There Is No Suffering 76

The Present Life

The next seven links, four through ten, make up the individual’s present lifetime. As we said above, the karma from a previous life leads to a rebirth in a present life. With humans, consciousness fuses with the embryo in the womb. This combination of consciousness and matter is the fourth link, name-and-form. Name refers to the mental aspect—the consciousness from the previous life. Form refers to physical aspect—the body. As the embryo develops, it forms the six sense faculties: seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, touch, and consciousness. At some point it will complete the fifth link, the six entries or senses faculties, which allows it to respond to the environment upon being born.

The six faculties are referred to as the six entries because by themselves, physical faculties are meaningless. They come into play as entries only when they function along with the six sense objects and six sense consciousnesses; that is, when physical and mental mutually interact. When the six entries begin to fully function, karma is created. One may be blind or deaf, in which case one would have fewer entries; but as long as there is consciousness, there is also karma and retribution. Someone who is alive but brain-dead still receives retribution, though most likely at a less acute level. However, because there is no consciousness, such a person would not generate new karma. We create new karma only when we interact with the environment with a discriminating mind.