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Subject: Is Consciouness Formless?
Date: 04 Dec 2002 12:44:20 -0400
From: YiLin

Teacher Piya,

I have also learnt that consciouness is formless. What happens if I hear footsteps of a deceased within 49 days?




Dear Yilin,

There are many answers to your question since the situation is theoretical. Even if the event really occurred, we can only conjecture what actually happened since only the truly enlightened mind knows the right answers here. Even then when the enlightened mind explains something to us, it may take us a long while before we understand what it really means.

So here are some answers from an unenlighted mind, which should be easier to understand. Again do not be misled by its simplicity, and the answers need your personal reflection so that they becomes your own. Only then you have understood by yourself. I'm just making some sounds pointing in a probable direction.

Now to directly answer your question. "Consciousness is formless." This is true, but if it takes some sort of physical form (which it can), then it would be able to make some kind of sound (like walking on the floor, etc.)

If the consciousness remains formless, its thought could be powerful enough to make things happen. That is, if it has reached some high level of divine existence.

On the other hand, because of your close connection to your loved one, your memories could replay itself, as it were, and you "think" you heard those sounds. What actually happened is that you had probably associated those sounds (which you do not understand or do not know its source) to the deceased.

Whichever way, to ease your own mind (if it needs to) or simply to be in harmony with all beings, you can cultivate a mind of lovingkindness and wish that being well and happy, like saying, "By the power of all the good deeds I have done, may you be well and happy!"

To know more about the "antarabhava" or the time between births, please refer to my own question to Ajahn Brahmavamso.



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