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View Diary: I sucked at Buddhism last night (257 comments)

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  •  Reincarnation is not Buddhist (3+ / 0-)
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    Creosote, Catkin, Mindful Nature

    One of the basic doctrines  of all Budddhism- not just  Zen-  is anatman, or no-self. "You" and "I" are knots in the universe, or waves in the ocean of existence. The experience of  a self is essentially an illusion.

    the self-aggregate is not  eternal. When a being dies, it mostly collapses back into the universe. However, some of the energy of that being is the causation (or part of the causation) of a new being. Buddhists call  this doctrine "rebirth" to distinguish it  from the Hindu doctrine of reincarnation

    •  a standing wave (0+ / 0-)

      I wrote a a post on my blog over two years ago that discusses something very similar. Maybe I'll re-post it here.

      The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

      by Max Wyvern on Thu May 02, 2013 at 09:22:10 PM PDT

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    •  Ok, then, does Zen still have rebirth? (0+ / 0-)



      Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

      by Wee Mama on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:09:17 AM PDT

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      •  Why not? (0+ / 0-)

        (from the Heart Sutra)

        O
        Shariputra, here All things are pure for they are
        neither born Nor do theywholly die; they  are not
        stained Nor yet immaculate; increasing not, Decreasing
        not

        Is there a problem? You seem concerned.

        •  Did you read the earlier comment about (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marina

          attributing a child's sexual abuse to their own prior actions? That is what strikes me as a concern about either reincarnation or rebirth if it attempts to connect our situation in this life to "our" (however you define it) own actions in earlier lives.



          Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

          by Wee Mama on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:33:19 AM PDT

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          •  I agree (2+ / 0-)
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            marina, AoT

            That's one of the creepier things about reincarnation to me. Of course, I tend to get creeped out by anyone dumping guilt on anyone. It often seems to say more about the dumper than the dumpee.

            You might enjoy my latest diary, actually written a couple of years ago, for an insight into the kind of reincarnation that makes sense to me.

            A standing wave

            The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

            by Max Wyvern on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:00:03 PM PDT

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            •  No guilt, no blame, no punishment (0+ / 0-)

              If you let go the concept of punishment, it all works. This is the world of samsara, of unsatisfactory conditions. We don't believe in Someone Up There handing down punishment. Beings make mistakes. Bad things sometimes happen as a result of the mistakes.

              A few months ago, a wonderful young woman I knew got run down in a crosswalk. It was an "accident." No one intended to kill her. But- the event happened due to natural laws of physics and of karma, of "causes and conditions." The world is not fair, as we use the term.

              The Buddhist response is to have compassion for all beings, and to do the best we can to not add to the suffering of the world.

              •  Perfect n/t (0+ / 0-)

                The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

                by Max Wyvern on Fri May 03, 2013 at 01:08:28 PM PDT

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                •  On second thought (0+ / 0-)

                  Nothing is perfect ;)

                  The horrible tragedy you describe may have been an accident and the driver certainly didn't intend to kill, but some of the conditions that contributed could certainly have been in his or her power to avoid. He or she may have been drinking, texting, whatever. Should the Buddhist response be to simply forgive the driver? Maybe the best that can be done to not add to the suffering of the world would be to punish the driver for the avoidable mistakes they made with the hope that it would be a deterrent to similar behavior from others and consequently avoid future tragedies. In this case, the driver was probably sufficiently punished by the experience itself.

                  The opposite of life is not death, but indifference. -- Jaki Gefjon (A.A.Attanasio)

                  by Max Wyvern on Fri May 03, 2013 at 02:19:42 PM PDT

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                  •  We cycle back to "What is good to do?" (0+ / 0-)

                    The driver, by the way, was charged with felony vehicular manslaughter.

                    The idea of forgiveness is to NOT act out of anger, or a desire to punish, but to decide "What is best to do in this situation." You are right that some punishment now may avoid more harm later. Also, some people are unable to function in society, and others should not be driving.

          •  No, I missed that (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            la motocycliste

            However this notion of paying for past "sins" seems very much to be a judeo Christian import.  Mostly, rebirth seems wrapped up in ideas of dependent origination.  In an oversimplified summary, our actions and thoughts now give rise to our future self "reborn" in that the habits and attitudes we have shape who we are tomorrow. This is a constant process of rebirth dependent in part on our past actions.  Note, this is entirely different from the notion that some supernatural or divine force is punishing people for bad acts centuries ago.  That formulation is out of place in that Buddhism doesn't posit a judging god. Instead it is a lot more a phenenological description of how our consciousness evolves and shapes itself in a dialectical manner.

            Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

            by Mindful Nature on Fri May 03, 2013 at 01:00:23 PM PDT

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            •  I don't think I used punishment in the original (0+ / 0-)

              comment. In any case, leave out the idea of punishment. It is difficult for me to accept a world view that says that the sexual abuse of a child in this life is a consequence of her own actions in a previous one.



              Is it true? Is it kind? Is it necessary? . . . and respect the dignity of every human being.

              by Wee Mama on Fri May 03, 2013 at 07:52:27 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  It seemed implied (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Wee Mama

                In the formulation you described.  That seems punitive to me.  In my limited study I have not encountered any doctrine that would predict or explain that actions now would cause sexual abuse in the future.  

                The key distinction is between suffering and pain. That is, by mental practice we can change our mental habits and reduce how much we suffer as the result of painful events (ie "external" events like disease or age or having bad things happen. Future suffering can be reduced by our actions since each moment we experience is shaped by our past attitudes.  However, I have never once encountered a single doctrine that would suggest that our past actions have any influence over the occurrence of pain.  Now, I don't subscribe to this notion of multiple lives and rebirth in that literal sense, and have been described by Bachelor and Rampula and others, this notion of  a soul being reborn is ultimately contradictory to the core Buddhist doctrine of no self ("anatman" in Pali, which could also be closer to a doctrine of "no soul".  The root "Atma" is the same as in "Mahatma" or great soul). Buddha seems to have been reasonably clear that the self is an illusion that emerges from perception.  Thus, if there is no soul, there is nothing to be reorn from one body to another.  Note though that many Buddhists, such as in Tibet, do believe in such reincarnation, but there is a question of whether this is a Buddhist idea or an older cultural idea held by some Buddhists.  Perhaps the closest analogue is the question of whether believing the sun revolves around the earth is a Christian belief of simply a common beleief that was held by Christians for a time historically.

                So no, I think the statement that her past actions causes present painful external events makes no sense to me based on my limited understanding.  Present suffering, perhaps, but present pain?  Not so much.  

                I could well be wrong though

                Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion

                by Mindful Nature on Sat May 04, 2013 at 09:38:01 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

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