Suppose “I” were really everyone and everything in the universe, and everyone and everything in the universe were really “another I” (just as much as “I” am “I”). Suppose the sensation of my being a separate and independent “I” from everyone and everything else in the universe were really the illusion. Then, “I” would inhabit my body because “I” inhabit every body. “I” exist in the universe because any person (let alone “thing”) which exists in the universe is “I” as much as “I” (Jundo) am “I.”
Though it may sound confusing at first impression, I think it can be described simply.
But before I do describe my idea, it is important to emphasize certain points: My proposal is not what is often called “solipsism,” the idea that “I” am the only being that exists in the entire universe, and that everything else in the universe except for ‘me’ is unreal. On the contrary, I believe that everything is quite real, quite distinct one from the other. Nor do I mean that “you” and “I” simply are linked together in a common being, like cosmic siamese twins (interesting enough thought as that is).
Instead, my concept is that there is not one bit of separation or distinction between you and I whatsoever in the most radical sense, and further, that neither you nor I are quite what we think we are. In fact, you are YOU/I, and I am YOU/I, i.e., both the I/OTHER. Thus you and I had to exist, because everything is, was and shall be YOU/I. Every human being alive wakes up in the morning and says of himself or herself, "I am YOU/I. How did I get here?" I think the idea not illogical with the right perspective.
The reason that this perspective is not obvious to most people may be because the human mind plays tricks of smoke and mirrors, leading us to think of ourselves as separate, autonomous entities. I wish now to try to clear away some of the smoke, and show how the magician might perform the illusion of separateness. Of course, modern physics has already introduced the basic concept by demonstrating that your perception of “you,” your friends, your house and your car as being physically distinct entities is untrue. In fact, you, your friends, your house and your car (and all things in the universe) form a single, unbroken continuum of matter/energy. There is simply no clear place where you end and the chair you are sitting in begins, except as intersecting wave patterns on the continuum. Thus, though the perspectives of science and the perspective of Buddhism should not be taken as the same, my assertions may have modern science on their side (at least, on the sub-atomic level).
To see how the illusion works, please picture me in two ways, both “Jundo.” The first Jundo, I will call “small jundo” (If you wish, dear reader, please pretend that I am you, and substitute your own name in the example). This “small jundo” is my normal, day-to-day self, with its own sensation of separate identity. It is the “Jundo” that gets up in the morning in his apparently separate house, goes to his job in his apparently separate car, and has little sensation of being part of a continuum with the world around him.
However, the other aspect of Jundo I will call “BIG JUNDO” (Again, please substitute your own name if you wish). “BIG JUNDO” is the continuum, and might also be called one’s “True Self.” To understand the concept, it may help to picture “BIG JUNDO” as being the single, undivided “stuff” of which all the individual “things” of the universe are made (equivalent to our ‘Tree’). For simplicity, try to picture “BIG JUNDO” as a vast sea of clay perhaps, or as the body of the Tree. All the individual “things” of the universe are made of “BIG JUNDO,” are made out of small pieces of that clay (are leaves, fruits and flowers of our Tree).
The key is this: Each and every one of the “things” made out of the clay or of the Tree (BIG JUNDO) is itself a “small jundo.” You and I are each a “small jundo.” My house is a “small jundo” and my car is another “small jundo.” For purposes of keeping them separate, let me assign arbitrary numbers to each one: e.g., You are “small jundo 1,” I am “small jundo 2,” my car is “small jundo 3,” and my house is “small jundo 4.” In fact, every individual “thing” in the universe is a “small jundo,” and could be assigned a number.
Now we come to the point where the human brain starts to play its tricks. Of course (as far as I know) my house and my car do not “think,” and thus do not think about themselves existing as “Jundo,” or in any other way. However, each human being’s brain thinks. Thus, “small jundo 1” (you) wakes up every day and thinks “I am Jundo” (meaning, that you are thinking that you exist as “you”). As well, “small jundo 2” (me) wakes up every day and thinks “I am Jundo” (meaning, that I am thinking that I exist as “me”). In fact, we each think of ourselves as the one and only “Jundo,” and that all the other people and things in the world are NOT “Jundo.” We each think we are fully individual and separate, and are blind to the fact that we are BOTH “Jundo” from a different perspective (that we are both YOU/I, the I/OTHER, both the Tree). We thus both think, “How did I (meaning “Jundo”) come to inhabit my particular physical body,” because we do not see that every person in the world would have had to have been “Jundo.” We fail to see that “small jundo 2” (me) is thinking and feeling that I am “the only Jundo” as much as “small jundo 1” (you) are thinking that you are “the only Jundo.” Each singular leaf of the “Jundo” Tree thinks itself the one and only “Jundo” leaf, unique and separate, yet each is no more than the “Jundo” Tree.
At this point, some readers may raise an objection: They might say, “Although you may be “Jundo,” my name is “Francesco.” You are short and round and live in Tokyo, I am tall and skinny and live in Venice. What do you mean that we are both the same and both named ‘Jundo’?”
The answer is that I am not talking about how we each appear on the surface, or who we think we are, our personal life histories or day-to-day names and selves. That is all just the “small jundo” self, the particular leaf with its unique position in the sun, but an expression of the encompassing Tree.
This perspective may become clearer by a further example: Imagine that the universe were a vast airplane in which an “I” (Jundo) is sitting in each and every seat. One “Jundo” starts to wonder how he came to be in seat 27D (his particular life), and not in some other seat (or, how he came to be on the plane at all). The answer is that “Jundo” is in every seat, even if passenger 27D does not feel it so. In fact, the whole plane is likely “Jundo,” and each wing, wheel and motor is “Jundo.” Also, since the airplane represents the entire universe, there is nowhere outside the airplane, and thus no place for Jundo to be but on that plane. Thereby, if there is a certain passenger on the plane, that passenger must be a “Jundo.” However, because each passenger is sitting in a separate seat, with his or her own view of the cabin or out a window, each sees life from quite a unique perspective (i.e., each has his or her particular, individual life, seen out of his or her own eyes).
How does the brain play the trick of causing us to perceive only our “small jundo” self, and not our “BIG JUNDO” Self? It is an illusion, possibly much like one’s being seated in a multi-screen cinema, each screen showing what appears to the viewer to be a very distinct image. Depending on the angle (or the particular life), each view appears quite different from all the others. However, the viewer cannot see that each “small jundo” image is but light on a blank screen emanating from a single, hidden “BIG JUNDO” projector, each image but the cast light refracted differently, at different angles and perspectives, and thus looking most distinct. As well, the viewer cannot see all the other screens of the theatre, only his or her own. Thus, the leaf experiences its leaf-ness, not easily the total being of the Tree. It is much the reverse trick as experienced in the “Hall of Mirrors” of the carnival funhouse …… You see yourself reflected by the thousands, tens-of-thousands, endlessly to the horizons, each image slightly distinct …… Which is the “real” you?
You may wish to imagine another situation, that, due to a mysterious twist of genetic latency, your single, little head suddenly sprouted a second, fully distinct brain, one brain now controlling your left eye and the left side of your body, the other the right. Although from the outside you still appear a fairly normal person, in fact each half of your body is under a fully separate consciousness, conjoined twins within. Each eye and hand sees and feels the world in a slightly distinct manner, distinct from the experiences and awareness of the other half of your body, whereby each of your two minds undergoes its own experiences, holds it own subjective beliefs and personal judgments. Now, imagine that this magical body of yours began to sprout additional brains by the billions, each with its own eye and independent hand, each brain representing one of the untold sentient lives that exist on this planet which is our home. Would we then be speaking of but one creature or a world of creatures? Which is the real “you?”
And that (perhaps) is the story of how “you” got to be “you,” and “I” got to be “I,” and how we are different, and how we are the same.