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Acceptance of what is is a good first step beyond the doorway of stillness. For me, I find that I need to go further than that, to actively and deliberately embrace what is with joy. It is possible, maybe even likely, to accept - or to believe that you have accepted - while still harboring a lot of negativity.
The bad crap, I think, must be greeted with the same energy and enthusiasm as the good.
Anger and other negative states are always present but only as potentialities , nothing more. To say that they are always present is inaccurate, in my view. They arise, they fade, they arise again, over and over, habitual reactions to particular stimuli. Sometimes we cling to them, and then they never die,
Buddha nature, our original face before we were born. We have it always, but we are plunged at birth into this cauldron of stimuli, this Samsara thing, and we forget, and we have to seek it out, rediscover it.
Anger and all that, we don't need to seek that out - it just keeps popping up everywhere until we are fooled into thinking that that is our nature, the natural order of things, but I believe that it is not. Buddhism shows that we have a choice.
The Christian dogma of original sin, apart from its other shortcomings, is not a useful way of thinking, any more than the notion of our being doomed by the karma of our past lives is a useful way of thinking. They're somewhat similar ideas, actually.
I have it! I really, really hate it when I'm trying to meditate and my nose starts to run and will not stop!
I've probably vented more gas in this forum on the subject of Karma than on any other topic, and my view is still in flux. I accept Karma as a force in this present life - my present situation vs my choices of the past illustrate it perfectly.
To extend the idea to apply to past lives, that's what gives me the gas. It's an amusing - even compelling - notion to play with, but I have yet to discover any way in which it is really useful to me personally.
Many thanks @DhammaDragon for that quote. I was sure that something of the sort must exist.
Reading this discussion, I've come to a revised understanding of Kamma and want to revise what I said earlier in the thread, that
At best it is not a useful idea, and at worst it is speculative metaphysics and an impediment to happiness and progress in this life, here and now, which is all we need to care about.
I now think that, differently understood, it can be a useful ( if still somewhat metaphysical ) idea after all. If Kamma is understood as manifesting in our lives as greater or lesser ability to deal with dukkha as it arises, then that seems to me to be potentially useful if for no other reason than to encourage us to work hard and do the best we can in this life.
If, on the other hand, Kamma is understood to manifest as the physical, worldly conditions of our life - which pretty much represents my previous view of the subject - then that is definitely not useful, and encourages us only to feel doomed and helpless. Seems this way to me at the moment, anyway.