The worldview is a philosophical concept, which refers to a person’s fundamental view of the world and even the universe. Since the day when human beings acquired the ability to think, research and exploration of this issue have never ceased. So what is the view of Buddhism on this issue?
During the 49 years of preaching, the Buddha’s ultimate meaning was to break the dualistic attachment of self and phenomena. The self is subjective, while phenomena are objective, such as the universe in which we live. In other words, the content of Buddhism is nothing more than to expound the truth of human life, which is the self, and the universe, which is the environment we rely on to survive. Buddhism believes that if one can recognize the truth of self and the universe, one will not be confused by self and objective environment, and can quickly turn from ignorance to enlightenment, thereby achieving complete liberation from suffering and attaining ultimate happiness.
In fact, the “Dharma” that the Buddha talked about refers to the natural laws of the universe that already exist, not created by some deity as described in other religions. The Buddha often said, “The Dharma is thus,” indicating that the Dharma he spoke of was already inherent in the natural law, and was just discovered by the supreme wisdom of the Buddha. The Buddha discovered the mystery of human life and the universe, and naturally attained liberation as an “awakened one”. However, the Buddha did not keep this knowledge to himself, but instead vowed to preach it to all sentient beings, hoping that they would follow the teachings and practice, thereby gaining insight into the mystery and becoming awakened ones themselves. This is the true intention of the Buddha’s preaching.
When it comes to the mysteries of the universe and life, there are too many questions that leave us puzzled. For example, how did the universe come into being? What is it founded on? How long has it existed in time and how extensive is its range in space? Are there any rules or a master of the universe? Similarly, where does human life come from and where does it go? What is the value and meaning of life? Throughout the ages, countless philosophers, thinkers, and scientists have explored these questions but have yet to find satisfactory answers.
In Buddhism, the world is equivalent to what is commonly referred to as the universe. The Huainanzi states, “The four directions above and below are called space, and ancient times until today are called time.” The Buddhist scriptures state, “The past, present, and future are called the world. The four directions of east, south, west, and north, as well as up and down, are called the realm.” Both refer to the infinite space and time. Therefore, the Buddhist worldview is essentially a universal worldview.
The so-called universal worldview is a view or interpretation of the composition and changes of the universe and the position of humanity within it. Scholars from both Eastern and Western traditions have offered numerous theories on this issue, with varying perspectives of idealism and materialism. Here are a few examples:
Materialists hold the view that the most basic element of the universe is matter, and without matter, there is no world. They believe that human beings are also material entities. Scholars of this school believe that thoughts are dependent on matter, as one cannot think without the heart or brain. Therefore, after death, both the body and the spirit cease to exist. They do not acknowledge the existence of a spiritual aspect in the universe. Materialist scholars consider all activities in the universe as material activities. Concepts such as causality, order, time, and space all contain certain physical properties, and people cannot create physical laws out of thin air. According to this view, the principles of nature do not depend on humans but exist independently. Scholars of this school also believe that humans have feelings, similar to how objects have weight and extension. When feelings become more complex, concepts are formed. After the complexity of concepts, introspection begins. The existence of introspection indicates the existence of the human mind, but the mind is generated from matter. Materialists provide three arguments to prove the relationship between matter and spirit: first, the spirit is an attribute of matter; second, the spirit is a product of matter; and third, the spirit is a form of matter.
Idealists, also known as concept philosophers, view the spirit as the fundamental aspect of the universe, and everything in the universe stems from the spirit. The spiritual action takes the form of concepts in humans and the form of power in objects. Humans understand the universe through their most real concepts. The universe developed in a reasonable manner due to the operation of the spirit. Where there is matter, there is spirit, and the spirit is the reason for the existence of matter, which is logical in itself. The reason why everything in our universe can coexist and coordinate without chaos is that they all have spirit and logic.
Dualism of Mind and Matter:
Scholars of this school of thought propose that the universe fundamentally consists of dual properties of mind and matter. Mind and matter each have their own separate duality in the universe, and they cannot merge or be attached to each other, and are entities in themselves. These scholars transform the relationship between mind and matter into the relationship between body and mind, viewing thought and matter as following different processes. The combination of body and mind and matter is not a fusion.
Opposite to monism, it is believed that the constitutive elements of the universe are not one but many. Because the ontological essence of the universe is multiple, there are many phenomena in the universe that have different origins, and not all phenomena are evolved from a single source.
Regarding the nature of the universe’s ontology, there are various views such as materialism, idealism, dualism, and pluralism. As for the generation of the universe’s ontology, there are many theories such as mechanistic, teleological, harmonious, and transcendental. However, each of these views has its own shortcomings. If the nature of the universe’s ontology is materialistic, then the creation of life, the function of the spirit, and the transformation of ability cannot be purely explained by material. If it is idealistic, the existence of matter is also a fact, and the spirit cannot create matter. Dualists argue that mind and matter each have separate characteristics, but the spirit cannot operate independently of the body. Pluralists believe that the elements of the universe are multiple, not one, which conflicts with the fundamental unity of the universe. As for the mechanistic, teleological, harmonious, and transcendental explanations of the universe’s generation and evolution, each has its own strengths and weaknesses, and cannot provide us with a satisfactory answer.
As for the religious belief that “God created the world,” which includes creating the sun, moon, stars, male and female, and all things, while it can be regarded as a myth, it cannot be viewed as the truth of the universe and life. So, how does Buddhism explain the truth of the universe and life? Let’s first look at the “Five Aggregates of the World” described in Buddhist scriptures:
Five Aggregates of the World:
The world or universe, in general, refers to the total of all phenomena of birth, death, and change in time and space. In Buddhism, these phenomena of birth, death, and change are all controlled by the law of cause and effect, known as “All phenomena arise from causes and conditions, and all phenomena cease from causes and conditions.” However, the root of the birth, death, and change of everything in the universe lies in “consciousness” and “name-and-form.” That is to say, the subjective “consciousness that can recognize” and the objective “object that is recognized” interact with each other to form the world. Therefore, the Buddhist scriptures often say, “Consciousness is conditioned by name-and-form, and name-and-form is conditioned by consciousness.” So what is “name-and-form”? Name-and-form refers to the “Five Aggregates.”
In Buddhism, the universe and everything in it arise from the union of the Five Aggregates. The Five Aggregates are form, sensation, perception, mental formations, and consciousness. Form refers to the aggregate of materiality, and the other four aggregates are collectively known as name. Therefore, the Five Aggregates are also called “name-and-form.”
What is the aggregate of form? The Mahayana Buddhist text, the Five Aggregates Treatise, says, “What is the aggregate of form? It is the four great elements and the things produced by the four great elements…” The Mahayana text, the Abhidharmasamuccaya, says, “What is the aspect of form aggregate?” “The answer is: changing phenomena are the aspect of form. There are two kinds: one is changing due to contact. The other is manifest in various ways.” If we use modern language to explain these words, “form” refers to things that have volume, occupy space, and can change, which is similar to the “material” referred to in modern science. However, it is not entirely the same. The word “material” cannot fully cover the meaning of the aggregate of form.
The four great elements mentioned in the aggregate of form refer to the material of the four attributes of earth, water, fire, and wind, as well as the properties of solidity, moisture, warmth, and motion. The aggregate of form is constructed from these four properties to form all kinds of things. Among them, there are two kinds of properties: one is tangible, called “changing due to contact,” such as mountains, rivers, trees, human eyes, ears, nose, mouth, tables, chairs, and other human-made objects. These things can be touched by hand and seen in their form, but they can be deformed or destroyed by human or other factors, which is called changing due to contact. The other is traceable, called “manifest in various ways,” such as squareness, roundness, length, color, taste, and many other abstract concepts. That is to say, the names added to various impressions are called “manifest in various ways.”
Next, let’s talk about the Three Universal Elements: Perception, Thought, and Action.
Perception is called the Aggregate of Sensations. It refers to the process of receiving and accepting sensations, that is, the emotional response of sentient beings to the world around them. This includes the recognition and acceptance of various sensory inputs, such as feelings of pleasure or pain. It can be thought of as similar to the concept of emotions in psychology.
Thought is called the Aggregate of Perception. It refers to the process of recognizing and understanding the world around us, and constructing concepts based on our perceptions. This can be thought of as similar to the concept of ideas in psychology.
Action is called the Aggregate of Volitional Activities. It refers to the process of acting on our thoughts and perceptions, making conscious decisions and engaging in behavior based on our inner deliberations. This can be thought of as similar to the concept of willpower in psychology.
Consciousness is called the Aggregate of Consciousness. It refers to the process of distinguishing and discerning between various sensory inputs, such as colors, sounds, smells, and tastes. This can be thought of as similar to the concept of cognition in psychology.
These Five Universal Elements, also known as the Aggregate of Form and Name, form the fundamental building blocks of the universe, including all sentient beings and the earth and mountains that support them. In Buddhist philosophy, the universe and human life are collectively referred to as the World. All sentient beings, including humans, are collectively referred to as the Sentient World. The earth and mountains that support sentient beings are collectively referred to as the Material World.
The Five Universal Elements, or Aggregates, are the foundation of the universe, including the subjective and objective aspects of cognition. Consciousness is the subjective aspect, while the other four Aggregates are the objective aspects.
The three aggregates of “feeling”, “perception”, and “volitional formations” originally belong to mental activities. Why are they also classified as “objectively knowable objects”? There is an explanation in the Mahayana Abhidharma: “Question: Why are there only five aggregates? Answer: To reveal the five kinds of phenomena that belong to the self. They are the phenomena of the self as the body (form), the phenomena of the self as experiencing (feeling), the phenomena of the self as speaking (perception), the phenomena of the self as acting on all things, lawful and unlawful (volitional formations), and the phenomena of the self as the basis of dependence (consciousness). Among these five, the first four are the self’s phenomena, and the fifth is the self’s aspect. … Therefore, sentient beings in the world, with the exception of the aggregate of consciousness, consider the other four aggregates as belonging to the self.”
The meaning of this passage is that ordinary people think that the eyes, ears, nose, tongue, and body belong to the self, and that the colors, sounds, fragrances, and tastes that they encounter belong to the self as well. They believe that “feeling” belongs to the self because they experience it, and that “perception” belongs to the self because they remember it. They also believe that “volitional formations” belong to the self because they act on them. All of these physical and mental phenomena are observed and understood by the “self,” and therefore belong to the “self.” However, what is the “self” that can observe and understand them? It is just the consciousness, which is a unified state of mental activity. Consciousness is subjective, while form, feeling, perception, and volitional formations are objective objects. The world is formed through the interaction and treatment between the subjective self and the objective objects, which is what the Buddhist scriptures refer to as “consciousness conditions name and form, and name and form condition consciousness.” However, it should be noted that consciousness and name and form are not two separate things. Consciousness is a part of name and form, and name and form are a part of consciousness. The subjective self is one of the conditions that make up the objective world, and the objective world is one of the conditions that make up the subjective self. Without the subjective self, the objective world cannot exist, and without the objective world, the subjective self cannot exist. Therefore, the Buddhist scriptures say, “Consciousness conditions name and form, and name and form condition consciousness. They arise together and cease together.”
There is a passage in the Samyutta Nikaya that explains the relationship between consciousness and name and form: “The Buddha said, ‘Suppose there are two bundles of reeds, which must depend on each other to stand. Friends, consciousness depends on name and form, and name and form depend on consciousness. They arise together and cease together, just like these two bundles of reeds. Friends, if you take away one of these bundles, the other cannot stand up. If you take away name and form, consciousness will cease, and if you take away consciousness, name and form will cease. This is how it is.'”
So how do consciousness and name and form, which represent the subjective and objective conditions, constitute the universe? Let’s look at the following “The arising of all things through dependent origination.”
The Origination of All Things is from Causes and Conditions:
During Buddha’s time, he gave a lecture at the Jetavana Monastery in Rajgir. At that time, there were two ascetics, named Shariputra and Maudgalyayana, who were highly respected for their wisdom. One day, Shariputra met a disciple of Buddha named Mahashrenika. He was impressed by Mahashrenika’s dignified appearance and serene demeanor, and asked him who his teacher was and what kind of teachings he usually gave. Mahashrenika replied, “My teacher is Shakyamuni Buddha, who has unsurpassed wisdom and supernatural powers. I am still young and inexperienced, and cannot fully comprehend my teacher’s profound teachings.” Shariputra persisted and asked Mahashrenika to give him a summary of his teacher’s teachings. Mahashrenika replied with a verse: “All things arise from causes and conditions, and all things cease when causes and conditions are no longer present. My teacher, the great sage, always teaches in this way.” Upon hearing this, Shariputra was deeply inspired and immediately converted to Buddhism, along with Maudgalyayana.
Why did Shariputra abandon his previous beliefs and convert to Buddhism upon hearing the phrase “All things arise from causes and conditions, and all things cease when causes and conditions are no longer present?” Because these two phrases are the universal truth of the universe. Shariputra was known for his wisdom among the Buddha’s disciples and had already been practicing the path for many years before he converted to Buddhism. Therefore, upon hearing these phrases, he immediately realized their profound meaning and converted to Buddhism.
In Buddhist teachings, the origination and cessation of all things are due to the interdependent relationship of causes and conditions. In Buddhist philosophy, there is no strict division between causes and conditions. In relative terms, “cause” refers to the characteristic and “condition” refers to the function. The cause refers to the main conditions of the birth and extinction of one thing, while the condition refers to the auxiliary conditions. If these two words are translated into modern language, they are equivalent to two nouns, “conditions” or “relations.” The birth and extinction of each thing in the universe are all based on certain conditions, and the existence of each thing must also be related to other things. The conditions or relations that can make one thing born or extinct or make one thing exist are called the causes and conditions of this thing.
The word “cause and condition” is often explained in the Agama Sutra as “because of this, that arises; because of this, that is born; because of this, that does not exist; because of this, that ceases to exist.” This means that everything in the universe exists relatively and depends on each other. There are two kinds of interdependence, synchronous and asynchronous. The interdependence of different times is “because of this, that arises; because of this, that ceases to exist.” The former is the cause and the latter is the result. The interdependence of synchronous time is “because of this, that exists; because of this, that does not exist.” The former is the master and the latter is the follower. The former is in time, and the latter is in space. Therefore, the universe, in terms of time, is an endless cause and effect, and the cause has no beginning; the effect has no end. In terms of space, there is no absolute center; the master is beside the master, and the follower is beside the follower. With this continuous cause and effect and various binding master-follower relationships, this interdependent and complex world is woven.
Regardless of whether it is the causal relationship between different times or the hierarchical relationship between simultaneous events, the fundamental condition is based on the five aggregates. The five aggregates are the causal conditions for the formation of the world of mountains, rivers, and sentient beings, as well as the world of sentient beings.
However, within the world of the five aggregates, there are countless phenomena that arise and cease, constantly changing and transforming. Is there a rule or law that governs this process of arising and ceasing? Yes, there is. This law is the “Law of Dependent Origination” in Buddhism.
The Universal Law of Causality:
The universe is not created by a god, and the mutations of all things are not governed by a divine power. Rather, everything arises only when the necessary conditions come together. This process of arising from nothingness is called “dependent origination” when viewed from the perspective of cause, and “dependent co-arising” when viewed from the perspective of effect. In Buddhist terminology, all things in the universe are said to be “dependent on causes and conditions,” and the arising of things is called the “dependent origination of all things.”
Because all things in the universe are born from dependent causes and conditions, they are inevitably subject to change and decay. Thus, everything in the material and spiritual world, from sentient beings to inanimate objects, is in constant motion and change, with nothing lasting more than an instant. The birth, aging, sickness, and death of sentient beings and the arising, dwelling, changing, and extinction of all phenomena signify the impermanence of all things. However, is there a law that governs this flow of birth and death? Yes, according to Buddhist teachings, there is a fundamental law that governs the birth, life, and death of all things in the universe, and it is called the Universal Law of Causality.
The Law of Causality is the principle that studies the causes and results of phenomena. Modern science also recognizes the principle of causality, but it applies only to physical changes. In contrast, the Law of Causality in Buddhism applies to the changes of the mind, the changes of material objects, and the changes of the mind and matter together. The Buddhist teachings analyze this law in detail and establish a worldview that encompasses three lifetimes. The concepts of karma, rebirth, and ethical principles are also linked to this law, forming the ethical ideas of causality that extend through three lifetimes.
Causality, or “cause and effect,” refers to the principle of “cause, condition, and result.” “Cause” refers to the reason or cause, “condition” refers to the assisting factors, and “result” refers to the product that arises from the combination of cause and condition. This result is considered as the effect, or “karma,” for the one who caused it. In both worldly and spiritual realms, everything undergoes change and is subject to this law of causality, from sentient beings to Buddhas, from the smallest particles to the entire universe.
Nothing can come into existence without a cause. However, even with a cause, without the right conditions, the effect cannot arise. For example, a seed is the cause, but without being planted and assisted by sunlight and water, it cannot sprout and grow into a plant. The generation, change, and cessation of all things are subject to this law.
To explain the relationship between cause and effect, Buddhism has established six causes, four conditions, and five results. The six causes are “efficient cause, coexistent cause, homogeneous cause, universal cause, immediate cause, and maturing cause.” The five results are “superior result, simultaneous result, homogenous result, maturing result, and separated result.” Due to space constraints, we will only briefly introduce the four conditions.
The four conditions are “concomitant condition, homogeneous condition, objective condition, and dominant condition.”
Concomitant condition refers to the main cause. In terms of mental actions, everything that a person thinks, says, or does is called “karma.” Karma is the cause that drives changes in one’s mental states. In terms of physical objects, for example, rocks and soil are the main causes for the formation of mountains, while seeds are the main cause for the growth of plants.
Homogeneous condition only applies to mental actions. For instance, when a person’s delusional thoughts arise continuously, moment after moment, without any break, this continuous succession is called “homogeneous condition.”
Objective condition refers to the assisting factors that contribute to the arising of mental states. When the mind discerns an object, the object is the objective condition, and the discerning mind is the condition that aids in the arising of that mental state.
Dominant condition refers to all causes and conditions that have an influence on the growth of a cause. In terms of physical objects, as long as there are the main cause and two assisting conditions, the effect can arise. However, in terms of mental and physical objects, all four conditions must be present for an effect to arise.
From the above, we can see the three principles of causality: 1) results arise from causes; without causes, there can be no results, and with causes and conditions, results are inevitable; 2) everything has its logical sequence; while everything undergoes change and causality, there is a universal logic that governs the process; and 3) everything is dependent upon emptiness; all things and laws of nature exist due to the dependent origination upon emptiness. In other words, everything that exists must first be non-existent and relies upon emptiness to exist.
There are several points worth noting about causality. First, there is no first cause or final effect in causality. There is always a cause before the cause, and there is always an effect after the effect. For example, a father is the cause of his son, but the father also has a father, and the grandfather has no beginning. The son is the effect of the father, but the son also has a son, and the grandson has no end. Second, the cause and effect in causality are relative, not absolute. For example, cotton yarn is the cause of cotton cloth, but it is the effect of cotton. Cotton cloth is the effect of cotton yarn, but it is the cause of clothes. If A produces B, then B is the effect of A. If B produces C, then B is the cause of C. Third, causality spans three lifetimes. The three lifetimes do not refer to a person’s past, present, and future lives, but to the past, present, and future in time. Therefore, the cause does not self-destruct, and regardless of how long the time is, it arises when the conditions are right. Fourth, the essence of causality is one. The cause that can produce something must be the effect that it produces. The effect that can be produced must be the cause that produces it. According to the law of karma, you will reap what you sow. If you sow beans, you will harvest beans. Beans will not grow from a pumpkin seed, nor will a pumpkin grow from a bean seed. According to the law of the mind, you create your own causes and experience your own effects. Good causes do not produce bad effects, and bad effects do not come from good causes.
In Buddhist scriptures, there is a verse that explains the principles of causality: “Even after a thousand or ten thousand kalpas, the result of karma will not disappear. When conditions meet, the result will manifest.” This verse explains three principles of causality: 1. Karma never disappears. 2. The result will manifest when the conditions are right, regardless of how long it takes. 3. You create your own karma and experience your own results.
In the universe, the causal relationship between things is relatively clear. For example, metal expands when heated and contracts when cooled, where temperature change is the cause and expansion or contraction is the effect. The causal relationship between things and the mind is also relatively easy to understand. For instance, the material environment can influence a person’s sense of pleasure and pain. Being well-fed and warm makes one comfortable, while hunger and cold cause physical suffering. However, it is not easy to understand the causal relationship between the mind and matter. Nevertheless, there are many examples of how the mind can affect matter. For example, in the story of Li Guang shooting a tiger, the arrow failed to penetrate the animal’s skin due to Li’s vision being blurred, only after realizing that the target was actually a rock, he was able to hit it with his arrow. This is an example of how the mind can influence matter. The most difficult causal relationship to understand is that of the mind’s power. Every thought and intention is a seed of karma. These karma seeds can be either good or bad, and they are all planted in the field of the eight consciousness. The good or bad karma determines one’s ups and downs in the six realms of reincarnation. Although this causal relationship is not easy for people to understand, it is still true that effects are produced by causes, and everything will come to fruition in its own time. As the Chinese saying goes, “Good will be rewarded with good, and evil will be met with evil. It’s not that there is no repayment, but that the time has not yet come.” This saying may be colloquial, but it is the truth.
The non-dualistic view of the relationship between mind and matter
Starting from the concept of the five aggregates, Buddhist philosophy explains the interconnectedness of all phenomena through the law of cause and effect. Ultimately, the worldview of Buddhism is not idealism or materialism, but rather an inseparable union of both – the non-dualistic relationship between mind and matter.
According to Buddhist thought, the world is not a product of mechanical causation or purposeful design, but rather a result of the interdependent arising of causes and conditions. The world is a web of interconnectedness, where everything is mutually dependent and constantly influencing each other. This is the principle of dependent origination – everything arises in dependence upon causes and conditions.
In terms of the functioning of the universe, there is no supreme deity or supernatural beings governing the world. Rather, the law of cause and effect is the governing principle – every action has a consequence, and every consequence is the result of a preceding action. This is the law of karma – the idea that our actions have consequences, and we are responsible for our own destiny.
In summary, the worldview of Buddhism can be described as non-dualistic, a union of mind and matter, and based on the principle of dependent origination.
The phrase “三千大千世界” refers to the Buddhist concept of the universe, which is divided into two parts: the world of sentient beings and the world of form. The world of sentient beings, also known as the realm of desire, is the result of karma. It includes all living beings with physical bodies and consciousness. The world of form, also known as the realm of form, includes mountains, rivers, and all material things.
Within the world of sentient beings, there are six realms: the realm of hell, hungry ghosts, animals, humans, asuras, and gods. These six realms exist within the three realms of desire, form, and formlessness.
The desire realm includes beings who experience sleep, food, and sexual desire. The form realm does not have these desires, but it does have distinctive and superior forms. The formless realm lacks both form and desire and consists only of spiritual existence.
According to Buddhist scripture, the universe consists of countless worlds, including the “small thousand worlds,” the “middle thousand worlds,” and the “great thousand worlds,” which is the “三千大千世界.” These worlds are not limited to a single location but are found throughout the universe. The phrase “十方微尘世界” (worlds as numerous as particles of dust in ten directions) and “十方恒沙世界” (worlds as numerous as grains of sand in ten directions) describe the vastness of the universe as seen from a Buddhist perspective.
The concept of the universe is infinite in both space and time, but it operates according to the principles of cause and effect. The universe goes through four phases: arising, persisting, declining, and dissolving. These phases are cyclical and have no beginning or end.
In Buddhist cosmology, one “大劫” consists of four “劫” (phases): arising, persisting, declining, and dissolving. Each “劫” consists of twenty “小劫” (small phases), and each “小劫” is the duration of human life, which varies from the highest of 84,000 years to the lowest of ten years, with a fluctuation of one year every hundred years.
The universe is an infinite, ever-changing system of cause and effect. It includes countless sentient beings, material things, and spiritual existence, and it operates in an endless cycle of arising, persisting, declining, and dissolving.
因缘 (yīn yuán)
The concept of causality in Buddhism, which refers to the causes and conditions that give rise to phenomena. Strong causes and conditions are referred to as “因” (yīn) and weak causes and conditions are referred to as “缘” (yuán). For example, a seed is the “因,” and rain, dew, and farmers are the “缘.” The combination of these causes and conditions leads to the fruition of rice. The concept of “因缘” is a fundamental concept in Buddhism, and it is believed that all phenomena arise due to the interdependence of causes and conditions.
因缘和合 (yīn yuán hé hé)
Refers to the combination of causes and conditions that give rise to phenomena. All things in the world are formed by the combination of their own causes (proximate causes) and conditions (auxiliary causes).
刹那 (chà nà)
A very short and fleeting moment of time, usually described as the time it takes to snap one’s fingers. In Buddhist scriptures, it is said that there are sixty “刹那” in the blink of an eye.
生住异灭 (shēng zhù yì miè)
A term that describes the cycle of birth, existence, change, and death of all conditioned things. This cycle is without beginning or end and is known as the “Four Noble Truths” in Buddhism.
Refers to the actions of body, speech, and mind that produce karma, which determines one’s future experiences. Good or bad karma will result in pleasant or unpleasant consequences respectively. In the past, it was called “宿业” (xiǔ yè), and in the present, it is called “现业” (xiàn yè).
八识田 (bā shí tián)
Refers to the eighth consciousness in Buddhism, which is called “阿赖耶识” (ā lái yē shí). After a person’s death, the first seven consciousnesses cease to exist, but the eighth consciousness continues to exist and carries karma. All seeds of the conditioned and unconditioned phenomena are stored in the eighth consciousness. When conditions arise, they will manifest, just like seeds that are sown in a field and produce fruit. Therefore, it is called a “field” (田)