How sane are you?

Whether you're exploring Buddhism for the first time or you're already on the path, feel free to ask questions of any kind here.

Re: How sane are you?

Postby Kim O'Hara » Wed Jan 09, 2013 2:43 am

gregkavarnos wrote:Thank you Kim and Megha! :smile:

I had heard about the Niyamas, but have never come across an actual teaching (Sutta/Sutra/Tantra) on them.
:namaste:

Hi, Greg,
I don't think you will find a sutta/sutra listing them as a group, although I'm sure they pop up individually.
The Abhidhamma is somewhat famous for its lists :tongue: and some of us :spy: Theravadin types :spy: prefer to discount it heavily or avoid it altogether.

:namaste:
Kim
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Sara H » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:52 am

undefineable wrote:
I don't believe anyone can tell us the karmic cause of a condition. A monk may have no lineage, and even a master may not be genuine or 'in his depth'. Even if a Buddha told us, he could be 'using skilful means' (remember the mustard seed), and in any case, how are we to know if he/she is indeed fully enlightened?
Moreover, as has been pointed out, that it matters so much is a potential problem. It might help your knee heal (as you put it), but how many problems will have been sown by the explanation, and by the reliance on 'flouting' the fourth imponderable that it encourages, particularly if the explanation you were given is untrue? As I explained, it won't in any case have been a complete explanation.
As an autistic, I have just as much reason to try and explain all my vipakas as you do, but have managed to limit myself to the idea that it's typically produced by trying to avoid reality (out of aversion for something or other) in a previous life. This may itself just be the fruit of meditative reflection, but my point is that I see such mental activity as harmful - atleast to me.


Someone doesn't have to be fully enlightened. (as in a Buddha)

They just need to be someone you feel is trustworthy, and who is able to sit still and listen to what their intuition tells them is good to help advise you what may be good do from their sitting.

And, it can help a great deal if they personally have experience in the area you are having trouble with that needs help in.

If they've trained with that sortof problem themselves then it can be easier for them to assist you in helping it.

You're the one who does the training, what they're doing is assisting you with it, as a trusted friend.

In Gassho,

Sara H.
"Life is full of suffering. AND Life is full of the Eternal
IT IS OUR CHOICE
We can stand in our shadow, and wallow in the darkness,
OR
We can turn around.
It is OUR choice." -Rev. Basil

" ...out of fear, even the good harm one another. " -Rev. Dazui MacPhillamy
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby Megha » Wed Jan 09, 2013 1:27 pm

Our understanding of karma should tell us that there's never just one reason why someone inherits a particular condition. It should also tell us, conversely, that however negative a condition may appear, it was ultimately produced by the same overriding motivation - to experience happiness and avoid suffering


That is partially true.

As the Buddha states, karma is only one of several factors involved in any event that produces a painful, pleasurable or neutral feeling. And each element in the universe conditions the next and so on. And they all inter penetrate each other, and have non-linear lines of causation. If you point at one element, you are actually pointing at all the others too. So to point at a toothache and say it is the karmic resultant of a specific event is wrong-headed. Similarly, to say you have a pain in your hip, and that is because you were wounded in a past life is also wrong. As is saying a man is born gay because he was a woman in a past life. There are an infinity of factors, and only one of those is karmic.

The attempt to speculate about definitive karmic reasons for something is an attempt to bring the law of karma back into a realm the 'I' can understand. But the Buddha was quite clear, that no 'I' can understand it. It points 'beyond' I. To start claiming that a man is gay because he was a woman in a past life is a stupid as saying a man is born poor because he was immoral in money dealing in a past life, and when he then wins the lottery you have to invent another 'reason' for his wealth. It's a total waste of time, and as I hope I explained, it can be harmful for a society and for individuals who think that way.

That doesn't mean that if someone has a pain there isn't an immediate cause that can be dealt with - but to look for a karmic reason as to why the person suffers that pain is a waste of time.
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby undefineable » Wed Jan 09, 2013 4:43 pm

Megha wrote:As the Buddha states, karma is only one of several factors involved in any event that produces a painful, pleasurable or neutral feeling. And each element in the universe conditions the next and so on. And they all inter penetrate each other, and have non-linear lines of causation. If you point at one element, you are actually pointing at all the others too. So to point at a toothache and say it is the karmic resultant of a specific event is wrong-headed. Similarly, to say you have a pain in your hip, and that is because you were wounded in a past life is also wrong. As is saying a man is born gay because he was a woman in a past life. There are an infinity of factors, and only one of those is karmic.

The attempt to speculate about definitive karmic reasons for something is an attempt to bring the law of karma back into a realm the 'I' can understand. But the Buddha was quite clear, that no 'I' can understand it. It points 'beyond' I. To start claiming that a man is gay because he was a woman in a past life is a stupid as saying a man is born poor because he was immoral in money dealing in a past life, and when he then wins the lottery you have to invent another 'reason' for his wealth. It's a total waste of time, and as I hope I explained, it can be harmful for a society and for individuals who think that way.

That doesn't mean that if someone has a pain there isn't an immediate cause that can be dealt with - but to look for a karmic reason as to why the person suffers that pain is a waste of time.


This approach sheds a whole new light on the scientific process. I remember wondering at pre-16 science classes - 'what about the infinity of uncontrolled variables?' and always being told 'dont't worry about them' :jumping: _ _ Such post-scientific thinking could give ppl like u & me a big head if we don't remember egolessness ;)

Anyway, I'd agree a tsunami or such, atleast, is unlikely to always be simply 'vipaka + science', although, as you say, there's no use trying to 'game the system' & imagine/'work out' what is or isn't such. My comment about seeking happiness and avoiding suffering was a reference to the speculation (:twisted:) that (for example) the convulsions of the earth ultimately reflect the convulsions in the minds of its inhabitants, i.e. that the universe was somehow generated from combined mental forces. Clearly, there's no way any mind, except perhaps a Buddha's, could understand this kind of process in its minutest detail.

It seems you & Sara are arguing from opposite poles, but with all our different temperaments, there may be some who benefit from a little reflection on such matters, and some who can't resist the urge/itch to obsess - Besides the 4 Imponderables, there are of course sutras in which many examples of vipakas are given, and these are exactly the sort (more or less word-for-word) that you call 'stupid'. {I don't want to 'show you up' with references, but would be happy to find some.}

I actually find this whole 'skilful means' thing quite beautiful rather than unpleasant or anything, and I'm again reminded of science lessons, in which the teacher would say 'all I taught you earlier about this is wrong - now I'm gonna teach you this', etc. etc.. Your approach is weak in that it implies we can't predict whether one choice of action will likely have a more positive outcome than another. I've already pointed out that an action that's positive for oneself (in terms of sharpening one's mind and even benefiting the wider world) may be a negative action for another guy - e.g. in business. If the positive side alone remains in one's mind, then ignoring the other being's plight need not affect one's karma-vipaka according to the theories I've read and heard.

This is all important for me, as all I can foresee 4 my mindstream over the next few aeons is Hell (although I admit I'm basing this on Humanist ethics rather than Buddhist/ religious 1s), and I sure don't have the fortitude of Milarepa with which to wriggle out of it. I don't feel I'm completely :offtopic: , as I'm guessing I will be rightly judged insane in relation to the dharma -according to the teaching of the 4 Imponderables- and that maybe some1 will be kind enough to explain how. :broke: :shrug:
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: How sane are you?

Postby lobster » Thu Jan 10, 2013 10:30 am

:popcorn:

It is so easy to judge others or ourselves as having bad karma or spiritual crisis or being as crazy as a fruit bat . . .
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiritual_crisis
. . . however we have to as much as possible, be aware of the Middle Way for us. The grounding and potential and need for greater sanity based on our initial condition.

We all have our idiosyncrasies, apart from the mythical 'Perfect Master' . . .
:consoling:
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