How can we know it is like this?
Because other than this there isn't anything at all. (FAS–Oct. 5-6, 1975)
The Buddha taught that there is no creator God, and he never indicated that there was any beginning to the Universe. Individual World Systems do go through cycles of coming into being, developing, decaying and disappearing; however, the cycles are the direct result of the complex Net of Karmic causes planted by the living beings within the World Systems.
fundamentally, the entire Conditioned World as such – seen as an endless series of transformations of matter-energy-Mind taking place through time – is unreal. To talk about the coming into being of something that has no reality makes little sense. Therefore, the Buddha was not concerned with the question of whether the illusions of living beings had a beginning, since the whole question of 'beginning' belongs to the Realm of illusion. He taught that the primary issue is the permanent ending of those illusions, so that they no longer arise.
In the Shurangama Sutra, when talking with his Disciple Ananda about the nature of Seeing, the Buddha uses the analogy of a person afflicted with glaucoma to elucidate the True nature of our experience of the World:
What is meant by the false Seeing based on individual Karma? Ananda,it is just as a person in the World with glaucoma of the eye. At night he alone sees around a lamp a circular image composed of the Five colors and their various combinations. What do you think? Are the colors in the circle of light that appears around the lamp at night an aspect of the lamplight, or are the colors an aspect of the Seeing? Ananda, if the colors were an aspect of the lamplight, then why wouldn't they also be seen by someone without glaucoma? Why is it only the one with glaucoma who sees the circular image? If the colors were an aspect of the Seeing, the Seeing would already have created the colors; then how would we account for the fact that only the person with glaucoma sees a circular image? Further, Ananda, if the circular image existed separately from the lamp, then when the person looked around him at a folding screen, a curtain, a table, or a mat, there would be circular images around them too. If the image existed separately from the Seeing, it would not be seen by the eyes. How then would the person with glaucoma see the circular image with his eyes? Therefore, you should know that the colors are actually in the lamplight, while the diseased Seeing makes an image out of them. The image and the Seeing of it are both due to the glaucoma, What sees the glaucoma is not diseased. Thus you should certainly not say that the colors are an aspect only of the lamplight or that they are an aspect only of the Seeing, nor yet that they are not an aspect only of the lamplight or that they are not an aspect only not of the Seeing. It is like the Second moon, which is not a substance, and yet which is not an image. Why? The observation of the Second moon is brought about by pressure.
A wise person would not say that what is derived from pressure on the eyes is the moon or is not the moon, nor that it is apart from the Seeing or apart from the no Seeing. The same is True of the image. It is brought about by the glaucoma of the eye. Can you say now that it is an aspect only of the lamplight or an aspect only of the Seeing? You cannot. Even less can you distinguish it as neither an aspect of the lamplight nor an aspect of the Seeing… Ananda, when the living being whose false Seeing is based on individual Karma sees the circular image appearing around the lamp, it seems to be an external object, but in fact what is seen is brought about by the glaucoma in the eyes. The glaucoma exerts a stress on the Seeing. It is not created from the colors. But what sees the glaucoma is not defective. For example, you now make use of your eyes to look at mountains, rivers, countries, and all living beings: all are brought about, since time without beginning, by the disease in your Seeing. (SS, BTTS draft tr.)
According to the Buddha, Human beings were not created by a creator God, nor are they the result of a long process of evolution, as suggested by Darwinian and Neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory. According to the Buddha's teaching, there have always been people, though not necessarily on this planet. The appearance of physical Human Bodies in any particular location begins with the mental generation of “Human Karma”. Mind, not physical body, is primary in that process. Human beings are not inDependent of the other forms of sentient life in the Universe and can be reborn in others of the Six Paths of Rebirth (see entry). Likewise, other sentient beings can be reborn as Human beings. What is ultimately real about all living beings is their Buddha Nature (see entry), and that cannot be created or destroyed.
“At the very beginning, before Heaven and Earth came into being, there weren't any people. There was no Earth, no living beings, nor anything called a World. Basically none of those things existed at all. And then, at the outset of the Kalpa when things were coming into being, people gradually came to exist. Ultimately, where do they come from? Some say that people evolved from monkeys. But what do the monkeys evolve from? If people evolved from monkeys, then why are there no people evolving from monkeys right now? This is really strange. people who propagate this kind of theory basically don't have any understanding. They are just trying to set up some special theory. And so there is the theory of evolution which says that people came from monkeys. Why couldn't it be the case that people evolved from mice? Or caterpillars? Why couldn't we say the mice evolved from people or that caterpillars evolved from people? In general, there can be said to be Four kinds of beings – flying, swimming, walking, and plants. Those with blood and Breath are called animals, and plants refers to all kinds of grasses, trees, and flowers. Where do all those Four kinds of beings come from? What is their Origin? Their Origin is the Buddha Nature. If there was no Buddha Nature, everything would be annihilated. The Buddha Nature is the only thing that passes through ten Thousand generations and all time without being destroyed. From the Buddha Nature come Bodhisattvas, Sound Hearers, Those Enlightened to Conditions, Gods, Asuras, people, animals, ghosts, and hell-beings. Those are the beings of the Ten Dharma Realms, and the Ten Dharma Realms are not apart from a single thought of the Mind. This single thought of the Mind is just the seed of the Buddha Nature. One True thought is just another name for the Buddha Nature.” (TT 149)
There comes a time . . . when sooner or later this World begins to re-evolve. When this happens, beings who had deceased from the World of Radiance, usually come to life as Humans. And they become made of Mind, feeding on rapture, self-luminous, traversing the air, continuing in glory, and remain Thus for a long, long period of time.
Now at that time, all had become one World of water, dark, and of darkness that maketh blind. No moon nor sun appeared, no stars were seen, nor constellations, neither was night manifest nor day, neither months nor half-months, neither years nor season, neither female nor male. Beings were reckoned just as beings only. And to those beings . . . sooner or later after a long time, Earth with its savour was spread out in the waters. Even as a scum forms on the surface of boiled milky rice that is cooling, so did the Earth appear. It became endowed with color, with odor, and with taste. Even as well made Ghee or Pure butter, so was its color; even as the Flawless honey of the bee, so sweet was it.
Then . . . some being of greedy disposition said: Lo now! what will this be? and tasted the savoury Earth with his finger. He Thus, tasting, became suffused with the savour, and Craving entered into him. And other beings, following his example, tasted the savour Earth with their finger. They Thus, tasting, became suffused with the savour, a Craving entered into them. Then those beings began to feast on the savoury Earth, breaking off lumps of it with their hands. And from the doing thereof the self-luminance of those beings faded away. As their self-luminance faded away, the moon and the sun became manifest, months too and half-months, the seasons and the years. Thus far then . . . did the World evolve again.
Now those beings . . . , feasting on the savory Earth, feeding on it, nourished by it, continued Thus for a long while. And in measure as they Thus fed, did their Bodies become solid, and did variety in their comeliness become manifest . . . (Dialogues of the Buddha III, 82-83; cf. Mahavastu I, 285).
Take the analogy of an artist, who distinguishes in his laying out of all sorts of colored shapes
And falsely grasps at differences in their appearance,
Yet the colored shapes which can be gotten at
So it is that the colored painting which can be gotten at
Is not apart from the Mind.
That Mind which is constantly without abode
Is infinite and difficult to conceive of.
It reveals all the colored shapes,
Each lacking knowledge of the others.
Just as an artist, who is unable to know his own Mind,
paints because of what comes from the Mind,
The Mind is like an artist
Who is able to paint the entire World.
And there is no Dharma which it does not create.
and the Mind are both endless.
Yet he is able to do the Buddha's work
With a freedom and ease never known before.
As created entirely from the Mind alone.
The Buddha said, 'Purna Maitrayani Putra, you have asked why the mountains, the rivers, and the Great Earth suddenly come into being within what is Pure and fundamental. Have you not often heard the Thus Come One say that the Enlightenment of the nature and beginning Enlightenment are both Wonderful understanding? . . . The Enlightenment that is our nature is definitely understanding; it is wrong to consider realizing Enlightenment a gaining of understanding. Enlightenment is not something understood.
When an understanding is posited, it must have an object. Where there is already an object wrongly posited, a false subject comes into being. Where there is not any sameness or differentiation, what is differentiated blazes forth. What differs from what is differentiated becomes sameness, because of the difference. Once sameness and differentiation appear, then what is neither the same nor differentiated is therefore also established. Thus from the turmoil of this interaction, stress comes into being, and the stress, when prolonged,produces defilement]]. Internal Turbidity follows, and because of it there arises the defiling stress of afflictions.
What arises is the World; what is still is Empty Space. Empty Space is what is the same, and the World is what is differentiated. What is undifferentiated nor differentiated is simply all other Conditioned Dharmas.
When there is understanding of Enlightenment, then Emptiness is obscured, and they interact to produce movement. Thus there are Mandalas of wind which support the World. Once movement has arisen in Emptiness, the light created by the understanding of Enlightenment becomes metal which is the precious essence of Earth. Thus there are Mandalas of metal that support the Land. Once there is metal, which is the solidifYing of the understanding within Enlightenment, and wind, which is the movement within the understanding, then friction takes place between Mind and metal. Thus there is the light of fire, which by nature is mutable. The brightness of metal produces a moisture, which turns to vapor under the Heat of fire. Thus there are Mandalas of water which contain the Worlds of the Ten Directions. fire ascends; water descends. Their interaction forms a solidity. What is moist becomes the oceans; what is dry becomes the continents and isLands. . . . The varYing combinations of the false interactions become seeds that are the Causes and Conditions for the continuation of the World. (SS, BTTS Master Hsuan Hua tr.)
THE Shurangama Sutra
(a distinction leading to the unknowing
illusory subject illusory object
'neither identity nor 'beyond identity and
non identity' diversity'
clinging to names
(activity) INTO being
of the 7th consc.)
Mark OF CONTINUATION