Author Topic: Greed Rules?  (Read 782 times)

Offline wcpom

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Greed Rules?
« on: May 09, 2016, 01:45:39 am »
I am new to Buddhism. I have read a few books, been to a few classes and meditate every day. I see the benefits, but I still have many questions.

Here is what is bothering me today, I wonder if anyone can give me a good Buddhist answer.

If only those with good karma are reincarnated with a human existence, why is the world dominated by greedy and self centered people?

I look forward to your insights.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Greed Rules?
« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2016, 08:57:44 pm »
If there is “reincarnation” I doubt it is so simplistic. A lot of the talk of reincarnation sounds like wishful thinking to me, which might be why you also have doubts about it. The notion of birth in various levels of existence, such as human, animal, hungry ghost, etc, as the result of past actions, seems even more fanciful, as you point out.

Although we each experience our own separate life, there isn’t a distinct entity, separate from everything else, which experiences it and which can travel from one life to another in a linear fashion. In addition, past and future don’t really exist -- there’s just this present moment, through which the changing phenomena of life is passing, continuously, perhaps, eternally.

So, while there might be a “re-occurrence” of the phenomena of birth and death, whether there’s a separate continuity of consciousness that experiences it from one life to the next, is idle speculation, IMHO.

Ordinary, intellectual, discursive, conceptual thinking, which is inevitably dualistic, is incapable of grasping and containing the true nature of this life. That doesn’t mean It can’t be directly “experienced” through meditation. In fact any answer to your question is essentially meaningless unless the answer is personally experienced. Holding onto other people’s answers only blocks one from real experience.

So you'll have to answer that question for yourself, right here, right now, in your present situation. Good luck!
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

Offline wcpom

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Re: Greed Rules?
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2016, 10:47:07 pm »
Thank you for your response zafrogzen.

I had to re-read it numerous times before I felt that I could understand it and eventually felt comfortable with it.

A line from an old song keeps going around in my head "Working on mysteries, without any clues"

It was the lack of mysticism and fairy tales that drew me to Buddhism, but as I learn more, there appear to be mystical concepts that I find  hard to deal with.

This week, I seem to be having a crisis of confidence, wondering if I have the intellect or background to be able to gain the insights that I am looking for.

I'll continue to meditate and hopefully expand my understanding or experience, but recently I have felt that I have hit a plateau. After making some large gains in my perception of the nature of things initially, I feel I have gone no further since then and I am a little frustrated with my lack of ability to control my attention.

Offline zafrogzen

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Re: Greed Rules?
« Reply #3 on: May 10, 2016, 06:45:43 pm »
Sorry I couldn’t resist indulging my tendency towards “mystical concepts” (something of a contradiction in terms). Reading and listening to teachers can make it seem more complex than it really is. The more one studies and learns, the worse that can get.

I try to look at meditation as “medicine” and just take it everyday as directed, while it goes to work in me, without my having to think about it.

When I find myself unmotivated and resistant to practice, it’s usually because I’m over-thinking it, trying to fit it into some scenario or expectation of how I think it should be, rather than having faith in it and letting it be what it is at that particular time.

In zen it’s said that to seek it, is to lose it.

Simply staying open and present with whatever occurs is the ultimate meditation. But sometimes, when resistance sets in, it’s good to have something to “do” -- such as concentration on an object of meditation. Counting the breaths while focusing on the light coming in through "soft," half-closed eyes is my favorite technique, especially at the beginning of meditation, when my mind is overly-active. That leads into samadhi, which naturally stimulates insight.

I used to think I was hopelessly conventional and obtuse, but the longer I’ve meditated, the more I’ve seen my intuitive faculty develop.
My first formal meditation training was with Shunryu Suzuki in the 60's and later with Kobun, Robert Aitken and many other teachers (mainly zen). However, I've spent the most time practicing on my own, which is all I do now. I'm living in a rather isolated area so I miss connecting with other practitioners. Despite my interest in zen I've made an effort to remain secular. You can visit my website at http://www.frogzen.com

 


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