KARMA and objective consciousness
Oct 25, 1993 01:10 PM
As my first point in a discussion of karma, I'd like to relate it
to the three modes of objective consciousness:
There are three modes of consciousness, three degrees or levels of
selfhood at which life can be experienced. They have been called the
nirmanakaya, the sambhogakaya, and the dharmakaya. Depending upon which
point of view one takes, life will appear to operate differently.
The lowest, the nirmanakaya, has a separate sense of self, of me and
the other. I do something and the other person is affected; the other
person responds. There is action and reaction. The subject is different
from the object.
This is the point of view that is usually taken when karma is written
up. You do something to someone, and you have created karma with that
person, and will be bound to that person so that they can respond to
you based upon what you've done.
This level is perception from the standpoint of manas.
The second, the sambhogakaya, has no separate sense of self, no
distinction between me and the person that I interact with. There is
just this particular thing that I am doing. I am lost in total
enjoyment or rapture or selfless absorption in the action. There is
a particular thing that I am doing, but there is no sense of me doing
that thing, just a sense of the situation, of the drama being
enacted, but not of myself as a individual participant.
Karma from this standpoint is a dynamic relationship, a living link
between myself and the other person, a link that is independent of
any particular interaction that we are engaging in at a particular
This level is percenption from the standpoint of buddhi.
The third, the dharmakaya, has neither separate sense of self, nor
any attachment to the particular nature of the current situation.
Something particular is happening, but no sense of it being in any
way different or apart from the universality of life is felt. The
experience is just one of pure being, even though I am there and a
particular event is happening.
Taking this point of view, karma is a dynamic relationship inherent
in the situation, and not a specific bond between me and the
specific participants in what is happening. Karma is the
strengthening or weakening of my participation in the specific
This level is perception from the standpoint of atman.
All these aspects of karma are true, but it depends upon how one's
consciousness is oriented at a particular moment which part of it
one becomes aware of.
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