Existential Issues

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: Existential Issues

Postby gnegirl » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:07 pm

Hayagriva wrote:
meiji1 wrote:The core tenets of Christianity make absolutely no sense to me.


Same here. I still have a very strong attraction to Catholicism for some reason. I've never been Catholic - never even been in a Catholic Church or spoken to a priest.

I just think it's some old karma from many lifetimes ago. If this is the case, then how much stronger influence must a person's previous religion have over them? :shrug:


As a recovering catholic can i just say 'don't do it....!'?
"Things are not what they appear to be: nor are they otherwise." --Surangama Sutra

Phenomenon, vast as space, dharmata is your base, arising and falling like ocean tide cycles, why do i cling to your illusion of unceasing changlessness?
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ronnewmexico » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:49 pm

C..on another thread(the autism thread) you state this....."So, I am dating a woman with 2 teenage girls with Aspergers Syndrome. And their mother wants to know how Buddhism would explain this."

On this thread you state this..."Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose."

So which is it?
"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: Existential Issues

Postby ChangYuan » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:57 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:C..on another thread(the autism thread) you state this....."So, I am dating a woman with 2 teenage girls with Aspergers Syndrome. And their mother wants to know how Buddhism would explain this."

On this thread you state this..."Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose."

So which is it?


Aspergers is a form of high functioning autism. Thank you very much for the implication and you're non-use of google.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:29 pm

ronnewmexico wrote:C..on another thread(the autism thread) you state this....."So, I am dating a woman with 2 teenage girls with Aspergers Syndrome. And their mother wants to know how Buddhism would explain this."

On this thread you state this..."Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose."

So which is it?


Is it the obligation of the Dharma to come up with an explanation for autism, simply because someone wants it to?
I mean, what is Buddhism's explanation for the secret of Coca-Cola?
We have to ask why this is pertinent.
Is it merely because so little is understood, and in an attempt to solve a mystery, we look to Buddhism?

I have a son who faces the challenges of autism every day. I also have friends who are on the cutting edge of autism research. I don't want to go into a long explanation of what constitutes a clinical diagnosis of autism (or of asperger's syndrome) but I would suggest that more useful answers will be found from the world of scientific research than from the sutras or tantras.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:02 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:
ronnewmexico wrote:C..on another thread(the autism thread) you state this....."So, I am dating a woman with 2 teenage girls with Aspergers Syndrome. And their mother wants to know how Buddhism would explain this."

On this thread you state this..."Right, I understand that some people go through that kind of thing as well. But, having twin 14 yr olds with autism, routine is very important, and time is a rather precious commodity. Granted its only an hours travel to get there, those 2 hours of travel are hard to lose."

So which is it?


Is it the obligation of the Dharma to come up with an explanation for autism, simply because someone wants it to?
I mean, what is Buddhism's explanation for the secret of Coca-Cola?
We have to ask why this is pertinent.
Is it merely because so little is understood, and in an attempt to solve a mystery, we look to Buddhism?

I have a son who faces the challenges of autism every day. I also have friends who are on the cutting edge of autism research. I don't want to go into a long explanation of what constitutes a clinical diagnosis of autism (or of asperger's syndrome) but I would suggest that more useful answers will be found from the world of scientific research than from the sutras or tantras.


Padma,

The Dharma does have an explanation for unfortunate facts of life like autism: past karma meeting with the necessary contributing conditions. It also has an explanation for how to approach those experiencing the ripening of these unfortunate karmas: being compassionate, warm, and patient, and respectful towards them and trying to do what one can to help them have the best lives they can have, with the most dignity, and help them create some good causes for future lives; also remembering that they are, for all intents and purposes, a "new" person now in this life with all new aggregates (with the sole exception of the mental aggregate) and so they have no recollection of any past identity in which they engaged in any negative karmas - so from this POV they are innocent experiencers of unfortunate karmic fruits they don't even remember. As for why the question of what Buddhism has to say about autism is pertinent, I think there could be many reasons why it would be pertinent to someone becoming interested in Buddhism and still grappling with the question of why his or her kid suffers from a condition like autism. This is especially so regarding autism since there was so much misinformation spread for so long about so-called causes and contributing factors of autism, namely vaccines, that turned out to be hogwash presented by an unethical, unscrupulous scientist. So it stands to reason that people would be confused about what to think and would want to know what one of the world's wisdom traditions might have to say about it. But there are so many other reasons I could think of why it could be pertinent.

Now, of course, there are plenty of health conditions with a karmic cause for which science has discovered helpful treatments and preventative measures, so I'm of course all for vigorously continuing research on such conditions as autism. If research can reveal the conditions which are playing a contributing role in the manifestation of these diseases - like maybe the haphazard genetic modification of our food supply, or extensive use of pesticides and herbicides, or various forms of pollution, or whatever else it could be that is messing with human's bodies and their children's bodies - then that should absolutely be pursued so people can work toward eliminating these environmental harms altogether or at least avoid them as best they can as individuals and families and cut down on the incidences of these diseases.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 28, 2011 1:39 am

I really do appreciate your thoughtful answer.

But..........
"past karma" is buddhism's answer for everything. Of course, past karma!!!
But so what? So, I specifically used the term 'useful'. "past karma' is not useful as an answer.

Suppose I am on my way to catch a plane, but I arrive late and miss the flight.
So, Buddhism says, because I didn't catch the flight, 'that was because of negative karma".
But, a moment later the plane crashes and everyone on board dies.
But because I didn't catch the flight, and not killed,
Now missing the flight must be due to: "positive karma".
But the plane crashed into my house and destroyed everything I had and killed my family.
Now missing the flight must be due to: "negative karma" again.
However, I had lots of insurance and now I will be able to get out of all my debt, and because I am free of all other obligations, I can finally go on that 3 year retreat.
Now missing the flight must once again caused by: "positive karma".

There is the "Mind-only" school, and then there is the "can't-make-up-my-mind" school!

Are you your brain? Am I my brain?
"who" is the one experiencing the chemical interactions of the brain?

I am inclined to think that somewhere along the way, people started using 'past karma' as a catch-all explanation for everything they did not understand. There is a problem associating 'past karma' with the appearances of things, and the value judgements we put on things. Like the idea that an accumulation of negative karma will result in being reborn as a snake.
What's wrong with being a snake? At least, you can make ends meet now and then!

Thank you for mentioning the error of the vaccine theory.
At least that could be tested and shown to be wrong.
But I think the karma theory, while essentially correct, is too often used to justify things the way we want to see them.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Tue Jun 28, 2011 2:22 am

PadmaVonSamba wrote:I really do appreciate your thoughtful answer.

But..........
"past karma" is buddhism's answer for everything. Of course, past karma!!!
But so what? So, I specifically used the term 'useful'. "past karma' is not useful as an answer.

Suppose I am on my way to catch a plane, but I arrive late and miss the flight.
So, Buddhism says, because I didn't catch the flight, 'that was because of negative karma".
But, a moment later the plane crashes and everyone on board dies.
But because I didn't catch the flight, and not killed,
Now missing the flight must be due to: "positive karma".
But the plane crashed into my house and destroyed everything I had and killed my family.
Now missing the flight must be due to: "negative karma" again.
However, I had lots of insurance and now I will be able to get out of all my debt, and because I am free of all other obligations, I can finally go on that 3 year retreat.
Now missing the flight must once again caused by: "positive karma".

There is the "Mind-only" school, and then there is the "can't-make-up-my-mind" school!

Are you your brain? Am I my brain?
"who" is the one experiencing the chemical interactions of the brain?

I am inclined to think that somewhere along the way, people started using 'past karma' as a catch-all explanation for everything they did not understand. There is a problem associating 'past karma' with the appearances of things, and the value judgements we put on things. Like the idea that an accumulation of negative karma will result in being reborn as a snake.
What's wrong with being a snake? At least, you can make ends meet now and then!

Thank you for mentioning the error of the vaccine theory.
At least that could be tested and shown to be wrong.
But I think the karma theory, while essentially correct, is too often used to justify things the way we want to see them.


I don't think it's a given that everything that happens is past karma. Like if you miss a flight or something, usually it is because you did not make sure to leave in time. Or you came across circumstances related to when you decided to get on the road, such as traffic or getting into an accident. To what extent this is just the results of one's choices and timing or is ripening karma, I have no idea, because karma is extremely complex and only a Buddha can really comprehend it. Also, when one commits an act, or utters some words, or thinks something, one can do so in several ways in terms of intention. One can do so completely purely and virtuously, one can do so completely negatively, one can do so with mostly good intention but tainted with negativity, or one can do so in a state of neutrality. So results can be purely good, or purely bad, or mixed, or kind of neutral from one's POV. Also, the fruition of one karma could function as the contributing circumstances for the fruition of another. So the plane crashes and it destroys one's house - this could be one karma's fruition - whereas the confluence of the destruction of one's house and having been able to purchase insurance are contributing circumstances for past positive karma to ripen and one gets a lot of money and free oneself of debt, etc as you said. Then the freedom from debt and the financial freedom could be a contributing condition for past karma and aspirations to be able to do a 3 yr retreat. I think in general, karma is much more complex than one cause having one result in a vacuum. Past causes and present results condition both our choices and our perceptions, so experientially it's like a web of interdependence. I don't know how well I managed to get across what I was trying to here, though.

I do agree, though, that even among Buddhists who understand that karma is simply cause and result, it is very often used as a "catch-all" as you say. The reason for this is that the theory is easy to understand, but the actual interdependent reality of it is beyond our capacity to understand.

Whether or not "past karma" is a "useful" answer to the question of why kids develop autism I guess depends on what one was expecting in asking such a question, i.e. what one wants to do with that information. If one is simply wanting to know why it happens, then it seems like explaining past karma and the contributing circumstances that enable that karma to ripen is a straightforward, matter of fact reply. In that way it is useful because it answers the question. But if one is asking because one wants to know how to cure kids who already have autism, or one wants to have a baby and one wants to know if one can do anything to decrease the likelihood that it will develop autism, then past karma is not a useful answer because past karma is inexorable, so focusing on any available knowledge of the contributing conditions that enable that karma to manifest would be what's useful.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:14 am

Thank you. that was very nicely expressed.
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The Chinese characters are Fo (buddha) and Ming (bright). The image is of a student of Buddhism, who, imagining himself to be a monk, and not understanding the true meaning of the words takes the sound of the words literally. Likewise, People on web forums sometime seem to be foaming at the mouth.
Original painting by P.Volker /used by permission.
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Re: Existential Issues

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Jun 28, 2011 3:24 am

P..you make some very important points that merit discusssion on karma.
Your comment karma as excuse of sorts...well yes it is fine to be a snake but it is the animal realm and thusly a possibility for spiritual progression is not possible.
karma allows for good peoples to have bad things happen to them.This is our reality and the notion is not singular to buddhism and actually preceeds it.
It is how things are thought to be and to me, actually are.
Your comment on mind only..well of course that has no application in this specific.

Everything that happens to my opinion is a result of karma. Missing a flight is a immediate karmic effect but nevertheless karmic to me.
Past is all a gradient as I find we are always in the past in any event anyway.

No buddhist thought that I am familiar with states one is brain or another is brain.
Mind is the term used for purpose. We only see ourselves not others is the basis of that thinking.
Keep in mind perhaps the conception of negative or positive karma are all when judged found in the eye of the beholder. Karma literally meaning action..has no negative nor positive attached to it. It may be utilized as cause for effect of specific purpose, such as to provide a conducive environment for spiritual progression by effect but it in itself, is not positive or negative, it being but action. A engine from a plane may drop this moment and squash me. I take that as negative but it is as all other things are...neutral. I have been squashed by perceived random event. I opine, no random action ever occurs.
And every action event is not bad nor good. I can conjecture good or bad from such events. Truth is I know the ultimate effect of no thing.
What I do know is that karma exists and persists in all events I encounter.
AS it is not good nor bad it offers no excuse.
"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: Existential Issues

Postby purple rose » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:08 am

Temporarily locked.

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Re: Existential Issues

Postby purple rose » Wed Jun 29, 2011 2:28 am

rainbowtara wrote:Temporarily locked.

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MODERATOR NOTE

Owing to what appears to be some kind of misunderstanding in this topic, some posts have been removed.

Please stay on topic and refrain from making personal comments about other members.

Topic unlocked

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Re: Existential Issues

Postby Shane » Tue Jul 12, 2011 1:55 pm

Aemilius wrote:
Aemilius wrote:
ChangYuan wrote:Does anyone else ever go through a crisis, where you feel like maybe you should never have left the religion in which you were raised? I was very content and happy for a long time, and then suddenly went through some issues with lots of guilt and confusion. Has anyone else been through something like this?


I feel like reverting back to true atheism. You see what I mean?


What I mean is that in my youth, at school on history lessons and on my own, I was introduced to european filosophers like Voltaire, Rousseau, Bertrand Russel, Thomas Moore, Niezsche, Hegel, and so on... and the Buddha was introduced as one who belonged to this same line of atheist and rationalistic thinkers and philosophers, this was normal in 1960's and 1970's. Although people were aware that Buddhism exists as a religion, it didn't hinder you from seeing His message in this manner and in this light.


I would have to agree, although Buddhism seems more like a lifestyle than a religion. Through the healthy lifestyle and extreme awareness and concentration you are supposed to become mentally powerful and wise. Correct me if I'm wrong, but that is what I got out of it. Buddha was telling everyone not to believe things people told them unless they could be proven as fact, and not only from observation but by applying logic and understanding it from different angles while looking at the "big picture" an so forth.
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