Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:19 am

Serenity509 wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:If in each new life, you are born with no memories and bad habits of the past, that's like a new chance to live the dharma each time. Eventually, you would live a life that attains nirvana.
Nope, coz your negative karma from a previous life may generate habits and preconceptions in this life so that even if you were to come into contact with the Dharma you may feel disdain, disinterest or even hatred for it. It ain't a tabula rasa situation, death is not a reset button.

Anyway just coz you don't specifically remember something does not mean that it does not effect you, we can see this effect during this lifetime as well. I'm sure you don't remember the first time you went to the big boys toilet but the habit remains with you even to this day (I hope).
:namaste:


Are you saying that an individual can be locked into an infinite amount of bad karmic lives, never ever attaining nirvana?
Lock themselves into... Look at where you are at right now. You, through the force of positive karma, have come to the Dharma right?

But inside you there is a lingering doubt about it all, a sense of disatisfaction with some concepts, a dread of being asked to let go of your cling and grasping to your sense of self. So you turn your back on some elements of the Dharma and continue along on your merry way.

Where will this lead you? Back into the joyous cycle of birth, death and rebirh. At some point in time in the (extraordinarily far off) future some positive karma will ripen again and an opportunity will present itself again, will the correct choice be made this time? Since you did accept some elements of Dharma during this lifetime there will be an increased willingness to embrace the Dharma and maybe, due to future positive deeds, you will embrace it more fully, or maybe, due to future negative deeds, you will reject it even more. Who knows? Question is what are you going during this precious irreplaceable existence?

Can't remember where the Buddha said this but: if you want to know what/who you were in a previous lifetime, look at what/who you are now! If you want to know what/who you will be in a future lifetime, look at what/who you are now!

I reccomend you read this text http://www.whitetaracenter.com/texts/FP ... ec2006.pdf
and/or go read the version translated by, and listen to the oral commentary by, Alexander Berzin http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/ar ... apons.html
:namaste:
"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: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jul 18, 2011 12:44 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Can't remember where the Buddha said this but: if you want to know what/who you were in a previous lifetime, look at what/who you are now! If you want to know what/who you will be in a future lifetime, look at what/who you are now!


It's the beginning of the Dhammapada.

Serenity, if you subscribe to the idea of karma, to the law of cause and effect,
then it shouldn't be too hard to see that
if you don't create the cause for something, it will not happen.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Will » Mon Jul 18, 2011 5:14 pm

S509: Why is belief in reincarnation a requirement of following the Buddha? Must one believe in reincarnation to attain supreme joy and peace of mind?


To follow the Buddha's Dharma or teachings superficially, that is, without understanding them, is surely possible and popular. The answer to your second question is - no.

Therefore, you answer my question now - why call yourself a Buddhist if you ignore his core teachings and you mainly want joy & peace of mind? Attaining joy & peace of mind does not require Buddhism or any religion, for that matter.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:10 pm

Serenity509 wrote:Why is belief in reincarnation a requirement of following the Buddha? Must one believe in reincarnation to attain supreme joy and peace of mind?


"Dharma Lite" Versus "The Real Thing" Dharma
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/dharma_lite.html
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:24 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:
Serenity509 wrote:Why is belief in reincarnation a requirement of following the Buddha? Must one believe in reincarnation to attain supreme joy and peace of mind?


"Dharma Lite" Versus "The Real Thing" Dharma
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/dharma_lite.html



The only problem with this Article is that the term "Dharma-lite" was not coined by Berzin -- I remember seeing it bandied about back in the hoary days of Buddha-L.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jul 18, 2011 6:43 pm

I finds Will statement here absolutely correct and may hit to the heart of the issue..."Attaining joy & peace of mind does not require Buddhism or any religion, for that matter.". Compassionate intention and effect will caue that.

A greater compassion (some call it)...... is to help even more, and then one asks why if one may accomplish such with mundane means?
On cannot become more joyful than joyful nor more peacful of mind than peaceful of mind....so why?

My answer would be only if one looks beyond the personal. If through means one finds oneself not seperate from all reality and self a construct then one may attempt to enlighten and bring joy and peace to all.

So a buddhist being one as such looking beyond just the personal(some may say that is not possible and others it is) does endeavor greater things.
Theists see joy and peace as being ends in themselves( some buddhists do also but that is another matter).
If one sees things this way one is forced to see if one does rebirth. If one finds one does, one is then required to act to prevent such if that is found also to be majority cause in the sustance of suffering.

In this context belief in reincarnation or rebirth..... who would care for such a thing of belief. What matter if I found this belief it would be no more consequential than theists belief in Jesus as savior and throw it far away from me. What use is belief if it is found or not that is the important thinjg. If found it then must be found to be major causer in sustaining suffering states. If found not, or just as belief..why would I bother with it?

REbirth is the heart of the practice. It is found to be major cause of suffering and sustance of suffering.
Belief.....I don't give a flying capital F what I believe or not believe, it matters not a bit to alievate pervasive suffering in me or other as me as extension.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:35 pm

If the analysis is wrong then the meditation will be wrong then the compassion will be wrong. Yes I can attain joy and peace easily with a wrong analysis but how long will it last?
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jul 18, 2011 7:57 pm

"Yes I can attain joy and peace easily with a wrong analysis but how long will it last?"...what matters if a thing of I lasts or persists.
If I can attain it.... it is not permenant seemingly.
"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: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Mag761138 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 1:56 pm

Karma Dondrup Tashi wrote:"Dharma Lite" Versus "The Real Thing" Dharma
http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/approaching_buddhism/introduction/dharma_lite.html


"Without that, then it makes very little sense of why a great practitioner dies a horrible cancer type of death, or why Tibetan lamas were thrown in concentration camps in Tibet. The whole thing falls apart."

That sounds like superstition to resort to that sort of logic. Can't we say somebody dies of cancer due to defective genes, why is a supernatural explanation needed? This view of karma really explains nothing, except justifying our indifference to truely understanding reality with an open mind, being open to the reality that life is not necessarily fair or just, there's no hand of karma behind things. I could start a whole thread on my problems with this idea of "karma". It is simply not necessary to "Make sense" of tragedy in life, the desire to do so reveals spiritual weakness, not sophistication, and potentially could lead us down a path to indifference and nihilism dressed up in metaphysical garb.

The author's views of spirituality seem to come down to focusing on future lives as the motivation for developing Buddhist practice, which seems highly self-absorbed. But might there not there a more noble aim than focusing on "what's good for me"? I would suggest the "Dharma-Lite" practicioner is engaged in far more noble endeavour if he or she is simply trying to focus on living a happy, fulfilled life, than somebody who is focused on the task of liberation for themselves or the betterment of their future lives, even if masked in religious piety.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Dechen Norbu » Tue Jul 19, 2011 2:56 pm

That sounds like superstition to resort to that sort of logic. Can't we say somebody dies of cancer due to defective genes, why is a supernatural explanation needed? This view of karma really explains nothing, except justifying our indifference to truely understanding reality with an open mind, being open to the reality that life is not necessarily fair or just, there's no hand of karma behind things. I could start a whole thread on my problems with this idea of "karma". It is simply not necessary to "Make sense" of tragedy in life, the desire to do so reveals spiritual weakness, not sophistication, and potentially could lead us down a path to indifference and nihilism dressed up in metaphysical garb.


We can say somebody dies of cancer due to defective genes. The problem comes when you wonder why that particular somebody has those particular genes instead of you. You can very well point "well, because of his parents or some other innate or environmental set of circumstances", but that still falls short as an explanation. That only describes the how and not the why. Why that mental continuum and not yours or mine experiences such particular circumstances? That's karma and it goes both ways. Karma can be either negative or positive. Karma is not fair or just indeed. It's action and consequence instead of chance, luck or lack of it.
There's no sense at all in life. Life, as we experience it while unenlightened (meaning with under our karmic view), is a consequence of our afflictions, our obscurations. The result of a dreamer and a dream we take for real. The only meaning of it is the one we try to superimpose. There's no meaning, no mission, no special fate, zilch, nada, niente. We can choose to awaken though, but that still is a choice. There are those who are unenlightened and loving it, at least until all falls apart and it always does. But then, generally is too late to do anything about it and we just keep going on and on living this dream, sometimes nice while others nightmarish. Have a clear understanding of karma helps one to gain resolve and put an end to all fantasies which, in the end, bring nothing but pain even if sometimes they feel like licking honey only to find out later that it was over a sharp blade.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Mag761138 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:37 pm

Dechen Norbu wrote:We can say somebody dies of cancer due to defective genes. The problem comes when you wonder why that particular somebody has those particular genes instead of you.


But, if we are aware that this whole self-other dichotomy is not absolute, then the above is nonsensical. There is no "my mental continuum" or "your mental continuum", there's just a mental continuum. Interdependence need not involve some kind of past existence of a discrete self. We could, rather recognize the above as an error in conceptualizationrather than something that must be explained, bring our awareness away from idealism (which is really what that "why me?" or "Why them?" thinking is) and speculation about the past and future, to reality as we actually experience it.

If somebody says person A had cancer because in a past life they were a murderer or whatever, I'd have to be extremely skeptical of that. It implies good things only happen to good people and bad things only to bad people, and life just doesn't work that way. Rather it is suggestive of how the human mind has a tendency to see purpose where there is none, similar to how some theist want to see God having a grand purpose or design, it is a reflection of the way the human organism has evolved to try to find reasons for things happening instead of truely looking into the actual causes (and accepting honest mystery and doubt where none can be found). It provided a survival advantage to primitive hominids living out inthe plains, seeing a tree or grass move and concluding agency/purpose there was a surival advantage; but it doesn't necessarily reflect truth when dealing with more complex systems.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby denice » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:39 pm

to all questions ,(which are attachements in and of themselves)chapter 1 of the diamond sutra is profound in its simplicity .the buddha at the time for breaking the fast ,put on his robe and carrying his bowl he walked into the city ,begging from door to door according to rule ,this done he returned to his retreat and took his meal quietly ,when he finished he put away his robe and his bowl,washed his feet arranging his seat he sat down .

what i have written above happened when the buddha was around 70 years old .so look at it for what it is buddha enlightened one after living many past lives after attaining enlightenment ....daily in totally moment to moment mindfulness still did the basics he had always done without attachement to even his enlightened state ..or his past lives or anything else.more so then any words this simple act shows all who notice it .....the way .
now ( present moment) do but do not attach to it
charity /acts of kindness do but do not do because you are trying to get rid of negative karma /or fear of rebirth

bottom line DO NOW (this moment)that is all
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Malcolm » Tue Jul 19, 2011 3:48 pm

Mag761138 wrote: There is no "my mental continuum" or "your mental continuum", there's just a mental continuum.


If you accept that there is a mental continuum, and you accept that mental continuum is afflicted, you have a sufficient basis for accepting rebirth without any need to imagine an integral self driving the process.

N
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འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔

Though there are infinite liberating gateways of Dharma,
there are none not included in the dimension of the knowledge of the Great Perfection.

-- Buddha Samantabhadri
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Karma Dondrup Tashi » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:00 pm

Mag761138 wrote:If somebody says person A had cancer because in a past life they were a murderer or whatever, I'd have to be extremely skeptical of that. It implies good things only happen to good people and bad things only to bad people, and life just doesn't work that way. Rather it is suggestive of how the human mind has a tendency to see purpose where there is none, similar to how some theist want to see God having a grand purpose or design, it is a reflection of the way the human organism has evolved to try to find reasons for things happening instead of truely looking into the actual causes (and accepting honest mystery and doubt where none can be found). It provided a survival advantage to primitive hominids living out inthe plains, seeing a tree or grass move and concluding agency/purpose there was a surival advantage; but it doesn't necessarily reflect truth when dealing with more complex systems.

"I am the owner of my actions, heir to my actions, born of my actions, related through my actions, and have my actions as my arbitrator. Whatever I do, for good or for evil, to that will I fall heir."

Upajjhatthana Sutta, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/an/an05/an05.057.than.html

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."

4. "I do not understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning. It would be good if Master Gotama taught me the Dhamma so that I might understand the detailed meaning of Master Gotama's utterance spoken in brief without expounding the detailed meaning."

"Then listen, student, and heed well what I shall say."

"Even so, Master Gotama," Subha the student replied. The Blessed One said this:

5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.

6. "But here some woman or man, having abandoned the killing of living beings, abstains from killing living beings, lays aside the rod and lays aside the knife, is considerate and merciful and dwells compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a happy destination, in the heavenly world, he comes to the human state, he is long-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to long life, that is to say, to have abandoned the killing of living beings, to abstain from killing living beings, to lay aside the rod and lay aside the knife, to be considerate and merciful, and to dwell compassionate for the welfare of all living beings.

Cula-kammavibhanga Sutta, http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.135.nymo.html
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Mag761138 » Tue Jul 19, 2011 4:52 pm

Namdrol wrote:
Mag761138 wrote: There is no "my mental continuum" or "your mental continuum", there's just a mental continuum.


If you accept that there is a mental continuum, and you accept that mental continuum is afflicted, you have a sufficient basis for accepting rebirth without any need to imagine an integral self driving the process.

N


Not at all. I am thinknig far more of A.N. Whitehead's concept of "Objective Immortality" in his Process metaphysics far more than Buddhist notions of rebirth. This also tosses out the whole need to explain inequality via karma as a need for retribution for wrongs, since every individual person is a reflection of the drive of creativity and selfhood, the good and the bad person equally contribute to that end (there really are no inferior or superior persons).

I am on a spiritual quest at the moment, exploring both Process theism and Buddhism, not having decided which is the more spirituality fulfilling or coherent. For what it's worth, I'm mostly oriented towards humanistic Buddhism (Zen and Pure Land), Tibetan Buddhism is largely unappealing for this reason.

Compassion for others really comes from acceptance and openness (a lack of defensiveness), not from worrying about future reincarnations. I could even see that as distracting and leading to a weak sense of ethical behavior, one that confused self-interest with the common good.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:23 pm

Mag761138 wrote:5. "Here, student, some woman or man is a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a state of deprivation, in an unhappy destination, in perdition, in hell, he comes to the human state, he is short-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to short life, that is to say, to be a killer of living beings, murderous, bloody-handed, given to blows and violence, merciless to living beings.

6. "But here some woman or man, having abandoned the killing of living beings, abstains from killing living beings, lays aside the rod and lays aside the knife, is considerate and merciful and dwells compassionate for the welfare of all living beings. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a happy destination, in the heavenly world. If, on the dissolution of the body, after death, instead of his reappearing in a happy destination, in the heavenly world, he comes to the human state, he is long-lived wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to long life, that is to say, to have abandoned the killing of living beings, to abstain from killing living beings, to lay aside the rod and lay aside the knife, to be considerate and merciful, and to dwell compassionate for the welfare of all living beings.


Somebody says that the Buddha said this. But it doesn't make any sense.
If I used to eat meat but now I have stopped, then I am no longer a meat eater.
So, If I killed your family but then I stopped, then I am no longer a killer?
The problem is "I".

So, "I" think, when we look at karma as "happening" to "somebody" we get it all wrong.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby denice » Tue Jul 19, 2011 5:30 pm

the confession to the 35 buddhas is for this time or anytime whether you are aware of time or not :In this life and in all the states of rebirth in which I have circled in samsara throughout beginningless lives, whatever negative actions I have created, made others create, or rejoiced in the creation of; whatever possessions of stupas, possessions of the Sangha, or possessions of the Sangha of the ten directions that I have appropriated, made others appropriate, or rejoiced in the appropriation of; whichever among the five actions of immediate retribution I have done, caused to be done, or rejoiced in the doing of; whichever paths of the ten non-virtuous actions I have engaged in, caused others to engage in, or rejoiced in the engaging in: whatever I have created, being obscured by these karmas causes me and sentient beings to be born in the hell realms, in the animal realm, and in the preta realm; in irreligious countries, as barbarians, or as long-life gods; with imperfect faculties, holding wrong views, or not being pleased with Buddha's descent.

the buddha said if the teaching or anything else does not make sense to you ,you must reject it
the buddha also said everything is created by mind alone .
we as beings use language to explain what is often unexplainable ,we get lost in the words ,the mindfull action is where the true teaching is .DO ...do now be mindfull as you do .this moment now.
hungry=eat and tired=sleep to question why hungry ,or why tired does not change being hungry or tired the question causes one to pause/stop trapped within a box ( the mind),yet the action to eat changes the hunger to sated/full ,to sleep one is no longer tired .
DO NOW MINDFULLY.
keeping the mind in perfect tranquility and free from any attachment to appearances."
"So I say to you -
This is how to contemplate our conditioned existence in this fleeting world:"
"Like a tiny drop of dew, or a bubble floating in a stream;
Like a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
Or a flickering lamp, an illusion, a phantom, or a dream."
"So is all conditioned existence to be seen."
Thus spoke Buddha.
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jul 19, 2011 6:52 pm

I don't know.

Karma to me is a real a viable in present as in perceived future of rebirth. The same principals apply here and now as to then or then.
Know it's complexity....perhaps a bit we can fortell consequence reasonably. Effect from cause....cause from effect..what's so difficulate about that.

Point being rebirth extends from our reality what we find real it is not seperate from it as I read it. It is it, our reality.
The same principal we find right here and now is what may be found in any time and place, things are the same they don't change due to construct of time.

Thought I'd add that.
"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: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Fruitzilla » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:27 pm

Mag761138 wrote:
Namdrol wrote:
Mag761138 wrote: There is no "my mental continuum" or "your mental continuum", there's just a mental continuum.


If you accept that there is a mental continuum, and you accept that mental continuum is afflicted, you have a sufficient basis for accepting rebirth without any need to imagine an integral self driving the process.

N


Not at all. I am thinknig far more of A.N. Whitehead's concept of "Objective Immortality" in his Process metaphysics far more than Buddhist notions of rebirth. This also tosses out the whole need to explain inequality via karma as a need for retribution for wrongs, since every individual person is a reflection of the drive of creativity and selfhood, the good and the bad person equally contribute to that end (there really are no inferior or superior persons).

I am on a spiritual quest at the moment, exploring both Process theism and Buddhism, not having decided which is the more spirituality fulfilling or coherent. For what it's worth, I'm mostly oriented towards humanistic Buddhism (Zen and Pure Land), Tibetan Buddhism is largely unappealing for this reason.

Compassion for others really comes from acceptance and openness (a lack of defensiveness), not from worrying about future reincarnations. I could even see that as distracting and leading to a weak sense of ethical behavior, one that confused self-interest with the common good.


As a more mature (IMHO) explanation of karma from a Tibetan Buddhist teacher, I always liked this one from Ken McCleod:

Karma doesn't explain anything: http://www.unfetteredmind.org/articles/explain.php
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Re: Reincarnation: A gift or a curse?

Postby Jikan » Tue Jul 19, 2011 7:43 pm

Serenity509 wrote:With an infinite amount of time, won't nirvana happen eventually?


You'll get different answers to this sort of question depending on who you ask and how you ask it.
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