Now I get to the next stage. And that is, you see, consciousness, that already happened when you were doing the Satipathana
, consciousness is carried beyond the notion of the self. And so, as long as, I think, what am I conscious of? I am conscious of this physical world, I think, at least, actually now I realize that it’s just my image of the physical world. And I’m conscious of having remembered something that happened when I was two years old maybe, or even one year old. But consciousness has been interrupted at my birth. Those are the edges of consciousness. Now if consciousness spills over the edges of consciousness, of the person, then of course I will remember right back into previous, well first of all, into the lives of my grandfathers, grandparents, and right back into my ancestors. I will remember previous incarnations, I will remember the planes through which I passed on the descent, through the physical world, into the state of incarnation. In fact the whole, and not only will I get back the memory of all those things which may have been communicated by, physically, let’s say, by my parents and ancestors, or non physically at the level of incarnation, of reincarnation
. But I will remember the whole past of the universe. And what is more, I will be aware of all the planes and the beings in all the planes if my conscious is not limited to my, if consciousness is not limited to my sense of me, my vantage point, then it’s going to extend and encompass the whole universe. And this is the great victory of Buddha
. This is the moment that is called the moment of illumination.
At the end of the forty-nine days under the tree, and all of a sudden, consciousness spilled over the frontiers of that man sitting under that tree, that wasn’t, it wasn't important where his body was. He wasn’t enclosed in his environment. Consciousness reaches right out and the whole past, panoramic view of the whole past, and all levels of angelic beings, archangels, the universes beyond universes, the whole breathtaking vision. Not just of the physical universe. Imagine, you know, that you had been thinking, you know you’d been caught in a little environment, little personal problems, personal emotions, and here’s the vastness of consciousness. It breaks through. It includes all beings, all things...
Well it’s so obvious that this is the way out of the prison. And what he sees is universes informed and growing, and proliferating, and then exploding, and then another universe replacing it. So it tallies very much with what we hear in science about the universe expanding, and maybe contracting, and then other universes beyond the ones that we are aware of. Black holes, and beyond black holes, other even white holes and, well there’s no end to it. We just, when we start reaching beyond what we generally experience, we realize that there’s no end. And that’s what happens to the consciousness of Buddha. It reaches into realms that a person caught in his personal consciousness could never dream of.
And he gives even the clue. He says all you have to do is to identify yourself with the level, with the reality, the mode of reality corresponding to the level that you want to reach, and then you experience that level, for example, if you identify yourself with a body, wherever you go, you are going to see bodies. People are bodies for you. If you identify with your personality, wherever you go, you will communicating with personalities of people. People will be personalities. You will enjoy their personalities, or your communication with their personalities. It you identify yourself with your thinking, you will communicating your thoughts to people. But if you identify yourself with a being of light, everywhere you go you will be seeing the light. The reality of light, the mode of light behind the physical aspect of things. You will discover the worlds of light.
And Buddha recognizes nine different levels. But that’s, I suppose that’s what the disciples make a system out of, from their genuine experience. Because the experience reaches beyond what one would call existence, into non-existence.
For example, what we call existence is, for example we say, are there beings in outer space? Well, those beings would have to have a body made out of carbon, and oxygen, all those things that we, hydrogen and so on, all those things that we are aware of in our universe. We think that those are the criteria of existence. So any being who didn’t have such bodies, we would say, how could he exist? And Buddha speaking about realms which are beyond what we think can exist. Beyond existence.
And then he goes on beyond consciousness. For example, we are conscious of a physical object, and we are conscious of a thought, and we are conscious of a cause. But, so there’s duality. There’s duality in the consciousness in the object. But when we were in samadhi if you remember, there was no dichotomy between a subject and an object, there was just awareness. If you remember, there was awareness without an object. Well those are the realms beyond existence.
So Buddha includes the state of samadhi in his experience. But he does not exclude the physical universe in this vast panoramic experience.
When he has done this then he says, and these are the final words before he dies, and he says, “That which had to be done has been done.” A stage when you have overcome the whole process of fulfillment. And then he says, this is the cessation of the determined. Like, you know, your body is determined, your mind is determined by the environment, but when you reach the stage of awakening, you have overcome causality. And that means that you are totally free.