Author Topic: Rebirth and Karma  (Read 907 times)

Offline Iggick

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Rebirth and Karma
« on: October 02, 2015, 03:31:34 am »
I have been listening to a series of lectures by Venerable Bhikkhu Bodhi that I found here:

http://www.buddhanet.net/audio-lectures.htm

My question concerns a matter raised in Lecture 5 concerning the delayed impact of "bad behavior" in a former life.
My apologies if the issue seems overly picayune or if I am "straining at a gnat".

Concept of rebirth-I'm OK, disbelief suspended.
Within the overall framework of what I'm hearing things are hanging together.
Concept of Karma and actions in previous lives affecting the condition of a current life-Still OK, but a little intellectually uncomfortable.
Again, within the overall framework, hanging together.
Actions in a past life causing someone to be PHYSICALLY UGLY-big red flag.
Even within the context of the concepts presented, a persons physical being is determined genetically by the biological parents.
Karma would be a part of the mote of consciousness (sorry, I forget the Buddhist term) that transfers from the dying person
to the newly conceived person.

At this point I just turn off the lecture.
But up to this point, I'm really "digging" what I'm hearing, so I need some input.

I found this:

http://www.freesangha.com/forums/the-danger-zone/a-secular-evaluation-of-rebirth/

So it seems it's not uncommon to pick and choose which of the Buddha's teachings one will follow, but I have to admit,
that doesn't help my feeling of disappointment at all.

Help?

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Rebirth and Karma
« Reply #1 on: October 02, 2015, 05:59:49 am »
The title "Vibhajja vada" (one who analyses) is another name for a Buddhist --- if something fails the litmus test of rationality and common sense, then set it aside.

Through the years I have found that the physically "beautiful" people are more fatally flawed than the physically "ugly" who have tended to be living saints, where the former tend to be victims of their own arrogance and pride.

This is not a case of picking and choosing, but the exercise of common sense.

Offline Iggick

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Re: Rebirth and Karma
« Reply #2 on: October 02, 2015, 08:36:15 am »
Thank you!
I realized this morning that the example I had issue with was an illustration on the part of the speaker and not from actual doctrine. Am continuing the lectures now, analyzing as I go.

Are there any other online audio files that are recommended?
Listening while driving is working out very well.

Thank you again.

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Rebirth and Karma
« Reply #3 on: October 02, 2015, 01:23:30 pm »
You would be better off listening to the lectures of Bhikkhu Brahmavamso, as well as watching his videos on YouTube:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=+Bhikkhu+Brahmavamso

Offline yagr

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Re: Rebirth and Karma
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2015, 05:37:57 pm »
Actions in a past life causing someone to be PHYSICALLY UGLY-big red flag.
Even within the context of the concepts presented, a persons physical being is determined genetically by the biological parents.

First, I could not agree more with Dharmakara's statement, "...if something fails the litmus test of rationality and common sense, then set it aside."

That said, what are the factors that determine which biological parents become yours?  In other words, if your karma determines that you will be born into an affluent family - there are many to choose from.  Some are born into affluent families who have the genetic disposition to create what society considers attractive children, while others are not so genetically gifted (or cursed).

Offline Dharmakara

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Re: Rebirth and Karma
« Reply #5 on: October 02, 2015, 10:24:27 pm »
That brings to mind something that had occurred a few years back, when economists at Brown University and Williams College published a paper which suggested that genetic diversity can be linked to economic development and success. Even before the study was published, however, a group of geneticists and anthropologists from Harvard University questioned how the genetic data were applied, and published their critique of the work in Current Anthropology:

http://www.academia.edu/2335221/Is_Poverty_in_Our_Genes_A_Critique_of_Ashraf_and_Galor_The_Out_of_Africa_Hypothesis_Human_Genetic_Diversity_and_Comparative_Economic

In their critique, the Harvard group laid out a list of flaws in the data and the researchers’ approach, claiming, for example, that the economists used an inaccurate proxy for genetic diversity of a population. In addition, the Harvard group contends that the the researchers overstated their results, suggesting causation where only correlation exists. “As economists and other social scientists begin exploring newly available genetic data,” the Harvard group wrote, “it is crucial to remember that non-experts broadcasting bold claims on the basis of weak data and methods can have profoundly detrimental social and political effects.”

I guess the same can be said in regard to how we understand and teach the subject of karma, that it too can have a profoundly detrimental social and political effect.

 


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