a previous universe. So there is a constant cycle, in which the universe

evolves and disintegrates, and then comes back again into


Now mind is very similar. The fact that we possess something

called "mind" or "consciousness" is quite obvious, since our experience

testifies to its presence. Then it is also evident, again from our

own experience, that what we call "mind" or "consciousness" is

something which is subject to change when it is exposed to different

conditions and circumstances. This shows us its moment-to-moment

nature, its susceptibility to change.

Another fact that is obvious is that gross levels of "mind" or

"consciousness" are intimately linked with physiological states of the

body, and are in fact dependent on them. But there must be some

basis, energy, or source which allows mind, when interacting with

material particles, to be capable of producing conscious living beings.

just like the material plane, this too must have its continuum in

the past So if you trace our present mind or consciousness back,

then you will find that you are tracing the origin of the continuity

of mind, just like the origin of the material universe, into an infinite

dimension; it is, as you will see, beginningless.

Therefore there must be successive rebirths that allow that continuum

of mind to be there.

Buddhism believes in universal causation, that everything is

subject to change, and to causes and conditions. So there is no

place given to a divine creator, nor to beings who are self-created;

rather everything arises as a consequence of causes and conditions.

So mind, or consciousness, too comes into being as a result of its

previous instants.

When we talk of causes and conditions, there are two principal

types: substantial causes, the stuff from which something is produced,

and cooperative factors, which contribute towards that causation.

In the case of mind and body, although one can affect the

other, one cannot become the substance of the other... Mind and

matter, although dependent on one another, cannot serve as substantial

causes for each other.

This is the basis on which Buddhism accepts rebirth. 12

Most people take the word "reincarnation" to imply there is

some "thing" that reincarnates, which travels from life to life.

But in Buddhism we do not believe in an independent and

unchanging entity like a soul or ego that survives the death of

the body. What provides the continuity between lives is not

an entity, we believe, but the ultimately subtlest level of consciousness.

The Dalai Lama explains:

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