The original form of Buddhist logic:
- Everything in the universe is causally linked. All things are composite things, that is, they are composed of several elements.
- Because all things are composite, they are all transitory, for the elements come together and then fall apart.
- It is this transience that causes human beings to sorrow and to suffer.
- We live in a body, which is a composite thing, but that body decays, sickens, and eventually dies, though we wish it to do otherwise.
- Since everything is transient, that means that there can be no eternal soul either in the self or in the universe.
- This, then, is the eternal truth of the world: everything is transitory, sorrowful, and soulless–the three-fold character of the world.
As pessimistic as this sounds, the philosophy of Siddhartha Gautama(the original Buddha) is a kind of therapy. In fact, classifying it in Western terms is impossible. We think of Buddhism as a religion, which it unquestionably became, but Siddhartha was less concerned with theology or ritual or prayer as he was with providing a tool for individuals to use to escape suffering. The goal of this method, the Eightfold Noble Path, is the elimination of one's desires and one's attachment to one's self. Once one has understood correctly the nature of the universe (Right Understanding) and devoted one's life to selfless and altruistic actions (Right Action) and, finally, by losing all sense of one's self and by losing all one's desires, one then passes into a state called Nirvana (in Pali, Nibbana ). The word means "snuffed out" in the way a fire is snuffed out or extinguished. At this point, the self no longer exists. It is not folded into a higher reality nor is it transported to a land of bliss, it simply ceases to exist. This is the state that the Buddha passed into at his death.
Buddhism in its original form does not posit some transcendent alternative as a goal. In fact, Buddhism in its original form held that the soul actually died when the body died. How, then, could a soul pass from body to body? What passed from body to body was a chain of causes set in motion by each soul; the Buddhist philosopher Nagsena said it was like a flame passing from candle to candle.
I question this philosophy, as Buddha had instructed us to do.
"Believe nothing, no matter where you read it, or who said it, no matter if I have said it, unless it agrees with your own reason and your own common sense."
I believe we are a part of some greater mind, only while we are here on earth we are fragmented beings or souls, no longer a part of the greater whole. That greater whole could be an illusion, or a dream, but we believe that it is real, so it becomes reality, but only to us.