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Coincidences with terrorist attacks

I've had a curious year. I don't know if I'm reading too much into this - I don't know what the Buddha taught about 'coincidences' and if they hold meaning - but what has happened has caught my attention, at least. This was my year so far...

  1. Until a few months ago I lived in Vauxhall in London. The day before the Westminster terrorist attack I was at Westminster (the bridge, houses of parliament etc.).

  2. The week before the Stockholm attack I was in Stockholm doing a training course.

  3. On the day of the London Bridge attacks I had planned to go to London Bridge earlier in the day just to sightsee, as I hadn't been before, but was too lazy to go. Also on the same night as the attack there was a stabbing in Vauxhall that at first was connected to the terrorist atrocities but was later found to be unrelated.

At this point the seeming pattern had caught my attention and had become a joke within my family. Then...

  1. A few days ago I arrived in Barcelona to catch a flight to Venice 15 minutes before the attack. I actually had no idea it had taken place until a few hours later when a fellow passenger told me.

Now, I've got flight records and other 'evidence', but I'm not sharing this to prove anything. I'm just curious as to what it might mean... if anything at all. It could all be coincidental. Of course, from a Buddhist perspective it's all just delusion and ignorance, but it's still interesting.

Am I reading too much into this? Or would you too be a little bit puzzled by these events? Does anyone else experience patterns of coincidences like this, and what does it mean to you?

Comments

  • elcra1goelcra1go Edinburgh, Scotland New

    @mindatrisk I don't think It's you... just a growing number of lost, angry people who wrongly think about outwards violence, instead of inward peace to change things...

    Peas!

  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    This video is good, you've got nothing on some of the amazingly improbable things that have happened.

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran

    Interesting @mindatrisk - definitely a coincidence pattern there.

    I don't know of any mention of coincidences in Buddhism. Not that I've come across anyway.

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    Coincidences are only incidences which happen near each other. Co-incedental. Correlation =/= causation.

    The meaning we take from them is the same lessons we learn in other incidences, only heightened in our interpretations.

    Listen to your heart... you have been "spared" coincidentally just by where you have been.... others were not lucky. Others survived just like you. I was born 3 mos premature with no serious health problems...and became suicidal later in life...which I too survived. Another funny coincidence. After being handed life scot free I didn't want it anymore.

    Ajahn Brahm tells of a true story about a monk in the jungle. A vicious storm sweeps through. The monks hut is spared. When he walks outside he sees some old trees are fallen and young ones stand. Then some young trees are fallen and old ones stand. Brittle leaves hang onto branches whereas fresh green ones litter the ground. Why?

    There is actually no reason. And we can find peace with that.

    But I believe things happen FOR a reason, that reason being an ability to learn and grow. We can operate in this way while understanding things just happen at random and that is the biggest coincidence of all

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    I'm halfway through a Stephen Ambrose WW2 history book and this thread reminds me of a bit I've just read. One atheist soldier in a foxhole spent the night with a Catholic soldier, mortars falling all around them, and the Catholic soldier spent the whole night repeating the Hail Mary prayer.

    Tiring of hearing it, the atheist soldier said he was going to check on some of the other guys and he made a dash from their fox hole to the neighboring one, when a mortar shell hit the fox hole he was just in, killing the Catholic soldier.

    Is that odd, or was that God?

  • KannonKannon NAMU AMIDA BUTSU Ach-To Veteran

    @Tosh

    The Tibetans say something like:

    In death nothing but Dharma can help us. Not our relatives or friends or possessions [or God]. We get closure to death every day. There is no escaping death. So by all logic we should practice the Dharma right here right now.

    That is our Dharma door... another is the rosary for some. If I were suddenly to start dying right now (no matter how we die I think it is some kind of process, or a recognition) I'd bet my bottom dollar I'd freak out and then try not to waste time freaking out and then if I calm down recite the nembutsu. This is my plan. If I could prepare, and what a privilege that would be

    This man chose to recite the rosary and hail Mary. It didn't save his life because we all die. But hopefully it gave him some peace in death. And I think that's a goal of religion or Dharma, to die actively and peacefully.

    Coincidentally it saved a different man's life!

    God is odd. Odd is God.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    Not sure if it is serendipity or zemblanity (unpleasant unsurprise)

    Maybe (Taoist/Zen story)
    There is a story of an old farmer who had worked his crops for many years. One day his horse ran away. Upon hearing the news, his neighbors came to visit. "Such bad luck," they said sympathetically.

    "Maybe," the farmer replied. The next morning the horse returned, bringing with it three other wild horses. "How wonderful," the neighbors exclaimed.

    "Maybe," replied the old man. The following day, his son tried to ride one of the untamed horses, was thrown, and broke his leg. The neighbors again came to offer their sympathy on his misfortune. "Maybe," answered the farmer. The day after, military officials came to the village to draft young men into the army. Seeing that the son's leg was broken, they passed him by. The neighbors congratulated the farmer on how well things had turned out. "Maybe," said the farmer.

    Kannon
  • personperson Where is my mind? 'Merica! Veteran

    The odds of flipping a coin and it coming up heads 7 times in a row is 1 in a 128. If you flip a coin 100 times the odds of it coming up heads 7 times in a row at some point in that stretch is more like 1 in 13. If you run the impossible scenario simulator (life on earth) trillions of times, seemingly impossible things are going to happen.

    The odds of any single improbable thing happening to any single individual is very small. But the odds of any one of the myriad of impossibly improbable things happening to one of the nearly 8 billion people on earth at some point in time is nearly certain to happen.

    KannonTosh
  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    they are curious happenings aren't they? Yours and others, OP. How many times do we hear stories where a person is irritatingly delayed only to find they missed a bad accident by 2 minutes? But what about that person who didn't miss the accident? We found a happy and lucky coincidence, but what did they find? If we had not been late, that other person wouldn't have been in the accident. Like when some people say "There but for the grace of God go I." It's good to appreciate when our lives are going well, but I always find it odd that the saying suggests that God's grace is protecting them...but apparently not the other person. Weird to me.

    I guess I try not to read to much into happy coincidences. Because there are equally unhappy ones. Life is just that way, I don't think it needs a deeper meaning. For everyone who nearly dodges a terror attack, someone else nearly doesn't, like the man on his honeymoon who stepped out to go to the bathroom mere seconds before the attack in Barcelona. The randomness and chaos of life seems to be where the real opportunity to grow and learn takes place.

  • techietechie India Veteran
    edited August 23

    @Tosh said:
    I'm halfway through a Stephen Ambrose WW2 history book and this thread reminds me of a bit I've just read. One atheist soldier in a foxhole spent the night with a Catholic soldier, mortars falling all around them, and the Catholic soldier spent the whole night repeating the Hail Mary prayer.

    Tiring of hearing it, the atheist soldier said he was going to check on some of the other guys and he made a dash from their fox hole to the neighboring one, when a mortar shell hit the fox hole he was just in, killing the Catholic soldier.

    Is that odd, or was that God?

    Neither. It was a mortar shell. =)

    Tosh
  • gracklegrackle Veteran

    Exactly. I've heard some men call to God for help a lesser number for their mom. Didn't help at all.

  • ToshTosh Veteran

    @karasti said:

    they are curious happenings aren't they? Yours and others, OP. How many times do we hear stories where a person is irritatingly delayed only to find they missed a bad accident by 2 minutes? But what about that person who didn't miss the accident? We found a happy and lucky coincidence,

    I crossed a road earlier today. Two minutes later a car drove down that road at 60 mph.

    Wow, what a lucky escape I had. O.o

    lobsterShoshin
  • NamadaNamada Veteran
    edited August 25

    I would not be afraid of dying if I knew what was going to happen after death.

  • lobsterlobster Veteran

    @Bunks said:
    I don't know of any mention of coincidences in Buddhism. Not that I've come across anyway.

    Really? Now you have ... o:)
    http://newbuddhist.com/discussion/15836/significance-of-coincidences

  • Thanks for the responses. I've experienced 'syncronicities' before, and have accepted them as part and parcel of the spiritual path, on the basis that the true nature of reality is far beyond what we are privy to. But this is a bit more startling and a bit 'bigger'. I've no idea what to make of it, but I appreciate the responses.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Have you stopped to consider that, rather than finding yourself a protagonist in a series of life -changing events, you might actually be the common denominator??

    dhammachickperson
  • @federica said:
    Have you stopped to consider that, rather than finding yourself a protagonist in a series of life -changing events, you might actually be the common denominator??

    Explain a bit more...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator
    edited September 3

    Well, One day you're at Westminster. Then there's an attack.

    One week you're in Stockholm. Then there's an attack.

    One day you want to go to London Bridge. Then there's an attack.

    One day you go to Barcelona. Then there's an attack.

    You seem to get about a bit, don't you? :p

    Am I reading too much into this?

    Yes.

    Or would you too be a little bit puzzled by these events?

    Not puzzled, but saddened. But Thankful that I had been spared, when all could have gone so disastrously wrong.

    It would add meaning to my Life, a Gratitude for the escape, and a resolve to Do Good, Be Kind, Develop Compassion. For we never know when our time will come, but we must surely escape a demise of kinds, every day.

    And I was being facetious about YOU being a common Denominator. ;)

  • @federica said:
    Well, One day you're at Westminster. Then there's an attack.

    One week you're in Stockholm. Then there's an attack.

    One day you want to go to London Bridge. Then there's an attack.

    One day you go to Barcelona. Then there's an attack.

    You seem to get about a bit, don't you? :p

    Am I reading too much into this?

    Yes.

    Or would you too be a little bit puzzled by these events?

    Not puzzled, but saddened. But Thankful that I had been spared, when all could have gone so disastrously wrong.

    It would add meaning to my Life, a Gratitude for the escape, and a resolve to Do Good, Be Kind, Develop Compassion. For we never know when our time will come, but we must surely escape a demise of kinds, every day.

    And I was being facetious about YOU being a common Denominator. ;)

    Yeah, this year I really have got about a bit. I don't feel spared or like I had a lucky escape - only Barcelona could be said to be close, and, even then, it was probably a few miles from where I was. There just seemed to be a bit of a pattern there and couldn't decide whether there was anything to it or not, but, if there was, what it might mean. Who knows? I liked the reply previous about all the layers of reality that we are not privy to. However, it is important not to allow my own ideas - likely born of delusion and ignorance - to write a script that may not correspond with reality at all. This thread is more a curiosity.

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