And now, to push the metaphor a bit further (perhaps right to the edge of its own “universe”) we could ask: what accounts for the specific information encoded within the event-horizon?
In relation to the black holes described by contemporary physics, it’s the objects that have been drawn into them, which then leave their imprint: information which could, at least theoretically, be used to reconstruct the object.
In the Buddhist version of the story, what accounts for the seeds within the alaya-vijnana (the proposed “inner” equivalent to “information encoded in the event-horizon”) are karmic imprints from previous lifetimes, i.e. the information encoded as our previous-lifetime’s physical form -- not unlike the toy-figure parachuted down Morgan Freeman’s childhood well -- was drawn into the “black hole” we call “death.”
In the physics story, while physical objects drawn into black holes are destroyed and, in a sense, “disappear forever” -- the information held within them (essential for defining “who they are” in terms of their various characteristics), which is stored along the event-horizon, could potentially be utilized to “project” (a la a hologram) another (same or different?) version of the object. And periodically this information flashes out “spontaneously” in the form of Hawking radiation.
In (at least one version of) the Buddhist story, as well as in the Taoist story, what lies just beyond the event-horizon of “death” is not an ever-illusive and essentially-terrifying infinity of darkness -- but rather the absolute intimacy and boundless Light of Pure Awareness, Tao, Dharmakaya: the Unborn (and hence undying, immortal).
And it is none other than this Pure Awareness, Tao, the perfectly existent nature, which is the Light which -- when flowing through the alaya-vijnana -- casts (and is the very essence of) the holographic images, dreamlike and illusory, that we then call our “self” and “world.” That’s the Buddhist/Taoist story. But will such a (no)thing ever be “discovered” by something akin to physics research? Writes Wei Wu Wei:
“I can know that I am it, for all I am is what it is, but what ‘it’ is I can never know -- for ‘it’ cannot be any ‘thing’ that could be known -- otherwise than conceptually as each and all of ‘its’ dualised phantomatic representatives objectivised as ‘you’.”
And now, this seemingly-endless essay comes