Author Topic: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...  (Read 1092 times)

Offline Tammy66

  • Member
  • Posts: 1
    • View Profile
Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« on: September 22, 2016, 03:08:11 am »
Hello everyone!

... I hope you can help me to understand buddhism a bit better! For some years, I'm fascinated by buddhism spirituality and am reading and thinking... and so on...
But now I am in great distress and I don't understand some of the foundations and maybe your advice will help somehow...?!?

1. All sorrow/suffering results in past action
Does that mean: If something traumatic happens, it is my own fault because of something my former self did?!??? I don't understand how another "self" of me would ever harm someone/something else (on purpose!)!!! That is not in any being's nature!
E.g. an earthquake: Thousands of people die... and that's because they did something bad in their former life?
Or e.g. a car accident where a loved one dies (you were driving but it's not your fault!!!... or it is your fault somehow): I could never ever forgive myself and I would be hurting all my life, I would be devastated and in misery. Just imaginge all the thoughts and all the guilt that will be evoked... you would always question yourself: "If I hadn't be doing x, it wouldn't have happened" How could you ever live with that burden???? Why does the loved one has to die ... Why do you have to suffer --> because of you and your former actions?????
Isn't that "injustice" and somehow against buddist spirituality that your "current" self has to suffer from actions that lie in the past, that you did not do NOW and that you have no knowledge of anymore? Shouldn't all (reincarnated) beings should have a chance to live without these sufferings and truly enjoy living (in the moment)?

2. Exercise love + compassion
That's truly the main core that irritates me the most at the moment. If you are compassionate you get attached... and if something bad happens YOU WILL ALWAYS SUFFER! I don't understand that buddhism teaches something like: "Let go and get rid of your attachment"
If you love, you will always be hurting you can't let go and accept traumatic/catastrophic events and ... just live your life. That would be against love because if you accept and live on you are indifferent... And besides, isn't that more selfish than anything else?!?? Just "move on" and live... you just free yourself because it makes  y o u r  life (especially psychologically) better. This cannot be right! If you love you cannot be indifferent and objective and you will never ever be "happy/free" in your whole life ever... and that's devastating, especially if it was not your fault (see example above).

I once read somewhere about a tale that is so disturbing:
You receive dung before your house that you haven't ordered, you don't want and you don't know where it comes from. It stinks and it gets more and more... and you don't do anything (quite literally shocked/paralyzed) ... and people don't come around often (symbol of people don't like to be in (other's of affected by your???) misery and don't want to see your misery). That won't change unless you yourself put it away: e.g. behind your house (i.e. so that others won't see... and you're alone with your problems... and they are still there!!!!) and at the end of the tale: because of the dung flowers grow (I cannot believe that "something good happens out of something bad... or even more I cannot believe that something bad has to happen (to others) to create something good????).

Any advice, links, explanations and true loving words are appreciated... I hope I don't sound to confusing....

Kind regards,

Tammy



Offline Amorphos

  • Member
  • Posts: 39
  • anatta – anicca – dukkha
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #1 on: September 23, 2016, 03:36:23 am »
Hi Tammy,

I hope I am able to help. Any further questions feel free to ask.

Quote
I am in great distress and I don't understand some of the foundations and maybe your advice will help somehow...?!?
1. All sorrow/suffering results in past action


Dukkha (sorrow, suffering, stress) is based on the present choices we make.

Dukkha is the five clinging-aggregates.
The origin of dukkha is craving, tanha.

Eliminate craving and you eliminate dukkha.

Read the Dhammacakkappavattana sutta (https://suttacentral.net/en/sn56.11)
and the Bhara sutta (https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.22).

Quote
Does that mean: If something traumatic happens, it is my own fault because of something my former self did?!???


In short, the answer is no. That would be a misunderstanding of Dhamma.

Quote
I don't understand how another "self" of me would ever harm someone/something else (on purpose!)!!! That is not in any being's nature!
E.g. an earthquake: Thousands of people die... and that's because they did something bad in their former life?
Or e.g. a car accident where a loved one dies (you were driving but it's not your fault!!!... or it is your fault somehow): I could never ever forgive myself and I would be hurting all my life, I would be devastated and in misery. Just imaginge all the thoughts and all the guilt that will be evoked... you would always question yourself: "If I hadn't be doing x, it wouldn't have happened" How could you ever live with that burden???? Why does the loved one has to die ... Why do you have to suffer --> because of you and your former actions?????
Isn't that "injustice" and somehow against buddist spirituality that your "current" self has to suffer from actions that lie in the past, that you did not do NOW and that you have no knowledge of anymore? Shouldn't all (reincarnated) beings should have a chance to live without these sufferings and truly enjoy living (in the moment)?


The notion of a “self” is misplaced.  There is no self. Read the Anatta-lakkhana sutta (https://suttacentral.net/en/sn22.59). The idea of a reincarnating “self” is also misplaced since there is no self to begin with.

Quote
2. Exercise love + compassion
That's truly the main core that irritates me the most at the moment. If you are compassionate you get attached...


The two are not related. Compassion and attachment are not linked together.

Quote
and if something bad happens YOU WILL ALWAYS SUFFER! I don't understand that buddhism teaches something like: "Let go and get rid of your attachment"
If you love, you will always be hurting you can't let go and accept traumatic/catastrophic events and ... just live your life. That would be against love because if you accept and live on you are indifferent... And besides, isn't that more selfish than anything else?!?? Just "move on" and live... you just free yourself because it makes  y o u r  life (especially psychologically) better. This cannot be right! If you love you cannot be indifferent and objective and you will never ever be "happy/free" in your whole life ever... and that's devastating, especially if it was not your fault (see example above).


Love and loss always creates a level of sadness. Attachment and trauma though are in a different category and can be avoided.

This is the reality of life, impermanence.

Read the Loka sutta (https://suttacentral.net/en/sn35.82)

So far the three topics covered by your post include dukkha (suffering, stress), anatta (no self) and anicca (impermanence), these three are called collectively tilakkhana, the three characteristics of existence.

Quote
I once read somewhere about a tale that is so disturbing:
You receive dung before your house that you haven't ordered, you don't want and you don't know where it comes from. It stinks and it gets more and more... and you don't do anything (quite literally shocked/paralyzed) ... and people don't come around often (symbol of people don't like to be in (other's of affected by your???) misery and don't want to see your misery). That won't change unless you yourself put it away: e.g. behind your house (i.e. so that others won't see... and you're alone with your problems... and they are still there!!!!) and at the end of the tale: because of the dung flowers grow (I cannot believe that "something good happens out of something bad... or even more I cannot believe that something bad has to happen (to others) to create something good????).


I have not heard of that story. If you give the author or the source of the material, so I am able to read the full story in context, then I would be able to comment on it.

Quote
Any advice, links, explanations and true loving words are appreciated... I hope I don't sound to confusing....

Kind regards,

Tammy


Read: A Single Excellent Night - Bhaddekaratta sutta

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.131.than.html

:buddha:
« Last Edit: September 23, 2016, 04:22:38 am by Amorphos »
Uddhumataka – Vinilaka – Vipubbaka – Vicchiddaka – Vikkhayitaka –
Vikkhittaka – Hata-vikkhittaka – Lohitaka – Pulavaka – Atthika

Offline Shinnen

  • Member
  • Posts: 2
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2016, 07:47:36 am »
Hi Tammy,
         You are struggling with the same questions that have dogged me for years, and never fully resolved. I have always suffered and will undoubtedly continue to, until I die. I find that it is helpful to step back a bit from my feelings and thoughts. In my opinion, it is our emotional reaction to these that causes most suffering. The Theravadin sect teaches us to observe one's thoughts and feelings, without becoming entangled in them. This is not easy to do, but it can be done over time, and it will reduce the amount of suffering you endure, and help you to understand what it is that causes your pain. To this end, I have installed a little man at the door of my mind who stops all thoughts and reactions for a moment before they come in. It may sound silly but it often provides a delay that cushions the blow of my reactions, at least that's how it's supposed to work. Don't worry, it will not turn you into an unfeeling stone. You will still suffer. :) Buddhism is not an easy path. It is a constant struggle for me, not the least of which is figuring out how close what my teachers tell me, is to what the buddha actually said. But there is one thing he is reported to have said that I have found very helpful. That is his admonition to his followers not to accept anything he, or anyone else says, at face value, without first finding out if it works for them. I find this to be a very good filter for examining various teachings. I hope this helps.
...... john

Offline stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 348
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #3 on: October 17, 2016, 03:17:16 am »
There's suffering and then there's suffering. One kind of suffering is the stuff that life throws at us, sometimes more so than others. The other kind is the suffering we generate within ourselves in response to the other kind. This second kind of suffering is what the Buddha worked on. The one we can change in order to see things as they really are, the one we can eliminate.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4485
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2016, 09:17:51 am »
Hi, Tammy.  You are one of those folks, who ask really big questions.  So, in reductionist fashion and in the name of clarity, also because of my limited energy capacity, I am going to respond to your questions one at a time.  I will also break each individual category as you have organized them into smaller bights, also for the sake of clarity.:

Quote
1. All sorrow/suffering results in past action
Does that mean: If something traumatic happens, it is my own fault because of something my former self did?!???
 

First Case:  Let's say hypothetically. :  In a previous rebirth you were a killer of children.  Since the result of killing children not only causes harm to the affected child, but also to families, neighbors, the child's friends, and when the news spreads that a killer is on the loose, the community in general. Community leaders often respond under public pressure out of fear and anger with violent retribution by sending out the constabulary, perhaps militias, along with deputized volunteers, and they hunt you (the killer) down, arrest you, try you, and punish you for your crimes in a manner commensurate with community mores.

In this case, your "kamma", which is defined as "intentional act" resulted in consequences (kamma vipāka) arising within your own life-time.

Second Case:  Let's say hypothetically.:  You escape and continue killing children for the rest of your life, and suddenly die of a heart attack.  In your next life you are reborn in a community where such forms of violence as child killing is quite common.  Abortion is a long accepted cultural practice, and the effect of your death results in a rebirth to a mother who has been raped and wants an abortion.  The mother aborts the fetus upon which the resulting effect of your death was reborn.  Would you say that that abortion was justified?

Third Case:  Let's say hypothetically.:  You are captured, sent to prison, where Buddhist monks visit you in prison and teach you The Dhamma, in particular the Law of Kamma., which you come to understand and, wishing to avoid the hell realms, you change your ways, to change your intentional actions to doing only that which is beneficial for others.  You spend the rest of your life doing so, and even decide to become a monk yourself to the point of unbinding and release into nibbana.

As a result, you are never reborn, you have become a Tathagatta, A Well Gone One, perhaps even a Buddha as a result of your intentional actions (kamma).  Would you say that the result (kamma vipakha) was deserved in this case?

Quote
I don't understand how another "self" of me would ever harm someone/something else (on purpose!)!!! That is not in any being's nature! E.g. an earthquake: Thousands of people die... and that's because they did something bad in their former life?


Because you don't understand it, doesn't mean that it doesn't happen, and often happen many times.  Sometimes people are born with brain disorders, which cause them to be violent.  For example:  Sometimes children are born into cultures, which promote violence in order to perpetuate personal gain, or gain for their greedy leaders.  Sometimes, people react violently as a result of personal mistreatment.  Whatever the cause, the personal behavior arises, because of a reaction to an underlying cause.

Quote
Isn't that "injustice" and somehow against buddist spirituality that your "current" self has to suffer from actions that lie in the past, that you did not do NOW and that you have no knowledge of anymore? Shouldn't all (reincarnated) beings should have a chance to live without these sufferings and truly enjoy living (in the moment)?


There are no judges and juries, or grand evaluators (gods) in The Law of Khamma, there is only "intentional action" and the result, or effect, which moves on through the universe. Results are expressed if not in this lifetime, then in some following lifetime, when the conditions are right.  Buddha described this with an analogy of a seed:  para:  Seeds cannot sprout until the soil, amount of water and its position in the sunlight is conducive.

An example of this concept would be in the "words and actions" of great leaders.  Gauge the effects of the words of Moses, Muhammad, Christ, Hitler, Mao, Stalin, John F. Kennedy, and Ronald Reagan.  Their ideas are still reverberating though our societies and causing unmeasurable effects, not only now, but will continue wall into the future.

Resource for further study:    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/study/kamma.html
« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 09:32:15 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 276
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2016, 05:34:10 pm »
Hi Ron,

How do you know this law of kamma in suceeding lives is actually true in reality -- and not just in the Buddhist scriptures?  Just curious.
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 Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4485
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2016, 06:58:52 pm »

How do you know this law of kamma in suceeding lives is actually true in reality -- and not just in the Buddhist scriptures?  Just curious.


Great question.  I kind of skimmed over this question in two parts with my explanation to the OP, Tammy.

With personal life experience, and a background in biological and chemical sciences, I know that we are physically born, age, get diseases, deteriorate, die and are reborn on two levels during what we eroneously call our "lifetimes", when in reality our cells are created during our period of life from syngamy (fertilization of ova), continuous development and evolution within the womb, after birth, as evolving from a neonate into a toddler, a toddler to a child, a child into a teen, pubescence, teenage, young adulthood, middle age, maturity, decrepidation, death, and rebirth.  Modern medical science sees these biological phases as nothing more than a series of cellular births, deaths and rebirths all along our progress and deterioration through what we erroneously call our life.

Such biological passing on of the flame of life has been going on for uncountable aeons.  Here as an example is an interesting short research article regarding the evolution from the prehuman biological process of mitosis to meiosis and the existing, sexual process of reproduction (rebirth) as currently understood by biological science:

http://www.nature.com/hdy/journal/v88/n2/full/6800034a.html

With a background in physchology and neurobiological sciences, I know directly from observation that our minds experience the arising and deterioration of thoughts, feelings, emotions, ideas, and intentions even more so, and as Buddha pointed out, even much more quickly, which resulted in the concept of "the mind-moment" as taught by him.  Buddha advized skillfull control of all of our mental factors in prevention of dukkha as a result.:

Quote
Any dukkha that one has, small, medium or large, continuous or intermittent, is all created by one's mind. We are the creators of all that happens to us, forming our own destiny, nobody else is involved. Everybody else is playing his own role, we just happen to be near some people and farther away at other times. But whatever we are doing, all is done to our own mind-moments.

The more we watch our thoughts in meditation, the more insight can arise, if there is an objective viewing of what is happening. When we watch mind-moments arising, staying and ceasing, detachment from our thinking process will result, which brings dispassion. Thoughts are coming and going all the time, just like the breath. If we hang on to them, try to keep them, that's when all the trouble starts. We want to own them and really do something with them, especially of they are negative, which is bound to create dukkha.

The Buddha's formula for the highest effort is worth remembering: "Not to let an unwholesome thought arise, which has not yet arisen. Not to sustain an unwholesome thought which has already arisen. To arouse a wholesome thought which has not yet arisen. To sustain a wholesome thought which has already arisen."


source:  http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/khema/allofus.html



In both cases we formulate intentions, act them out from biophasic generation to generation, and in neurogenisis to mind, or mental factors, experiencing cause and effects all the way though each and every process.

When what we call a singular isolate being (sentient, sapient, or simply just living) dies it really only enters another phase of its many life-cycles as illustrated in the analogy of the flame of life passing from one candle wick to the next.  The flame, like the life, seems the same, yet it is different, and but the effect of the previous candel system, or system of life, and also the consequence of the energy of the decomposition products of the combustion reaction between atmospheric oxygen, the wax as fuel and the activated energy complex brought forward by the intention to pass on the flame.  Just so, the series of life-cycles we call a being.

We see the human flame of experience and accomplishment pass on both physically, mentally, and metaphorically during wakes, when family and friends talk about life experiences with the deceased, when coworkers, colaborators, students, and recipients of ideas, graciousness, loving-kindnesses, or maltreatment discuss and share the same not only at the wake, but whenever and whatever the deceased created, spawned, developed, or perpetrated comes to notice.  Examples I cited previously of well known religiostics, such as Buddha, Moses, Christ, and Muhammed; politicians such as Kennedy, Lincoln, Washington, and Reagan;  Warriors such as Ivan The Terrible, Hannibal, Mao, Po Pot, Ho Chi Minh, and Stalin;  philosophers such as Plato, Marcus Aurelius, and Occam; and of course scientists such as Berossus, Harkhebi, Anaxagoras, Plato, Heisenberg, Capernicus, and Einstein.

As for verifying and validating such post-mortem rebirths and assessing the kamma and kamma vipakha (intentional actions and effects/consequences) from previous lives, I have read that only Buddhas can do that.  Since I am not a buddha, nor have I ever met any, only Arahants, perhaps, none have ever personally given me such information about the condition of living mortals.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2016, 07:57:50 pm by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 276
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2016, 08:58:37 pm »
Ron said
Quote
As for verifying and validating such post-mortem rebirths and assessing the kamma and kamma vipakha (intentional actions and effects/consequences) from previous lives, I have read that only Buddhas can do that.  Since I am not a buddha, nor have I ever met any, only Arahants, perhaps, none have ever personally given me such information about the condition of living mortals.

Me neither.
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 zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 276
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2016, 10:09:28 pm »
After our last  go-round on this subject I was inspired to write something --

http://www.frogzen.com/uncategorized/eternal-life/

It is probably too "hairy-fairy" for your taste, but I think it at least points in the direction we must head to get beyond birth and death.
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 zafrogzen

  • Member
  • Posts: 276
  • I've been practicing and studying meditation since
    • View Profile
    • zafrogzen
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2016, 11:34:42 pm »
As for tammy's questions. That's a tall order, which causes me to fall back on my the usual recommendation -- practice sitting meditation. Answers to your questions only have real meaning when they come from within you. It's difficult to be unattached without some insight of your own.

In zen the emphasis is on facing life just as it is, and embracing it, with all its ups and downs. When one can step back a little, not to escape, but to see more clearly -- then impermanence is not merely suffering, but the seasoning that gives life it's savor.
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 stillpointdancer

  • Enlightenment through insight
  • Member
  • Posts: 348
  • Dancing at the Still Point describes my meditation
    • View Profile
    • Enlightenment for Grown Ups
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #10 on: October 22, 2016, 03:20:25 am »
After our last  go-round on this subject I was inspired to write something --

http://www.frogzen.com/uncategorized/eternal-life/

It is probably too "hairy-fairy" for your taste, but I think it at least points in the direction we must head to get beyond birth and death.

Great bit of writing. Thanks for posting.
“You do not need to leave your room. Remain sitting at your table and listen. Do not even listen, simply wait, be quiet, still and solitary. The world will freely offer itself to you to be unmasked, it has no choice, it will roll in ecstasy at your feet.” Franz Kafka

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #11 on: October 22, 2016, 06:55:43 am »
Hi, Tammy.  You are one of those folks, who ask really big questions.  So, in reductionist fashion and in the name of clarity, also because of my limited energy capacity, I am going to respond to your questions one at a time.  I will also break each individual category as you have organized them into smaller bights, also for the sake of clarity.:

Quote
1. All sorrow/suffering results in past action
Does that mean: If something traumatic happens, it is my own fault because of something my former self did?!???
 

There are no judges and juries, or grand evaluators (gods) in The Law of Khamma, there is only "intentional action" and the result, or effect, which moves on through the universe. Results are expressed if not in this lifetime, then in some following lifetime, when the conditions are right.  Buddha described this with an analogy of a seed:  para:  Seeds cannot sprout until the soil, amount of water and its position in the sunlight is conducive.

Hi Ron,
If your above statement is true, how do you explain the suffering that results from so-called natural disasters such as earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, extreme weather events in general, and even falling meteorites from outer space.

Since such disasters are not targeting specific individuals, but whole communities, do you believe there is some process in the karmic law which groups individual past offenders into whole communities in order to more efficiently punish them for past demeanours?

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4485
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2016, 08:04:09 am »
Quote
VincentRJ:  "There are no judges and juries, or grand evaluators (gods) in The Law of Khamma, there is only "intentional action" and the result, or effect, which moves on through the universe. Results are expressed if not in this lifetime, then in some following lifetime, when the conditions are right.  Buddha described this with an analogy of a seed:  para:  Seeds cannot sprout until the soil, amount of water and its position in the sunlight is conducive.

Hi Ron,
If your above statement is true, how do you explain the suffering that results from so-called natural disasters such as earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, extreme weather events in general, and even falling meteorites from outer space.

Since such disasters are not targeting specific individuals, but whole communities, do you believe there is some process in the karmic law which groups individual past offenders into whole communities in order to more efficiently punish them for past demeanours?"

Buddha called that natural kamma, which begs the question from a scientific standpoint, "Who or what formulates the intention?"  As a scientist my take is that this simply accounts for simple, or not-so-simple from a total causal chain perspective "cause and effect" without intention, or "shit happens" and then an effect follows in a causal chain.  So, the evidence is that not all non-beneficial effects happen intentionally.  Buddha recognized that cause and effect in the natural world has been going on forever with no beginning or end.  Science agrees even though there is no means to see beyond the so-called "Big Bang", at least not at the moment until scientific methods advance beyond where we are now.

As an aside, I just recently watched a documentary on NetFlix entitled "Einstein's Biggest Blunder", which addresses his "cosmological constant" , and that his blunder has led to insight into why our universe may just be the effect of infinite big bangs, or endless cause and effect with no beginning and no end, and more astoundingly that the speed of light may not in fact  be a constant.

source:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rMjtfAhzgFQ

There is also the case of "unintentional causes", or "Many a slip twixt the lip and the cup!", which leaves the perpetrator free and clear of any karmic effect.  From my experience, this happens allot.  As an engineer I can attest that Murphy's principal accounts for this a great deal, even though we spend what seems to be endless time and effort in an attempt to seek out failure modes and potentials.  And, employees get fired even though there was no intention behind their blunders. But Tammy did not ask about such cases, and I only addressed a small part of what Buddha taught in this regard using the KISS principle.

« Last Edit: October 22, 2016, 08:35:26 am by Ron-the-Elder »
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline Ron-the-Elder

  • Member
  • Posts: 4485
  • May all beings live rightly and harmoniously.
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2016, 08:17:41 am »
After our last  go-round on this subject I was inspired to write something --

http://www.frogzen.com/uncategorized/eternal-life/

It is probably too "hairy-fairy" for your taste, but I think it at least points in the direction we must head to get beyond birth and death.


Thanks for sharing this with me (us) zafrogzen.  I didn't find it "hairy-fairy" or even "new-age-ish" at all.  It seemed quite realistic and, most importantly for my taste, honest!  Dawkins when he reads it will be proud of you.
What Makes an Elder? :
A head of gray hairs doesn't mean one's an elder. Advanced in years, one's called an old fool.
But one in whom there is truth, restraint, rectitude, gentleness,self-control, he's called an elder, his impurities disgorged, enlightened.
-Dhammpada, 19, translated by Thanissaro Bhikkhu.

Offline VincentRJ

  • Member
  • Posts: 184
    • View Profile
Re: Understanding Buddhism: Suffering and loving... and "life"...
« Reply #14 on: October 22, 2016, 07:04:55 pm »
Quote
VincentRJ:  "There are no judges and juries, or grand evaluators (gods) in The Law of Khamma, there is only "intentional action" and the result, or effect, which moves on through the universe. Results are expressed if not in this lifetime, then in some following lifetime, when the conditions are right.  Buddha described this with an analogy of a seed:  para:  Seeds cannot sprout until the soil, amount of water and its position in the sunlight is conducive.

Hi Ron,
If your above statement is true, how do you explain the suffering that results from so-called natural disasters such as earth quakes, volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, floods, extreme weather events in general, and even falling meteorites from outer space.

Since such disasters are not targeting specific individuals, but whole communities, do you believe there is some process in the karmic law which groups individual past offenders into whole communities in order to more efficiently punish them for past demeanours?"

Buddha called that natural kamma, which begs the question from a scientific standpoint, "Who or what formulates the intention?"  As a scientist my take is that this simply accounts for simple, or not-so-simple from a total causal chain perspective "cause and effect" without intention, or "shit happens" and then an effect follows in a causal chain.  So, the evidence is that not all non-beneficial effects happen intentionally.  Buddha recognized that cause and effect in the natural world has been going on forever with no beginning or end.  Science agrees even though there is no means to see beyond the so-called "Big Bang", at least not at the moment until scientific methods advance beyond where we are now.


Very strange! If there is a 'natural' karma then surely the other types of karma must be 'unnatural', at least to some degree.
If unintentional bad things can happen, which are not associated with any previous bad behaviour, then does it not follow that unintentional good things can also happen, which are not associated with any previous good behaviour?

For example, let's consider the devastation caused by an earthquake. Lots of people lose their homes and some lose their lives. One particular, rather poor family escapes injury but is initially in great despair because their home, which represents their life's savings, has been completely destroyed, and is not insured against natural disasters.

However, when later rummaging through the debris of their home, hoping to retrieve any salvageable possessions, they discover a hidden treasure of gold coins that has been pushed through the wide cracks in the foundations, as a result of the earthquake.

This family's lives are transformed. They are able to buy a new and better house in a safer and nicer location, send their children to a good school, and they live happily ever after.

 


SimplePortal 2.3.3 © 2008-2010, SimplePortal