Karma - who/what is the judge?

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

  1. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Many traditions contain something similar to "I am the alpha and omega, the first and the last", what does this convey?

    It means they have remembered their true state, what in the West is called God - existence itself, the absolute/source/ultimate/etc whatever you want to call it is fine for they are just words, utterly meaningless by themselves. It is that which is permanent among the collective impermanence of this reality. It is so far above words that truly words become utterly impotent - I am not even sure words can exist there because it is words that brought me back to duality, always it happens in a state of nothingness, if you assert anything you fall back down.

    Buddha has seen everything the current tradition of that time has convoluted this into, and has tried to release people from the absurdity... problem is his religion has become the most convoluted of all - it is bound to be so, he has been so against convolution that his words are bound to become confusing, seemingly contradictory in many places. He has not realized the ramifications at all, how easily he could be misconstrued.

    This is the fundamental problem of every old tradition on this earth: they have tried to be corrective, but the followers have gone too much in the opposite direction - the pendulum has not been stopped, nay, it has simply been given another push...

    This is the problem you have right now: you want to make sense of something without understanding first what the basic purpose has been - Buddha has tried to cause those around him to drop their views, but you are attempting to create views based on those statements...
     
  2. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    ...which explains the contradictions of the Buddha; he took into account his audience. Do you answer the same question in the same way if it is posed by a 5 year old as when it is posed by a university graduate? Your answer will clearly depend on what the questioner is able to understand or relate to (or should do!). You may be interested to investigate the term upaya:

    Taken from A Short History Of Buddhism by Edward Conze - "'Skill in means' is the ability to bring out the spiritual potentialities of different people by statements or actions which are adjusted to their needs and adapted to their capacity for comprehension."
     
  3. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    I like the idea of Buddhist rebirth as it's independent of deities, which I personally have no evidence of. When I read HHDL, literal rebirth is a core part of his belief system and guides much of his day-to-day actions. He tries to improve on his karma, he tries to better himself in this lifetime so he can continue marching down that path of spiritual enlightenment (bodhi). I think this is good.

    I think this same concept could also help me improve my day-to-day actions. But I can't get my head around rebirth. Sure, minute-by-minute rebirth of the universe: the air I breathe in this second is different than the last; my body regenerates itself with new cells every 7 years; I butcher a chicken and use its energy to sustain myself and compost its remains which sustains my garden, etc. Yes, I can and do believe these concepts, in a pantheistic sense, that we are all inter-connected and that my energy and the universe's energy are one in the same, and will continue to be one in the same following my death, and that my life energy will be taken up by some other living thing (probably an oak tree and that's where I plan to be buried). And my life energy will end up in its acorns and then be eaten by the deer, etc.

    But the idea that some form of my consciousness survives my life, and is reborn into another human body, without any divine intervention, and that one's karma can influence this process in a positive/negative way, and that multiple successions of this pattern can ultimately lead to "enlightenment," I can't get my head around. Yet when I read Buddha's teachings and his own personal experience, I believe this is precisely what he is teaching: samsara and a so-called literal rebirth (re-arising in an injurious or non-injurious world or injurious & non-injurious world, or none of the above, depending on which of the 4 types of karma). IMHO he's not teaching that my life energy will end up as an acorn or some other non-conscious entity without karma; but instead that some form of my consciousness will transfer into another human body, and that this process will be favorable/unfavorable depending on my karma, and therefore I can continue in that next rebirth working my way out of the samsara cycle and towards bodhi.

    This idea of literal rebirth vs. some other interpretation of rebirth interests me very much, as it seems like a major inflexion point that has serious ramifications when one considers enlightenment. If a person believes in literal rebirth, they have multiple lifetimes (rebirths) to improve themselves to ultimately reach enlightenment. If a person takes a different interpretation of rebirth (universe reborn every second, this is our one & only lifetime, etc), how can they ever reach enlightenment? Do they have to reach enlightenment in a single lifetime then? Do they not believe in samsara? Or do they accept the fact that they will never reach the same bodhi that Buddha himself did, and therefore they are not pursuing the "destination" of bodhi and nirvana but just trying to live a better life?
     
  4. Nick the Pilot

    Nick the Pilot Well-Known Member

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    IG,

    How about the idea of indirect divine guidance rather than the idea of divine intervention? I think the idea of indirect divine guidance fits the ideas of Tibetan and Pureland Buddhism.
     
  5. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Why do you think Buddha taught rebirth then? What does teaching rebirth have to do with dropping our views?

    If anything, believing in rebirth is more complex than a simple pantheist notion that we are one with the universe and our energy returns to the universe when we die. Why wouldn't he just teach a simple "one-ness" notion such as pantheism unless he truly believed in the concept of rebirth?

    You referenced Krishna in an earlier post, why did he teach rebirth as well? Why didn't he just teach one-ness with the absolute/source/ultimate?

    I agree these are all just words, meaningless by themselves; but the concepts that they portray play a large part in many people's daily lives and actions...
     
  6. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    I certainly feel your pain, you seem quite confused...

    The first problem is that you have brought desire in, you want to improve moment to moment - what is improving? Another is that you have sorted action into good and bad - what has decided? Third is that you are projecting - you are looking into the future to your death and creating plans for that.

    What you must understand is that the nature of the energy IS consciousness. It seems this is where your current hangup may be, you do not seem to accept that existence itself has a certain intelligence - it isn't an intellect or knowledge, it is a wisdom, a way of responding rather than reacting based on rationale. Science has observed this with material phenomenon but there is no such thing in reality, there is just different densities of energy, different opposing and attracting forces - Science is coming to realize this but the ramifications aren't yet completely understood. Everything responds to everything else based on the type of energy it encounters. I have tried to explain this already, but as consciousness goes on acquiring a certain force - either positive or negative - so it will react to what it encounters.

    Buddha has attained enlightenment in a single moment according the scriptures, he has realized all his prior effort was not helping at all - he has just moved from one extreme to another. Eventually, you realize the futility of everything you have clung to, everything you have desired and you simply drop it all - THIS is enlightenment. All these concepts you are acquiring to try to understand this phenomenon is actually taking your further and further away... you can see it perfectly: you are becoming more and more confused, and enlightenment is total clarity.

    I would suggest venturing inward, see if the extremes you project onto the world are real or not. Utilize Buddha's own device: If the string is too loose it will not play, if it is too tight it will break. One is too much into the negative aspect of life (his 6 years of ascetic practice), the other is too much into the positive aspect of life (his years in complete luxury at the palace) - this is the most important thing Buddha has spoken of, the rest is conjecture and elaboration. Do either the negative or postive aspects of anything actually exist separately or are they merely the same thing at different intensities and qualities?

    It is much like the number line: nirvana means nothingness, absolute 0. Say for example the case of love... A little bit of love is +1 - your consciousness has gained a little positive karma. What must be understand however is that nature wants an absolute balance, so by moving a little into positive, somewhere else a balance has swung into the negative, it now has a charge of -1 - you have stolen that positiveness from somewhere, it cannot be fabricated from nothing. A Buddha is at absolute zero always, there is no intent one way or the other - this is the void quality, the nothingness. At the same time, where the Buddha is not, existence can enter...

    You should just worry about how to drop all this chaos, then a cosmos is created automatically.
     
  7. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    In most contexts, he has discussed it to show its pointlessness - why continue to move the wheel when you can stop it right now? Why move into another life, going through the same sufferings when it is unnecessary? He has used what has created laziness in the East and tried to show how it can serve to motivate more deeply.

    I am not actually sure Krishna taught rebirth, Krishna mostly shows how to be complete, how to move into the moment completely without any burdens or hangups from the past. A lot of the stuff about rebirth I think has been created to show the universe is completely fair: lower animals that do not have the ability to achieve complete consciousness should have the opportunity, but how can it be managed? They must eventually be born has humans, it seems perfectly logical... else the universe must be biased and the Ultimate cannot be biased. From this simple concept, all sorts of things have been invented, all sorts of inference that is utterly irrelevant.

    Can we even say Buddha certainly experienced past lives? If he is the ultimate now, he will know many lives because the ultimate is in all things, but how can we be sure they were all the same entity - except that all things are the same essence. Certainly scripture contains recordings of this, but I do not see the use of discussing them other than to develop compassion in his followers.
     
  8. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    How can it be indirect? All is one, you are the divine...

    Do you think it is purely coincidence that as human populations grow, so the animal and plant life decline? There is only a certain amount of life force, only a certain amount of living things can be sustained. It is because all is connected, all is one.

    Ideas are not going to help, conclusions of mind are not going to help, no amount of learning is going to allow you to know anything of the ultimate. There are many Theosophical meditation techniques, I would suggest going into them, seeing for yourself what can be confirmed and what can be written of as imagination.

    Theosophy has brought some important occult notions to the forefront, but at the same type this is mostly useless. It is acquisition of knowledge you have decided to accept - the writer seems very knowledgeable and it makes sense, you will add it to your belief system. Thing is, you yourself still know nothing, you just have a few more concepts that you have projected an understanding onto. I simply say: Use the concepts as a map into your inner world. Nothing else will help ultimately, because nothing else is going to transcend mind - right now, you are just feeding mind, making it stronger, harder to transcend.

    The most important is perhaps Madam Trevotsky's (sp) explanation of how the universe was formed - it is rather more complicated than an ideal device but you may accept it more readily than something from another tradition... simply go backwards through the stages: from the plurality to the absolute oneness. The diversity of the manifest is simply a result of the source, you still are part of that and you can go home, you can remember it. It is not going to me a remembering through mind though, in fact in acquisition of knowledge your are fortifying the barrier between yourself and the ultimate.

    Ultimately, how to arrive is to acquire a map, and then drop every concept you have acquired, everything you think you know and simply fall into the nothingness. You need the map to find out how to fall, but then even the map must be dropped. Groupings are concepts, nations are concepts, races are concepts, family is a concept, everything has to be dropped. Once it has all been dropped, what remains? Simply the witness, but this is a doing as well, there is really only a witnessing - there can be no witness or witnessed, these are concepts as well.
     
  9. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    That isn't particularly clear, witnessing seems like the doing, yet a witness is a thing and in this space there cannot be separate things only a certain movement...

    What I am conveying is that you and other has disappeared, the barrier has been dropped. Nothing is greater or lesser than before, where there was a tree there is still a tree, only now you can feel the tree, you are the tree. It is more bright than before, there is a stronger scent to the tree, but it is still the same tree. There is simply no separation and you do not bring the notion of tree into it, what is the need? Words are necessary to convey, mind wants in on everything so it will decide "this is a nice tree" ordinarily, but now you are perceiving with the heart, the heart isn't so intrusive - it simply accepts, it has no need to label or understand and conclude something, it enjoys the tree and everything it is giving. You understand that the scent of the tree is its offering, it is not stingy, it is giving without even an asking. You too have a fragrance, love, and it will simply pour out of you just like the fragrance of the tree.

    This is the ultimate, if you can stay in this space you will see how foolish mind is, how much you have wasted trying to understand that which already was. You will see it wasn't your doing, you have simply undone what society has been doing since you were born. It was already your nature, but mind has created a previously impenetrable blockade. You have not even been shackled, you have simply been holding the chains yourself. Always, mind has convinced you to keep holding on to this non-sense, now you have finally let go, you are free: liberated. If you ever reach, note it: you were always free, you just couldn't let go... you will laugh, what else can you do? You were simply too unconscious before to realize it.

    There is no achievement in it, you simply realize how stupid you have been.
     
  10. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    Everything gained through notions of reincarnation, karma, sin and whatever else related to behavioral practice can be positioned much more simply:

    Consciousness is good, unconsciousness is bad.

    What to be conscious of? Oneness.

    Are you going to commit a violence to your own arm? Perhaps if you are an unstable person, this is the state of humanity right now though. If you can conceive of all being one, even without the experience of its truth, it becomes second nature to do what is called good. If your arm is bleeding, you do not praise yourself for putting a band-aid on it, you simply wanted to stop the bleeding. Use this, become more and more aware of how all is interconnected like your own organs, and you needn't worry about laws or ramifications of a given concept - simply love your neighbor as yourself because they are you, just a different expression, another facet of the one. The Catholics say we are as various thoughts of God, others say we are as bubbles in the same ocean - these really say the same thing.

    It is not really that you are doing something good, it is just that it is foolish to do anything else. If the cut on your arm is deep enough, if you do nothing about it you can die... it really becomes that simple. By the by, you will gradually become as a mirror, simply reflecting what is rather than projecting onto it. Right now, there is too much dust, but if you are conscious of this the mirror will gradually be cleaned. It will gradually become your reality, but this is really the basis for all laws in all religions. The problem is that now they are black and white, nothing in reality is really such an extreme, reality is always a gray.
     
  11. Lunitik

    Lunitik Interfaith Forums

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    It is not even second nature, what a stupid phrase... it is just your nature.
     
  12. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    IG,

    The Dalai Lama is a high lama in the Gelug or "Yellow Hat" branch of Buddhism. He is not the single authorative of Buddhism, there is not one.

    The only commonality across all traditions is dependent origination (i.e. interconnection) which is something I think you accept. 
     
  13. IowaGuy

    IowaGuy Hunter-Gatherer

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    Agreed on HHDL not being the buddhism authority. I'm just more familiar with his writing than any other buddhist, so that's why I reference it. And, for the most part, I agree with his reasoning (except on rebirth). But I have also recently enjoyed reading other writings on the AI website you recommended.

    Yes, I accept interconnection as I have multiple lines of personal experience with it. I view it more from a pantheist perspective but enjoy reading the buddhist teachings on it. I likely will never accept so-called literal rebirth. But I always strive to keep an open mind and challenge myself to see things from a new perspective :)
     
  14. Snoopy

    Snoopy Active Member

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    You and me both :)
     
  15. Dominic Sidor

    Dominic Sidor New Member

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    To me it goes a little something like this :) Very over simplified.

    You have two components to you, 1) your spirit, 2) your ego.

    Your spirit is comprised of love, truth, compassion and understanding. It is connected and is a part of everyone elses spirit (therefore we are all really one and if you hurt someone you also hurt yourself).

    Your ego is your mind that grasps at the physical, hates, is jealous, self serving and self preserving at all costs. It wants to be in the drivers seat and this results in negative emotions and actions.

    Life is a balance and battle between the two as Buddhism teaches. When you die you re-join the 'one' spirit that binds us all, it is you and it is us.

    So the answer to 'Who judges?' You do. You know what is right and wrong, when your ego has hurt and you shouldn't have done something. This is daily. When you die your spirit judges you and that karma leads you to your next life.

    That's my take!
    Peace to all :)
     
  16. brijesh

    brijesh New Member

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    God is a word which has lot of predefined thousands of meaning in thousands of cultures. I will give another name "Truth". Buddha rejected God because he do not believe in belive. It is experience which matters most for buddha. So to destroy all predefined concepts he rejected GOD but accepted Truth. For buddha there is no judge. There is no creator. If anybody do searching answer he will stuck between Hen and Egg...Who came first. If god is creator then who created him / Her????.
    Here Creation and Creator is same. Hen/Cock is creator and creation. The existance is God, it creates and gets created both. Gramaticaly creator and creation is totaly different fenamenon but existantialy both are same.

    I am not a monk and has never read any buddhist text but i have a great respect for buddha. For me he is god. I have never seen him niether believe that all text which has been written was exact same as buddha spoke.
    Any word spoken by buddha has two dimentions. One is sound and another is Silence between sounds/words/letters. Without these spaces there can not be any word. This silence between words and letters is mother, is womb. All the text were capable to represent the words/letters of buddha but the core was left, can not be conveyed. So first thing spoken words are just indicator which should be respected but truth is somewhere else. Zen The peak of buddhism has less dependency on these words. You can easily understand value of those silence which could never translated, transfered.

    Rebirth can be understood by below example. If i will say you to do up left leg you can do, now if i will say to up pending leg, you can not do so. In any case you will have to put one leg on earth. Even you are bounded by one leg, you have freedom to choose for the secend leg. So Karma is bounding your one leg but it also facilates you to make free second leg.


    royal monk ::: your presonal tour guide in india.
     

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