Is disability a result of karma?

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 1:58 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Simon E. wrote:You have posted a chunk of a sutta which as I said, seems to me to be a non sequitur in terms of the debate at hand.
How is it a non-sequitur? Why does it "not follow"? Seems to me that it quite clearly "follows".

Because it addresses a non issue. No one ( apart from someone who rejects the basic tenants of Buddhadharma anyway ) had denied the role of karma and karma vipaka.
What is being posited is the impossibility and undesirability of assuming that we can ascribe a simple one-to one causal link between actions and the fruit of those actions.
And we certainly can't do that ascribing on the basis of the apparently positive and the apparently negative.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:05 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote: "Master Gotama, what is the reason, what is the condition, why inferiority and superiority are met with among human beings, among mankind? For one meets with short-lived and long-lived people, sick and healthy people, ugly and beautiful people, insignificant and influential people, poor and rich people, low-born and high-born people, stupid and wise people. What is the reason, what is the condition, why superiority and inferiority are met with among human beings, among mankind?"

3. "Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority."


And how do you define all of those things?
Either by arbitrary concerns based on appearances
or as aspects of mind.

What makes a person rich is not how much money they possess
but their own mental experience of richness or poverty.
This is evident in the fact that a person with a lot of money
can go through life feeling as though they never have enough
to make them happy
while a person with very little money, a monk perhaps,
can go through life experiencing that they always have enough,
or more than enough to be happy and freely generous as well.
People who spend their lives obsessed with their physical appearance,
starving themselves, yet they always see a fat person in the mirror
always experiences ugliness even though in the eyes of others they might be quite beautiful.
That is suffering.

If the Buddha was only concerned with the outward appearances of things
which have no intrinsic reality, but are only composites,
subject to constant arising and decay,
then being born of high or low status, or with a certain physical attribute of the body
or some relative degree of what we call (and are rapidly redefining) as "intelligence"
...all that would matter.

But that isn't what the Buddha's teachings are concerned with.
What the Buddha's teachings focus on is the perfect cessation of suffering,
and suffering is the activity of the mind. Not of the eye or ear or foot.
As has been pointed out, you can't just pick a thing at random
and say it is the result of good or bad actions
because that is only a reflection of your own personal bias for or against that condition.
and has nothing to do with the mind of the person experiencing that condition.

So, you might look at everyone who has less money than you and say
"that is because of their negative karma"
and look at everyone who has more money than you and say
'that is because of their positive karma"
but which of those people is happy, and which is unhappy?

And, specifically, what action in a past life causes arthritis in this life?
If I kill a mouse, will i be reborn as a mouse?
if that's the case, then I should kill a buddha.

Unless you can pinpoint exact causes and effects
such speculation is pointless.
We can say, "yes, all of your present conditions are the result of actions in the past
but it means nothing. It has no bearing on the future
so don't concern yourself with it."
.
.
.
Last edited by PadmaVonSamba on Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:11 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:09 pm

Precisely.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:27 pm

Simon E. wrote:Because it addresses a non issue. No one ( apart from someone who rejects the basic tenants of Buddhadharma anyway ) had denied the role of karma and karma vipaka.
What is being posited is the impossibility and undesirability of assuming that we can ascribe a simple one-to one causal link between actions and the fruit of those actions.
And we certainly can't do that ascribing on the basis of the apparently positive and the apparently negative.
The question is: "Is disability a result of karma?", the Sutta references answer the question. If you have issues with the content of the Sutta then take it up with the big guy, not with me.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:32 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:We can say, "yes, all of your present conditions are the result of actions in the past
but it means nothing.
I do believe that all my responses in this thread agree with the first part of the statement. I have to say that I disagree completely with the second part of the statement. Coz like Santayana said: "Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it"
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby KonchokZoepa » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:34 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:So, you might look at everyone who has less money than you and say
"that is because of their negative karma"
and look at everyone who has more money than you and say
'that is because of their positive karma"
but which of those people is happy, and which is unhappy?

.
.
.


i think that thinking applies, since being rich or poor on material level depends on have you been generous. if we add to the question that wether a person is happy with that money or not, does he still feel poor inside or not, is another karma at play so here i think the sutra's examples applies that if person is generous he will be materially wealthy, if he is spiritually generous he will be spiritually wealthy. so conditions are not traceable to one single karma cause and effect, many causes come to make ''one'' condition. you would have to probly be a siddha to be able to determine a cause and effect of a certain appearing condition, and still you probly wouldnt point one karma but the interconnectedness of many karmic causes and conditions.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 2:38 pm

Sherab Dorje wrote:
Simon E. wrote:Because it addresses a non issue. No one ( apart from someone who rejects the basic tenants of Buddhadharma anyway ) had denied the role of karma and karma vipaka.
What is being posited is the impossibility and undesirability of assuming that we can ascribe a simple one-to one causal link between actions and the fruit of those actions.
And we certainly can't do that ascribing on the basis of the apparently positive and the apparently negative.
The question is: "Is disability a result of karma?", the Sutta references answer the question. If you have issues with the content of the Sutta then take it up with the big guy, not with me.

A simple and basic cross referencing to other utterances attributed to 'the big guy ' will demonstrate that he advised at several points against a simple attribution of a specific result with a speculative cause.
He classified just such attempts as being among the unconjecturables.
This is VERY basic stuff. Its not rocket science, just because it is not simplistic.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:37 pm

Simon E. wrote:A simple and basic cross referencing to other utterances attributed to 'the big guy ' will demonstrate that he advised at several points against a simple attribution of a specific result with a speculative cause.
He classified just such attempts as being among the unconjecturables.
This is VERY basic stuff. Its not rocket science, just because it is not simplistic.
So give me a couple of references. And while we are at it you still "owe" me an explanation as to the relevance of the Niyama, epsecially given that "The Buddha used the Niyama model..." is not actually true. ;)

As for one to one causal links, here's another one from the big guy:
AN (Anguttara Nikaya) 8.40
Vipaka Sutta
Results
Translated from the Pali by Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Copyright © 1997 Thanissaro Bhikkhu.
Access to Insight edition © 1997
For free distribution. This work may be republished, reformatted, reprinted, and redistributed in any medium. It is the author's wish, however, that any such republication and redistribution be made available to the public on a free and unrestricted basis and that translations and other derivative works be clearly marked as such.
"Monks, the taking of life — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from the taking of life is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to a short life span.

"Stealing — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from stealing is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to the loss of one's wealth.

"Illicit sexual behavior — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from illicit sexual behavior is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to rivalry & revenge.

"Telling falsehoods — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from telling falsehoods is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to being falsely accused.

"Divisive tale-bearing — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from divisive tale-bearing is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to the breaking of one's friendships.

"Harsh speech — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from harsh speech is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to unappealing sounds.

"Frivolous chattering — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from frivolous chattering is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to words that aren't worth taking to heart.

"The drinking of fermented & distilled liquors — when indulged in, developed, & pursued — is something that leads to hell, leads to rebirth as a common animal, leads to the realm of the hungry shades. The slightest of all the results coming from drinking fermented & distilled liquors is that, when one becomes a human being, it leads to mental derangement."
http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby undefineable » Mon Oct 21, 2013 5:45 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:So, you might look at everyone who has less money than you and say
"that is because of their negative karma"
and look at everyone who has more money than you and say
'that is because of their positive karma"
but which of those people is happy, and which is unhappy?
This still seems to be a partial view, though it's also a 'side of the story' that could otherwise do with more airing. To return to my earlier comparison, try comparing a happy cockroach and an unhappy CEO: Do you really believe that the CEO will have to work harder and 'travel' further than the cockroach to attain enlightenment, simply because he feels less happy? The point is that the cockroach, with its relatively simple mind-body complex, is manifesting only a few of the myriad potential causes of happiness and/or suffering, whereas the CEO is having more of all such causes winkled out of himself (by his situation) than are most other humans - let alone simpler animals. The relative weighting of happiness and suffering seems a minor distinction in comparison, and an appreciation of just how much mental subtlety is needed simply to understand most Buddhist teachings leads one to conclude that any workable approach to enlightenment is far less workable for happy cockroaches than it is for unhappy CEOs - much as the teachings may apply to all beings.

One upshot of all this is that the greater the level of sophistication involved in the conditions a being experiences, the greater this being's likely perception of those conditions, and therefore the greater the risk that it/he/she/he-and-she(etc.!) will interpret some degree of negativity within those conditions, often automatically. Outside of a mahayana forum, your term 'personal bias for or against' might imply that this being made a baseless and deliberate choice to suffer in response to some of those conditions. Quite frankly, that implication would likely offend people who were suffering just as would the implication that they made a similar choice to experience the conditions themselves (theosophical teachings in the contrasted context of 'higher self' notwithstanding) :soapbox:
PadmaVonSamba wrote:
Johnny Dangerous wrote:is it really that important that disabled people know their disability is "their fault" from a Buddhist perspective? What possible reason could one have for thinking the clarification od such a thing is important, and is it a healthy one?

There isn't.
It's just a rationale for people.
A rationale for what? Do you mean an excuse? Idleness is not a first option -and therefore not a character trait- for many able and disabled beings alike who may appear that way to those who haven't empathised with the winding paths their egos have taken through life. As for those "on the outside looking in", the 'just world hypothesis' is a phenomenon accepted by many psychologists as an explanation of prejudice.
Sherab Dorje wrote:"Is disability a result of karma?", the Sutta references answer the question.
Although disability (of course) isn't mentioned as such, the point seems to be that karma is involved in all the relative characteristics of sentient beings.
KonchokZoepa wrote:i think that thinking applies, since being rich or poor on material level depends on have you been generous. if we add to the question that wether a person is happy with that money or not, does he still feel poor inside or not, is another karma at play so here i think the sutra's examples applies that if person is generous he will be materially wealthy, if he is spiritually generous he will be spiritually wealthy. so conditions are not traceable to one single karma cause and effect, many causes come to make ''one'' condition. you would have to probly be a siddha to be able to determine a cause and effect of a certain appearing condition, and still you probly wouldnt point one karma but the interconnectedness of many karmic causes and conditions.
:good:
Last edited by undefineable on Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:13 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:01 pm

I do "believe in karma" to some extent, namely basic cause and effect. Every action has consequences. If I do good actions, then they must be things that create positive effects, such as health, happiness or wisdom; that is why good things are in fact good. So I could call that karma, but I really just call it doing the right thing.

However that does not mean everything that happens can be explained as a consequence of some conscious being's actions from the past. If an asteroid falls on my head and crushes me to a pulp, I doubt it will have anything to do with any sins from a previous life. It is cause and effect however: some space debris formed into a piece of rock of metal because of gravity, then got caught in an orbit around the sun which eventually made it crash into the Earth. The same I believe must be true for sickness and disability, they can happen just because of some genetic fluke. If someone chooses to believe it is because of something they did in a former life, I'd say they're free to believe it, but it's not any part of my worldview.

And if anyone tells someone else the owe their congential disabilities to their actions in a previous life, I'd say they have got some bad karma coming to them for saying that, perhaps adminstered to them as a firm smack in the head and getting told to frak off.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby undefineable » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:02 pm

PadmaVonSamba wrote:you have to define what makes something undesirable
before you can say it is the result of some negative action.
Well one could say that all conditions are positive and that all absences of conditions are negative, and not just by taking the terms 'positive' and 'negative' literally - A Buddha might end suffering by experiecing conditions this way :thinking: . One could then go on to point out that 'absences' are completely relative and so are not real phenomena, and that therefore there are no negative conditions. Yet again, what does this mean when one is definitely suffering?
Nemo wrote:I can't say it is only Abrahamic religions that try to shame people into thinking they are unredeemable and broken. Shame is of little help. Guilt is wonderful though. In my world guilt is the knowledge of making a mistake and being able to fix it through effort.
Does your use of the word 'guilt' include its usual sense of being a painful, crippling emotion? If so, it's hard to see how it could be kusala.
Nemo wrote:Guilt implies both personal agency in the universe and character as being the final arbiter of Karma
Does your use of the terms 'personal agency' and "character" mean that one is originally a free agent who knows what one is doing? Again, this sounds like adharma, and resembles the impression I get (rightly and/or wrongly) from PadmaVonSamba's posts - except that you assign personal agency to conditions rather than the interpretation of conditions.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby undefineable » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:16 pm

Arjan Dirkse wrote:And if anyone tells someone else the owe their congential disabilities to their actions in a previous life, I'd say they have got some bad karma coming to them for saying that, perhaps adminstered to them as a firm smack in the head and getting told to frak off.
Look up Glenn Hoddle :lol:
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby futerko » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:37 pm

undefineable wrote:
Arjan Dirkse wrote:And if anyone tells someone else the owe their congential disabilities to their actions in a previous life, I'd say they have got some bad karma coming to them for saying that, perhaps adminstered to them as a firm smack in the head and getting told to frak off.
Look up Glenn Hoddle :lol:


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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Oct 21, 2013 6:47 pm

Simon E. wrote:
Sherab Dorje wrote:
Simon E. wrote:You have posted a chunk of a sutta which as I said, seems to me to be a non sequitur in terms of the debate at hand.
How is it a non-sequitur? Why does it "not follow"? Seems to me that it quite clearly "follows".

Because it addresses a non issue. No one ( apart from someone who rejects the basic tenants of Buddhadharma anyway ) had denied the role of karma and karma vipaka.
What is being posited is the impossibility and undesirability of assuming that we can ascribe a simple one-to one causal link between actions and the fruit of those actions.
And we certainly can't do that ascribing on the basis of the apparently positive and the apparently negative.



:good:
The bolded bit is the bottom line of the conversation to me...trying to view karma as having this kind of knowable one to one relationship leads to absurdity. It runs into the same sort of absurdities that come from believing in an absolute God, with absolute power.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:17 pm

I completely agree Johnny.
But I have spent more time on this thread than is useful.

Be well all.

:namaste:
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Nemo » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:21 pm

One to one perhaps not, but no one suggested that. The causes and cures for Karma afflicting you now are very straightforward. Killing gives a shortened life. Saving and releasing animals is a skillful means for a longer life. Stealing and greed give a life of poverty. Generosity and giving make one wealthy. Giving with an attitude of miserliness would mean in the future you would have physical wealth but it would not satisfy you.

The Buddha's extraordinary beauty and physical prowess are often extolled as proof of his past virtuous actions. The Lakkhana Sutta is a good example.
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Lakkhana_Sutta
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:29 pm

The Buddha's extraordinary beauty and physical prowess are often extolled as proof of his past virtuous actions. The Lakkhana Sutta is a good example.
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Lakkhana_Sutta


I really think you could stand to exercise a little more critical thinking and less literalism with things like this. I'm not saying it's purely metaphorical or anything, but really there is a range of interpretation to much of the mystical stuff that is a bit more well thought out and passes the smell test better than this sort of thinking, IMO. Perhaps that's not 'traditional" in some corners, but whatever. What about the Buddha dying of a stomach ailment, where did that karma come from?


You say one to one perhaps not, but then you go on to say how it is one to one relationship. I guess the injunctions against trying to measure Karma don't matter?

Meh, i'm done too, have fun guys.
Last edited by Johnny Dangerous on Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:38 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Arjan Dirkse » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:30 pm

Nemo wrote:One to one perhaps not, but no one suggested that. The causes and cures for Karma afflicting you now are very straightforward. Killing gives a shortened life. Saving and releasing animals is a skillful means for a longer life. Stealing and greed give a life of poverty. Generosity and giving make one wealthy. Giving with an attitude of miserliness would mean in the future you would have physical wealth but it would not satisfy you.

The Buddha's extraordinary beauty and physical prowess are often extolled as proof of his past virtuous actions. The Lakkhana Sutta is a good example.
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Lakkhana_Sutta



XXVI. There are no spaces between his teeth.

XXVII. His canine teeth are very bright.

XXVIII. His tongue is very long

XXIX. He has a Brahma-like voice, like that of the Karavika-bird.

XXX. His eyes are deep blue.

XXXI. He has eyelashes like a cow’s.


Ugh...thanks for alerting me that not everything in the canon is all that great. Taking this stuff literally leads you as far into cuckoo land as Christian fundamentalism.

Like Mencius said, ""One who believes all of a book would be better off without books."
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Simon E. » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:37 pm

Nemo wrote:One to one perhaps not, but no one suggested that. The causes and cures for Karma afflicting you now are very straightforward. Killing gives a shortened life. Saving and releasing animals is a skillful means for a longer life. Stealing and greed give a life of poverty. Generosity and giving make one wealthy. Giving with an attitude of miserliness would mean in the future you would have physical wealth but it would not satisfy you.

The Buddha's extraordinary beauty and physical prowess are often extolled as proof of his past virtuous actions. The Lakkhana Sutta is a good example.
http://tipitaka.wikia.com/wiki/Lakkhana_Sutta

Oh for goodnesss sake...You will be telling us next that you accept the sutric explanation of earthquakes..*
The marks and signs 'of the Buddha' are in fact a widespread part of the spiritual culture of the Indian Subcontinent, the same outward marks and signs were attributed to Vedic seers and sages which predate Buddhism by a thousand years, as well as to Mahavira the founder of Jainism and to Caitanya Mahaprabhu the founder of Gaudiya Vaisnavism
They were described as being all tall and elegant and had discs and wheels on their soles and palms, golden complexions, etc.

* Which if you don't know is that according to the suttas earthquakes are caused by disturbances in the great ocean of water which circles the earth above the sky.
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Re: Is disability a result of karma?

Postby Nemo » Mon Oct 21, 2013 7:50 pm

As Sutras go the Lakkhana is the most likely to be apocryphal IMO. But it is still Buddhism.
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