Page 4... Karma explained

The experience of truth

There are three kinds of wisdom: the first is thinking about the realities of life as impermanence, sickness, death and suffering; the second kind is studying the Buddhist teachings; and the third is in the experience of the truth.

The first and second kind of wisdom are necessary but they are still theory. If one accepts the Buddha's teachings because they seem reasonable, one will never have the deep understanding which comes from the experience of the truth. Only this understanding can eliminate all doubts.

The Buddha told his audience to refrain from bad deeds because they found by their own experience that doing bad deeds led to sorrow, and doing good deeds led to happiness. We have to find the truth ourselves, in experiencing it in daily living.

In the practice of vipassana or "insight meditation", we learn to understand the realities of daily life, in being aware of them at the moment they occur. We learn to be aware, be mindful of what happens at the present moment. If we learn to experience the cittas of the present moment, we will gradually be able to see realities more clearly.

No self, no reincarnation

Is rebirth in a human plane the same as reincarnation? If there is reincarnation, a soul or "self" would continue to exist and it would take on another body in the next life. But there is not a soul or a "self". There are cittas which succeed one another from birth to death, from this life to the next life. One citta completely falls away when the next citta arises. There can be only one citta at a time, and there is no citta that lasts.

Since there are only cittas, there is no soul or self in this life or the next. The last citta is the death consciousness. The death consciousness arises and falls away and is succeeded by the rebirth consciousness. The rebirth consciousness is conditioned by the previous death consciousness, but it is not the same citta.

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