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The Endless Cycles of Birth and Death

Updated: Feb 16

Why are we in the endless cycles of birth and death?


At the physical level, a birth happens due to union of our parents. At the universal level, we are involved in the process of becoming. The process of becoming is due to attachments which leave a mental impression. At the time of death, that impression pushes the consciousness in a material body where it can manifest itself. Now, what gives rise to an attachment – it is the process of liking (craving) or disliking (aversion) due to bodily sensations. The bodily sensations arise when the senses are in contact with a sense object (For example – an ear with a sound, a tongue with a taste). Bodily sensations can be pleasant, unpleasant, or neutral which arise because we have five physical senses and a mind. Our senses arise from life flow which is a flow of consciousness and matter. At the time of death, whatever is our strongest mental reaction pushes the consciousness to find an apt material body to house itself in.


Our attachments (craving or aversion) arise due to ignorance where we want more of what is pleasant, and we push away what is unpleasant. The best place to eradicate ignorance is at the sense level. Instead of attachment to craving or aversion, tell yourself that this experience will not last, and be with the present moment. If we can break the attachment, the process of becoming and cycles of birth and death stop.

 


When I am at a funeral service, I am reminded of the saying by a great Indian saint that we should live as there is nothing to be, nothing to do, and no where to go. This doesn’t mean that we don’t do anything. We simply do not cling or push away anything. Instead, we remain curious about the current moment.


This is what is asked of us if we want to break the cycles of life and death. I intend to get there in this lifetime.

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