You said that if one were talking about the body you would say that the body was death-oriented and if one were talking about the soul you would say, “You were never born at all.” Buddha has said of the soul: “It was just a bubble which is now no more. I myself am not there, so where will I go?” Then what is it that is immortal and who is unborn?
There is a sea over which waves come and go, but the sea remains the same. The waves are not separate from the sea, but the waves are not the sea. Waves are only forms born on the sea, just appearances which take form and die. A wave that remains a wave forever cannot be called a wave. The word wave means it dies as soon as it is born. That from which the wave arises is always there, but that which arises is not. This is a dance of the transitory on the breast of the eternal. The sea is unborn; the wave is taking birth. The sea never dies; the wave always dies. The moment the wave knows that it is the sea, it goes beyond the chain of life and death. But as long as the wave believes that it is a wave it is within the possibility of birth and death.
That which is, is unborn and deathless. From where will birth come? Nothing is born out of the void. Where will death happen? Nothing is lost in the void. That which is, is eternal. Time makes no difference to it; time does not affect it. This existence is not within our grasp because our senses can only comprehend form and shape. Our senses cannot comprehend that which is beyond name and form.
It is interesting to note that you must have stood on the shore of the sea very often and upon returning would have said that you have seen the sea. But you have only seen the waves, not the sea. The sea cannot be seen. What you can see are the waves. Senses can see only what appears on the surface. That which is within remains beyond their comprehension. The senses see the superficial form; the formless within eludes their grasp.
The world of name and form is born only because of the senses. It is not existence. Whatsoever has a name and form is born and will die and that which is beyond name and form is eternal. Neither is it born, nor will it die. So when Buddha says that he was born as a bubble, he is referring to two aspects of a bubble. What does the bubble contain? If we enter into a bubble, we will find that a very small amount of the same infinite all-pervasive air that is outside is enclosed within a thin film of water. This thin film has imprisoned a small portion of air, and that small part of air has become the bubble.
Naturally, like everything, the bubble also expands. Upon expanding, it breaks and bursts. Then the air that was within the bubble unites with the outer air and the water with water. But that which came into existence meanwhile was a rainbow existence. Nothing ever changed in the air or the water; they remain as they are. But meanwhile, a form was born which died.