gregkavarnos wrote:I don't know about losing sleep, but I believe that his concern is valid. Why? Because what this discussion is saying is that Vajrayana practice is, in the worst case, a con OR in the best case, a series of complicated mind training practices/procedures!
No, not at all. I don't follow your reasoning here.
As for the "taking on of karma". It seems to me that it is possible to a degree at the relative level.
But how did you derive this?
Let's say a person (A) commits an action which will have some negative consequences. Person B, out of compassion for A, intervenes and takes responsibilty for the action thus diverting/deflecting the relative consequences from A onto themselves (B).
Okay, one might argue that B is merely experiencing the consequences of the action of intervention, rather than the consequences of the initial action. One may also say that A will ultimately still (possibly) undergo the consequences of their action in the future, especially if they do not do something to generate merit and/or purify.
But hasn't B, in a sense, taken on and reduced the suffering (at least temporarily) that is an outcome of the action of A? Haven't they taken on some of the karma vipakka?
Your example is missing a lot though when you wrote this:
Person B, out of compassion for A, intervenes and takes responsibilty for the action thus diverting/deflecting the relative consequences from A onto themselves (B).
How does this taking on of responsibility happen?
Here's an example I offer. Someone who is feeling sick or believes they are under negative influences goes to a Chod ceremony. After the ceremony, that person is alleviated of their problems. How did this happen? My speculation:
The person undergoing the Chod ceremony has the karma to be a human being and have sense organs which allow them to hear sacred prayers and mantras. They rejoice in this and receive merit which alleviates them of their problem. What the Chod Master is doing is not "taking on" or projecting their good karma at the person undergoing the ceremony. They are bodhisattvas who provide the teachings. This is similar to how Mogallana used to travel to the heavenly realms to teach.
Shakyamuni Buddha cured sick people too - but it wasn't through taking on karma, it was through teaching. HIs words were sacred too:
Thus I heard: At one time the Buddha was living at Rajagaha, at Veluvana, in the squirrel's feeding-ground. At that time the Venerable Maha Kassapa, who was living in Pipphali Cave, was sick, stricken with a severe illness. Then the Buddha, rising from his solitude at eventide, visited the Venerable Maha Kassapa, took his seat, and spoke to the Venerable Maha Kassapa in this wise:
"Well, Kassapa, how is it with you? Are you bearing up; are you enduring? Do your pains lessen or increase? Are there signs of your pains lessening and not increasing?"
"No, Lord, I am not bearing up, I am not enduring. The pain is very great. There is a sign not of the pains lessening but of their increasing."
"Kassapa, these seven factors of enlightenment are well expounded by me, cultivated and much developed by me, and when cultivated and much developed, they conduce to full realization, perfect wisdom, to Nibbana. What are the seven?
"Mindfulness. This, O Kassapa, is well expounded by me, cultivated and much developed by me, and when cultivated and much developed, it conduces to full realization, perfect wisdom, to Nibbana.
"Investigation of the dhamma...
"Equanimity, O Kassapa, is well expounded by me...
"These seven factors of enlightenment, verily, Kassapa, are well expounded by me, cultivated and much developed by me, and when cultivated and much developed they conduce to full realization, perfect wisdom, to Nibbana."
"Verily, Blessed One, they are factors of enlightenment! Verily, O Welcome One, they are factors of enlightenment!" uttered Maha Kassapa. Thus spoke the Buddha, and the Venerable Maha Kassapa, rejoicing, welcomed the utterances of the Worthy One. And the Venerable Maha Kassapa rose from that illness. There and then that ailment of the Venerable Maha Kassapa vanished.
— SN 46.14