Karma and the Ten Powers

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Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 5:53 pm

I humbly seek the guidance of the community:

My understanding of the law of cause and effect is that it does not fix the future with 100% certainty because of karma, meaning here the variable of volitional action of body, speech and mind, but the Ten Powers of a fully realized Buddha seem to contradict this...

Ten Powers (daśa-bala, 十力). Only a Buddha has perfect knowledge of (1) the right or wrong in every situation and its corresponding karmic consequences; (2) the karmic requitals of every sentient being in the past, present, and future; (3) all stages of dhyāna and samādhi; (4) the capacity and future attainment of every sentient being; (5) the desires and inclinations of every sentient being; (6) the nature and condition of every sentient being; (7) the consequences of all actions with or without afflictions; (8) all past lives of every sentient being and their karmic reasons; (9) all future rebirths of every sentient being and their karmic reasons; and (10) the permanent termination of all afflictions and habits upon attainment of Buddhahood.


Can anyone clarify this issue for me? Specifically, if it is possible for a Buddha to foresee future rebirths of all sentient beings then how is it also possible for the future to not be 100% certain? If the future is 100% certain, how does this not degenerate into nihilism? Also, how is this reconciled with advances in quantum physics and insights into the uncertainty of phenomena even moments in the future, never mind eons in the future? If the case is that the future seems uncertain to unenlightened beings and certain to enlightened beings, why would the Buddha reveal this to unenlightened beings knowing that it would be extremely disheartening?

As you can see by now, I am very confused by all this. I have no immediate Lama to speak to and so I am hoping that the community will be able to resolve some of these questions, steer me away from wrong view and point me in the right direction.

Many thanks,

Rob
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Astus » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:24 pm

Strict causality requires that every effect has definite causes and conditions, and those causes and conditions are also conditioned by previous factors. So it goes on and on. Consequently, if we knew all conditions at a single point of time and the rules how they go on, we could tell all past and future. This is not nihilism but determinism. Mental factors are subject to causality as well as material things. Whatever thought one has now is then a necessary consequence of the development of the entire world, or at least the chain of causes and conditions from past unknown.

As for whether buddhas are meant to be omniscient in this particular form or it means something else, I think it's debatable.
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

"Neither cultivation nor seated meditation — this is the pure Chan of Tathagata."
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“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
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Does marvelous nature and spirit
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Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T2076p461b24-26)
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:44 pm

Astus wrote:Strict causality requires that every effect has definite causes and conditions, and those causes and conditions are also conditioned by previous factors. So it goes on and on. Consequently, if we knew all conditions at a single point of time and the rules how they go on, we could tell all past and future. This is not nihilism but determinism. Mental factors are subject to causality as well as material things. Whatever thought one has now is then a necessary consequence of the development of the entire world, or at least the chain of causes and conditions from past unknown.

As for whether buddhas are meant to be omniscient in this particular form or it means something else, I think it's debatable.

Strict determinism means that everything has a set of initial conditions and there was a prime cause that is outside the chain of causality and never enters it, though. In point of fact, in strict determinism there is only *one* cause and everything else can be seen as conditions that result from that cause. I have seen this sort of theory turned on its head by monks on a few occasions, rather convincingly. Matthieu Riccard does it in The Quantum and the Lotus, off the top of my head. In strict determinism there is no room for any momentary volition, there is absolutely no agency to consciousness, no true volition, and volition is heavily discussed in Buddhism. The law of cause and effect revolves around volition, so this just does not make sense. If we as individuals can make no conscious choices, acting as a cause of karma, then the whole of Buddhism is completely and utterly pointless.

The general framework of Buddhism only holds up if we accept that sentient beings *are* capable of making choices and that these choices are not always 100% conditioned. Remember, the Buddha spoke of causes and conditions. A cause, in this case, would be a karma and a condition would be a <insert word for karmic seed here>. A cause would thus indicate karma in the present moment... Any karma that is initiated by mind in the present moment is a cause. Any karma from the past or future that is acting in the present moment is a condition.

If we reject strict determinism, however, with this view it would be impossible for any being -- even a completely omniscient Buddha -- to foresee the future with 100% certainty, which invalidates the Ten Powers rather succinctly. So which is it: Strict determinism that invalidates Buddhism as a whole, or volitional karma causality that invalidates the Ten Powers?

Or am I missing something?
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 6:51 pm

Here's another way of looking at it...

In quantum physics there is this notion that the universe is essentially a field of infinite possibility, and as sentient beings with the gift of awareness we happen to interact with just one possibility at any given moment in time depending on a number of conditions, one of which is awareness itself coupled with conceptualization (The subjective observer effect). And so this makes perfect sense in the context of a traditional view of Buddhist karma because the volitional act of observation -- the choice about where to apply awareness, and the subsequent conceptualization of the unenlightened mind -- results in karma on a momentary basis. This supports non-determinism, which does not support the Ten Powers but *does* support the whole of Buddhism with the exception of any bits about foreseeing the future (or past) with 100% certainty.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:06 pm

To add to those excellent responses which about explains it..but from a differing perspective.

I may know a person If I study a person very closely how they may act in any given circumstance with no variation if I have studied this person to the furthest degree. I cannot perhaps predict a physical event happening to that person such as tree limb falling upon their head and brain crushing brain and changing outcome....

but if we were to combine the two...knowing when a tree limb may fall(as no events are random but related to karma) and our knowing of a person...we could determine exactly how things may turn out for a person.

So one may know a event and its occurance to happen as it is in the person themselves the physical concrete thing that will happpen to them.
And the decision that is made consequent to that occurance by that person in response to that occurance(any occurance)....is in that person as well.

So if we could study and know a person completely we could read their future completely...past and future. As to know the future we must know the past to know the person. Knowing the person means we can completely read their past and future. Lives animal human diety....it is all read in the present person which is the result of all past circumstance producing this present circumstance of human. Future then is just a extension of a known.
2+2 + ....one always may know the person firstly chooses two and two is the circumstance of presentation...so it always adds up to 4...we then go from there. KNowing 4 and how one is perhaps inclined to add things in even variety 4 presents as circumstance we know perhaps being will add 4 as response....so we can predict 8.....and on and on.

Or it could regress if the being is inclined to subtract.Never is there a zero, as with self a 1 is the minimal...so always there is a addition or subtraction(in this context)...just knowing the pattern is the outcome predicted. Changing from addition to subtraction...that can be predicted by knowing the person...and then things are added or subtracted as by tendency. SElf concept from which karma arises always produces a number in this context which may be added to or subtracted.
AS I read it.....a buddha then would be easily all knowing of past and future.

This may make no sense whatsoever :smile:
or..it is not that things are set..it is more like observing a river to flow in a certain direction. The river may have great variance eddys flows up down stream apparent over rocks here and there. Each variance is predictable if we know the topography and qualities or tendencies of water completely.
It is not that river is under control or destined to go here or there....river is river, it has not such qualities of predeterminations...but we may easily predict where and how a river may flow if we know water and its medium of expression topography.
Similiarily human has tendency as water and topography as circumstance and the event of human lying within the mileau of empty ....River and human are both quality and circumstance, complete change. River is not drop of water, stagnant water nor puddle, but all these things may be found in some aspect of river.
Empty quality and aware aspect circumstance fully understood..we know the future exactly.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:18 pm

Thank you for contributing to this discussion. :)

I follow what you're saying, ronnewmexico, but this still begs the question... What about volition? Where does karma come from?
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:30 pm

Karma comes from the initial ignorance. As it presents in a sentient being it starts with the disolution of a prior life and the decision to continue in a next life this misconception of self and other. It is not a conscious decision in the main but a habitual inclination to decide a thing in a certain way.
We have been deciding self and other for quite a long time. So we are inclinded to continue to do so even when active reassurtion of this concept(a solid life experience) is not present(when dead).

So we start it again. If at any time we really truly do decide and know this thing of self and other is all delusion, in our bones we know this thing... karma does not exist for us...buddhas have no karma as we know karma.
Mostly we cannot even in this solid life begin to know how things are so firmly asserted is our life and life stories of this thing of self and other.
But from that it arises.

In very short form..ignorance. self other concept aversion attachment...then to solid form..mostly by habit.
The base for habit in awareness composit we may call consciousness/mind is retentive aspect of awareness.
That aspect without self as filter enables us to understand things. We are understanding things only not self or other understanding things.
Self and other it is that inspires the rest and karma essentially it is the rest.

It is not that we have no volition...it is that in this simple world of delusion volition,individual choice though it be still individual and a choice,,,,,, is predictable. One who is awake and knowing a buddha may predict thusly.

Solidity lives the whole nine yards drawn from a insubstantial faulted not really there basis....self/other...all these despite how real them may seem are also as delusional as their inceptor self other...they seem real..they are not. Conventionally real absolutely considered not a bit.
It is really awareness emptiness not self other...that is the specific ignorance of inception. Of Karma and all we see feel know is through the eyes of self and other misconception.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:36 pm

Where did karma come from in the beginning, then?

I know this is bordering on a who cares sort of question, but in the context of this discussion it is actually very important. The notion that karma means "action" not "condition". It implies some sort of doer, and in Buddhism escaping the influences of karmic deeds involves deleting the "doer" by becoming a fully realized Buddha.

I'm sorry but I am still totally unconvinced in this strict determinism that you guys are advocating as a means of resolving this. I think it raises more questions than it answers. I would be much more comfortable simply acknowledging that the Ten Powers represent a logical contradiction.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:44 pm

It comes from in the begining ignorance.

WE think.... well this life goes to that life and on and on. Really we make a active assertation fo the concept of self other in every minute of our lives.
When not in this solid reality of life we continue this mainly on our habitual inclination and tendency.

As we are in this circumstance of ignorance we presuppose a firstly being not ignorant. That we cannot say is so.
Buddha nature is the nature of all things and of ourselves but that does not infer it was normally or naturally present at one time and is now cloaked and hidden by exterior force.
It is there but for us as not buddhas....it has always been ignorant.
Concieving a first pure than eventually sallowed thing may serve purpose as means to a end as we may externalize a demon so we may fight a demon....but really that we are ignorant now speaks that we were ignornant always.

Once a thing is fully understood we are no longer ignornant of that thing.
Till we fully know a thing we are ignornant of that thing.

So we may not be not first ignorant, then ignorant, then not ignorant...things do not work that way.

To add..... demenia, brain damage etc., that is a conventional thing and not the context of this discussion.They may be explained within the construct of karma but that is a differing issue.

WE are talking how things in general work by general principal. It can get very specific but that may confuse the general understanding. :smile:
And this explains how buddhas are then eternal as buddhas once fully enlightened, but that is another matter though more closely related.

Not to infer buddha nature is ignorant....in this fashion a molecule of water may be the nature of a river,its essence. A clod of dirt floating in a river may as mud be visually and for all intents and purpose part of that river, but the rivers essence the molecule of water, it is pure. The river itself with mud and sticks and other things part of river but not pure part of river are there in river.
Our river as sentient being is always and has always been with clods of dirt sticks and such in it...so much so we have forgotton perhaps at times we are water molecule in pure form. So we die know for a second or so we are not those other things in essence but then intentionally start adding sticks and clods of dirt.....the sticks and clods of dirt are the aversions and attachments in this analogy.

The self other concept would be the river itself. The molecule of water the buddha nature. It is not a perfect analogy but may serve purpose.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:51 pm

Cool, I think I follow what you're saying. Thanks for taking the time to expound so thoroughly upon your point. I don't understand the logic though, so here is how I interpret all this which is going to sound sarcastic but isn't meant in a mean spirited way...

The notion of a doer/actor who is responsible for karma is an illusion, and we are essentially marionette puppets on strings controlled by mysterious eternal forces of conditioning until for some inexplicable reason fate decides to cut our strings and we become Buddhas outside of conditioned existence? Those of us who become aware of this, through some mysterious fate again, must pretend we are unaware and continue to act as though our decisions are acts of will? And all the talk of intention, volition, etc. in other Buddhist texts is deceptive?

To me this does not make much sense in the context of Buddhism, which stresses that we are responsible for our own actions and our own enlightenment, as well as the enlightenment of all other beings.

For example, I was reading Sutra 33 "Upasaka Precepts" when this whole conflict arose. Here are some quotes of the Buddha from that sutra that seem to support a degree of free agency on the part of individuals who are involved in making choices and taking actions...

Shakyamuni Buddha wrote:“All sentient beings undergo such suffering. Good man, a wise man invokes compassion because he sees that even the bliss of samādhi in Neither with Nor without Perception Heaven is like the pain in hell."

Invocation implies an act of conscious will. Otherwise the Buddha would have simply said, "In a wise man, compassion arises because even the bliss..." The whole notion of invoking because he sees would never be, as this implies a conscious reaction to perception. If everything is conditioned into being, then what is the purpose of discussing things in terms of perception and will?

Shakyamuni Buddha wrote:“Good man, one who cultivates compassion, though unable to end sentient beings’ suffering, can benefit them in innumerable ways."

Again, cultivation implies a doer. One who is doing the cultivating. Were it simply a conditioned process, the Buddha might have said, "Good man, one who has such compassion, though unable to willfully help sentient beings, can hope to be fated to do so."

Does this notion of causal determinism not seem absurd at this point? Practically everything about Buddhism flies in the face of strict determinism. Only when we allow for consciousness being an active, momentary source of karma does all this stuff make any logical sense whatsoever. Rather than saying "conditioning factors have always existed because of ignorance" we simply say "causal consciousness has always existed and conditions experience because of karma". Doesn't that make more sense?
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:57 pm

Strangely enough(not strange to me as I find all related but strange in a conventional sense)...this very same thing of buddha nature/essence being always sullied is present on the first page of the Justin Law thread post (third or forth post) something like that.

ah my life is filled with coincidences :smile: no coincidences are they however I find.

No I am not saying that what you are saying. YOu are welcome to your opinion on what I am saying...I will not debate the issue. You asked a question I tried to answer. It apparently does not suffice to communicate the issue...

so thank you have a nice day.
What others say perhaps that is better than my answer for you. Disregard mine then. It is insignificant.

Sorry..james low thread.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:13 pm

I must be twisting this conceptually... Forgive my ignorance, I have never really had an opportunity to ask questions of people of this nature. I do not mean to offend, but really I just see that we are coming from totally different places. I interpret the implications of what you guys have said about determinism totally different from how you do.

This reminds me of something... That depending on the assumptions one makes about a system, such as the universe in physics, the laws that one arrives at can be totally different but equally valid. So I guess my assumptions that I have always worked from regarding karma and cause and effect are leading to a conflict with the Ten Powers where others see no conflict because they have differing assumptions, and these assumptions are so deeply ingrained in my view that I cannot see past them. Or maybe I am being horribly presumptuous to refer to your views about the origins of conditioning as assumptions, in which case again please forgive my ignorance.

Well, I will reflect on all this and reread it and reflect some more.

Coincidentally, I very much appreciate your signature, ronnewmexico. Before I ever stumbled upon Buddhism I had a simple, if cold, mantra... "Throw a man into the jungle naked and he will turn into a beast out of necessity. Throw a man into the mirror naked and he will turn into a god out of necessity." Unfortunately my own experiments did not go so well... I was horribly unprepared and not so ready to transcend ego as I thought. I was a negative hate monger masquerading as a noble being, and that hidden negativity turned on me in the mirror and damn near destroyed me. Or maybe the experiments did go well, because I am alive and I am here to learn the Way and apply what I learned in that time. In fact, I only thought I was about to be destroyed. Even attempts to hang myself in order to affect a profound plane change found me back on solid ground. So all is well. :) The mirror is a strange place indeed.

My thanks to all who have contributed thus far to the discussion.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:25 pm

A...I can safely speak for any others here in this regard...differences of opinion, or taking what one or another says in a differing manner is no offense nor reason to be offended.

It is simply that we are not alike...no harm nor fault in that. Many things are not alike it means not always one is in a superior nor inferior position to another.

That said..I am sorry to hear of your difficulties. I am certain things are on the right track and to get better for you.
I am of course just the lowest of laypersons but it is clear and easy to see certain things...your intellect is clear and sharp.
You will continue your progress, that is undeniable.

I live next to forest and seek not avoid the wildlands. For means....if not I would throw it all away..it means nothing....regarding my signiture.
It is perhaps quite common my view/my signiture...nothing special about it at all.

That what you descibe is not it as well....my signiture nor view. Mirrors and things.... I am quite simple....so I may avoid complexities of a certain sort.
I find I am not all that complex....so I am simple....you are not, it seems.

In any event....good day and thanks
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 9:52 pm

I am not simple, that is a fair assessment of me. :D I tend to be complicated to a fault and project this complicated nature onto others. I too live in the wild woods, a lovely place to be. Perhaps the blessing of seeing such simplicity is beyond me in this lifetime. Thank you Ron for this teaching.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:02 pm

Geeze Louise..don't say that.

I am simple you are complex...I am in no manner giving anything other than discussion,perhaps of a uncommon sort.
I have learned from you and this brief discussion as much as you have learned from me. That is certain.
So saying thanks for a teaching....it goes like unsaid, as we both have learned a bit right here and now.
I may as well thank you but it could go on and on we are thanking each other on and on :smile:

So I will not say it, but I know it is true. Again that we are different does not imply any form superior nor inferior, not you I nor I you.
Friends discussing things on a autumn day.

Thanks but lets leave the teaching thing behind shall we :smile:
No offense but I...I hate being in wilderness. It is cold wet very hard to get to and when there most uncomfortable.....bears may eat me, ghosts and spirits abound and with one false step broken bone or fall on mountain precipice I am doing powah on the way down...dead. My signiture place.

Forest I live by...tame and not to threatening. Still if nothing did concern me....warm fire by side I would stay I'd guess, not in forest. Just a guess.
So perhaps that forest i agree could be lovely..that other.....brrrrrr
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:13 pm

;D

You have no idea how relieved I am by what you just said... This thread represents my first real inquiry into Dharma with other people outside of a very select group of people who are similarly inexperienced as myself and I am quite sensitive to causing offense or representing wrong view... Needlessly so, but sensitive none the less.

It is refreshing to get out of books and start talking to a vast array of real live practitioners, but nerve wracking at the same time.

Cheers
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Acchantika » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:36 pm

Asabandha wrote:The notion of a doer/actor who is responsible for karma is an illusion, and we are essentially marionette puppets on strings controlled by mysterious eternal forces of conditioning until for some inexplicable reason fate decides to cut our strings and we become Buddhas outside of conditioned existence? Those of us who become aware of this, through some mysterious fate again, must pretend we are unaware and continue to act as though our decisions are acts of will? And all the talk of intention, volition, etc. in other Buddhist texts is deceptive?

To me this does not make much sense in the context of Buddhism, which stresses that we are responsible for our own actions and our own enlightenment, as well as the enlightenment of all other beings.

For example, I was reading Sutra 33 "Upasaka Precepts" when this whole conflict arose. Here are some quotes of the Buddha from that sutra that seem to support a degree of free agency on the part of individuals who are involved in making choices and taking actions...

Shakyamuni Buddha wrote:“All sentient beings undergo such suffering. Good man, a wise man invokes compassion because he sees that even the bliss of samādhi in Neither with Nor without Perception Heaven is like the pain in hell."

Invocation implies an act of conscious will. Otherwise the Buddha would have simply said, "In a wise man, compassion arises because even the bliss..." The whole notion of invoking because he sees would never be, as this implies a conscious reaction to perception. If everything is conditioned into being, then what is the purpose of discussing things in terms of perception and will?

Shakyamuni Buddha wrote:“Good man, one who cultivates compassion, though unable to end sentient beings’ suffering, can benefit them in innumerable ways."

Again, cultivation implies a doer. One who is doing the cultivating. Were it simply a conditioned process, the Buddha might have said, "Good man, one who has such compassion, though unable to willfully help sentient beings, can hope to be fated to do so."

Does this notion of causal determinism not seem absurd at this point?


Hi Asabandha,

In my opinion:

Buddhism is not deterministic, karma is deterministic.

In Mahayana, everything practioners "do" or "cultivate" is due to Bodhichitta and no other reason.

True Bodhichitta is not the result of attachment to self-interest, but compassion, specifically the absence of attachment to self-interest. Since it is not a result of ignorance (in this case, the false attribution of self-identity), it is free from karma and thus not attributable to a prior cause. It is only by virtue of the absence of a doer than genuine Bodhichitta is actually possible.

This is how the problem of how to gain liberation when all actions result in the continuation of karma is resolved.

Asabandha wrote:I'm sorry but I am still totally unconvinced in this strict determinism that you guys are advocating as a means of resolving this. I think it raises more questions than it answers. I would be much more comfortable simply acknowledging that the Ten Powers represent a logical contradiction.


The Ten Powers represents a logical contradiction.
...
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:13 pm

Acchantika wrote:Buddhism is not deterministic, karma is deterministic.

In Mahayana, everything practioners "do" or "cultivate" is due to Bodhichitta and no other reason.

True Bodhichitta is not the result of attachment to self-interest, but compassion, specifically the absence of attachment to self-interest. Since it is not a result of ignorance (in this case, the false attribution of self-identity), it is free from karma and thus not attributable to a prior cause. It is only by virtue of the absence of a doer than genuine Bodhichitta is actually possible.

So a doer cultivates aspiring bodhicitta by virtue of their karma, and realized Bodhicitta occurs strictly in the absence of the doer, and thus in a state that transcends karma altogether following the complete abnegation of the ego? This makes sense to me.
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Acchantika » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:50 pm

Asabandha wrote:
Acchantika wrote:Buddhism is not deterministic, karma is deterministic.

In Mahayana, everything practioners "do" or "cultivate" is due to Bodhichitta and no other reason.

True Bodhichitta is not the result of attachment to self-interest, but compassion, specifically the absence of attachment to self-interest. Since it is not a result of ignorance (in this case, the false attribution of self-identity), it is free from karma and thus not attributable to a prior cause. It is only by virtue of the absence of a doer than genuine Bodhichitta is actually possible.

So a doer cultivates aspiring bodhicitta by virtue of their karma, and realized Bodhicitta occurs strictly in the absence of the doer, and thus in a state that transcends karma altogether following the complete abnegation of the ego? This makes sense to me.


Effectively, yes.

What "transcends" karma is emptiness, or rather, emptiness is the necessary unconditioned reality that allows the conditioned reality of karma to operate. In other words, emptiness is by its nature all-embracing, non-rejecting, non-discriminatory, therefore karma can arise, because even ignorance is not rejected. Hence, emptiness is compassion, not as a product or quality, but by virtue of emptiness' "openness".

This is also why the compassion of relative Bodhichitta, which is caused, becomes - once it is truly self-less - synonomous with the realisation of emptiness as absolute Bodhichitta, which is uncaused, and why the actions of a Buddha are described as spontaneous pure compassion i.e. they perfectly manifest the all-embracing nature of emptiness which is not itself the result of a cause.

Therefore, a Buddha's actions are not deterministic nor are they random, nor is the process of liberation deterministic, nor is it random.

Or so I understand it.
...
Acchantika
 
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Re: Karma and the Ten Powers

Postby Asabandha » Wed Nov 30, 2011 12:24 am

Acchantika wrote:Effectively, yes.

What "transcends" karma is emptiness, or rather, emptiness is the necessary unconditioned reality that allows the conditioned reality of karma to operate. In other words, emptiness is by its nature all-embracing, non-rejecting, non-discriminatory, therefore karma can arise, because even ignorance is not rejected. Hence, emptiness is compassion, not as a product or quality, but by virtue of emptiness' "openness".

This is also why the compassion of relative Bodhichitta, which is caused, becomes - once it is truly self-less - synonomous with the realisation of emptiness as absolute Bodhichitta, which is uncaused, and why the actions of a Buddha are described as spontaneous pure compassion i.e. they perfectly manifest the all-embracing nature of emptiness which is not itself the result of a cause.

Therefore, a Buddha's actions are not deterministic nor are they random, nor is the process of liberation deterministic, nor is it random.

Or so I understand it.

This is more or less my understanding as well, but if I could ask you to clarify one point for me. When you say that a Buddha's actions and the process of liberation are neither deterministic nor random, how exactly do you arrive at this statement? Each statement, non-determinism and non-randomness, makes sense to me by itself... But when I try to state them logically together, I meet with failure. What is the Middle Way between determinism and randomness? Is it simply unpredictability? By randomness do you mean chaos?
Asabandha
 
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