Karma - who/what is the judge?

Discussion in 'Buddhism' started by IowaGuy, Aug 30, 2011.

  1. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Buddha taught there is no soul that survives death of the physical body. And no deity to judge your karma. So how can you possibly come back into the game where you left off? Who/what exists once you die to know where you left off? Energy itself is neutral, not good/bad or favorable/unfavorable. So, assuming no soul or deity (per Buddhism), the energy leaving your body upon death would be neutral.

    With neutral energy wouldn't you be more likely to just come back randomly? i.e. random rebirth instead of favorable/unfavorable rebirth? Occam's razor, if applied to rebirth, would point us towards the simplest rebirth idea. Which would be a random transfer of your energy into the universe. Not some favorable/unfavorable rebirth dependent on good/bad karma during your lifetime.

    If you want to come back into the game where you left off, or transfer "spiritual progress" made during this lifetime to a future rebirth, then a Hinduism or Theosophy concept of rebirth seems a stronger argument, IMHO. Although Hindu or Theosophy rebirth philosophies require belief in a deity and soul (making them more complex than Buddhist rebirth philosophy, from an Occam's razor standpoint), they do solve the "question" of how one can have a favorable/unfavorable rebirth based on karma...
     
  2. wil

    wil UNeyeR1 Moderator

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    Part of my belief is that none of them got it right. They all got a glimpse of the divine but it was filtered by their current beliefs, understandings, experiences, education, and what fit into their realm of acceptance. They then tried to explain what they understood to be true with their limited language....none of our language, none of our minds can understand or completely grock all that is.

    As beautiful and as close as our various religions and sciences get we all fall way short of the breadth and scope of what is beyond 'reality'
     
  3. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    You are partly correct, but you must understand it is not THEIR current beliefs, what use are beliefs when you know? To convey something to people, you must use language they understand, you cannot just make up new words and explain them. You must cater to the audiences current beliefs and frame of mind else they simply will not accept what you have to offer.

    You have also accurately stated the lack of capacity that exists with mind, the experience occurs when you can transcend mind, when mind has been silenced and has simply stopped projecting: then you experience what Buddhists call kensho or satori. There is something deeper, there is samadhi, this is not merely a glimpse, this makes the same experience of kensho and satori permanent - otherwise you will return to separation eventually. Samadhi is the state of full enlightenment, I am not convinced all religious founders and prophets have attained to this height though.

    Do not sell the human capacity so short though, it is the ego, the mind's identifications which cause this state of separateness - you are already enlightened, you are simply too comfortable with mind's perceptions, you trust mind too much to allow the ultimate let-go. Mind, ego, it constantly plays games because it understands completely the threat of this pursuit. It will create rationale, it will cause fear, it will do whatsoever it things will cause you to stop the plight - merely watch and laugh at its impotence, eventually it will give up and this is enlightenment.
     
  4. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Hi Seattlegal, I see your point. It certainly could be vexing.

    But many of us were not born into an Eastern karma/rebirth-based religion. It seems strange to me that Buddha teaches karma and rebirth, yet suggests that we should not conjecture about them, lest we bring ourselves madness and vexation... Ignorance is bliss?

    This "unconjecturable" idea would imply we need to accept karma/rebirth as "faith." Of course, many other religions also claim one needs "faith" in their religion as well since some of their teachings are not logical.

    It seems to me that the "don't conjecture about karma" teaching applies best to those who already have faith in Buddhism, perhaps because they were born into that belief system. In my personal experiece most people who claim "faith" in a religion and don't question the key teachings of that particular belief system were born into it.

    I personally don't take religious teachings on faith, otherwise there would be no way of distinguishing which religious/spiritual path to take; might as well just throw a dart at a wall plastered with names of all the different faith-based religions and believe in whichever one the dart hits. Or have "faith" in the religion you were born into, same thing as throwing a dart.

    Therefore, I will take the "unconjecturable" teaching with a grain of salt. Maybe Buddha didn't want us to conjecture about it becuase favorable/unfavorable rebirth without a soul or deity is not rational. Therefore the easiest/best way to believe in his version of karma/rebirth is simply to not question.
     
  5. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    This statement makes void the entire Buddhist cannon ---of karma et al:

    The soul-cell-entity that DOES NOT survives death of the physical body has reached "Liberation".

    Unless one has become "Liberated" one will repeatedly take birth(s).

    The majority of, by-any-other-name, 'soul-cell-entities' repeatedly take birth(s) ---since time-immemorial and will continue to do so.
     
  6. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    You are correct, but remember that Buddha is speaking from a place of liberation: he is simply saying that soul is a type of maya. Soul exists because of ego, you insist you are separate and so there is a pocket of unconsciousness around you which we call soul. When you come to a place where you allow consciousness to seep through this barrier you have created then you realize you are not separate at all - then you are liberated.
     
  7. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    My understanding (although limited) is that Buddhism teaches a soul-less rebirth; while Hinduism teaches a soul that goes on to the next rebirth. I'm sure this is an over-simplification but isn't that the gist of it?
     
  8. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    No, Buddha teaches soul is false, but it is the soul which acquires karma. Liberation, as I just said, occurs when soul is dropped, when ego is dropped. Soul is the entity of your energy which goes on changing from body to body, it is the subtle or quanta aspect of your being. You must realize you are not separate at all, but soul/ego/atman is a barrier protecting you right now - it must be rid of.

    Once you can melt it away, then you are not, only existence is - the source of soul, as the ocean to your bubble. When the bubble is popped, it simply again becomes one with the ocean, same is the relationship between soul and holy spirit (using Christian terminology to describe a non-Christian concept, do not try to correct, simply understand what I am pointing to). The trinity says holy spirit is an aspect of God, Jesus walked the earth yet was also part of God, and the Father is something higher but also part of God. When you can merge the three, you are left with a oneness. Few Christians seem to understand they are part of the body of Christ but 1 Corinthians 12:27 says they are...

    I hope this is clear enough, I am not sure how coherent it is.

    Father: true or higher self, omnipresent, existence itself
    Son: lower self, relative, existing in the world
    Holy Spirit: the relationship between the two, as beloved/lover/love

    It is interesting the importance religions place on sets of three when we consider this plane is three dimensional. Many old religions have created pyramids, it is a sacred shape because it represents the many - the base - of this reality merging into a oneness - the tip - and then even futher into a nothingness.
     
  9. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    "a soul-less rebirth" ---What in God's name is a 'soul-less rebirth'?

    Nirvana (Liberation) is for those that are liberated from **samsara (cycle of repeated births).

    **A Boddhisattva's status is a wholly different afffair from the common persons plight of repeated births (aka, 'samsara', the cycle of repeated birth and deaths.

    Only after Liberation ---is there a state of nirvana --after Liberation, not before liberation.

    It's like saying Oxford University Teaches engineering ---so . . . after graduation an alumni may show what credentials ones has ---not before graduation.
     
  10. Joedjr

    Joedjr A Sometimes Member

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    Good topic.

    So far:
    The cycle of births goes on like the natural action of the ocean tide.
    No Essence judges karma, the debt of karma becomes due at the next rebirth.
    When liberation is reached the cycle of rebirth is finished.

    Questions:
    Does liberation happen at death?
    If one becomes liberated before death, I'm guessing you still have to eat and do other earthly things?
    If the cycle of rebirths has ended by liberation, there is nowhere to go from the earthly life, your just dead?
     
  11. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    I thought Buddhists didn't believe in the Hindu idea of a "soul" changing bodies during rebirth like a person changes clothes? (i.e. Bhagavad Gita Chapter 2, verse 22)

    Budda taught anatta, i.e. no self/soul-lessness. Here's a definition from the Britannica online encyclopedia:

    "Anatta: in Buddhism, the doctrine that there is in humans no permanent, underlying substance that can be called the soul."

    That's why I said soul-less rebirth. If Buddhists believe there is no soul, yet they believe in rebirth, then that would be soul-less rebirth, no?

    Maybe I'm losing some of the nuances in translation as the Eastern idea of a "soul" might be different that the Western idea of a "soul"?

    Perhaps I should ask it this way: what do you perceive as the difference between rebirth in Hinduism (which believes in deities and divine intervention) and Buddhism (no deities nor divine intervention) ?
     
  12. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    What you are misunderstanding is that Buddha is not talking about how we are normally, he is talking about truth. You are reborn because you have not realized anatta, this is why Buddha is not able to be reborn...

    Normally, we have a soul, it is a development and a constinuant of ego - because of ego, part of the whole has become stuck, bound together. Through mind, you have decided this is not a separable entity, that it is distinct from the whole. Buddha simply says this is invalid, that you must drop this idea. The Christians describe how we are co-creators, the soul is a creation of ego. If you allow your eyes to become unfocused you can actually see the barrier ego has created, although it is transparent.

    It is only when this is transcended that you are liberated from the prison of self, this barrier you have created - the soul/ego/atman. This is exactly the state of nirvana, but you have not attained nirvana so you must understand that you still have to overcome these things. Simply understanding and accepting the concept is not going to help, though, it must be realized directly.
     
  13. Bhaktajan II

    Bhaktajan II Hare Krishna Yogi

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    Then what about all the talk of Boddhisattva-hood?

    Samsara is there. Anatta is the goal of the individual being--- until then there is always samsara for every individual being.

    ::::::::::::::::::::::::::::
    Bodhisattva - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    In the Pāli canon, the bodhisatta Siddhartha Gotama is described thus:[4]
    before my Awakening, when I was an unawakened bodhisatta, being subject myself to birth, sought what was likewise subject to birth. Being subject myself to aging... illness... death... sorrow... defilement, I sought [happiness in] what was likewise subject to illness... death... sorrow... defilement.
    Ariyapariyesana Sutta
    :::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

    Boddhisattva
    In Mahāyāna Buddhism life in this world is compared to people living in a house that is on fire. People take this world as reality pursuing worldly projects and pleasures without realising that the house is on fire and will soon burn down (due to the inevitability of death). A bodhisattva is one who has a determination to free sentient beings from samsara and its cycle of death, rebirth and suffering.

    According to some Mahāyāna sources a bodhisattva is someone on the path to full Buddhahood. Others speak of bodhisattvas renouncing liberation in exchange for staying in the material world determined to free sentient beings from samsara and its cycle of death, rebirth and suffering.


    Boddhisattva's vow:
    "If I do not go to the hell to help the suffering beings there, who else will go? ... if the hells are not empty I will not become a Buddha. Only when all living beings have been saved, will I attain Bodhi"
     
  14. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    This is why ego is most often manifest through statements of protection: you are saying you are better, you claim things as belonging to this entity, you will not accept people coming into your personal space - you will not allow others inside the barrier of self.

    These are devices of self to confirm distinctness, nothing more.

    -------

    It is quite strange how we go on possessing things and people to feel more powerful, more in control. We are the whole, we seem to unconsciously know it but we strive for power - we want to possess the whole rather than simply be. This is how the person is created, it is a possession of ideas and thoughts, it is more correctly a persona - once this is dropped, nirvana will be soon.

    Nirvana is the result of total let-go, it is accepting God's will, no longer trying to be in control yourself - obviously Buddha doesn't accept there is a God, this is because God isn't a thing, it is the whole, existence itself. As Muhammad has said: nothing exists save God - this is how Sufi's explain that he is the seal of the profits, what more can be said? God is everything, you must create a love affair with the whole and lose yourself totally to it. This is their whole device...

    Neither atheist or theist, for both are conclusions without a knowing.
     
  15. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Neti Neti - neither this nor that.

    All conclusions are of mind, all learning is of mind - mind only reinforces ego. Do not decide without direct experience and you will transcend, let the clouds of thought come and go and know whatsoever mind decides is false.

    This is why they say the wise man knows that he knows nothing... he is not there to know. Intellect is of mind, wisdom is of heart/gut/not head. In another thread, someone said you are the ego - they are perfectly right, this is the nature of the concept of distinction. When you can stop identifying with mind, eventually it will stop asserting itself. In those gaps the ultimate knocks...

    When mind stops, there is no longer intent... when there is no longer intent, you are free from karma, free from samsara, utterly free, liberated. You are subject to samsara only because there is a clinging to this world, an intent to return.
     
  16. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Many will read the statement about love and the statement about intent as contradictory... this is not so, when love is intentional it is not love at all - it is an infatuation. Love is beautiful because it is a glimpse at your true nature, you cannot decide it away with mind although you can force its suppression.

    Humans crave love because love is the glue of existence, in deep moments of love there is no longer two: it is a hint. Ego is a love for self, it keeps the self together, but it is selfish - it hates other because it wants to reinforce self, even in relationships there is a subtle hate, a subtle need to control, a need to be superior. If you can love the whole completely, without distinction, you will transcend self - you are part of the whole though, so it is not a rejection of self. It will begin as an intent, and meditation helps grow your capacity, but eventually you will simply be overflowing with love - you will not be able to stop pouring it out with every encounter, it is no longer intentional, now it will become a transcendence, but intent is of mind so it can never help.
     
  17. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    The path of the seeker is somewhat contradictory though: you must become so total in the intention to to the point that nothing else matters.

    Always be total in everything, never suppress, then one day suddenly you see the pointlessness of it. You decide there must be something more, so this is the beginning of the seeking. Again you must become utterly total in the pursuit, but again eventually you will see it is futile: nothing is happening, you are just acquiring knowledge.

    The totality creates the context for the let go, it is hugely important. If it is a so-so endeavor, you will not become sick of it - it will not become a burden. If it is not a burden, why will you need to drop it? This is why so few ever reach the ultimate, it is a casual pursuit - maybe they were just brought up this way, so they have adopted it for themselves but they are never really committed. It is a complete accident that they happen to have been brought into a Christian family, but they identify with it: I am Christian. The entire Jewish device is to drop the "Christian" part, simply "I am" without any qualification. You become that I am - Yahweh. First you must see why it must be dropped though, you must become so sick of everything that you don't want to hold it anymore. This is where grace kicks in, when you are in complete let go, God is there to catch.

    Of course, the danger is that you will want to still control when you have become sick of everything... this is how suicide happens, the alternative to seeking truth - it is the last act of the ego in this life, but it ensures its own future because now it can be reborn.
     
  18. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    And I see your point! Kamma can be seen as a part of a wider concept, that of the inter-connectedness of all things (Indra's Net). Everything affects everything else. It is therefore not possible to work out the ramifications of our actions. Each thing we say or do will have a myriad unkown (to ourselves) effects so it is pointless to try and work it out. Conjecture is pointless, and from the Buddha's POV irrelevant, as it is not concerned with our amelioration of dukkha.

    I don't know the intimate details of how a light switch provides light, but it does. I take it on 'faith' the switch works but don't concern myself with the QM of currents or the economic model of the National Grid. I just get on with living my life, in blissful ignorance of such intricacies.
     
  19. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    If you believe in the Buddhist teaching of karma then why not also believe in the Buddhist teaching of rebirth? After all, rebirth ties into the Buddha's teaching of karma. You can just take it on "faith" that it works but don't have to concern yourself with the intimate details...
     
  20. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    Post 2 and 19 :)
     

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