Seeker9 ji, You may like to consider the following: There is what is called â€˜life-facultyâ€™ as a material reality conditioned by karma; this is what differentiates a dead person from the live one, or a tree from an animal. At death, since consciousness does not arise anymore, no karma exists to give rise to such materiality. But here itself, you can see that death is related to the non-arising of consciousness in a particular body and that the materiality which is life-faculty, this is dependent on whether consciousness arises or not. But let me try to give more explanations. Perhaps you will understand better if we consider what â€˜birthâ€™ is and what â€˜lifeâ€™ is. Letâ€™s start with life. What is it? Are material objects alive and therefore can we say that they have life? A human being when alive, we say that he is living or has life, but is that life in his hand, is it in his feet, is it in the brain, is it in the heart? Biologists will say based on their set of criterion, that these things are, or that each cell in the body is alive. And I would agree with them if what they are referring to is in fact the life-faculty as a materiality. However there is also the mental reality called life-faculty, and this arises with each instance of consciousness. Besides there is the resultant consciousness known as life-continuum, which is what is there during deep sleep and in between the experience through the different sense doors and the mind. This life-continuum is what might be considered â€œlifeâ€ since it is that which links birth and death and is conditioned by the same karma. It is this type of consciousness which when during sleep, conditions the breath. Indeed, when we observe someone in deep sleep, we donâ€™t observe the body complexion to judge whether he is alive or not, we point to the fact that he is still breathing. Can we not draw the conclusion then that â€œlifeâ€ must depend on consciousness; in fact that it is consciousness, one moment at a time through the five senses and the mind? And as I said in my last message, consciousness requires a physical base upon which to arise, and so it is the karma which is accumulated in the consciousness which intermittently produces these material bases at the corresponding sense and mind doors for the different types of consciousness. So although consciousness requires a material to arise, these bases couldnâ€™t in fact exist without karma producing them prior to that. What about â€œbirthâ€? Is birth simply the fact of a sperm and ovum coming together to form a new kind of cell? Is it defined by the formation of the heart or recognizable body parts? Donâ€™t we refer to the idea of â€˜conceptionâ€™ when we think that a â€œnew lifeâ€ has been formed, and is this not a reference to the fact of there now being consciousness? With this understanding about life and birth, I think you should now agree that â€œdeathâ€ too must be a reference to a mental reality and not to the fact of physical body ceasing to function. Besides according to what Iâ€™ve learnt, materiality lasts 17 times longer than mentality, such that when death consciousness arises, the materiality which is conditioned by karma continues for that little time more before it ceases completely. The point being made was about the difference in perception, kind of observation and the conclusions drawn. If the observation is based exclusively on what is seen through the eye, then mentality is not taken into consideration. Of course, we must take into account also what is seen when we observe death in another person. However, with the understanding about mentality, we can factor this in and already our perception changes. I believe our difference comes down to what I call â€œviewâ€. Yours appear to be one which inclines towards making mentality a product of materiality, as in cognition being due to some activity in the brain or some such. Mine is based on the understanding for example, that at the moment of touching, there is tactile consciousness experiencing say, the earth element. From this experience I understand therefore, that there are two very distinct realities, one mentality (here tactile consciousness) and materiality (the earth element). And although these two are dependent in this case, the conditions involved for their arising are totally different. I cannot therefore be lead to think that either is the â€œcauseâ€ for the other. Also you will see that in identifying these two realities, that I also make a distinction between what is â€˜conceptâ€™ and what is â€˜realityâ€™. And it would seem to me, that if this distinction is not made, any statement made about oneâ€™s experience must be a case of having taken concept for reality. If for example, instead of understanding this way, I had believed that â€œI touch a tableâ€, this would be a misperception. Not knowing that â€œIâ€ and â€œtableâ€ are concepts, Iâ€™d have proliferated further into stories about these two without ever knowing what the reality is now. The view that I think you hold, does not acknowledge the existence of these two realities, nor does it distinguish between what is reality and what is concept. By default it must then be a case of taking for reality what is in fact concept. Concept being the product of thinking, leads to more thinking to create more concepts to substantiate and prove right. At no point does it encourage direct study of the present moment experience, which I believe is the only valid base for asserting what is real and what is not. As for death, although we can never observe our own since there will not be any consciousness after that one to know it. We can however understand that it must be a mental reality of the nature of resultant, based on the understanding of the different kinds of consciousness which make up â€˜lifeâ€™. And it is with this understanding, that whenever we perceive the death in other people or animals, that we conclude that it is not in fact about materiality, but mentality. In the case of someone being shot in the brain, we can therefore come to a conclusion based on the overall observation, that death has occurred, but when exactly, this canâ€™t be known. However we shouldnâ€™t make a direct connection between the fact of brain being damaged and death since we know also, that life could have continued for some time depending on other conditions, in particular, karma. Besides it is a fact that in general, any two person experiencing the same physical damage, be this through injury or disease, the extent that life continues is never the same. Some die immediately, some later and some even recover. And when taking into account the whole body and its different organs, we can see that everything including breathing stops after death, regardless of whether the brain was blown away or there was a heart attack or cancer in the blood. Should it then not be that it is â€˜deathâ€™ which caused all the other organs to stop working and the breathing to stop instead of the other way round? There is cause / effect and there is conditionality. Example of the first is the law of karma, namely good leads to good results and evil to bad results. Examples of the latter are; in order there to be seeing consciousness, there has to be visible object hence these two are said to â€œconditionâ€ the other, or that feeling, perception, intention, life faculty etc. canâ€™t arise without consciousness and so these are said to condition each other. Conditionality also include such things as, if greed arises now, it accumulates as tendency such that this will increase the probability of greed arising in the future. Therefore in the case of a good or evil act through the body, speech or mind, not only is this karma which will bring a result in the future; it also accumulates by conditions, as tendency. Or we could at that very moment know that it is thinking with attachment and at once realize that this is karma, and the stories and theories are just that. ;-) I encourage the understanding of karma and its result now. It may be that I donâ€™t even need to use the particular label, but I did, and this is because I thought that Sikhs did believe in it. Anyway, in your case it is simply a matter of having till now, a â€˜theoryâ€™ in mind which you either accept or reject. So while you continue to think about the concept only as theory, then sure, mine will appear as just another one to you. What I will say however, is that *karma is reality* and any unwillingness to accept it must be due in fact to having taken instead, certain concepts for reality, and this is a case of delusion. I should have made it clearer. There is only the karma of each person to consider. Thinking in terms of a conventional situation like a tsunami, it is alright to say that 20,000 people died at the same time due to the tsunami. However when considering â€˜realityâ€™, this is that each personâ€™s death is the result of his or her own karma in the past. So surely that karma wasnâ€™t done â€˜collectivelyâ€™ with all those remaining people, was it? This is why I suggested that the idea of â€˜collective karmaâ€™ must be due to misperception and misunderstanding. Those who conceive of the idea although they do accept in principle, that there is such a law as karma. However, because they do not really understand that both karma and itâ€™s result are in fact a reference to particular types of consciousness arising one at a time, they get caught up in ideas about â€˜selfâ€™ and â€˜situationsâ€™. And here we have 20,000 selves all dying at the same time, and so he thinks that there must be some kind of connection between all these people. But there isnâ€™t, except what thinking makes appear. The reason I said when referring to the tsunami, that â€œthings happenâ€ and then compared this to an earthquake, car accident and slipping in the bath room, was to show that there are other conditions, outside that of the individualâ€™s karma, to come in and hasten death. Indeed one could even include the individualâ€™s prior decision to live in a tsunami prone area. Although the karma which conditions birth also determines the life-span, this is only under ideal conditions. Food habits leading to disease, choice of career (as in joining the army) and outside events such as earthquakes, can be a condition whereby what is needed to support â€˜lifeâ€™ is discontinued. This is why I also cautioned against taking the idea of karma as predestined in terms of when, where and how. Well, for one thing, both are living beings. And we are not talking about the degree of application, but just understanding such things at the intellectual level, such that we do not continue making excuses for doing what we do. It is one thing to know where one is at and accepting it while at the same time acknowledging that one has done wrong, and another to insist on doing the wrong and using the fact of oneâ€™s ignorance and craving as excuse. Yes. Feeling is a mental factor which arises with all instances of consciousness. According to one classification, there are five kinds of feelings. 1. Pleasant mental feeling. 2. Unpleasant mental feeling. 3. Neutral mental feeling. 4. Pleasant bodily feeling. 5. Unpleasant bodily feeling. 4 and 5 refers to what is experienced through touch. With reference to what arises at the mind, 2 arises with all instances of aversion and in all its forms. With regard to attachment, the feeling accompanying it is either pleasant or neutral. This is the same with kindness; the feeling accompanying this is either pleasant or neutral. I was referring to the nearness between attachment and kindness as defined not only by the similar kind of feeling accompanying both, but also to the fact that in this regard, both stand in contrast to the unpleasant feeling accompanying aversion. So although kindness is the opposite of aversion, because of our overwhelming ignorance we end up judging the difference by way of accompanying feeling instead of other more important aspects such as restlessness vs. calm and clinging vs. non-clinging. And when this is the case, it is so easy to arrive at the conclusion that attachment is a good thing, since this too in terms of feeling, stands in contrast to aversion, but in fact, both are restless and neither of these is characterized by detachment. Our life is virtually a series of movements towards objects believed to arouse pleasant feelings and away from those which arouse unpleasant feelings. This is not limited only to that which is experienced through the five senses, but also what happens in the mind, for example, our beliefs and philosophies. Because of ignorance we not only do not know how much attachment there is, but we also end up believing something to be right just because it *feels* good. This is all about attachment. In contrast, aversion being characterized by unpleasant feeling, does not come across to us as desirable. We may be attached to the idea of hating someone, but this will be a case of being attracted to the idea which is accompanied by pleasant feeling. So again this shows how much more dangerous attachment is as compared to aversion.