Wednesday, June 5, 2013

On The Notion Of A Soul Leaving The Body


On the notion of a soul leaving the body, Thusness commented in 2006:

"From a conventional point of view, it is. If we feel, see, hear and think in terms of entity, then it seems that there is a self leaving the body. This is because all along, we experience all phenomenon appearances as solid things existing independently. Such conventional mode of comprehending our meditative experiences masked the true character of these experiences.

If we treat consciousness to be an atomic-like-particle residing in our body somewhere, then we are making it as a self too. Do not do that. The true character of Consciousness is not a thing, it does not enter, leave, reside within or outside the body. Clear Luminosity is bonded by karmic propensities, causes and conditions. There is no need for a place within. Yes, there is a mental phenomenon arising but the sensation of entering and leaving is the result of associating it with a self. Just like it is illusionary to see a self succeeding from moment to moment, an entrance and exit is equally illusionary.

Mystical experiences are extremely crucial during the journey of enlightenment. Do not discard them unwisely but assign them correct places. These experiences loosen karmic bonds that latent deep down in our consciousness where it is almost impossible to break through ordinary means. It is an essential condition for the awakening of penetrating insight. The main different between non Buddhist and Buddhist practitioners is that transcendental and mystical experiences are not molded into a self but correctly understood and purified with the wisdom of emptiness. This applies true to the Luminous Clarity Knowingness that is non-dual, it is not wrongly personified into Brahman. In perfect clarity, there are no praises for radiance bright, only the Dharma is in sight. The wisdom of emptiness is so deep and profound that even if one has entered the realm of non-dual, he/she will still not be able to grasp its essence in full. This is the wisdom of the Blessed One. The second level of Presence."

"...When observing moment to moment changes, it is almost natural to conclude this way. There must be an unchanging observer observing change is a logical deduction. It is the result of the lightning flash changes, logical deduction and memories that create the impression of an unchanging entity. There is continuity, but continuity with an unchanging entity is not necessary."

On feeling lightness and experiencing astral traveling:

"My own experience is that the density of the body seems to change. Years ago I experienced the phenomena of astral traveling. During this experience you have the feeling of leaving the coarser body and floating. At some stage you have to return to the body, and the feeling is not very pleasant. You are going from a feeling of freedom and lightness back into what feels like cold, dense, clay. This clay is the collective emotions, experiences, and holding of the body. After some AMness has fallen away, the body feels lighter and less dense. You just keep feeling lighter and freer."

The density and lightness is the weight of losing her identification with certain aspect of the self. The power of this identification cannot be underestimated.

Next is her experience of astral traveling, if she is in a stage of absorption and then out of a sudden awareness, the eyes of awareness may allow her to witness something that is altogether different from the physical place but this does not necessary mean that consciousness has left and re-enter the body. Consciousness is propelled by causes and conditions. According to her conditions of absorption and clarity, just IS.

But then everyone has their own experiences. Just my 2 cents. " ~
Interesting site about stages of progress -
May not be a Buddhist site.. But I think it is interesting... Moderators pls remove it if it is not appropriate. thanks.
Like ·  · Unfollow Post · Share · February 26 at 4:15pm near Brisbane, Queensland
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Logan Truthe, Rita Friedman and 4 others like this.

Soh: Jackson shared OBE experiences with me so I was reminded of this topic.
February 26 at 4:24pm · Like

Logan Truthe: " The main different between non Buddhist and Buddhist practitioners is that transcendental and mystical experiences are not molded into a self but correctly understood and purified with the wisdom of emptiness." So true
February 26 at 4:41pm · Like

Ville Räisänen: Like this. I had first OBE while ago and see how it can really feel like somekind of "Self". Also this is a good part: "After some AMness has fallen away, the body feels lighter and less dense. You just keep feeling lighter and freer". This is my situation. Body looses the tension and gets more freedom. It feels really good, leads to deeper meditation states. Not hard to see at all people, including me, making mistakes on indentifying into some lighter or more free.
February 27 at 4:50pm · Like · 1

Rita Friedman: Thank you for this Soh. It was perfectly timed for when it needed to be heard  
February 28 at 8:03am · Like

Jackson Peterson: Soh, this was a nice read... In all Tibetan Buddhist traditions there is much teaching and practice in how to exit your body at death. The Tibetan Book of the Dead discusses this also. The general tradition is called "Phowa", the transference of consciousness teachings. One practices ejecting one's aware-consciousness-mind out the top of the head at the fontanelle. What leaves the body is the "continuum" that re-incarnates from life time to life. They also sometimes teach a method of leaving your own body and taking over the body of another who is either alive or has just died.

So the question is: What is this "continuum"? It appears to move and travel and has perceptual and knowing abilities without the body. In the case of a Buddha, it does the same as a Tulku. So its not about a belief in a "self". Its a permanent continuum, that has no permanent aspect itself. It always has a quality of awareness, and sometimes that awareness is awake to its intrinsic nature and sometimes not. The Buddha is this "continuum" as well.
February 28 at 3:58pm · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: A permanent continuum would be eternalism.
February 28 at 6:04pm · Like

Din Robinson: any idea we would have about this continuum would be just that, just an idea, just a label, just a limitation (of our own understanding)
March 1 at 8:57am · Like

Kyle Dixon: Which is why a freedom from extremes is a dharma cornerstone.
March 1 at 11:28am · Like

Greg Goode: In the Gelug tradition, it is not a gapless, permanent continuum, but an imputation placed upon the aggregates. Even the physical aggregate of "form" takes on a non-physical aspect between lives. In that school (Gelugpa), what transmigrates is surprisingly analogous to what is called a "being" on the physical plane - but more like a non-physical subset of the aggregates. But it is very important to the Gelugs to say that there is no substantial or substratum-like awareness spread out between the other aggregates, linking them together.

One thing that interests me is about the overall view of rebirth in general. Most of the Buddhists I know living in Western countries just don't believe in it. This includes scholars and translators, members of sanghas I know, as well as members of the facebook groups that I participate in. Even folks who love the Buddhist emptiness teachings choose to ignore or reinterpret the parts that talk about karma, cause+effect, transmigration between lives.... Thee are Buddhists, but Western Buddhists. Buddhism will probably morph as it gets more accepted in the West. And of course people will morph too....

Have others noticed this?
March 1 at 11:59am · Edited · Like · 1

Kyle Dixon: Pretty sure only Yogacara is the only Buddhist tradition which reifies a substratum and posits a gapless permanent continuum.
March 1 at 12:33pm · Like

Jackson Peterson: Most interesting Greg Goode! From the Dharmakaya view there is no transmigration or reincarnation. However, materialists and others that deny a spiritual dimension of Mind, are not seeing from the Dharmakaya view. They are seeing from a perspective that simply lacks that particular personal experience and information. Through deeper methods of investigation, that may involve energy transformations regarding the subtle body, new vistas of information become accessible. These Western Buddhists are not accessing this reservoir of transcendental information, (Gnosis) because of their attachments to intellectual grasping. However the Gelugpas have a strong tantric tradition that allows access and requires cessation of all intellectual analysis. The Dalai Lama in his book "Dzogchen" clarifies brilliantly and reconciles the apparent divergent views amongst Gelugpa, Kagyupa, Nyingmapa and Sakyapa. He also addresses perfectly the topics of "continuum" and what reincarnates. Have you read that book?
March 1 at 1:00pm via mobile · Like

Soh: A continuum is not a problem as long as we understand it to be conventional and empty of some unchanging self. A mindstream or continuum is simply a flow driven by karma/conditions, not a fixed changeless identity.

""There can be, monk," said the Blessed One. "In that case, monk, someone does not have this view: "The Universe is the self. That I shall be after death; permanent, stable, eternal, immutable; eternally the same shall I abide in that very condition". He then hears a Perfect One expounding the Teachings for the removal of all Grounds for Views, of all prejudices, obsessions, dogmas and biases; for the stilling of all kamma processes, for the relinquishing of all substrata of existence, for the extirpation of craving, for dispassion, cessation, Nibbana. He then does not think: 'I shall be annihilated, I shall be destroyed! No longer shall I exist!' Hence he does not grieve, is not depressed and does not lament; he does not beat his breast, nor does he weep and no dejection befalls him. Thus, monks, is there absence of anxiety about realities, in the internal"."


Open Way Zen
Provides access to information about the not for profit organisation supporting the Australian teachings of Zen Master Hogen Yamahata
March 1 at 3:10pm via mobile · Like · 2 · Remove Preview

Wayne Yap Sin Wei: change is the only constant. impermanence is neither annihilationism nor eternalism.
March 1 at 9:11pm · Edited · Like

Jackson Peterson: The Dalai Lama says in many places the "continuum" is permanent. It has no cause, is unborn, which he calls the permanent Mind of Clear Light. Its not dependently originated. Its not originated. He defines it as ultimately emptiness, aware and continuous. However it does have substance as the awareness is never devoid of its energy or luminosity which is always changing. It reincarnates and inhabits the various six realms as well as the Buddha Realms. When you begin to remember your past lives clearly and see how they relate to who you are today, then you know. Reincarnation is not a belief any more than chemistry is.
March 10 at 12:47pm · Like

Soh: What the Dalai Lama calls the 'subtle clear light' is indeed non-arising like anything and everything due to its empty nature, but in emptiness teachings we do not treat it as having some special or ultimate status of being a 'powerful, independent, subjective, completely ruling entity'.

It is never lost but is seen as a stream... as the Dalai Lama considers that this clear light mind is "permanent not in the sense of not disintegrating moment by moment but in the sense that its continuum is no interrupted…" ( In other words this mind of Clear Light, which is pure Knowingness and luminosity as described there, is not unchanging as a static substratum but as an uninterrupted flow like a mighty river. Luminosity will never be lost, so it is like a vajra (diamond), but not in the sense of a substantiated entity. It is not a background source behind manifestation but we see that the source is in fact manifestation itself - it is the flow of knowing without knower, in all manifestation and differentiation we experience the same taste of luminosity and emptiness.

Elsewhere such as - the Dalai Lama furthermore clarifies the non-independent, causal nature of clear light.

Geoff (jnana/nana) from Dharmawheel sums up this view:

"...For example, Sajjana's Mahāyānottaratantraśāstropadeśa equates tathāgatagarbha with luminous mind, and then explains that although this luminous nature is not-conditioned (unlike ordinary states of mind that are contingent upon the four conditions), the luminous nature arises due to the previous moment of that same luminous mind. Shakya Chogden has a similar understanding, stating that although the tathāgatagarbha is often said to be permanent, etc., "that is also done in terms of its continuum. Otherwise, [it should] be [understood as] impermanent, precisely because of having an immediately preceding condition [deriving] from [its previous] moment."

"...Again, Tibetan commentators such as Go Lotsawa maintain that space is also momentary. Relying on the Dharmadharmatāvibhāgavṛtti, he states:

It is not the case that space that exists only as enclosed space does not partake of the nature of momentariness along a continuum. If you take time into account here, space at the beginning of an eon (kalpa) is not the [same] space at the time of [its] destruction. In terms of location, the substance that exists as the enclosed space of a golden receptacle is not that which exists as the enclosed space of an earthen receptacle.

He then applies this analysis of space to the buddha element:

Likewise, a moment in the continuation of a continuum having the quality of the [buddha] element's awareness of sentient beings is not a moment in the wisdom of a buddha. Notwithstanding, in the same way as the existence of the enclosed space of a golden and earthen receptacle is not different in terms of type (rigs), the nonconceptuality of a buddha and the nonconceptuality of sentient beings are of a very similar type." .

Dalai Lama on the Clear Light « Dream Yoga
“According to Dam-tsik-dor-jay, a Mongolian from Kalka, when the [tantric] view of the Great Perfection is taught, it also is divided into two categories, objective and subjective. The former can be understood in the vocabulary of the New Translation Schools [Kagyud, Sakya, & Gelug], just explained,...[Preview cut off]
March 10 at 5:47pm · Like · Remove Preview

Dannon Flynn: Din Robinson, when people are talking about something I don't understand, I wouldn't say that it is merely an "idea" that limits understanding. These are valuable pointers, pointing ahead. Try to understand these "ideas" so they become more than merely "ideas". They can become a basis for further insights if you don't dismiss them. 

It seems like people here are debating ideas, and yes, they are. But it is a very subtle point that has lots of facets that it is easy to become confused. In fact, we are all confused by it until we are Buddhas. Hence looking to the teachings to clarify our understanding. The Buddha was quite a guy, more than an Einstein!
March 10 at 7:34pm · Edited · Like · 1

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