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Thursday, December 27, 2012

We Are Recycled Consciousness.

We are recycled consciousness expressing itself in infinite forms. Science tells us that we are social creatures. We need others to survive in this world of suffering. Buddhism explains this bond as interconnection and co-arising. We are all one. To quote the Heart Sutra, "form is emptiness and emptiness is form." Thich Nhat Hanh uses the example of waves in the ocean.

We are all apart of a great, infinite, ocean of consciousness. In other words, we all share a similar human consciousness that interconnects us. As individuals, we are the wave that arises from the wider ocean of consciousness. We are both the wave and the ocean. We are both individuals, and a collective consciousness. This is the Buddhist belief of co-arising. To quote Buddha, "All things appear and disappear because of the concurrence of causes and conditions. Nothing ever exists entirely alone; everything is in relation to everything else."

In each new birth, our karma determines the particular form of our wave rising from the greater ocean of consciousness.

~i bow to the buddha within all beings~

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Farmer monk said...

Can you say more about being individuals and sharing collective consciousness?

Does that mean we have an individual consciousness and a collective consciousness?

And if so, where does alayavijana fit into this.

I'm asking from the sticky heart of yogacara- if this is a mind-only conscious construction, and all objects are projected, am I projecting you while you project me and we both project Mt. Fuji?

Palms together,

CJ said...

Thank you for the reminder. Thay is a true gift and was my introduction to the Dharma. Just watched this beautiful talk last night:

centripidy said...

Lovely Karma graphic.

Hanzze B said...

Nice ideas, but actually that is more Hinduism or externalism as one could call Buddha-Dharma.

Here are some explainings which are maybe useful to understand the reason for such ideas as well as the way out:

We well, and take care of the drugdealers.

Roger (Dr Roger Prentice) said...

Hi James

Thanks for developing this great blog.

'We Are Re-cycled Consciousness.' I felt was a very stimulating piece.

I am relatively new to Thich Nhat Hanh and am much drawn toward him, his teachings and community.

1) I am interested in seeing what light we get from juxtaposing teachings from two or more great teachers.

The illusion of separate independent existence (the ego) is the cause of our sufferings. Eckhart Tolle is very good on this subject as well as Buddhist teachings.

We are only the wave if we are feeling our ego - is there not a positive side to the Universe's creative in making you you or me me?

Baha'i teachings for example suggested that we have a positive identity through which when released from this world we communicate with other souls. If this is the case then individuation as ego or lower self is not the same as individuation as such. We then have a positive individuation as well as a lower-self/ego.

Self-abnegation is not unique-self destroyed - it is a dissolving of the ego.

Co-arising presupposes continued existence of two-ness - as well as the One in which two-ness disappears.

What do you think as someone guided by Thay?

2) I'm a bit hazy about the ocean of consciousness. Is it the same as collective unconscious? Or simply the reality of the human spirit

3) My take on reincarnation is this. Every time we smile, take a breath or proceed mindfully we are reborn. We either get to do this practice or neglect it.

Our Karma is created by our turning to the light - or not. But no seed ever re-becomes a tree, no baby ever re-enters the womb. However the admixtures of good qualities and virtues can be passed on - and are themselves qualities of the ocean of consciousness.

I would love to hear your views.

I have just realized that 'i bow to the buddha in all beings' is much the same as Namaste! (Awakening is incremental as well as a 'shazam' experience - at least for some of us!)

All good wishes


my blog of blogs is and the dedicated blog to interfaith inter-spirituality is (early days)

They call him James Ure said...

@Farmer Monk...Personally, I think that there is no individual consciousness. In the sense of a separate "soul" or being.

What we sense as a "soul" is essentially the collective consciousness experiencing itself in infinite ways determined by karmic energy. I don’t know about alayavijana, nor am I familiar with yogacara enough to answer you on those points. Perhaps you could clarify it further? Sorry.

@CJ…I adore Thay, thank-you.

@Centripidy…me too!!

@Hanzze B…I tried to read your blog via the link you provided. Unfortunately, the translation from German to English wasn’t very good on my computer. So, I didn’t understand much of it.

Can you be a bit more specific on what you mean when you say these ideas are Hinduist and not Buddhist? What ideas? Do you mean the idea of rebirth, or the idea that we are a collective consciousness experiencing itself in infinite ways? Thanks.

@Roger…Thanks for the compliment on the blog!! Thay is the best Dharma teacher that I have found. I find he can explain Buddhism to the western mind better than most. As for your comments, I’ll address each one separately:

1). I believe that there can be a positive side to the expression of the individual, as we experience in this life. However, I do not believe in the existence of a separate soul. My understanding of co-arising is that there is no continued existence of two-ness, but only the One, experiencing itself infinitely.

I liken it to holding a blanket open across my arms. The blanket is “The One” or the collective consciousness. If I push up on the blanket in one section, a blanket-shaped bulge appears—now imagine innumerable bulges. Those bulges are us. So we are still unique “bulges” but we are all interconnected by the same consciousness, so that we aren’t truly alone or separate. We are separate but the same.

Now, I do believe that there is a positive side to being a “bulge” (or, self-projection) such as interaction with others on a more defined scale, but overall, the idea of a separate self, or soul is not something I would ascribe to.

2). I would say that the ocean of consciousness is the same as the collective consciousness.

3). I see it slightly differently...Rebirth and Reincarnation are two distinct concepts. Reincarnation is the belief in a separate soul being reborn again as the same soul, in a new life. As one blogger says, It’s like changing clothes.

Rebirth, however, does not involve a “soul" or separate individual. “When we light one candle from another candle, no substance or soul travels from one to the other, even though the first is the cause of the second.”

Your example that every time we smile, or take a breath, we are reborn? That’s what I would call rebirth--from moment to moment you are not even the same person. Every thought is different, every cell in your body is changing. In about six years, every cell in your body right now will be replaced by new ones. You will be an entirely new person, yet you are still you.

I believe that when we die, our karmic energy fades back into the collective consciousness. However, as science tells us, energy never is destroyed, it merely changes form.

Thus, eventually, our karma is reformed and transformed into a new “bulge” in the blanket of consciousness and continues on from there.

That "new bulge" is still connected to the "blanket" or, collective consciousness, so we never truly die, in the Earthly sense. However, the "new bulge" is, at the same time, also a separate existence from the previous life or "bulge."

As determined by our ever changing karma. We are different in each new life because our karma has changed with each death.

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