In my earthly young days many many many years ago, I experienced "death". It began with recessing, recessing into the tiny light-dot then it shot with an incomparable speed of exiting. This tiny light-dot was the I, fully with the "meeeeeeee...", or maybe "muuuuuu..." (無, nothingness), or "ommmmmmm..." (空, emptiness). It's just pure "I", no attribute, no gender, no age, no race -- no name. Until a sudden thought of "mother!" occurred, I fell back and re-emerged. It was a bedroom with window shut and door closed, I usually loathed with confined space, maybe that subconsciously gave me the idea that there no air to breath, hence dying. Of course the real process of death is very painful for ordinary people, according to Yogācārabhūmi-śāstra (瑜伽師地論)
Ever since this experience I've known that there no real death, what died is the body. This "I" will just be there, permanently, can't be annihilated nor grown, through thick and thin.
No matter how those secular, scholatic or scientific Buddhists arraying theories, theses, proofs, analysis to convince everyone there's no rebirth, life ended after death, it just can never accord. It's like trying to convince a penguin living in the South Pole that his very habitat is Sahara, quoting lengthy Encyclopedia Britannica or Wikipedia describing the landscape of desert and it's climate... just doesn't accord, let alone the penguin doesn't understand English :).
But I hadn't studied Buddhism, at that time.
As I read again Bodhidharma's Bloodline Theory (血脈論, some translated as Bloodstream - incorrect), simply, he said, the Buddha is the Self-nature (自性).
Could the light-dot this "I" be the Self-nature?
He said, without realizing the Self-nature, all those sentient to the "me" are like wooden-dolls1. What if but realized? All the sentient their doings are my doings? But I this Self-nature indeed doing nothing...
Comes spring blooming fragrances everywhere --
Mountains, rivers, the whole earth is --
-- Xuyun (1840-1959CE), transl. Mishu
This is the verse written by Xuyun (虛雲) the Great Monk when he enlightened.
Therefore there no corruption of the world, nor the escape from "me" is possible. How could one escape from his own shadow? The world is my shadow, neither corrupted, nor upright. Ultimately there is none a better version of the world, with beings "
lived at a humane level of consciousness"; though there are different versions of the world beginning with Gold Kalpa (antiquity) to Iron Kalpa (now) in scripture.
In fact it is the existing of this very world, that the I could be comprehended; by its very corruption, that we know what is good.
Those Devas living in the world of bliss can never comprehend what is suffering; there's no chance for them to help others either, since everyone is in bliss.
Therefore the Dharma is to swirl and roll with the Red Dust, yet unscathed. By dancing with the shadow, the most beautiful artworks are created, whether in poetry, or technology; as everyday life story, or in war.
It is as good as only just words, I can't even give advice to myself :).
all are my names --
When the Self
none the same
-- Mishu (2016-?CE)
1. 於此光明中運手動足者，如恆河沙，及乎問著，總道不得，猶如木人 (wooden dolls) 相似，總是自己受用，因何不識？-- 《血脈論》