In the teachings by Christian yesterday, the form skandha was discussed and categorised. One of the partitions applied was a split between perceptible forms and non-perceptible forms. Within the non-perceptible forms, a second partition was introduced:
1 Forms arisen from having correctly taken up [an intention]
2 imagined forms
3 Forms arisen from proficiency [in contemplative training].
This discussion is about the first: forms arisen from having correctly taken up an intention. The example used was the vow not to kill, but let's use a slightly more abstract form of this vow and call it a vow of restraint. So any vow which restrains yourself from doing something or even a vow which restrains you from mentally engaging into common thought patterns your mind would be a vow of restraint.
In this post I would like to discuss the similarities between our current human form and the form of a vow. How are they different and how are they the same?
The Buddha nature
As with all phenomena or concepts they are equal in their true Buddha nature. Each concept divides up totality into a duality and as such in totality (Buddha nature) they are equal. However, in their relative nature they are both different and the same. As any two concepts which are not the same or each other's complements will have an overlapping and a non-overlapping aspects in the way they divide Buddha nature.
The aspect of protection
Both our human form as well as a vow provides protection. With a vow you are intentionally cutting off behaviours or mental tendencies, such that you are protected from maturing the karmic consequences of your tendencies. This doesn't mean your free from your tendencies but at least they are now no longer running the show anymore.
As we were formless in the bardo before we incarnated in our current lives, I imagine our tendencies and thought patterns are running wild and were completely overwhelming. Having a form allows us to divert our attention from our minds and limits to a certain degree the triggers coming in to those coming in via the sense organs, We experience a form of protection which we no longer have in the bardo between incarnations. When the female and male essences come together and an opportunity for a new form arisen, attaching ourselves to this new form will protect us from all the experiences we have in the bardo which we do not recognise as our own mental creations.
As we break a vow of restraint, the mental processed triggered by continuation of the "breaking" behaviour will start again. Similarly, when we return to the bardo, we loose our form and a such our protection from the wide spectrum of mental impressions we experience and not recognise as our own creations.
Woud love to hear all the inputs from my Dharma friends. What is your take on the similarity of the aspect of protection? Do you see other aspects of similarity?