The question of Grace

Discussion in 'Belief and Spirituality' started by Thomas, Oct 19, 2013.

  1. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    The question of karma always brings up the question of grace.

    Below is a précis of part of an essay entitled "Is there room for grace in Buddhism?" by Marco Pallis, a Tibetan Buddhist and a Perennialist.

    The goal of Buddhism is presented as the state of Enlightenment, and enlightenment is presented in non-personalist terms.
    The goal of Christianity could be spoken of in those self-same terms, but then 'light' is a universal concept.

    Whilst in Christianity that goal is presented under the attributes of personhood, the word "God" nevertheless comprises the ineffable and the numinous, that which stands beyond every qualification and, in that sense, above or beyond knowledge. Despite (indeed it is because of) the anti-metaphysical bias of much Western thinking, it would be a mistake to assume that qualifying God as "Person" constitutes a limit in principle. To do that does the tradition a great dis-service.

    Of Buddhism, despite its insistence on impersonal expressions, one could reasonably ask: "Who's is the state of Enlightenment?", since the term itself, in a doctrinal context, cannot escape an distinct anthropomorphism. One does not speak of a Buddha as "It".

    There is a passage from the Pali Canon:
    The above quotation is plainly couched in the language of transcendence. This text sits as happily within a commentary on Christian doctrine as it does in its own. It speaks of God and of the world, of the Infinite and the finite, the Eternal and the contingent, the Absolute and the relative. This transcendence provides the ground for hope within any religious context. What it does not do, is define the nature of a union between the two terms under comparison; between the unborn and the born, the unbecome and the become or, to provide a Christian text, the uncreate and the created.

    How can the ephemeral experience the eternal? How can the finite become infinite? Here is the crux of the matter: a nature cannot transcend itself, how can the lesser, by its own power alone, become the greater?

    This is the function of Grace.

    There is, one might say, a veil between Enlightenment and the seeker after enlightenment. The problem is the seeker —ignorant by definition— cannot declare with certainty that he or she has reached the goal to which they aspire.

    It is self-evident that such seeking on the part of a human being with a necessarily imperfect vision and limited powers, does not really make sense when taken at its face value alone. Enlightenment (or the Tao, or the Divine) cannot possibly be situated at the passive pole in relation to Man's (active) endeavour.

    The inversion of this metaphysical principle is fashionable today, in a culture intent on asserting its own freedom and autonomy — the right to self-determination, even where God or Enlightenment is concerned. Buddhism makes the strongest claim not only that such is not the case, but that such a way of thinking is clear evidence of the illusory character of the human claim to selfhood, to which all our conceptual aberrations are severally and collectively imputable. One doesn't have to call on a Personal God or indeed any order of theism to make that argument.

    Man cannot possibly be the active agent in an operation wherein Enlightenment plays the passive part; whatever may or may not be suggested by appearances the truth has to be read the other way round since Enlightenment, awareness of the (Divine) Real, belongs outside all becoming by definition, it is wholly "in act"; so that wherever one discerns contingency or potentiality, as in the case of our human seeking, this of necessity pertains to samsàra, to the changing, the impermanent, the compounded. It is this very character of potentiality, experiencable positively as arising and negatively as subsiding, which makes samsàra, the Round of Existence, to be such as it is.

    If there is a 'wooing' of Enlightenment by man, it is the former which, in principle and fact, must remain the real subject of the quest as well as its ostensible object. It has often been said that in Enlightenment the subject-object distinction is cancelled out – but the assumption is all too often reductive – that all man has to do is ignore the distinction and convince himself he is enlightened.

    What the doctrine of every ancient tradition – and plain common sense – asserts the exact opposite. The old adage is 'you become what you think about' not simply by thinking about it, but by aligning your entire being towards that end, to the point of utter self-effacement.

    Metaphysical intuition, however, already allows one to know—or shall we say, to sense—that intrinsically Enlightenment is the active factor in our situation and that it is Man who, for all his apparent initiative and effort, represents the passive term of the supreme adequation.

    Meister Eckhart puts this whole question into proper perspective when he says that "in the course of nature it is really the higher which is ever more ready to pour out its power into the lower than the lower is ready to receive it."... for, as he goes on to say, "there is no dearth of God with us; what dearth there is wholly ours who make not ready to receive his grace."

    Where he said "God" you have but to say "Enlightenment" and the result will be a Buddhist statement in form as well as content.

    The great paradox, for us, is that we still cannot help viewing this situation in reverse, a misplaced ego-centricity makes us do so; we all have to suffer the congenital illusion of existence in which every creature as yet undelivered shares in greater or lesser degree. Buddhism invites us to get this thing straight before anything else.
     
  2. Tariki

    Tariki Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Thomas, Hope you do not mind me doing this but I would like to add a couple of posts to your OP. They are from another forum where I sought to speak of grace and of how such could be seen as being intrinsic/at the heart of all Faiths.


    "I would just like to open a thread on the reality of Grace.

    Normally its reality would be associated purely with a Theistic context, as an attitude of mercy given by a Supreme Being to Humankind. "Saved by Grace".

    Yet Grace figures deeply in Pure Land Buddhism and Buddhism is considered by many - rightly - to be non-theistic.

    There is a wide spectrum of understanding within Pure Land Buddhism. From those who understand Amida as Him/Her up there (or out West) who bestows "salvation" upon all who call upon Him/Her, and the Pure Land as a place we go to after death; to those who see Amida as a personification/representation of Reality-as-is and the Pure land as THIS world, NOW, when seen and lived in by an enlightened being. And all points in between.

    Mentioning the in between, I can bring in some ideas of Thomas Merton who speaks of the movement between an "I-Thou" relationship with the Divine to an experience of oneness,where the sense of "self" is lost, a movement from acting in conjunction with grace, to acting spontaneously from grace. Which in the "Eastern" way of speaking, is the way of wu wei, effortless working purely as the good.

    Again in the eastern way, this time from Ch'an (Zen) the story of the choosing of the Sixth Patriach is relevant. A contest was held of all the wannabees. One wrote a verse that said in effect that the mind was a mirror, and one must continually wipe it clean. A second wrote a verse that spoke of there being in fact no mirror, so what was there to wipe? The second guy claimed the prize!

    For he recognised that "enlightenment" was in fact not a product of any progress, of seeking to clean the mind, but of a realisation that Reality is a given, always ever present. That acts of "merit", any works (to use a Christian phrase) are more like switching the deck chairs around on the Titanic - yes, such can make the day more comfortable and scenic, yet ultimately of no purpose.

    So it can be seen that even in a non-theistic context, what can be known as Grace is present. Present in as much as the enlightened state is to be realised/acknowledged/seen...........not achieved/attained/earned.

    Such can explain such lovable verses in the Bible as "All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags" and that they "stink in God's nostrils". Yes, indeed they do, if Enlightenment is the bottom line!

    Obviously it can be asked just how we go about "realising" this, and it is a good question. One can only say "walk on", recognising the paradox that we can only at first seek to achieve/attain/earn yet seeking at all times to open our hearts to the working of Reality-as-is, which is Infinite Compassion, seeking the good of all eternally.

    My apologies for going on about this, but in Grace we find the thought, the word, the reality that has the potential to unite all people of Faith."



    Someone responded by saying they had no idea what I was talking about ( a common problem......:)) and I sought to explain.....

    "All I was seeking to speak of is how the overall concept of Grace can be applied across the board of certain religions - maybe all religions - as the essence of them. Again, as a by-product, perhaps to speak of the apparent contradiction between "faith" and "works" which some say is found in the NT, between the recorded views of James (Faith without works is dead) and St Paul (saved by Faith alone)

    Again, for anyone interested in Buddhism then it must be accepted that Enlightenment is the bottom line. The whole idea is not to believe in the Buddha, but to share the Buddha's insight, have the self same experience of reality that leads - as the Buddha claimed - to the "end of suffering".

    As I sought to explain, Grace normally is understood in a Theistic sense, in Faiths where estrangement from God must be healed by Divine Mercy. The "bottom line" is salvation. The Divine bestows forgiveness/mercy - i.e. Grace - upon the devotee who "repents". With variations in Theologies and the faiths of the Book (i.e Judaism, Islam, Christianity)

    I was seeking to say that if Reality itself - the reality in which we "live and move and have our being" - is in fact benign, is in fact meaningful, rather than meaningless and ultimately senseless, then even in a non-theistic view the idea of Grace remains relevant. relevant in as much as Reality is to be realised as a given, that we do not attain it by seeking to perfect ourselves, nor by treating our "self" as an object that must needs be polished and perfected and made suitable.

    Personally I have found such an outlook life giving, and found also that the "works" that flow from it are experienced in such a way that they do not separate me in any judgmental way from those who seem not to perform any. For me personally, it allows me to know people of all Faiths as fellow travelers, and people of none. This is why I find the "one way" people my only "enemies" as such. As i see it, the "one way" is the selflessness that gives credit where it is due, to Reality itself!

    The ground of all things is an infinite reality that is for our very best. Yes, you can call it faith."



    Just to add as a PS, the actual words of Thomas Merton that I spoke of.....

    The innocence and purity of heart which belong to paradise are a complete emptiness of self in which all is the work of God, the free and unpredictable expression of His love, the work of grace. In the purity of original innocence, all is done in us but without us, in nobis et sine nobis. But before we reach that level, we must also learn to work on the other level of 'knowledge' - scientia - where grace works in us but 'not without us' - in nobis sed non sine nobis."

    (From a dialogue between Merton and D T Suzuki, "Wisdom in Emptiness" from the book of essays "Zen and the Birds of Appetite")
     
  3. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Hi Tariki —
    thanks for that ... lots there to feast upon.

    On the issue of Grace, in my own doctrine, one tendency that vexes me is to see Grace as somehow categorical — that is, there are categories of grace.

    I can see the value of the scholastic teaching within a pedagogical context, but there is an over-arching understanding that Grace is the Presence of the Divine.

    It's often, and erroneously, seen as something extrinsic to God, 'a special help' rather than 'the Presence of'. Again, I can see its pedagogic value, but that ought to be balanced with the idea that life itself, the simple act of existing, is an act of grace, thus, in accord with Buddhist teaching I think, one is sanctified by grace in the same way one is Enlightened, not by attaining some distant goal, so much as realising the existentially Real.
     
  4. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    Deleted, duplicate.
     
  5. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    Thomas, I think you have not understood Buddha. Enlightenment does not require Grace, it requires understanding.

    In Hinduism, we have Brahman. It is not a being or God. It does not interfere in the world. It is 'nirguna' (attributeless) and 'nirakara' (formless). It is 'what exists'. No explanation beyond this is given, and all definitions beyond this are rejected. It could, and possibly is just 'physical energy'. How do then Hindus attain enlightenment? By thinking, understanding the way universe works. When we know that, we come to realize that birth and death are but illusions. When we understand that, the fear of death leaves us. That is 'nirvana' or 'moksha'. Release from a false fear.

    In Buddhism also, there are equivalents of Brahman. Dhammakaya, Bodhikaya, Tathagatagarbha. It does not mean a God. And there is no one to shower grace. Here also enlightenment means understanding. And what is realized is not much different from that in Hinduism.

    Theist Hinduism has the idea of Grace. Gods can wave off the effects of bad karmas to a suitable candidate who is truely repentant of the bad deeds that he/she may have done. But I do not think that is fair. How can God wave off the bad karma of a rape or a murder? What value then remains in a judgment? How does it affect the wronged person? Does God have no responsibility for that? It makes up cronyship and nepotism (perhaps I am not using the correct words, but I think you get my meaning)? I worship a God, so that God overlooks what wrongs I have done and not of another person who may not be worshiping him. This scheme belittles such a God and makes him no better than a dictator. He has power so should whatever he does be taken as correct?
     
  6. Tariki

    Tariki Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi Aupmanyav, leaving Thomas, the point I was seeking to make was that in a certain sense enlightenment IS grace, just as in the Christian tradition - at least according to Thomas Merton - God is His own Gift.

    I was seeking to say that we should not reify Grace, and we need not necessarily understand it as some sort of exchange between a believer and God.

    On a slightly different note, in the Buddhist Theravada tradition a Bhikkhu has said that "at the moment of emancipation effort falls away, having reached the end of its scope."

    It is the "scope of effort" - even the nature of effort - that is an issue with me, whether we are seeking to understand or receive, attain or recognise.
     
  7. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    After one has reached the goal, and has understood what was to be understood, where should any further effort be applied? They are Tathagatas, 'arrived there' (though people prefer it to be translated as 'thus arrived'). Buddhas use this enlightenment for the benefit of people, Paccekabuddhas chose not to interfere. Please note, I am not a buddhist, I am a hindu. But you know, the two are very close, perhaps closer than what people think. I consider Buddha as one of my two gurus.
     
  8. Tariki

    Tariki Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    3
    Hi again, yes, I was aware of your Faith tradition.

    Not having arrived just yet I fortunately have no choice to make,,,,:) Anyway, I did recently read a couple of short essays on the comparison and difference between Theravada and Mahayana by Thomas Cherevin in which his conclusion was that the Mahayana should be seen as a branch of the Hindu tree, and not of the Buddhist - that is, if one takes the Theravada as "authentic" Buddhism.

    I am Pure Land myself so many perhaps would not see me as Buddhist at all......:)........I seem to find more these days in various biographies and autobiographies of people of diverse Faiths than from anything else.

    Well, back to grace.
     
  9. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    Not having arrived, your choice is clear, you need to make effort to arrive... :) till you have no unanswered questions in your mind. Thomas Cherevin needs to understand that there is no 'authentic' Hinduism or Buddhism. All strains are 'authentic' in their own ways. They are 'matas' (opinions), and opinions differ. Yes, back to grace.
     
  10. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    Not having arrived, your choice is clear, you need to make effort to arrive... :) till you have no unanswered questions in your mind. Thomas Cherevin needs to understand that there is no 'authentic' Hinduism or Buddhism. All strains are 'authentic' in their own ways. They are 'matas' (opinions), and opinions differ. Yes, back to grace.
     
  11. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    I rather agree with Tariki — Enlightenment is Grace.

    In Christianity we have apophatic theology — same thing.

    Aupmanyav, I think you have not understood the Christian God.
    (And is not this clinging to fairness itself part of the illusion?)

    You have told me that karma is cause and effect, and that it is amoral, so 'fairness' or 'justice' don't come into it.

    The key is in 'repentance'. It's the same in Buddhism as in Christianity.

    I would say that it is entirely possible to clear the way to Enlightenment in an instant, there are numerous Buddhist texts that point to that.

    But that does not mean the contrite simply forgets his or her past actions. They have to live with that. Much the same way that a man might serve 10 years for murder, and then, by rights, he has paid his debt to society, but he will carry that burden for the rest of his life, but society has 'cleared the debt' as far as it is concerned.

    You mean for you it is necessary that the sinner be punished? Is this not simply clinging to the cycle that one is trying to rise above?

    As long as the system of carrot and stick is in place, the cycle continues.

    And not all victims require their persecutors be punished. Some actually forgive, which I believe is an enlightened act.

    For what? Does God have a responsibility to keep up the round of tit-for-tat, an eye for an eye? D'you think God or karma should punish the ill-doer for the vicarious pleasure of the ill-done?

    This is your scheme, Aupmanyav. As I said, I don't think you understand the Christian God.

    God is nobody's 'crony', and the accusation of nepotism seems a bit far-fetched when one recalls that the Father offered His only-begotten Son as sacrifice!
     
  12. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Something of an aside:

    In discussing this question, I have been caused to look into Buddhist ideas regarding repentance, contrition, guilt ... and, good grief, I find texts that sit perfectly happily alongside Christian commentaries!

    So I utterly reject the fashionable Western notions that Buddhism is 'merely' a philosophy, that there is no sin, no guilt, no repentance, no confession ... to which I say, did you read that in a book, or in the Sutras?

    Don't argue with me — explain away Sutra 29: Buddha Pronounces the Repentance Sūtra in Response to Śāriputra

    +++

    Furthermore, it seems obvious to me that the dogma of karma is the solution to the same metaphysical problem that Christianity responds to with the dogma of original sin. The difference turns on the point of reincarnation.

    In Christianity, there is no reincarnation, so the cause of man's present unenlightened condition (cf John 1:5) traces its roots back to the Primordial Couple.

    In Buddhism, each and every person is born with an inherited debt, the karma of previous existences, and as this debt is there, in effect, before the debtor who is obliged to carry it. The debt is in every sense 'original' to that person's being, as it is inescapably conditional upon it.

    The more we understand about the nature of the person, the more we realise that we are not something in something else, we are not spirits in a material body, we are not static in a biological process, or rather we may be one or t'other, but it's not quite as simple as that.

    (As a Christian I can say we are not punished for our sins but by them, but as a Buddhist I must say we are punished for, and by, the sins of another.)

    Karmic debt, the way it has been presented to me here, is contradicted and unjust. It claims to be mere cause and effect, it claims no morality, no ethics, yet it stands on moral and ethical values and makes moral and ethical judgements. Yet it shows no mercy, no compassion, no understanding ... and yet it sets the tariff, regardless of circumstance.

    And when one life is finished, it does not forgive nor forget, but passes the burden on to another, to suit its own vicarious sense of justice.

    And in life, the person suffers for no reason they know. Karma is utterly Kafkaesque.

    And the sufferer is obliged to accept their fate in blind faith, and are told that once you learn to accept that suffering is an illusion, what's happening in your life is just 'the way it is', then enlightenment follows.

    In this life? No. Impossible. Many, many lives. And yet, even after a thousand lives, it's quite possible, by an act of unknowing, to land yourself right back where you started.

    It's quite possible to be reborn into an infra-human state from which there is no possibility of escape, for karma cannot be applied to the irrational creature, that would be like putting a mouse on trial for stealing the cheese.

    Enlightenment regarding what? Can't say. can't be known. It might actually be nothing at all ... Enlightenment may well be an illusion.

    The only plus point is overcoming the fear of death, but whether one escapes the cycle of rebirth is debatable, the cycle itself is not even certain, and when one dies escape, to what ... simply to die.

    So the illusion of death is replaced by actual Death. The cessation of all being — Enlightenment is, in fact, turning on the light, then turning it off.

    So I find the doctrine, as explained to me, contradicted and nihilistic. A hopeless and remorseless burden upon humanity. The universe, or heaven, or the cosmos, or whatever ... is blind, mechanistic, cold, callous, uncaring. It may well be true ... but I hope not.

    Lastly:
    If, as is asserted, the Buddha is just a man, and Enlightenment is just a philosophical goal, then he and it should rightly be called agnostic, because there are questions that the Buddha cannot answer, because he does not know. The unanswered questions of Buddhism — is the world eternal, is it finite, is the self real, is there life after death — neither assert nor deny, they simply say that the questions themselves show an attachment to theories and dogmas.

    Such speculations, the Buddha said, are attended by fever, unease, bewilderment, and suffering, and it is by freeing oneself of them that one achieves liberation.

    But did he not attain liberation by asking those very questions?

    A Christian rests his faith in God, a Buddhist rests his faith in the Buddha.

    There's the rub: The Buddha is not God.

    If liberation is attained by ignoring the questions central to our being and to our existence, then are we not just kidding ourselves. Is Enlightenment a sham, in which the reality is 'ignorance is bliss'?

    +++

    Of course not. There's more to Buddhism than clever sophistry. At least, I sincerely hope there is.
     
  13. Tariki

    Tariki Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2003
    Messages:
    324
    Likes Received:
    3
    Just musing upon all this, first that as I understand it, Buddhism in general would ask us not so much to not ask questions but rather not to work from conclusions. It asks us to to work from the existential reality of suffering in all its guises without grasping at "answers". This because it would seek to say that until our minds were "cleansed" in some degree from greed, hatred and delusion (in all there full range) then we shall only be likely to avoid the genuine questions that are asked of us, each in their unique individuality. Nirvana is just that, i.e. the end of greed, hatred and delusion. Seeking to anticipate or imaging of what "it" consists is therefore - at least for Buddhism and as I see it - is counter-productive. Hence the old joke of the guy sitting in the lotus position who is saying......"I'd thought so much about it beforehand that now I'm actually enlightened I'm a little bit disappointed."

    As far as karma, I did read once from a European born Theravada monk (Nyanaponika Thera) that we are our karma, rather than it being an impersonal amoral force. As to what that exactly means I must admit I have little idea.I would only say that my own lack of interest in karma - not to mention "reincarnation" - has got me in much hot water on various Buddhist Forums over the years.

    And yes, much of Buddhism is mind games, or perhaps "clever sophistry". Much like most religion over the centuries. As someone once said, the enlightened speak with one voice, it is those on the path who hold diverse opinions. But given the thought of "apaya", the skillful means of Reality-as-is to effect the enlightenment of all, what is "clever sophistry" to one might well be the Living Word to another.
     
  14. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    4
    Of course there is, Thomas. However, two words to the wise (and you are) make sure you are looking at pretty good translations (I assume you are reading the Sutras in English), and consider what sutta you are looking at. First, there are the "older suttas" of the Pali canon (the oldest texts).

    Then there are all the Mahayana texts, which include my favorites, the "Scripture of the Descent into Laṅkā" ( a Chinese text witten in the Vth century), "The Heart of the Perfection off Transcendent Wisdom" (probably a Chinese text written in the VIth century CE), and ""Platform Sutra preached by the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng at the Ta-fan Temple in Shao-chou,one roll, recorded by the spreader of the Dharma, the disciple Fa-Hai, who at the same time received the Precepts of Formlessness" (a Chinese Chan text written in about the VIIth century).

    It just depends on what your sources are, Thomas. And what you accept as real wrtings of the Buddahmind.
     
  15. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Sound advice.

    The Platonic notion of the fall of souls into flesh was that the soul lived in the eternal contemplation of the Divine, then became satiated and, for some inexplicable reason, turned away ... I once described it as two souls savouring the experience for a number of aeons, until one soul turns to the other and says, 'gets a bit boring after a while, doesn't it?'

    Interesting.

    Oh, absolutely.
     
  16. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    I hear you, but I'm afraid I lack the scholarship to evaluate translations, but the age issue ... if you have time, can you expand on that?

    I understand the problem but again, I haven't the grounding to question the writings — I have enough troubles with my own Scriptures! :D
     
  17. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    4
    Dearest Thomas,

    BodhgayaNews: Pali Canon Online Database is a pretty good place to start. This kinda-sorta corresponds to the "Q document".

    The other sutras (the term sutta is Pali, sutra is, I believe, Sanskrit, more inclusive). In my way of seeing things, the sutras correspond to the “d!vinely inspired works” of the early church fathers (going back to the post Quelle work).
     
  18. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Search, be your own guru.

    Joined:
    Jun 13, 2012
    Messages:
    1,891
    Likes Received:
    576
    At the human or the pragmatic reality, which is a level lower than the absolute reality, we assume karma to be moral because such a belief helps the society. The absolute reality, that of 'physical energy' (that is our current knowledge), it cares two hoots about humans or karmas. It goes its own way eradicating species, swallowing suns, and exploding novae.

    Perhaps in some strains of Buddhism, 'repentance' is the key, it is so in theist hinduism also. Yes, enlightenment can occur in a moment, but that is because of understanding and not because of any grace, that will hold true only for theist systems.

    Yes, the debt has to be cleared, so what use is grace? If A sinner is not punished then where is judgment? To escape the cycle, the sinner needs another life, that is why the cycle. If the victims are ready to forgive, then also the punishment is needed for proper conduct of society. Tell me of any country where a murderer is let free if the relatives of the murderer forgive them. A murder is a crime against society also. The God of Karma does not punish anyone for pleasure. That is the christian doctrine when God liked Abel's offering better than that of Cain. God of Karma punishes for even justice.

    Oh yes, the christian God is difficult to understand, he being the God, the Ghost, and the Son, all at the same time. The sacrifice, that is another thing that atheists fail to understand. First, the original sin, then its passing from generation to generation, and lastly the queer system when a God/God's son dies for that sin and you have to accept that as true to escape the sin, meaning that the sin does not go away automatically, there is a price to it (so to say, you have to sell your soul to this God). Thomas, atheist advaitic hinduism has no such contorted schemes. If you like it, accept, otherwise be happy with whatever your belief may be. Nobody needs to suffer (till eternity) because of their different beliefs.
     
  19. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

    Joined:
    Sep 25, 2003
    Messages:
    12,292
    Likes Received:
    2,581
    Not absolute though, is it, not by a long shot. And 'physical energy' takes no account of 'good' or 'bad', they are moral concepts. You insist karma is amoral.

    I'm with Pallis and Tariki on this one. Enlightenment is Grace — but I'm not limiting 'grace' to the Christian concept.

    Debt is a moral concept.

    Sin and judgement are moral concepts.

    A clean sheet, yes. But according to your karma, another life is not a clean sheet or a fresh start is it? It is a priori burdened with a debt, and moreover the life has no idea what the debt is, or how it came about ... as I said, very Kafkaesque!

    Nope. Sometimes the judge dismisses the case. The measure of a civilised society, someone said, is how compassionate it is ...

    'Justice' is a set of moral values according to a system of ethics, it's not a physical property of the cosmos.

    And I thought you said karma was just cause and effect, not a God? And a God without any notion of morality or ethics? A God without compassion?

    And we have man, who has invented morality, ethics, empathy ... so all in all I'd say your God would make a very poor man ...

    And by your logic, for every good act, karma would require a bad one to establish that even keel?

    Well I can see how you would find it hard. Compassion seems alien to the system you put forward. This is where Christianity transcends karma. The novel message of 'forgive'.
     
  20. radarmark

    radarmark Quaker-in-the-Making

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    3,212
    Likes Received:
    4
    Sorry, I do not see a huge difference between grace and bhakti yoga... what am I missing, Aup?
     

Share This Page