Losing Our Bodies, Losing Our Minds

When did we leave our bodies—and how do we come back?Stuart Smithers

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© John Bigelow TaylorWe were once self-luminous beings who fed on joy, lived in a state of bliss, were made of attention, and could go wherever we wished. But according to the Buddhist story of creation in the Mahavastu, one of us ate a mouthful of the “essence of earth,” and other beings, seeing his pleasure, followed suit. So began our descent. As the beings ate more of this ordinary food, their bodies became heavy, rough, and hard, and all of the luminous qualities were lost.

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