The Continuity of Essence
That…That!…is the great secret!
If we truly took this to heart, we would never be afraid.
Our essence is constant, was never born and never dies. It just is. Through the force of karma, essence enters a physical body and confused mind, which causes the Skandhas* to be set up – form, feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness.
It is because of our karma (created by our mistaken view) that we keep popping into a body appropriate to our motivations. During the experience of the bardo (the time between death and rebirth), our karma or propensities drive us to take a certain form. This form holds together the Skandha of feeling, perception, mental formations and consciousness, experiencing all sorts of sensations.
We also arrive with certain leanings and capacities carried over from previous lives. However, all that is experienced is of a temporary nature, relative to our true nature…the continuity of essence.
At this moment, we are caught up in a chain reaction of concepts that arise and cease. We may experience hardships or joys, but all these fade at death. There is, however, some relative nature with which we are reborn. If we are practitioners, maybe it’s a sense of urgency, dignity or inability-to-fit in-ness 🙂 For ordinary people it may be a sense of panic, suspicion, competitiveness. So we are born with a nature, and enter an environment of nurture…and we get caught up again in our old ideas.
That confusion with which we are born is actually our path to enlightenment, if we could only translate what is going on. It is here that we need a teacher. We are here to learn, to discover, to realise and recognise that continuity of essence.
Now you know the secret.
These are only words.
When you question, you take the subject apart.
This leads to another question…
…and so on…
Gradually, there is nothing left to take apart
and you are left with total confidence of the continuity of essence.
Up until that moment,
you will have a residue of feelings, which are
ghosts from the past.
The Buddha taught for over forty years.
There is Buddha activity everywhere:
just look inside.
We only have to wash off the mud.
*The Skandhas (Sanskrit) are the five functions or aggregates that constitute the human being. The Buddha teaches that nothing among them is really “I” or “mine”.
The Abhidhamma describes them as a series of rapidly changing, interconnected, discrete acts of cognisance.
The sutras describe five aggregates:
Form or matter: external and internal matter. Externally, rupa is the physical world Internally, rupa includes the material body and the physical sense organs.
Sensation or feeling: sensing an object as either pleasant or unpleasant or neutral.
Perception, conception, cognition, discrimination: registers whether an object is recognised or not (for instance the sound of a bell or the shape of a tree).
Mental formations, impulses, volition, compositional factors: all types of mental habits, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices, compulsions and decisions triggered by an object.