Posts Tagged ‘sunyata’

Awareness and the Unborn

Sunday, March 21st, 2021

This paper was written for the Buddhism and Australia conference in february this year (2021):
Wed, 17 Feb at 19:35
Awareness and the Unborn
Dalai Lama: “Buddhist cosmology establishes the cycle of a universe in the following way: first there is a period of formation, then a period where the universe endures, then another during which it is destroyed, followed by a period of void* before the formation of a new universe. During this void, the particles of space subsist, and from these particles the new universe will be formed. It is in these particles of space that we find the fundamental con-substantial cause of the entire physical world.

If we wish to describe the formation of the universe and the physical bodies of beings, all we need do is analyse and comprehend the way in which the natural potential of different chemical and other elements constituting that universe was able to take shape from these space particles.

It is on the bases of the specific potential of those particles that the structure of this universe and of the bodies of the beings present therein have come about.”


The Buddhist concept of a space-particle was a welcome confirmation of my conviction that space is granular as I had experienced it myself and as it had later emerged from a natural number logic and geometry I had developed for resonances. In my unique peak-experience I realized that space and matter were different appearances of the same stuff, it was all one sparkling energy field, it was all light, in essence. There was no separation between things and space, it was one field of appearance and experience.

‘How am I ever going to put this into words’, I thought to myself, then; and what you are going to read here is a first full attempt to put this ‘truth’ into a more comprehensive whole.


As cited above the Dalai Lama expects that study of the ‘aethereal’ space-particle will reveal how the whole world has come about.

My tentative contribution to the study of space particles seeks to give them a logical and mathematical basis as the substance of reality and to show they can form the conceptual bridge between the physical and the mental, which we must cross if we want to preserve oneness.

It won’t do to say that matter is a fabrication of mind, because it does not solve the continuity of Nature in the space-particles as outlined by the Lama. Here we touch on the Unborn as the source without beginning and the Undying as the eternity of the source-less source.

The concept of the Unborn as the unfathomable ground of all, is already present in the Rigveda where it says: The Unborn upholds Earth, the Unborn supports Heaven. Katha Upanishad: ‘The soul is unborn, eternal, permanent’ and Krishna says: ‘I am unborn, I am imperishable’.
In Buddhism Unborn is ‘An-utpada’, which means ‘without-origin’ and is used equivalently with ‘Sunyata’ or Emptiness, the central teaching.

The aethereal space-particle is what ‘subsists’ and out of which a universe is formed, so our interest is in how these aethereal particles constitute the ‘substance’ of the world and, as I will argue, how they produce awareness by resonances that spring from the unity of it all. In the oneness is the overall integration of all awareness, the concord of the whole. The oneness is the primal awareness, as such.

I use Oneness as a prime postulate in the ultimate state of the natural laws because all mystical traditions mention the revelation of the One (-ness) as the core of spiritual transformation in experiencing reality, so it is a most inspirational approach to science.

Because the One encompassed ‘everything’ for the ancient Greeks they did not consider 1 a proper number which shows their cosmological conviction as well. Here we split up the One in infinite many space-pixalls (-particles) to allow for a ‘deepfield’ and a granular substance of the world.


The Kalachakra aethereal-particle is associated with sound, I learn, the space-pixall I have always associated with light, but now I see that my two basic mathematical forms for the geometry of space, the sphere and the horn-torus (donut without hole), allow to symbolize both; the sphere as source of vibration (sound, resonance) and the horn-torus as the source of energy (light, radiation).
It could be that the sound-particle transforms into a light-particle by polarisation, or that there is a constant interaction of the two.


Space in this cosmology is the transparent state of an aggregate of space-pixalls (picks-all) that form the substance of everything, including space itself. I call it the deepfield, also ur-field.
What is probably original in my approach is that forms move through 3-D space, as do images through a 2-D pixel screen. Literally forms then move through the densely packed pixalls substance of the deepfield as electromagnetic and geometric wave configurations.
The density of space shows in the infallible rhythms of the wave-fields. Iron-cast order of the waves.

This ‘transvibration’ of forms means also that forms have no eigen-substance that entities have no eigen-mass, that nothing has persistent self-identity, that everything is in flux. This is reminiscent of sunyata, emptiness.

What I suspect is that we are made of space, and that we constantly move as waves in the medium of space in which we have our being. We borrow our mass, our body, from the deepfield of space-pixalls, which makes us essentially one with it all. We feel the density of space in our body, no organs no muscles, just dense volume. Solid space.

I think this is a transparent way to make intelligible that our substance, our body (the observer), is always at rest relative to light, because it is part of the unmoving deepfield at any one moment (like you are sitting at rest in a moving car), the form of our body (the car), though, is always seemingly moving through space, while the substance is at rest. (at least this is a real explanation of why lightspeed remains the same in any observation).


What most people probably imagine a photon to be is a light-blob shining all-around (what else could it be), but if that were the case we would never be in the shadow, in the dark, because a massive amount of these photons passes us in the night — see the moon bathing in light, the farthest planets— no, we only see light that is coming our way in rays, by means of waves that light up the pixalls as the substance of the space-medium, the deepfield.

This description solves the wave/particle mystery, as well. The wave is the specific energy/momentum that moves through any space-medium (solid, liquid, gaseous, aetherial), the quantum/particle is the geometric aggregate of affected space-pixalls (certain numbers maybe) that give substance (mass) to the particle. when also themselves momentum/substance of that specific wave.

We experience outer-space as dark, seen though from far away our galaxy must look like a blazing star, like we see other galaxies. How come? A bright star with a dark heart, an optical illusion?

The universe appears dark because we only see light that is coming towards us, the rays that resonate with us, we all have our own rays. Light that passes us by we do not see, only when it is somehow reflected coming to us; how is that possible with individual blobs of light? These simply do not exist, but are suggested by the granularity, the discreetness of space itself.

I analyse these building blocks of reality to form a different picture of space, than the ‘(quantum-!) vacuum’, ‘void’ and ‘nothingness’ of science. Space, not as a container, not as a volume (expanding!), a timespan (curved?), but as an original state, an ur-state, without physical properties a priori, without limits; eternal, infinite; as the Unborn, an ur-awareness, which lifts reality beyond any materiality.


Resonance is the key concept for transforming space particles into matter and matter into awareness. Resonance today is a word used in a wide variety of contexts. While from old it was restricted to studies in acoustics and sound, in the middle of the last century the use of ‘resonance’ shot up manyfold and stayed there to this day. Now rather the wide range of occurrences, even healing aspects, of resonance have come to the fore.

It was probably in the sixties that the term ‘resonance’ started to ‘resonate’ with more and more educated and younger people for whom ‘vibes’ and ‘tuning-in’ (harmonizing), were household terms

It is indeed the vibration, its perceived field of influence, its ‘working’, that is the characteristic of resonance, the field it specifies, the resonance frequency emitted and ‘responded’ to, by every object, universally.

A resonance is a region of specific presence in our view, not of force. A resonance has a quality. It is much more subtle than the term force suggests, although it is true that it is as mechanical as a common reflex, it is also a joining, a harmonizing, a synchronizing.

What I want to put forward here is that the working of resonance is nature’s pillar of interaction, of communication, of transmitting information and bringing a world into being by standing waves of sound and light.

In physics resonance is seen as: one object vibrating ‘forcing’ another object with same resonant frequency into vibrational motion. (Note we need a medium for resonance)

From our perspective it is the receiving object which ‘recognizes’ the vibration of its environment as the same as its own and ‘tunes in’, ‘joins in’, harmonizes, synchronizes, this is the seed of awareness, because of the shared-ness, the condition of interaction. We see now how the pixall-fields, constitute the substance of space. It is by interconnection, by resonance, that the awareness originates.

Resonance as primordial ‘cognition’ and ‘recognition’, which subsequently ‘solidifies’ in ‘memory clouds’ with ‘resonance frequencies’, seems to pervade everything, tangible and intangible

It is important to see that ‘recognition’ is not some mental/conscious act of will, but based on mechanical conditioning, on a law of nature, mind you. We cannot help recognizing, we cannot help resonating with our environment, we are built to resonate to survive, we are full of resonators ourselves.

It is this involuntary awareness, which is the ‘hard problem of consciousness’ in physics and philosophy today, which was addressed by zen-master Bankei, just 400 years ago and by him revealed to be our innate Buddha-nature, called: the Unborn. (Ur-awareness)

It is our inborn natural awareness of our experienced environment, which is the gateway to our awakening to the Unborn.

In this one word ‘Unborn’, Bankei wonderfully and mysteriously, summarizes the core-teaching of the Buddha.

The ‘Unborn and Undying’ designates the state without beginning, without end, the state without origin, without destination. The unborn is what has always been (this is, of course, an overwhelming concept to contemplate), a state of total inclusion.

It means eternal and infinite, both terms we have a hard time understanding. But then, ‘understanding’ has no place here, maybe. Only direct experience may give us a glimpse or even an awakening.


Resonance could be a viable vehicle for understanding awareness, especially when we consider interrelatedness as leading principle.  The oneness forces us to consider where the mind-matter duality becomes fluid, conceptually, what the conditions are when it becomes hard to distinguish what is what.

Resonance is an expression of awareness of other, often similar, presences. In the resonance the individual thing ‘experiences’ its environment and reacts to it, joins it in a natural reflex.

The space particles of the deep-field provide the basic resonance, the ur-vibration or ur-sound, Nada; it is this resonance which connects all and everything and in this one-ness there is the aware-ness. The oneness creates the recognition, the transparency, the immediacy (entanglement).

In that sense then all of nature is in a state of awareness, everything is born out of awareness. This is the insight Bankei gave me, that nature is awareness itself and creates new awareness (because nature is nosy).

To experience this innate natural quality of connecting to the full environment we are in, we should realize the Unborn in us all. This was Bankei’s teaching: to connect with the deep awareness of the world you are born from, open up to your Unborn Buddha-nature. This basic awareness of the natural world is exactly what lifts it beyond materiality and up to the fathomless abundance of permanent creation. There is no beginning or end here, no origin even, it is the Unborn, an-utpada, in its all-pervading aware-ness, in its one-ness.

Awareness is independent of us individually, it is resonances shared by everything, it is the state of the atmosphere, the state of the world

Bankei points to our awareness of the background and brings it to the foreground; the unintentionality, the naturalness by which we perceive the noises of our environment and can identify them flawlessly; so as you are not trying to experience; you just do experience spontaneously, it’s everywhere, this is the Unborn state of nature you’re enveloped by, and want to open up to.

Listen to Bankei:

“Listen carefully! What you all have from your parents innately is the Unborn Buddha Mind alone. There is nothing else you have innately (…) This Buddha Mind you have (…) is truly unborn and marvellously illuminating”.

Mind here the emphasis on the innate nature of the unborn state and on its intelligence, its awareness, ‘marvellously illuminating’.

The next quote was a revelation to me because it says we are unintentionally aware anyhow, we cannot help being aware, this is our natural state; it is this ‘resonance’ we are subject to; even ‘made’ or ‘created’, to be subject to. Our whole body is constructed to resonate with the outside world, from senses to food, we interact with the environment constantly and react on the base of resonance (memory, knowledge).

“While you are all turned this way listening to me talk, you don’t mistake the chirp of a sparrow out back for the caw of a crow, the sound of a gong for that of a drum, a man’s voice for a woman’s, an adult’s voice for a child’s – you clearly recognize and distinguish each sound you hear without making a mistake. That is the marvellously illuminating dynamic function of the Unborn”.

Bankei here shows in a wonderful way how we are bound to experience our wider environment and that we unvoluntarily recognize and distinguish between sounds, and all, in this, our environment that we share. This involuntary, but crucial resonance and awareness of the common world is where the Unborn resides.

When Bankei says the innate Unborn Buddha-nature is in us all, then, since the Unborn is without beginning or end (while we are), it must be there all the time, independent of whether we are born or not. This is the crucial point, nature’s awareness is independent of us, we are dependent on it.

Bankei says: ‘Everything is perfectly managed with the Unborn’. So the Unborn is an ur-state of Nature that manifests itself in you as awareness. So your awareness is actually Nature’s awareness taking form in you and providing you with your private consciousness so that you can find your way about. (everything is taken care of, there is a strong resonance with ‘wu wei’ here).


Your awareness of your environment is your brain resonating with all the fields it is subject to. The image of your room and the space outside the window is not in your brain somewhere, it is the mirror-image your senses reflect, what you experience by resonances, it is out there for everyone else to see, not private, it is ‘awareness come to life’, you are the whole experience in space, immediately, because you are space yourself, there is no separation, his wholeness is the awareness. Space is awareness, it lights up before our eyes.

It is nothing personal. It is the field of awareness in which also animals partake and trees, plants, all of nature. This awareness has not the privacy of consciousness, it is for all to experience according to disposition. Nature is awareness.

I hope to shed some light on the different connotations of ‘awareness’ and ‘conscious-ness’, because they are often used interchangeably, but have really different flavours.
Consciousness is a cultural thing, full of taboos and rules; not so awareness, awareness is impartial, nothing in between. Animals have awareness, unclouded by consciousness, they are completely ‘natural’, they live the Unborn.
Consciousness is our own private world with a lot of ego, tainted by personal experiences, awareness is the world we share. Our consciousness defines the life we live, our awareness is defined by the world we live in. In sleep we are not conscious, but we are aware (sound, light).
Awareness is survival-mode, consciousness is leisure-mode, even dream-mode (you remember, as if conscious). The archer has no consciousness but is all awareness.


My aim is to find a vocabulary that can translate intuitive, mystical, even supernatural, knowledge into a rather neutral philosophical language. My use of the term the ‘One’ for instance can for one person mean ‘God’, another “Great Mother”, for another the ‘Dao’, for the next ‘Nature’ or ‘Cosmos’. Because the term is neutral it cannot be tainted by dogma, other than its own.

“In experiencing the grace of the Unborn is the overwhelming embrace of the One”; it can be poetry. The experiences of bliss or grace which accompany great awakenings in many cultures bear witness of what an overwhelming encounter with the ‘pure awareness of the world’ an awakening can be. You become one with it all and are never alone anymore.

The Oneness, the primal awareness, is the basic ontology of reality, carried by the resonances of the space-particles and their fields, so here the fusion of the mental and physical is realized. The aethereal particles are the ‘condensation’ of awareness as geometry of space, the deep-field. The space-particles sustain the form by providing fleeting substance.

The resonance of the ever-vibrating deep-field fills this well of Deep Awareness that everything takes its unique form from.

In this view the Ur-field is the Substance in which all forms partake, but forms have no eigen-substance, no eigen-mass. Having no self-substance is described as ‘emptiness’ which is reminiscent of the concept of Sunyata, Emptiness, and relates to the Unborn as formless, but aware.