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Flowing and Changing Causal Conditions Are the Mother of Change

2023-04-22 19:57 From: www.xuemo.cn/en Author: Xue Mo Culture Browse: 4210930 Times

First Series: The Immutable True Characteristic



Flowing and Changing Causal Conditions Are the Mother of Change

 

Everything in the past, all time, is like flowing water. Days and nights flow along without stopping, and disappear. All things, all apparent forms, are like bubbles in water: those being born are being born, and those being extinguished are being extinguished. A batch of humans die off, and a batch of humans are born, birth and death, death and birth, like ripples of light on the surface of the water, endlessly shimmering.


If you have the habit of observing, you will certainly discover an interesting rule. What rule? You will not be able to find any material thing that exists independently, and you will not be able to find any happening that exists independently. In this world, there are no effects without causes and there are no causes without effects. Seeds that are buried in the ground perish prematurely, because they did not get the careful attention of the person doing the sowing. Those that died prematurely are no longer seeds, but become part of the nutrients in the soil.

The world constantly flows on like this, with one thing linked to another, endlessly cycling. Therefore, it is not as it superficially appears to be, composed of countless independent entities. Sometimes what seems to be an inadvertent choice may take the little boat of your life and lead it into a totally different harbor. People call this law “the domino effect” or “the butterfly effect.” Buddhists call it "causal conditioning." The continuity of causal conditioning is the basis of the continuous flowing changes of life: it is precisely the causal conditioning that creates each and every transformation.

There is a song lyric that says:" If there is a causal connection, they will come a thousand miles to meet. If there is no causal connection, they can be face to face and it will be hard to join hands." This expresses the true characteristic of the world very well. What true characteristic? Everything in the world, reasonable or not, is the result of the coming together of causal conditions. Without the coming together of causal conditions, there would be no appearing of apparent forms. On the other hand, once causal conditions disintegrate, apparent forms disappear along with them. Moreover, this disappearing of an apparent form also implies the birth of another apparent form. This is because often it is the dissolution of one set of causal conditions that is the beginning of another set of causal conditions. This is the law of motion of the whole world. When we genuinely understand "causal conditions," we understand what impermanence is.

Let me give a simple example. If you do not like rainy weather, you will feel that when it rains it is troublesome, and it will bring you a lot of annoyances: your shoes will always get wet, and the clothes you have washed cannot dry. But if every day you are sharing an umbrella with your girlfriend and strolling along together in the rain, enjoying the romance of the rain, then you will surely not complain.

There is a song lyric that says:" If there is a causal connection, they will come a thousand miles to meet. If there is no causal connection, they can be face to face and it will be hard to join hands." This expresses the true characteristic of the world very well. What true characteristic? Everything in the world, reasonable or not, is the result of the coming together of causal conditions. Without the coming together of causal conditions, there would be no appearing of apparent forms. On the other hand, once causal conditions disintegrate, apparent forms disappear along with them. Moreover, this disappearing of an apparent form also implies the birth of another apparent form. This is because often it is the dissolution of one set of causal conditions that is the beginning of another set of causal conditions. This is the law of motion of the whole world. When we genuinely understand "causal conditions," we understand what impermanence is.

Let me give a simple example. If you do not like rainy weather, you will feel that when it rains it is troublesome, and it will bring you a lot of annoyances: your shoes will always get wet, and the clothes you have washed cannot dry. But if every day you are sharing an umbrella with your girlfriend and strolling along together in the rain, enjoying the romance of the rain, then you will surely not complain.

The fifth is the six sense organs: we get information about the external world through the six sense faculties-eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and conceptual mind, and we use this to know the world.

The sixth is contact: awareness of contact, and the feelings that take shape instantaneously from contact.

The seventh is sensation: getting sensation, receiving certain feelings or certain results.

The eighth is craving: greedy desire, becoming besotted with certain feelings or emotions, and being unwilling to let go.

The ninth is attachment: pursuing desires and seeking more and more.

The tenth is being: possessing or existing; this kind of possessing or existing is empty and illusory and impermanent, and corresponds to the beginning of the operation of (causal conditions) coming together.

The eleventh is birth: empty, illusory, impermanent appearance, birth, production.

The twelfth is old age and death: the changes that happen to things and events and apparent forms, when the causal conditions that created them dissolve and scatter.

It is said:“ Ignorance conditions action, action conditions consciousness, consciousness conditions name and form, name and form condition the six sense organs, the six sense organs condition contact, contact conditions sensation, sensation conditions craving, craving conditions attachment, attachment conditions being, being conditions birth, and birth conditions old age and death.” This means that our ignorance brings about all sorts of actions, words, and states of consciousness, and these things form our understanding of the whole world. After a long time, this understanding becomes set concepts and biased perceptions. When you contact the world through the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, and conceptual mind, you will be under the influence of set concepts and biased perceptions, and you will generate biased perceptions of the world. Your biased perceptions will influence the feelings you get when you come in contact with things and events. When you crave these feelings, you want to hold onto them, and you even want to get more of them. So then, you will be impelled by desires to make choices that bring along the biased perceptions, and these choices will produce a result. But at the same time this result is produced, it also implies that it will change, following changes in the foregoing causal elements.

This process is like a cotton thread soaked in gasoline: once you light the end of the “cotton thread," that is, use wisdom to see through ignorance, the flame will keep on spreading, and incinerate the whole thread till there is nothing left. At this point, your mind will be set free from the endless cycling. As it is said: “When ignorance is extinguished, action is extinguished; when action is extinguished, consciousness is extinguished, when consciousness is extinguished, name and form are extinguished; when name and form are extinguished, the six sense organs are extinguished: when the six sense organs are extinguished, contact is extinguished; when contact is extinguished, sensation is extinguished: when sensation is extinguished, craving is extinguished; when craving is extinguished, attachment is extinguished; when attachment is extinguished, being is extinguished; when being is extinguished, birth is extinguished; when birth is extinguished, old age and death are extinguished."


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