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edited June 2005 in Buddhism Today
I'm not sure where this belongs, I was going to post it in the "lounge" however, I thought it might qualify as a 'heady' discussion :) Feel free to move if need be, I won't be offended.

I'm just curious, on a personal level, or within your beliefs, if you think there is such a thing as destiny. You hear people use the term kind of loosely sometimes; a certain job or position (generally one that is noble/honorable and not just a hum-drum everyday activity, although I would say it still applies) is their 'destiny' because they are very good at it, etc or perhaps people say that you meet someone and that you were 'destined to be together' and everybody has someone like that, supposedly.

I'm just wondering if people around here think or believe there is such a thing as destiny when it comes to your future, career, or personal life. I'm not sure what to think, the idea is kind of interesting but I'd have to say I don't like the idea of it because it then makes your life like a 'path' that you cannot deviate from and that you will infact be destined to be a certain way or do certain things because you aren't in control.


  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator
    edited January 2005
    No, I don't believe in destiny in any form. I certainly believe in a serendipitous confluence of events though :)

    A destiny would imply something controlling the future. There are two ways I see that level of control possible:
    - a divine opmnipotent and omniscient being
    - a supreme law of physics that can be used to predict all future occurences

    I'm not sure which seems less likely to me.

    If there is a supreme law, we're a long, long, long way from figuring it out. The more scientists learn about the universe, the more they seem to be doubting the existence of such a law. Personally (with my vast scientific knowledge, of course...), I highly doubt it exists.

    The omniscient/omnipotent being bit becomes a contradition. If the being knows everything that will ever happen (which it must to be omnipotent), then how can it change it? If it knows A will happen, it can't cause B to happen or it was wrong about A. Therefore, it's theoretically impossible for an entity to be both omnipotent and omniscient at the same time.

    Soooo... no, no destiny.
  • edited January 2005
    Perhaps, you pay a little too much attention to the meaning of the word. Perhaps, those who speak of destiny only want to express "their hopes" or "their dreams".

    Eveyone of us must have hope and dream. They are the driving froce within. And, destinations are only the accomplishments, resulting from holding onto those hopes and from carry on those dreams. Once they are there, destiny, in the content of hopes and dreams, is what they want talking about. Part of such talking is to express his/her greatness, which is a human nature to do so, to others. Perhaps, the whole comversation of destiny is to share his/her happiness and to give encouragement to others.

    Now, I must ask. Do you have faith in your believe? If you do, you must carry on and, perhaps, you may destine to meet with your destination.
  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator
    edited January 2005
    When someone says destiny to me, I take it to mean a predetermined outcome to everything that happens in life. A hope or dream is just that... a hope or dream. Destiny implies it will happen regardless of what you want.

    From that wonderful movie Dogma: "I just think it's better to have ideas. You can change an idea. Changing a belief is trickier. People die for it, people kill for it."

    Speaking of Kevin Smith, I'll just throw this one in for fun too: "It's not about who's right or wrong. No denomination has nailed it yet. Because they're all too self-righteous to realize it doesn't matter what you have faith in, just that you have faith. Your hearts are in the right place, but your brain's got to wake up."
  • edited January 2005
    There are two kinds of people. One is distined by fate and destination in their belief. For the others, only these two hands can determine the life he/she is living. Without hopes and dreams, without self desires and drives, only luck can guide the second type to the life he/she has chosen.

    Hope and dreams do not come from just seeing, thinking, or, perhaps, squeezing your brain dry. It is something that come to you when you wake up in the morning. All the sudden, you know you must carry on. You know that this is what you want to earn in life, not what you want to keep thinking for the rest of your life.

    Perhaps, hope and dream are the "your" visualization of your predetermined destiny, goal, that you have longed for. NO?
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited January 2005
    I definitely do not believe in destiny. When we feel like something has happened and "it must have been destiny", we are not taking into account the interconnectedness of all things.

    If you really want to think about it, you could theoretically say that every single thing that happens is destined to happen. Without delving too much into semantics, every single moment is destined to happen. It happened, didn't it? So to say that a certain event or meeting or relationship is "Destiny" is to say "it must happen", and it DID happen, so..... This applies to every single event at every single moment in the universe.

    I put this another way. Every single thing that has ever happened to me, every person I've met, every step I've ever taken, every decision I've ever made, have all led me to this exact moment, to this exact position in the world.

    Destiny is just another concept to comfort us, when we seek answers to things that we don't understand.
  • JasonJason God Emperor Arrakis Moderator
    edited January 2005
    Maybe the word is defined differently since Asiatic ideas are slightly different from Western ones. As defined-a fixed, unchangable outcome no matter what choices or outside Buddhist thought that would be incorrect. But if you look at destiny defined as the fruits of kama or the results of your actions then it would be appropriate. Every action is a casue which will have an effect, usually with a combination of several or more additional causes. For example, your mood, the time of day, the choice of speeding and so on could cause an accident. It would be the destiny from you choice of speeding during rush hour. But alter a choice or examining a motive or emotion could alter the destiny or fruit of your action. As with all things in life, I believe destiny is just as impermanent. The more mindfulness you develop, the more you can realize what "destiny" your actions will produce.
  • edited January 2005
    While I don't have time to read through all the comments so far, in response to the original question - no, I absolutly do not believe in any sort of destiny. Destiny implies that my life was pre-ordained and that begins to encroach on my rejection of any omnipotent "creator". Besides, who would want to think that their entire life is really just "going through the motions" ? Not me thats for sure.
  • edited February 2005
    Just wondering if we can get an update from Camman? I am curious to see if you have thought more about this subject and your questions and if you have made any changes to your path?
  • edited February 2005
    I haven't made any changes to my 'path', because frankly, I don't believe I have a path. I was curious if people had thought about destiny or believed in it. Personally, I don't, it seems ridiculous to me.

    I think I'm most content casting away all types of religion and spirtuality. It seems it can serve as no more than a barrier to the things that I really need to and want to accomplish in life.
  • BrianBrian Detroit, MI Moderator
    edited February 2005
    you are exactly right. Being attached to any religion or path is definitely a hindrance to becoming a fully enlightened person. You're well on your way :D
  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator
    edited February 2005
    As Forrest Gump suggested last night on ABC, maybe it's not destiny or dumb luck - it could just be a little of both ;)
  • 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 March 2005
    Are we actually talking 'Destiny' or are we also unconsciously entwining or confusing it with 'Fate'? :confused:
  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator
    edited March 2005
    1. The inevitable or necessary fate to which a particular person or thing is destined; one's lot.
    2. A predetermined course of events considered as something beyond human power or control: “Marriage and hanging go by destiny” (Robert Burton).
    3. The power or agency thought to predetermine events: Destiny brought them together.

    1. The supposed force, principle, or power that predetermines events.
    2. The inevitable events predestined by this force.
    I fail to see a significant difference...
  • 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 March 2005
    I had always naiively assumed Destiny was taken to be governed by an 'Outside' Greater Force or influence, but that Fate was "controlled" by what other sentient beings did around you to affect your decisions and responses or reactions.... well, silly me...! :lol:
  • 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 March 2005
    .....Love your Avatar by the way......
  • LincLinc Site owner Detroit Moderator
    edited March 2005
    federica wrote:
    .....Love your Avatar by the way......
    Thanks :)
  • edited March 2005
    i'm still pondering these two idea ;concepts.
    i like to believe i am in control of my destiny/fate
    but a again due to past karma ,i think it is
    influence with what good and bad things we encounter in our path.
    but possibly our outcome or goal is them same.
    just smoother or rougher accordingly.
    we choose lifestyles and goals
    we either accomplish them or not
    free will
    not fate.
    now that i used the term free will, i was thinking how do you have free will but believe in fate?
    from as christian point of veiw?
  • edited March 2005 will, fate, destiny. Whatever name it goes by, I believe that the experiences we have from the past and present are what help move us to and mold the future.

    Do we travel the path we are on because we are predestined to travel it? or do we travel a path filled with free will that after each decision and encounter shapes our path to what it becomes in the future? Without the past experiences and influences, none of us would be the people we are today. We grow as we journey and that growth brings us to where we are.

    I don't think that it is too far of a stretch to go from the belief that there are inherent truths and a balance of negative and positive in this life, to the belief that with that comes a loosely set path by which we follow and develop on our journey to enlightenment.

    Okay, here's the disclaimer, that being said...I do not think that we should rely on what we believe to be fate and destiny to guide us, but that we should follow the sense within ourselves to help guide us to the place and circumstances in our lives that we feel is right for us.
  • 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 March 2005
    Perhaps this too could be seen as my disclaimer, or as it might be said in the UK, my "cop-out" but I believe there are perhaps some things we're not meant to figure out, or that we don't even have the mental capacity or 'largesse' to comprehend. If there is something 'bigger than us 'pulling the strings, then surely, by that definition, we cannot ever hope to go figure because our limited capability just would not be capable of digesting it all....
    In Buddhism, it is advised that it's not a good idea to get stuck in pondering the unponderable. Buddha himself avoided answering questions like "Does God exist?" "IS there an afterlife?" "Will George the Horse win the 4.30 derby on saturday" (sorry!) not because he didn't know, but because it was a waste of time trying to answer definitively.
    Sometimes, the classic Gallic shrug is the best answer anyone can give...... :)

    "A little Respect, a little Reverence, for the things we cannot see."
  • edited April 2005
    I agree federica, perhaps it does us no good to ponder. However, aren't we the ones pulling the strings? Was it destined that everyone in the WTC on 9/11 was to go through that? What about the sumatra quake? Seems to me that your "destiny" is what you make it and since you have free will, you are in ultimate control. You cannot control the things that nature or other people throw at you but, you can decide how to deal with it, how you react, and thereby ultimately you guide your fate.
  • edited June 2005
    I believe in some sort of action where few things are meant to be..maybe not destiny, but I think i met my girl for a reason, and I think I found Buddhism for a reason...even if I'm not that hardcore of a Buddhist.
  • edited June 2005
    I don't believe in destiny and certainly not in any sort of divine intention, "meant to be" kind of way. I do, however, believe that we strongly shaped by our genes, environment, experiences, etc. The more we can understand these process, the more we can predict the future but things are so complex that people might as well have free will and there's might as well be random, chance occurences. In any case, the belief in free will is a powerful thing (itself an affecting force) and we should promote it. I don't think anyone is stuck where they are because that's just who they are. At the very least, they and others can change their enviroment, create new experiences, etc.
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Sometimes I sit an d wonder about destiny. I look at the events in my life and I am ok. My family loves me and I am not in need of things. I am late on my bills a lot because I don't make enough money and I don't like my job and I have my bad back and a weight problem but all of that can be fixed to an extent. I figure if that's all I have to worry about then I am doing ok. I figure destiny might change for us because of our Karmha. Maybe. I think about that is I never stumbled across things in my life I would have never have met my wife.So who knows. :)
  • comicallyinsanecomicallyinsane Veteran
    edited June 2005
    One more thing. Why would it matter if destiny exists or not? Is there anything we can do about it? I figure it's best to spend my energies on other things. If I think I have control then fine. If I don't have the control I think then nothing I can do so fine also.
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited June 2005
    Do you know Louis MacNeice's poem Bagpipe Music?

    The last verse goes:
    It's no go my honey love, it's no go my poppet;
    Work your hands from day to day, the winds will blow the profit.
    The glass is falling hour by hour, the glass will fall forever,
    But if you break the bloody glass you won't hold up the weather.

    (Note for the young: the 'glass' is a barometer)
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