Karmic Debt and Pure land?

Karmic Debt and Pure land?

Postby MattyNottwo » Mon Dec 03, 2012 8:40 pm

I don't know if I can articulate this, but I will give it a shot. I'm just starting on pure land practice and am coming
from mindfulness-awareness practice in Mahayana, but this question bugs me. I know in Hinayana that restraint is
very important, but moving to Mahayana and Vajrayana, there is more relaxation i.e. openness. So, I guess I'm going
to ask that: If there is enough of a Karmic connection (causes and conditions,) for an act or result, can a person
in essence go against the tide and completely resist, or is there a point where one has to pay their dues, so to speak.
Like a samurai or soldier who has possibly converted to a spiritual path, but because of their situation, still has to
kill. But, I'm also asking that if there is such a desire for something, and all the causes and conditions are in place
for the action and result, does that process have to happen? Like, does a person completely caught in alcoholism
have to kind of purify the addiction by paying the debt? I'm not saying that this is a justification to do whatever you
want, because if you think you can do whatever you want, you already have a choice. I'm just wondering if in a
seemingly choice-less situation, can you still practice, with something such as nembutsu and fulfill the debt? Or,
if resistance is necessary? I mean, we all know what a completely harmful act is, but many acts are in a grey area.
So, I don't know how clear this is, but I wonder if we really have a choice, or if it's just to live life as it is, with
Amitabha's name always remembered? Or, just to do things with a kind of general mindfulness until the message becomes
clear on what is harmful and what is beneficial. Anyway, I apologize if this is covered in another thread.

Namo Amitabha Buddha,
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Re: Karmic Debt and Pure land?

Postby Astus » Mon Dec 03, 2012 11:38 pm

If I understand your question right, you are asking whether it is possible or advisable not to do something bad. Karma is action, volitional action. You have to want to do it. There is also habit - the effect of past karma, i.e. previous acts - that makes doing certain things feel more natural than others. Having the habitual impulse to do something is not what is called "karmic debt" usually. Karmic debt is an informal expression for the results of our past deeds, like our birth. And to answer the question, we always have a choice about what we do, even if that is reduced to doing or not doing. It is always recommended to avoid doing harm to others. There are situations when we feel virtually incapable to resist a negative emotion burning in our heart and it seems easier to act on it than not to. However, if we can recognise the presence of such an impulse before doing anything, that is already half way to evade reaction to the feeling. When we have become aware of an emotion and we want to become free from it, what needs to be done is to use the recitation of the name and that way offer the whole problem to Amita Buddha. This way we avoid both acting on the impulse and suppressing the emotion.
"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)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Karmic Debt and Pure land?

Postby MattyNottwo » Tue Dec 04, 2012 2:52 am

Thank you :smile: that helps
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