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2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 9:25AM #11
allen-uk
Posts: 25

Bob.

Thanks for the ideas. You will, I trust, excuse my questionings and doubts; I am, after all, only doing what the Buddha told us to do - to question until we could understand the answer.

Some reactions: I thought that 'mind' was just another sense, like sight, or hearing, and that when the body 'broke' as you put it, the sense was lost too. I don't recall the Buddha saying that it was 'the mind' that somehow moved on to other lives. In fact Walpola Rahula, in 'What the Buddha Taught', is quite vague about what it is that moves from dead body to new body.

And you say that "Karma is the fruit of actions and deeds". I thought I was fairly accurately reflecting what Rahula wrote, quoted below. (And as much of my knowledge so far comes from Rahula, this is confusing!)

  • "Now, the Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma (from the root kr to do) literally means 'action', 'doing'. But in the Buddhist theory of karma it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action. Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the 'fruit' or the 'result' of karma (kamma-phala or kamma-vipaka)."


You posit that generally compassionate people have good fortune, and vice versa. Well, I'm glad that's been your happy experience; it certainly hasn't been mine. (Note, for example, the hordes of Nazi war criminals who escaped justice and lived out their lives in South America - good fortune they definitely had, but compassion?)

The Kalama Sutta. I've kept this in my head for a long while - on the basis that it seems to confirm that none of the supernatural 'stuff' matters much, as long as you tread the eightfold path in a careful manner.

Not sure of your fictionalised account of the plane crashing in Buffalo. You seem to slip back into the usual way of using the word, when you write "It's their karma", as if to say "It's their fate". Those of us who DON'T believe in karma, or in the karma/rebirth link, would see it as their Bad Luck, pure and simple, on the basis that not everything is part of the interdependence of all things; sometimes it really is just good (or bad) fortune!

I think I'll take the Buddha's implied 'licence' from the Kalama Sutta and continue to try and live a decent life, following the Noble Eightfold Path, but leaving issues such as rebirth and different planes of existence to one side. For now.

With metta,


Allen.

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2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 2:49PM #12
Bob0
Posts: 484
Thanks for the ideas. You will, I trust, excuse my questionings and doubts; I am, after all, only doing what the Buddha told us to do - to question until we could understand the answer.

 

No offense taken. This is what computers, B-net, and the people that link together are trying to accomplish. My posts may be worth exactly what you paid for them. 


"Now, the Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma (from the root kr to do) literally means 'action', 'doing'. But in the Buddhist theory of karma it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action. Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the 'fruit' or the 'result' of karma (kamma-phala or kamma-vipaka)."


This seems a sectarian view that has been distorted over the years. I would suppose you could make a case to say farting in public wasn't volitional therefore created no karma. Yet it did create a reaction. But you say it is a natural function that can't be controlled. That of course is looking at it as a snapshot in time and ignoring the volition of being in public where that could occur, the volition of diet, etc. Who can track all the many actions that led to the fart?


This idea that actions occur spontaneously without cause runs against the Buddha's teaching of cause and affect. It only has an application if you join karma with good and bad with an ultimate result of reward or punishment. Then you can make a case for not being punished for actions you had no control over. I just don't happen to think it is much of a case. Volition is the drive of all action, even if it is taken in ignorance. And all action creates reaction. Thus there is karma even if there was no intent to create such reaction. In fact that is probably the occurrence at least half the time. Just look at politics, or diplomacy and see how that turns out. But if you are going to tie in being born in a higher or lower station I could see where that would be a problem and have to be politically/dogmatically/religiously dealt with.


Those of us who DON'T believe in karma, or in the karma/rebirth link, would see it as their Bad Luck, pure and simple, on the basis that not everything is part of the interdependence of all things; sometimes it really is just good (or bad) fortune!


I don't believe in the link either but I still know that the result was born of their and the interdependent totality of actions. Again, good luck and bad luck are simply a way of assigning a value to the result of various actions.


I think I'll take the Buddha's implied 'licence' from the Kalama Sutta and continue to try and live a decent life, following the Noble Eightfold Path, but leaving issues such as rebirth and different planes of existence to one side. For now.

 

That sounds like a wise choice.


Wishing you small tranquil days,

Bob
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2 years ago  ::  May 20, 2012 - 4:11PM #13
allen-uk
Posts: 25

Bob.



I hate to be the one to quote you, but this is what you recommended a few months ago:



A couple I recommend are Buddhism plain and
Simple by Steve Hagen and What the Buddha Taught by Walpola Rahula. They can be
found on Amazon I believe...




I know, I know, everything changes.




A.

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2 years ago  ::  May 21, 2012 - 11:57AM #14
etoro
Posts: 564

May 17, 2012 -- 9:34AM, allen-uk wrote:

Hello.
I should imagine that Karma has been discussed before, but I would welcome your thoughts on the subject, as it is proving a major stumbling-block to my acceptance of the Buddhist philosophy.

Is it true that the fruits of Karma, and rebirth, are inseparable? That if you accept Karma, and the fruits of Karma, as facts, then you MUST accept rebirth, too?

Because without rebirth(s), a person who has built up a great store of negative karma in their life can often escape the fruits of that karma. Many cruel people have died contented, and rich, and the only way in which the fruits of their negative karma will eventually 'catch up' with them is in some future existence.

Once you have accepted this karma/rebirth link, then other problems arise, such as in what form karma can be transmitted, in a soul-free universe, but first, I would appreciate your guidance on karma, and its fruits.

Explain to me how I have misunderstood the process. And a plea: in simple English.


Thanks.

Allen.



Allen, I am a student of Buddhism studying and practicing its philosophy for over 30 years.  The platform of understanding from which I derive is the 1,500 years of scholarship pursued by the greatest teachers of india, China and Japan.  These teachings culminate with the teachings of the 13th century sage Nichiren and today in the modern applications applied by our global Buddhist movement in the Soka Gakkai International. .  


In reading the above I was most impressed by Bobo's attempts to answer drawing from Buddhist wisdom, logic and common sense. However the Mahayana covers all of these issues in most precise and thorough going form. Much of what I will say here accords with the teachings found in this excellent book by our teacher Daisaku Ikeda called "Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death,  found here ----> (www.middlewaypress.com/unlocking.html)


Drawn from such Mahayana sutras as the Avatamsaka, Sad Dharma Pundarika, Prajnaparamita, Lankavatara and others, all reality itself is the true scope of Life and the underlying experience of our many layers of consciousness. Life is not simply the subjective experience of an individual living person or even the social experience among species. Life is the mutually inclusive relationship between all living things and the environment and encompasses the entire scope of everything conceivable and even things yet inconceivable. As the great Buddhist sage Nichiren states,


"Life at each moment encompasses
the body and mind and the self and
environment of all sentient beings in
the Ten Worlds as well as all insentient
beings in the three thousand realms,
including plants, sky, earth, and even
the minutest particles of dust. Life at
each moment permeates the entire
realm of phenomena and is revealed in
all phenomena. To be awakened to this
principle is itself the mutually inclusive
relationship of life at each moment
and all phenomena." Writings of Nichiren Daishonin V1 pg 3


As the above expression indicates Mahayana Buddhist philosophy expressess that the experience of our living minds derive from and are manifestations of a total universal system of interacting Laws (phenomena) known otherwise as the Sad (true - mystic) Dharma (Law). The true Law as percieved by the Buddha's wisdom is a mystic law.  This is better understood as the mystic law of cause and effect.  Life is an ongoing never ending, ever reproducing phenomena that is governed by the law of cause and effect. Its fundamental grounding is the Law of birth and death, of living and dying throughout eternity. Although the universe itself is life, its functions undergo latency and manifestation.  These functions unfold in a series of appearances (birth) starting with the formation of am environment (space) and the emergence of a star system.  The formation of a world system begins with the agglomaration of minute particles through a process of binding together.  These particles consist of the five elements of earth, water, wind, fire and knowledge or information.  Information is inherent in all reality. This is the inner aspect if all things. Since all life and reality consists of an inner aspect (production) and an outer aspect (consumption) with the outer aspect (consumption) as the force that binds things together and since both aspects exist simultaneously it is difficult to fathom the true nature of the self or the subjective living entity. In order to do this one mkust percieve the mystic truth; that is the simultaneity of cause and effect within the self and all phenomena.


In the final analysis our inability to percieve the total reality of life within ourselves is due to the functions of indidivual self existence that are ever seeking to perpetuate itself as an individual living yet totally interdependent entity of life.  This desire for self perpetuation is the source of our ignorance.  Self perpetuation of the phenomena self alone is perpetuation of a partial or particular existence within the whole.  This is why we experience karma. Karma derives from the cause seeking the reproduction of self nature. Only by making the cause to attain Buddhahood or universal awakening and actualizing this total wisdom are we then able to escape the law of karma.  









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2 years ago  ::  May 21, 2012 - 3:54PM #15
allen-uk
Posts: 25

Etoro.



Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply in such a concise and lucid manner; it is appreciated.


These words in particular struck me as highly significant:

  • Life is not simply the subjective experience of an individual living person or even the social experience among species. Life is the mutually inclusive relationship between all living things and the environment and encompasses the entire scope of everything conceivable and even things yet inconceivable.

I am sure you will appreciate the jump necessary for me from this philosophical summary to acceptance of Nichiren Daishonin's words about the 'Ten Worlds' and the 'three thousand realms'.


I will order a copy of Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death and then work out how to find time to read it.


Again, my thanks.



With metta,




Allen.

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2 years ago  ::  May 22, 2012 - 12:35AM #16
etoro
Posts: 564

May 21, 2012 -- 3:54PM, allen-uk wrote:


Etoro.



Many thanks for taking the trouble to reply in such a concise and lucid manner; it is appreciated.


These words in particular struck me as highly significant:

  • Life is not simply the subjective experience of an individual living person or even the social experience among species. Life is the mutually inclusive relationship between all living things and the environment and encompasses the entire scope of everything conceivable and even things yet inconceivable.

I am sure you will appreciate the jump necessary for me from this philosophical summary to acceptance of Nichiren Daishonin's words about the 'Ten Worlds' and the 'three thousand realms'.


I will order a copy of Unlocking the Mysteries of Birth and Death and then work out how to find time to read it.


Again, my thanks.



With metta,




Allen.





Allen, happy reading and may you achieve true and indestructable happiness in this lifetime.


Nam Myoho Renge Kyo






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