Even then karma itself arises from a "field of reality" according to certain Buddhist teachings and that is supposedly while being the basis of all phenomena, is not in itself a phenomenon. Try getting your head around that.
That "field of reality" is, i think, what I had referred to as often called "ground of awareness" or 'alaya".
I was having this discussion with a friend who suggested that what we are taliking about
might be called 'the element of response'
(the term 'element' as in 'element of surprise', meaning a factor, rather than as something on the periodic table).
We were trying to find a common denominator,
and thought about the example of a venus fly trap, a plant that traps insects
when one lands on one of its hair-like sensors.
There is nothing that we can call cognition, as we know it,
but there is a response by a living organism to external stimuli.
This basic ground of awareness, which comes before everything else,
only manifests as cognition or as response of some type, when,
and in accordance with, the type of thing it encounters.
As an analogy, consider a food allergy, or a predisposition to alcoholism, or a mirror.
a food allergy is a preexisting condition, a basis, a context so to speak,
it only manifests as a rash or swelling when it arises along with certain foods.
Likewise, the addiction to alcohol only manifests as drunkenness when arising with alcohol.
The mirror is predisposed to reflect, but the reflection itself only occurs when an object is placed in front of it.
Likewise, this alaya, or ground of awareness,
only manifest as cognition. or thought, or sense of 'me' when arising with the conditions under which that can occur.
When it arises under the condition which produce the experience of being, say, an animal, a dog for example,/meaning that the conditions for a dog's body, sense organs and brain have come together,
then the experience of being a dog arises, or we would say,
"one is reborn as a dog"
When it arises under the conditions which produce the experience of, say, being a hungry ghost,
then the experience of being a hungry ghost asises, or we would say,
"one is reborn as a hungry ghost"
...even though, of course, there is no 'self' that is reborn.
The propensity for ground of awareness to arise with particular conditions
is basically, karma.