision is not just determined destiny, 100% fixed by past conditioning, but also it is not completely random. It is something in between. There are some things that are very conditioned and fixed while others are less conditioned in a very open situation. But any Buddha is fixed in future history. That will not change, the probability is 1.0000. Metteyya Buddha and his son definitely will exist, see:
But, what he eats for dinner on some particular date in time is not (yet) fixed. Like a sponge, there are hard and soft points in the sponge. The hard points are fixed, and others are less fixed, so there is room for some free will. That is why we need to do good actions. Nihilism means that all is fixed, whatever you do does not affect the future since this future is already fixed in a rigidly cemented destiny; but this is not true. We can and thus should try to improve our and all beings future:
The experimental fact of Non-locality is the physical reason for
There are two experimenters, let’s call them Alice and Bob, who have 2 experiments to choose from. What Alice decides to do affects what Bob finds at his experiments even though he is far, far away: See: Quantum-Physicist Henry Stapp: Experimental proof of the Kammic principle:
The intentional Conscious Choice has Instantaneous Non-Local Effects!
Even if they are billions of miles away from each other!
See also: Two sides of the same Coin: Buddhism meets Science.
Secondly: Mind affects all matter and all physicality directly, instantaneously and non-locally:
If you put a physicist in a thermo-bottle, the temperature changes when he makes a decision since thermodynamic entropy is reduced. When Alice’s photon are spinning one direction and Bob’s spins in another direction, then if Alice’s photon’s spin is intentionally changed by her, then Bob’s photon’s spin is also changed, so the net change in spin is zero. This happens instantaneously even though there was no physical contact between them, and they were totally separated by hundreds of miles. If you change one, you change the other too. This is called non-locality or entanglement. For details see these videos.
Kamma = Non-local Instantaneous Quantum Entanglement is Weird!
Entanglement means that all phenomena are connected
All intentional choices have universal physical effects = Kamma!
All things, even mental things, are forms of energy. Even microscopic worms have consciousness. The Universe is one single inseparable quantum state. Therefore: Any change whatsoever, thereby including mental intentions, will affect and change the probability distribution for all future events in the entire universe instantaneously! This is basically the physical reason behind the Karmic principle. This effect happens by inducing compensatory changes, since the net universal change has to remain zero!
Atma or Paramatma is true in the sense that there is wholeness, oneness, unity, harmony, but is not a deva, deity, personality or identity, and you cannot unify with it basically since “you” and anything else, have not and never can ever be separated from this unity. So to ‘unify’ with something one is already an inseparable part of, whether by rituals, mantras, ao. superstition is utterly folly and a priori impossible!Brahmas are in the first jhana, with no physical pain, no desires for senses, but they have only higher desires for blissful meditative states of jhana.
Consciousness of the 5 senses: Only one door open at any given time:
We have awareness of each sense separately, and differently, but not simultaneously. We cannot see what is heard, cannot hear what is seen. The mind is like a door that opens for only one thing (stimulus) at a time. Nerves pulse information comes to the mind from all body parts, but the mind decides what to pay attention to. We actively form an intention to direct our attention to something. The mind always looks for something with a meaning to it. When we are hungry then we look for a certain object = food, since we expect and crave for a certain experience = taste. We thereby select the world we observe because of our desires.
Quantum mechanics is consistent with this. The observer chooses what to pay attention to and thereby selects which physical aspects should manifest out of many possible. So we are participating observers. We condition which reality will fall out exactly at the moment we intentionally choose to observe it!
American physics grand old man John Archibald Wheeler coined this the “Participatory Observer (Anthropic) Principle” on which contemporary orthodox quantum physics and Buddhism agree. For more about this, see:
There is no inconsistency whatsoever between the core doctrines of early Theravada Buddhism