What is a realized element? .. and what are "chapters."
A realised element here is referring to an aggregate of store consciousness. The “chapters” means the episodes in one’s lifespan. Early chapter means when one is born into a being, end chapter means when one is departing from a being. You can refer to the following link to understand more about the different categories of consciousness in accordance with Buddhism: - http://archive.thebuddhadharma.com/issues/2006/summer/consciousness.html
Is realization a material, almost genetic thing to you?
No, the realised elements mentioned in the above illustration are not referring to a material or a genetic thing. In order for you to have a further understanding on this matter, please allow me to share my insights on Buddhism here.
Firstly, we need to explore the true meaning of Śūnyatā (voidness or emptiness) in accordance with Buddhism. The Buddha has always recommended one to see into all things as they truly are (not as they delusively are). In fact, one could begin to experience the cleansing of ignorant aspects upon seeing fully into the philosophy of emptiness. When we talk about seeing into emptiness, we talk about the progressive realisation of the mind on the reality of things. Therefore, emptiness can be realised into stages as below: -Stage 1 Elementary Realisation
• All things and phenomena are lack of core essence.
• Nothing is unchanging and permanent.
• Everything is inter-related.Stage 2 Intermediary Realisation
• Ability to differentiate the way things are perceived to exist and the way things really exist.
• Only seeing without believing.Stage 3 Advance Realisation
• No dualism of the subject and object, and no appearance of multiplicity.
• All things and phenomena rise and fall within a singular condition.
• Only uniformity exists.Stage 4 Ultimate Realisation
• All dependent arising are completely blown off or extinguished.
• No string attached, and nothing is left remaining.
• Infinite, unchanging, permanent, and unconditional.
• Exists beyond all conventional phenomena.
The ultimate realisation of emptiness by the mind would mean a phase of perfect intermediation being accomplished by the mind. A perfect intermediation would mean a comprehensive absence of any or all units under consideration. It is also known as a complete neutralisation of conditional phenomena. But an absence of any or all units under consideration is not equivalent to nothingness of any or all units under consideration.
In the Buddhist context, everything that exists is empty because there is no essence to anything and nothing has ever existed in its own quality – nothing is permanent and unchanging. All objects exist conditionally without an eternal essence. They only exist in relation to each other as appearances that in turn vary as per the perceptions of the beholders.
When we mention that every single ‘thing’ that exists is empty, it would mean the involvement of the material thing as well as the non-material thing (mental-related thing). This is the rationale for the reputed saying, ‘Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form.’
The principle in effect: seeing into form is seeing into matter, seeing into matter is seeing into energy and seeing into energy is seeing into emptiness.
It is much easier for one to comprehend the emptiness on the material things because one could see the rising (birth) and the passing (death) of these things in physical forms every time and anywhere one goes. Just like the Lego pieces or bricks that can be assembled and connected in many ways, to construct such objects as vehicles, buildings, and even working robots - anything constructed can then be taken apart again, and the pieces used to make other objects.
But for one to see the emptiness on the mental-related things such as souls, consciousness or mind-stream, one would need to a polishing skill of the mental insights. And one could develop these mental insights via deep meditations and direct experiences. Buddhism sees in the absence of eternal existence of these mental- related things just like the different forms of energy that are stagnant-less and ever transforming from one type to another at all times under the influences of conditional phenomena. For example, a flame is transferred from one candle to another, or a fire spreads from one field to another. In the same way that it depends on the original fire, there is a conditioned relationship between one life and the next; they are not identical but neither are they completely distinct.
Subsequently, the understanding on Śūnyatā or emptiness that exists on the material thing as well as the non-material thing would lead one to the understanding on Anattā or non-self (the non-ownership of self in both the physical and the mind senses.) This is the key justification for Buddhism that sees in the rebirth processes instead of the reincarnation processes in Samsāra. Reincarnation would mean trans-migration but an individual soul does not migrate from one physical body into another body in accordance with Buddhism. No, it just won’t fit at all. Every individual or thing that exists would not be the same - it could only be in a similar condition e.g. twins are similar but never the same individuals. Every individual is unique respectively and no individuals would be the same even though they do share some sort of the same genes before time.
In Buddhism, rebirth refers to evolving consciousness or stream of consciousness of a person upon death and the consciousness arising in the new person is neither identical
to, nor entirely different from
, the old consciousness, but forms part of
a causal continuum or stream with it. The basic cause for this persistent re-arising of personality is the abiding of consciousness in ignorance; when ignorance is uprooted, rebirth ceases
And it is possible for rebirth to take place from a single source into different identities at any various point of time, just like how the genetic lineage works for generations. This is how we explain the destiny of being siblings, being life partners, being close friends in one’s lifetime. Somehow or somewhere before time, the so-called relevant individuals are inter-related or derived from the similar source of predecessors. Thus in the present lifetime one has the chance to meet and know with the relevant beings and not the other non-relevant beings (the universal law of attraction taking place.)
I'm feeling like I walked into a meeting of the Church of Scientology.
I am afraid my insights on Buddhism have got nothing to do with the Church of Scientology. Frankly speaking, I have not a single idea on what this so-called new religion is all about, its truth revelations, etc. Perhaps, I would take this opportunity to share with you on the subject of seeing truths.
We have to realise that there are two sides of truth in existence i.e. the conventional truth and the ultimate truth. When addressing a problem, in the first place, we need to ensure whether our point of view is from the conventional perspective or from the ultimate perspective.
For example, from the conventional perspective, we agree that duality or multiplicity does exist. Therefore, Nibbana is a phenomenon because we are speaking as a subject on the other side of the object or matter. In other words, the subject is pondering on the object or matter - phenomenon arises. However, from the ultimate perspective, we would then agree that no duality or multiplicity arises. Therefore, Nibbana is not a phenomenon (also applies on all other things) because there is no subject to ponder on the object or matter. In other words, no phenomenon arises if we speak from the ultimate perspective.
Conventional truth is a subjective and a relative truth. This means the truth orientation is dependent on the observer (i.e. the subject’s mind) to provide with the description, definition, recognition, valuation, etc. on the other side of the object or matter. And the truth conclusion varies among different observers or minds.
Whereas, an ultimate truth is a reality that exists beyond mind and beyond concepts and words in the sense that it is beyond our usual ways of perceiving things. Language and conception only imply that things exist in distinct manners i.e. wise person, dumb person, saint, devil, etc. - in such well-defined and independent categories. Perceiving ultimate reality is seeing that things do not exist in these fantasised, impossible ways, in black and white categories.
In absence of the mind, things would appear as in the deepest facts per se i.e. no label, no boundary, no name, no activity, no shape, no description, etc. This is because there is no existence in relative to each other as appearances. An enlightened mind is able to discern the deepest fact about things in crystal clear and without hesitation after getting rid of the wave of dependent phenomenon.
The principle in effect: -If one stays on with seeing conventional truth only, one would remain in Samsāra,
If one stays on with seeing both conventional truth and ultimate truth, one has the choice of remaining either in Samsāra or Nibbana,
If one stays on with seeing ultimate truth only, one would remain in Nibbana.
Are these translations of Buddhist terms, or your own invention?
What can one see in the rebirth illustrated chart described above? Isn’t it a sheer circumstance of emptiness and connectivity of all existences – nothing arises at their own side independently.
Buddhism is a great philosophy that imparts knowledge on seeing the reality of things and happenings in our daily lives. Historical facts have shown that Prince Siddartha Gautama became the Buddha out of his vast compassion to see the end of the vicious cycle of life. And the Buddha means the ‘Awakened One’ i.e. one who sees through the ultimate reality of things and happenings. Buddhism believes in, literally, nothing. Yes, nothing! Buddhism merely involves in seeing, knowing and letting go of things or happenings. Perhaps, it is the only religion that encourages people to think and realise the truth through direct experiences instead of blind faiths.
Also, Buddhism is not about the scriptures, not about what the Buddha has said and has not said personally. Buddhism is all about the awakening state of the mind. To see the ultimate truth one has to let go the all pre-conditioning mindset. A stereotyped mindset is the key hindrance to enlightenment. On this pretext, the Buddha has recommended with the Middle Way path. Middle means neutral, upright, and centred. It means to investigate and penetrate the core of life and all things with an upright, unbiased attitude. In order to solve a problem, we shall position ourselves on neutral, upright and unbiased ground. We investigate the problem from various angles, analyse the findings, understand the truth thoroughly, and find a reasonable conclusion. In other words, it does not mean having a biased view or superficial understanding only.
In addition, the Buddha has emphasised the importance for one to utilise wisdom in all thoughts and actions. This is what he meant by wholesome thoughts or acts. The wholesome thought or acts would mean the inclusiveness in one’s thoughts or acts i.e. the totality of perspectives. The Buddha has never laid commandments that one should think or do this; never think or do that, etc. If one continues to adopt this sort of mentality, one would simply adopt the principle of ‘blind faith’ which is much on the contrary to Buddhism.
The Buddha has merely left behind guidelines (Dhamma) for one to pursue with and it would be meaningless for one to read and tag along the contents of the written texts, doctrines or sutras on Buddhism blindly without applying wisdom. These available scriptures, doctrines or sutras were merely tools for one’s Dhamma practices. And tools would remain as the tools and it would not turn a person into an enlightened being if the application is without wisdom. Also, the Buddha has recommended the establishment of the Sangha community so that any followers could interact and support each other while pursuing the guidelines of Dhamma. The Buddha has not established the various sects or schools of Buddhism as what we could see nowadays.
Once again, Buddhism is never about beliefs. Instead, it is all about direct experience and recognition. Seeing the Dhamma is seeing the Buddha – it is seeing and knowing the ultimate reality of things and happenings and not to get entangle with it. The ultimate truth does not require any labels for its revelations and therefore, one has to let go and blow away the mindset that is associated with the ‘-ism’ or ‘-ology’, for these are the systems of stereotyping or pre-conditioning. Liberation is the only right potion to the ultimate truth discovery. “If the Supreme Truth is unknown, the study of Scriptures is fruitless; and when the Supreme Truth is realised the study of Scriptures becomes fruitless.”
From Sri Sankaracharya