The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

94 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGa previous universe. So there is a constant cycle, in which the universeevolves and disintegrates, and then comes back again intobeing.Now mind is very similar. The fact that we possess somethingcalled "mind" or "consciousness" is quite obvious, since our experiencetestifies to its presence. Then it is also evident, again from ourown experience, that what we call "mind" or "consciousness" issomething which is subject to change when it is exposed to differentconditions and circumstances. This shows us its moment-to-momentnature, its susceptibility to change.Another fact that is obvious is that gross levels of "mind" or"consciousness" are intimately linked with physiological states of thebody, and are in fact dependent on them. But there must be somebasis, energy, or source which allows mind, when interacting withmaterial particles, to be capable of producing conscious living beings.just like the material plane, this too must have its continuum inthe past So if you trace our present mind or consciousness back,then you will find that you are tracing the origin of the continuityof mind, just like the origin of the material universe, into an infinitedimension; it is, as you will see, beginningless.Therefore there must be successive rebirths that allow that continuumof mind to be there.Buddhism believes in universal causation, that everything issubject to change, and to causes and conditions. So there is noplace 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 itsprevious instants.When we talk of causes and conditions, there are two principaltypes: 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 theother, one cannot become the substance of the other... Mind andmatter, although dependent on one another, cannot serve as substantialcauses for each other.This is the basis on which Buddhism accepts rebirth. 12Most people take the word "reincarnation" to imply there issome "thing" that reincarnates, which travels from life to life.But in Buddhism we do not believe in an independent andunchanging entity like a soul or ego that survives the death ofthe body. What provides the continuity between lives is notan entity, we believe, but the ultimately subtlest level of consciousness.The Dalai Lama explains:

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