No, no, no. Listen here children: 🙂
A “person” or “being” is made up of 5 things, the “5 aggregates” (panca khanda):
– physical matter (rupa)
– consciousness (vinyana)
– perception (sanna, pronounced sanya)
– feeling (vedana)
– reaction (sankhara)
[When describing dukkha the buddha said “…in short, dukkha is attachment to the 5 aggregates”]
These are in a constant state of cyclic flux, one cycle after the next. Consciousness comes in contact with matter and then there is perception, feeling and reaction.
THE CONSCIOUSNESS THAT ARISES IN THE NEXT CYCLE (IN THE NEXT MIND-MOMENT) IS COMPLETELY NEW. LIKEWISE WITH ALL OTHER MENTAL STATES.
The same is true of the physical matter, it arises and passes away. The mind arises and passes away 16 times faster than the smallest subatomic “particles” or “wavelets”.
So, where is the “person”? Which part is the “person”?
Consider a “car”. A car is made of a chassis, wheels, engine, etc. None of these things is “car” but together they are called a car. So where is the “soul” of the car?
In this sense there is no “being”, no “soul”, no “person” behind this process of becomming.
Everyone accepts that physical matter is not actually solid, but just atomic energy in a constant state of change. Why do we have such difficulty accepting the same of our mind or “soul”?
So what happens at the parinibbana (the death of an arahat)? That being will not have a new birth. Everyone asks “where do they go”?
Then ask yourself this:
– When you untie a knot in a rope, where has the knot gone?
– When all the fuel of a fire is used up where has the fire gone?
If you want to call your consciousness your “soul” then go ahead. It is just a convenient word to use. But it is not permanent. Your “soul” does not even last beyond the present mind-moment, let alone into the next life.
It is the speed of the mental cycle which gives the illusion of continuity. It is our accumulated stock of conditionings which give this cycle so much momentum that it keeps going from moment to moment and from life to life. Like a spinning wheel, it will take time for it to slow down.
Phew! marathon post… i need a rest 🙂