The nature of ultimate reality can only be understood when looking from its own viewpoint. That is to say, one’s conditioned perspective of reality must be put aside.
The simplest explanation is to consider that one’s life in the world and universe has the characterization of a dream.
Into this dream, each dreamer is born. To the dreamer, the world and universe have the appearance of being real. The dreamer takes himself to be real, and therefore the world and universe this person is “in” to be real.
The dreamer “knows” that he has “come into” this life, therefore at some point he will “go out” of life. The dreamer “knows” that although he will die, the world and universe and fellow dreamers will persists after his death; that the dream will continue when the dreamer no longer exists.
None of this is so. When the dreamer ceases to be, the dream ceases to be.
The dream has never been real. The dreamer has never been real. In other words, an unreal dreamer dreams a dream that is unreal.
Only if the person, the world, and universe were real would any of this be justified to have an explanation. Any explanation would entail the process of cause—and—effect, time and space (or location). Ultimate reality has no relationship to time, space or cause –and—effect. These are elements which occur only within the dream.
Only within the dream is it a legitimate question to ask, “How then can life and the world and universe be?” Any answer would entail the processes of time, space and cause—and—effect. Such processes occur only within the dream itself. Therefore, any answer will be an answer within the unreal dream.
The point is that all that is apparent to the dreamer is simply that: an illusory appearance. What appears to be real or actual is not the same thing as what is real or actual.
What is actual, is ultimate reality. Ultimate reality can be characterized as empty; no-thing or nothingness.
Ultimate reality is absent any of the qualities of the dream. Being emptiness itself, it has no need of an explanation or a justification. There are no questions which one can ask about nothing. Questions and answers are a product of the dream.
Nothing is not the cause of anything or the effect of anything. Cause —and—effect is a process only within the dream. So, if we ask, “What is the cause of the unreal dream?”, the cause is the unreal dreamer. An apparent dreamer interacts in an apparent world in an apparent universe.
None of what appears to be is actual. What appears as “real” within the dream is not actual, not ultimate reality. To understand ultimate reality, one must go “outside” the conditioned perspective that is within the dream. It can only be understood from the standpoint that no thing is real. Nothingness is what’s real.
From the standpoint of nothingness, it is clear that not anything in our dream world, including oneself, is important. None of the activities in the world matter “outside of” the unreal dream. There is no meaning in life, in an ultimate sense. Anything which is to be taken “seriously” is within the unreal dream. Whatever you do, or anyone else does (or doesn’t do), does not matter in any real sense.
This insight is the freedom which one can experience within the dream. It is justified on its own terms.