Karma and meditation

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Karma and meditation

Postby seagrace » Fri Sep 24, 2010 7:33 pm

I have been presented with this comment:

The call of Karma demands payment of a debt when there is no creditor to receive it. So when a desire for petition is needed there is nowhere to go. One who mediates looks within, one who prays looks beyond.

I'm not sure how to respond to it, but this is my first take:

Karma demands no payment. there is no "demand" in Karma. Karma is. I would argue that prayer is a form of meditation, and that meditation is an attempt to truly understand reality, and realizing that the answers are within, not without, one practices meditation to gain understanding.

Can anybody help me with a better answer?
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Re: Karma and meditation

Postby ronnewmexico » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:27 am

This is complex...."The call of Karma demands payment of a debt when there is no creditor to receive it. So when a desire for petition is needed there is nowhere to go. One who mediates looks within, one who prays looks beyond."
This....the call of karma appears to be setting up karma as a object. Karma, is literally defined as action. Without setting this up as another discussion as to what constitutes karma, suffice it to say it is a mechanism not a object. Action something that acts and reacts upon the actor.

So as mechanism, there is no call of karma nor demand nor obviously creditor.
There is action reeaction and action upon the actor.

ONe who meditates looks within one who prays looks beyond.

Well this may speak to theism. Theism contends a other power or beyond self, scheme to things. Most buddhist thought does not reflect that opinion.

Since we are considered to be of the nature of reality itself. Looking within is looking beyond if one could find a beyond. None exists, but basically all that exists is present in oneself and our present circumstance, not in any other, that a diety or god, holds devine, apart from us. If beyond is considered in the context of beyond oneself....well yes that is true. Oneself in buddhism is considered to be posessed of buddha nature as such, no other may be realized but only understood to be oneself. Our reality is not overcome or made to be something other by devine power but understood, and with the understanding comes seeing it for what it is with consequential effect of that understanding.

Conventional self concept destruction is of course a means to the end of understanding one to have buddha nature. Meditation is a means to that concept destruction. So in the conventional context meditation does indeed look beyond. In a more final sense there is no beyond self.
The theists equilivent of the devine is in a sense within us so there is no beyond us in that sense

It is all about understanding this reality what presents to us.
Buddhists may indeed pray.But nothing in prayer necessitates the belief in a beyond powers beyond us that we may with understanding hold as well. Prayer may indeed be looking within as well as prayer for some destroys self concept as well.

I am just a layperson with little understanding of things, but hopefully that will help in some small manner to understand this thing. Others may explain it in clearer fashion. I can elaborate however if desired.

In a practical fashion....one may pray and exercise devotion and use other means as well(perhaps good works) to provide the proper circumstance(karmic effect) so that ones meditation is frutful. This speaks to the title of this thread.
If one has not provided the proper circumstance meditational progress is practically impossible.
I myself engaged in extensive service work for five years time to provide the necessary karmic effect or circumstance(result of action) in which my meditation may be more fruitful. I have no accomplishments or powers or anything of that sort, being a limited person but my aim has been to become a tiny tiny bit more compassionate.. I have achieved that aim. I am still not particularly compassionate but a little bit better in that than I was.

So it has worked!! Karma(its effects) may aid our meditational pursuits!! I continue and continue to advance in a small manner which suits my constitution and circumstance. Karma.... self directed karmic effect, may assist one with their meditational pursuits most definately and assuredly. Prayers for others may provide that effect of karma, as prayers are intentions of altruistic intent, and real actions, though of the cerebral type. Actions nevertheless.

So pray or meditate...both help. Eventually to attain enlightenment one must also meditate as well it seems. Prayers are not considered by most to be singularly enough, (though a small minority may think that most do not). Prayer becoming a meditation...that is another subject. AT some time I think one would have to say what they are doing even though started as strictly prayer has evolved into meditation.

Some may say it is still just prayer...but I would disagree. Prayer it seems evolves to meditation with a buddhist noninherant focus of no self, to my observation.
"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 meditation

Postby Indrajala » Sat Sep 25, 2010 4:28 am

The call of Karma demands payment of a debt when there is no creditor to receive it. So when a desire for petition is needed there is nowhere to go. One who mediates looks within, one who prays looks beyond.


The assertion of said comment seems to be that contemplating that one does not exist fixes the issue of karma-vipaka. It would follow one could do whatever one wanted without ever having to pay for it. It would be like having a credit card without a credit limit tied to no individual.

That doesn't sound like something I've ever read or heard from a legitimate teacher, let alone the Buddha.

As to karma being a debt, the Kashmiri Sarvastivadins insisted that the result of karma persisted like
a debt. However, I doubt they ever asserted one could avoid the consequences of actions just by ignoring the results.
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Re: Karma and meditation

Postby Huifeng » Sat Sep 25, 2010 6:39 am

seagrace wrote:I have been presented with this comment:

The call of Karma demands payment of a debt when there is no creditor to receive it. So when a desire for petition is needed there is nowhere to go. One who mediates looks within, one who prays looks beyond.

I'm not sure how to respond to it, but this is my first take:

Karma demands no payment. there is no "demand" in Karma. Karma is. I would argue that prayer is a form of meditation, and that meditation is an attempt to truly understand reality, and realizing that the answers are within, not without, one practices meditation to gain understanding.

Can anybody help me with a better answer?


Although one Buddhist school, the Vatsiputriyas, used the analogy of a "debt notice" to talk about karma and result, personally I find that it is a very poor analogy to use.

I prefer the "seed" analogy, as per the Darstantikas and Sautrantikas, which describes the karma as the seed, sown in the field of the object of that karma, which grows up and matures into a flower and then a fruit.

This is a much more dynamic analogy, which allows for a range of factors taking place and influencing it, rather than a "debtor" and "creditor" of the former analogy.

Meditation has a couple of terms in the Indic languages, such as "(citta)bhavana" = "(mental) development", which has a very broad meaning, but also more specifically "samadhi", "dhyana", "samatha & vipasyana", etc. which refer to specific states of depth of mental calming and then the insight arisen on the basis of this.

The former meaning, "bhavana", may have some overlap with prayer. Though deep prayer, which develops a lot of focus on the object, may also lead to states such as samadhi, samatha, etc.

The whole notion of "looking for answers" reflects a later period of Buddhist development, whereby the initial quest to purify the mind gradually transformed into a quest to attain some "knowledge" or "insight" into higher realities. Though the former does have some of the latter, the emphasis is markedly different.

I do not think that Buddhist practice is really looking for "answers" about anything, but it is the application of various "solutions" to problems. (But not like Q & A sort of thing, there answer is "D, all of the above"!)
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Re: Karma and meditation

Postby seagrace » Sat Sep 25, 2010 1:58 pm

thank you very much, I appreciate all of these answers. :bow:
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Re: Karma and meditation

Postby Will » Sat Sep 25, 2010 2:13 pm

The mind makes the "comment", hears the "call" of karma, meditates and prays. Not surprisingly then, we "petition" via mind to mind. Whether this mind is inner, outer, mine, his etc. is the play of mind.

The one who made the comment is just "putting a head on top of a head," as an old Ch'an story goes. In other words, making a problem worse by needlessly complicating things.
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