How are "all types of beings originally formless"?

  • p100 The Sutra of Hui-neng, Grand Master of Zen: With Hui-neng's Commentary on the Diamond Sutra

I'm asking because this page [quoting His Highness the Dalai Lama] says

Immediately thereupon, the intermediate state begins—except for those reborn in the formless realms of infinite space, infinite consciousness, "nothingness" or peak of cyclic existence, for whom the new life begins immediately upon death

If we all are originally formless, then our original nature has no intermediate state, while our unenlightened state does.

How can that be?

  • I'm unable to understand the question. How can an original state have an intermediate state? How can an unenlightened state not have an intermediate state? – user14119 Dec 10 '19 at 12:47

The pull downwards into form, into the unenlightened craving for identity, is driven by craving. Craving leads to grasping and then to rebirth.

SN12.23:4.6: I say that rebirth has a vital condition.

SN12.23:4.7: And what is it?

SN12.23:4.8: You should say: ‘Continued existence.’

SN12.23:4.9: I say that continued existence has a vital condition.

SN12.23:4.10: And what is it?

SN12.23:4.11: You should say: ‘Grasping.’

In contrast, moving upwards skillfully, we have practice that leads to the formless and beyond:

SN46.54:15.9: The apex of the heart’s release by equanimity is the dimension of nothingness, I say, for a mendicant who has not penetrated to a higher freedom.”

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