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18. Rebirth Is Just a Concept
In the relative plane, you are the conscious presence and not the phenomenal presence which is the body-mind complex. The so-called individual is 'born' when this consciousness, feeling the need for some support, gives up its unlimited potential and incarcerates itself in the limitation of a particular body, and then mistakenly identifies itself with that body. In the absence of the body, the consciousness cannot be conscious of itself, for then it is no longer manifest. When that is so, then what were you before the body and consciousness came upon you spontaneously?
Before the body-consciousness state arose, 'you' must have been absence rather than presence. For presence to appear it can do so only on a background of total absence. That absolute absence is the 'you' on which the body-consciousness state was superimposed. That is your true original state, free of all conceptualizations. On the original state of total absence spontaneously a speck of consciousness arose - the thought 'I am' manifested itself in a body. Then, on the original state of unity and wholeness arose the duality of subject-object, right and wrong, pure and impure, reasoning, comparing, judging, etc... all the various aspects of the conceptualizing mind. But 'you' remain, prior to all conceptualizations. What you appear to be as a phenomenon is nothing but a concept. But what you really are is free of all concepts. 'You' cannot be comprehended, for in that state of total absence, of non-conceptuality, there is no one to comprehend and conceptualize who you really are or what you really are. There there is no beingness, no existence, only the noumenal potential of Absolute Awareness, complete and full in itself, without needs of any kind, including the need to know itself.
Instead of the natural process of manifestation taking place, in other words, instead of a phenomenon coming into appearance as merely a manifested image of the unmanifested noumenon, an apparently independent phantom-self gets created which appears to have an autonomous existence. This phantom not only is supposed to be born, to live, to suffer and to die, but also to have the choice of decision and action, and, therefore, to be involved in the process of causality and Karma. Once the mistaken identification with this pseudo-entity has taken place, then it gets loaded up with the concept of having to experience the resultant effects of all its imagined volitional actions - in other words, it is supposed to become subject to Karma, to bondage and to rebirth; and then, eventually, the entity, seeking relief from its suffering, appears to seek an imagined 'liberation'. But, at no time has this shadow-phenomenon ever existed separate from its substance-noumenon; there was never an independent entity doing and suffering and seeking liberation.
It is like the play of wavelets arising on the smooth surface of a calm ocean after the wind spontaneously comes up...the wavelets may think that they exist separate from the water, they may imagine that they are performing independent actions and that they have to experience the imagined consequences of these actions, and that periodically they are being dissolved and reborn again as wavelets taking on specific forms in relation to these past actions. Finally, to escape their misery, they may yearn to merge and become one again with the water, and be liberated from their imagined existence separate from the water... but this is all just a silly mistake. When it is seen in the light of truth, one realizes immediately that the whole concept of rebirth is sheer nonsense; it is just the product of the obfuscating imagination of the mind, seeking to explain a mistaken notion by propounding a further mistaken notion. Wavelets are always water, and phenomena are always noumenon, the unchanging Absolute, which, without being in any way affected, appears in form as images that rise and set in the play of consciousness.
You are the timeless, spaceless, imperceptible being, and not what appears as a separate object... time-bound, finite and perceptible to the senses. 'Bondage' arises because you have forgotten your real being, the noumenon, and you identify yourself with the body, the phenomenon. But 'bondage' is not caused merely by identification with the body, which as an instrument is necessary for consciousness to remain in manifestation. Body and consciousness are naturally bound together and remain inextricably linked until the life-breath leaves the body at death, and the consciousness is released from its phenomenal form. What causes 'bondage' is not the association of the body with consciousness, but the imagined conception of an independent, autonomous entity which assumes doership, and takes responsibility for actions and their consequences. It is the apparent volition that brings into motion the process of causality and Karma, and thereby,of bondage. Since the phenomenon is always integrally latent in the noumenon, the misidentification should really not arise at all. But it comes about because the noumenon appears to manifest itself into separate phenomenal objects. These objects then, having gained sentience from their association with consciousness, appear to perceive each other and relate to each other as the cognizer and the cognized, or as subject and object; in that way, a false dichotomy arises. It is because of this subjective function as subject or cognizer, that the illusion of an independent and autonomous 'self' with volition and choice, comes in. This phantom-entity then further pursues the principle of dualism by comparing, choosing and making judgments between the different objects from the standpoint of the various interrelated opposites like right and wrong, good and bad, acceptable and not acceptable. And in that way the illusion of duality becomes deeply embedded. But both this subject and its objects are just objects... interdependent, and existing only in the consciousness within which all manifestation takes place... in the same way that the subject and objects of the dream are both images projected and appearing in consciousness.
You are neither the limited dream objects nor the limited dream ego. In relativity, you are the totality of the dream, you are the consciousness through which all manifestation appears. But in truth, you are that which remains when this consciousness and all its busy-making disappears. Only when the false is seen as false and is removed, will the truth shine forth. Eliminate the false and what remains is true.
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