Consciousness seems to progress stage by stage, probably at first switching back and forth—going forward and then back among two or three consecutive stages. For instance, while those who oscillate between the first and second stages will gradually advance to be born in the third stage, once they have reached the fourth or fifth stage, they will no longer return to the first.
By now, you are aware of the consensus between the theories put forth by Kukai and Joel L. Whitton. When I first discovered that the content of the first and the fifth stage were exactly the same, I was stunned, yet I intuited that this might be true. I studied the theories of Ken Wilber, Joel L. Whitton, and Kukai, in an effort to completely reconsider the concept of inner freedom. After all, if you are aware that everything is evolving, you will view things positively, in keeping with the mandalic concept, despite various undesirable conditions or difficulties in your life. In fact, it is possible to see the stages of consciousness very clearly when we use Kukai's "Ten Stages of the Development of Mind" that sharply illuminates and distinguishes the various levels of consciousness. But we must avoid ranking or criticizing others, since taking this kind of attitude would run contrary to the concept that characterizes the tenth stage, "Everything is to be affirmed." Any-way, I would suggest that Kukai, Wilber, and Whitton—great teachers of religion, psychology, and medicine from the past and present— have set up guideposts to show us where we are, to enable us to proceed more quickly and more comfortably.
Yukio Funai of the Funai Institute in Tokyo has written on the concept of "this world and the other world": "Our home seems to be in the other world. Our true form is a soul, i.e., a form of consciousness. If no provision were made for this, we might miss our real home, when we come to the boarding school called Earth. So all memory of our real home is temporarily erased when we are born. Our body has its limitations, which make it necessary for us study. If we do not put forth a great deal of effort, life will be quite tough on us. We are trapped in the body, which is a fairly inconvenient vessel. In the other world, we were able to see everything. We could know with certainty how others felt, and we could exist anywhere, immediately, as we wished. But, when life grew too easy and comfortable there, we tended to become lazy. That's why souls were sent to this world, where everyone must live by their own efforts. That way, ambition and a competitive spirit can be encouraged. While we learn, our vessel (body) gets old sooner or later and breaks down. Then we can finally go back to our real home. In order to learn efficiently, souls who knew each other well in the other world are often transferred to this world in a group. Every record in this school is saved because it will serve as reference for choosing the next school, time frame, vessel, or companions. Anything the soul learns in one life will again be its property in the other world, and will also be 'transferred' to the next life. You can probably imagine well enough how the law of causation works. It might be in order, if human beings don't know about the other world or are not aware that death is not the end. I think that humans' level of consciousness has evolved, so that we gradually understand more about the principles of life and death. Human beings are slowly moving closer to God, and not to beasts. That's why we should make efforts to know more about the law of nature."
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