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Does it really matter what our past karma was?

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Comments

  • bookwormbookworm U.S.A. Veteran
    We are neither the masters of our Karma nor the servants
  • We jolly well ARE the masters of our karma.
    aMattKundo
  • DavidDavid A human residing in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Ancestral territory of the Erie, Haudenosaunee, Huron-Wendat, Mississauga and Neutral First Nations Veteran
    hermitwin said:

    to say that we dont need to know why things happen
    is just like saying, i have lung cancer but i dont want
    to know that the reason is i have been smoking heavily
    for the last 20 years.

    not to mention that the need to know why is the instinct
    that drives human civilisation.

    As long as we are talking about the life currently being lived sure. Now if I had lung cancer and tried to figure out if I got it from a past life decision, it is hardly practical.



  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    Citta said:

    Which includes the existing pre-conceptions that have been built like a wall around a fundamentalist idea of Buddhadhamma derived from literalist ideas.

    Yes, including those. Another preconception is of some "pure" Buddhadhamma which only a select few have accessed, and which the majority of Buddhist schools have somehow overlooked.

  • Stumbled across this today... I believe this can be quite the appropriate statement regarding sooo many of our discussions here in NewBuddhist. ;-)

    Einstein's comment certainly encourages my personal Buddhist POV;
    "Keep it Real, Keep it Simple, Apply to life daily."
    Vastmindpegembara
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran



    And I might add that, in general, that in each succeeding time period in human history, people are more intellectually sophisticated.

    I don't think humans have become any more intelligent. The "progress" we see is in the application of intellect to technology, including technology to destroy each other.
    I'm not sure if you've read the suttas, but the main debate described is between eternalists and annihilationists - basically it's the same debate that we're having now.



    I didn't say they became more intelligent. I said they became "more intellectually sophisticated".

    oceancaldera207
  • karmablueskarmablues Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Jeffrey said:

    You can be moral just because you have compassion. But that would only work if we were 100% compassionate.

    I think this is a very important point that @Jeffrey makes. Since we have not yet developed compassion (and wisdom) to a sufficient degree, contemplation on karma can be a useful tool for refining one's virtue.

    When I first started practicing Buddhism, I was compassionate enough not to harm or kill the larger animals, but my compassion did not yet extend to very small insects like ants and mosquitoes. So I still had the belief that squatting mosquitoes was ok and not a big deal. After I developed an illness, I started to contemplate about karma more often. Eventually I came to the conclusion that if I wanted to ensure good health in the future, I must absolutely refrain from all harmful acts towards other living beings and in this way the good karma being generated in the present may also help my illness to go away faster. So I decided I must stop squatting mosquitoes.

    Having resolved to do so, I became conscious of the fact that whenever I saw a mosquito in my bedroom, an intention to kill it would spontaneously arise in my mind. When I became aware of this habitual tendency to have this violent intent upon the sight of a mosquito, I can remember that I felt quite ashamed about it. The thing that I noticed is that once I decided to refrain from killing the mosquitoes, then it became possible to look at that act of killing them more honestly and objectively. The shame I felt about having that spontaneous intent to kill arose because I was able to see the cruelty and lack of compassion involved in the act of killing mosquitoes.

    Contemplation on karma also led me to become more mindful of how I was using office supplies and stationery. For example, I use to think it was ok to print out personal stuff like emails at the office. Contemplation on karma led me to decide to purify my conduct with regards to the precept on stealing. In this case, I noticed again that once I stopped using the office printer for personal stuff, I was able to be honest with my evaluation of the act as amounting to theft where the underlying motivation was basically greed. Previously, I had shrugged off this kind of behaviour as something that everyone else seems to be doing and doesn't really count as stealing.

    And what I have noticed is that even though the underlying reason for refraining from a certain unskillful act may at first be a fear of the karmic consequences, this does not remain the case for very long. After a while, the abstention develops into habit and it just becomes part of my nature. My view in relation to those acts had changed as well, ie. what I use to think was ok and not a big deal, I later accept as being wrong and harmful.
    VastmindJeffreyhermitwincvalue
  • DairyLamaDairyLama Veteran Veteran
    vinlyn said:



    And I might add that, in general, that in each succeeding time period in human history, people are more intellectually sophisticated.

    I don't think humans have become any more intelligent. The "progress" we see is in the application of intellect to technology, including technology to destroy each other.
    I'm not sure if you've read the suttas, but the main debate described is between eternalists and annihilationists - basically it's the same debate that we're having now.

    I didn't say they became more intelligent. I said they became "more intellectually sophisticated".



    I really don't see the evidence for this assertion.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Okay, then you don't see it.
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    Citta said:

    We jolly well ARE the masters of our karma.

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited September 2013
    We are our own masters?

    Where I come from a master has some real depth and authority. The word is derived from the Latin magister, "teacher" and is akin to the adjective magnus, "great."

    To say that one is a master is to state that one is both skilled and in control (of a particular art or field). To say that anyone is a master of his or her own karma is IMO to negate the very reality of karma. To put that in other words, to say that we are all masters of our karma is to imply that karma cannot sting us (the masters).

    I am dumbfounded.

    The NB Bulletin board, with a little yellow lightbulb, is telling me that I don't have permission to say that, but quod scripsi, scripsi!



  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    Nirvana said:

    We are our own masters?

    Where I come from a master has some real depth and authority. The word is derived from the Latin magister, "teacher" and is akin to the adjective magnus, "great."

    To say that one is a master is to state that one is both skilled and in control (of a particular art or field). To say that anyone is a master of his or her own karma is IMO to negate the very reality of karma. To put that in other words, to say that we are all masters of our karma is to imply that karma cannot sting us (the masters).

    I am dumbfounded.

    The NB Bulletin board, with a little yellow lightbulb, is telling me that I don't have permission to say that, but quod scripsi, scripsi!



    To me, you seem to be overreacting a little.

    I think he's simply saying that the karma we accrue is dependent on our actions, and we can often/usually control and direct our actions. It's not your neighbor Fred is going to place karma on you.

  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Yeah I took it to mean that we are not powerless in our own karmic affairs...
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited September 2013
    I do not react on this forum on which I rarely find anything of interest to me.

    I am simply trying to have some fun and not chiming in every other few seconds.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I don't get it.
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    vinlyn said:

    I don't get it.

    Oh, he just said he thinks we're all idiots, and he likes to troll us.

    :coffee:
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran


    vinlyn said:

    I don't get it.

    Oh he just said he thinks we're all idiots, and he likes to troll us.

    :coffee:
    Guess I was too much an idiot to get it!

    :D
    oceancaldera207
  • @vinlyn nah it's a genuine head scratcher . :wtf:
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    Get a life!
    And stop insulting people.

    I enjoy being bombastic when I see ridiculous statements being made with strong conviction. Full Stop. If that statement had not been made with such seeming conviction ("We jolly well are...") you can rest assured I'd not have registered such dismay at the speciousness of the statement.

    Words do have meanings and not caring about what they mean is OK too, I guess, if you like.

    But get a life, register less distaste for others and their quirky ways, and start earning some Good karma.
  • vinlynvinlyn Colorado...for now Veteran
    I don't think anyone has insulted you. I just said that I think you're overreacting to a post and explained how I saw the post.

    Maybe being "bombastic" and calling other people's statements "ridiculous", and calling comments "specious" isn't the best way to have a dialog.

    And if a post can earn us positive or negative karma, well...just sayin'.
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    Stop shaming!
    How about we just ignore each other
  • I dont think you are making good karma.

    right speech means kind and gentle speech.

    are you an angry person?
    that is aversion.
    Nirvana said:

    Get a life!
    And stop insulting people.

    I enjoy being bombastic when I see ridiculous statements being made with strong conviction. Full Stop. If that statement had not been made with such seeming conviction ("We jolly well are...") you can rest assured I'd not have registered such dismay at the speciousness of the statement.

    Words do have meanings and not caring about what they mean is OK too, I guess, if you like.

    But get a life, register less distaste for others and their quirky ways, and start earning some Good karma.

    vinlyn
  • oceancaldera207oceancaldera207 Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Hm. karma.Tired eyes in the rear view. schizophrenics, pathological liars, semi functional develomentally disabled. Business. Paperwork. people that smell really really bad for no reason other than they want to, thugs, prostitutes, half a dozen filthy wheelchairs..(they can actually walk but don't really want to. ) my boss.. very much into the N word and everything that goes with it, a violent loud obnoxious trainee 15 yrs my senior. Bikers. They found a body by the tracks today. Suicide. Screaming kids. Police. karma. I close my eyes.. the room, the robe, the seat. Politics..traffic..awkwardness. blood runs from my nose, I feel weak. Leaving the airport.. again. Talk to me like I'm stupid. Not enough money. I close my eyes. Coffee. That urine smell...my eyes burn...the smell of cheap rancid beer on their breath..that rotting smell...pick you up off the floor, you say get off me, fall down again. Their frightened eyes..glassy. the vomit. The blur. I'm sore I'm hurting I'm hungry. I'm so hungry.
    How the winds and breezes of karma flow.and this..this is my life. I close my eyes. The robe, the room, the seat.
    JeffreyMaryAnne
  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    edited September 2013
    Hey Hermitwin, I guess this thread is yours. Thus, I respond. It's one of the few of any interest to me right now, anyhow.

    Right speech is kind and usually gentle, but is also consists in knowing when to speak and when not to, also. I don't think that chatter is ever right speech, especially if it is picky chatter such as that above.

    As to angry-person syndrome: No, not generally. But religious dogma does get me blood stirring —and especially pronouncements on supernatural workings that lead nowhere. Who can ever plumb the depths of things, especially the intangible things such as karma?

    When I am being shamed or attacked I respond. "Ridiculous" is not an unkind word, though admittedly a charged one. In my defense, I must say that I did not use that word when I responded to the blanket statement: "We jolly well ARE the masters of our karma." I merely said I was "dumbfounded," and without thought posted and found that I had already posted just the quote. Then I got kinda silly. As to calling the statement specious, well it was if one truly believed in karma as traditionally understood. Also, one might note that I also did not use that word until later after the idle chatter. Maybe I'm too old fashioned, but people following the path of right speech would either just ignore me or accept that maybe I'm "from another planet."

    It does bother me when people try to shame one another on this forum. A post is not just a post. Because this is an online sangha, we must give each other a little latitude and not keep harping and shaming.

  • NirvanaNirvana aka BUBBA   `     `   South Carolina, USA Veteran
    Right speech is knowing when to (pardon the split infinitive!) Just Stop!
  • “The fool who knows his folly
    Becomes wise by that fact.
    But the fool who thinks he's wise -
    He's called 'a fool' indeed!”

    “A man is not called wise because he talks and talks again; but if he is peaceful, loving and fearless then he is in truth called wise.”

    ~ Buddha
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