Sometimes I wonder: if there were, say, one million years ago, the same kind of medical and psychological sciences as we have now.. Would there ever have been the emergence of "modern human" ? They'd probably have "treated" the deviation from the norm and squashed us, the descendants, at the root. Contemplate that for a while
I can't speak about anyone else's experience (despite trying!), as I only have the intellectualism from behind these eyes, but it would appear to be that once I accepted that I just wasn't built the same way as your average joe, and embraced what I was, I was happier then when I was trying to squeeze myself into a social mold as per the usual expectations, which caused more "suffering" than just being what I was. Hence my opinion as to the erroneous response of society's medical profession.. Or perhaps that has been influenced by my readings of other people's accounts that end with the same conclusion heh
Now, as for "past life karma", thanks to PadmaVonSamba for relaying the words of your teacher, it's good to see that the concept of 'karma' that I have been internalizing is on the right track, as opposed to the typical westerner Hollywood concept of karma I started out with
I fully accept that I either inherited or created (more likely both) some serious negative karma in the form of basic aggression. I did my best not to die after having a 3-year-old brain tumour removed recently, as I knew I'd fall into Hell if what makes sense is right. Much as any of us might like to believe 'was du geschlagen - zu Gott wird es dich tragen' (German lyrics by Mahler by the way), I've found more wisdom in this life.
What, then, explains why I was autistic as well as angry by nature in this life? If it wasn't karma, then was it pure chance, as a scientist would say? If so, then why is my temperament determined by karma while the mechanics of my mind aren't?
PadmaVonSamba, your lama's position looks like the reverse of Padmasambhava's(!):
If you want to see your past life, look to your present condition; If you want to see your future life, look to your present actions
Don't forget 'karma' means 'action'. I'm going to sound horribly patronising and so apologise in advance, but if your lama said something like 'karma right now is how you're dealing with your life, whereas the effects of karma is the life you have to deal with' then he meant what Padmasambhava wrote, not what you wrote (which was that the only effects of karma are your present choice of actions).
I can tell I'm no more intelligent than anyone else here, but my autistic mind is atleast good at logical nit-picking at verbal statements; not so good at fine-tuning responses so as not to hurt feelings
. Similarly, Seishin, in your post:
Going back to the OP's original question, the Pali scriptures say that it is not possible for one to know whether the condition we are born with is the result of previous karma (until we are enlightened). Furthermore, they state that not everything is the result of karma;
"If one says that in whatever way a person performs a kammic action, in that very same way he will experience the result — in that case there will be no (possibility for a) religious life and no opportunity would appear for the complete ending of suffering.
"But if one says that a person who performs a kammic action (with a result) that is variably experienceable, will reap its results accordingly — in that case there will be (a possibility for) a religious life and an opportunity for making a complete end of suffering."http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/auth ... fruit.html
In otherwords, if everything is the result of previous karma, then there'd be no way to escape our karma and we'd be caught in a vicious circle.
However, I am aware that there are some Pali and Mahayana sutras that say that the conditions we are born with are the result of previous karma. I personally do not believe this is true and prefer the explanation in the above sutra.
, I read the quoted scripture as meaning the opposite to what you thought it meant
, i.e. that all actions have karmic effects (albeit variable according to the nature of experience accompanying the action) - rather than that not all actions are determined by karma. I just took the passage at face value rather than interpreting what it mght imply, which is an autistic way of applying intelligence.
In the end, either possibility means the same for us - The three poisons inevitably cause suffering for ourselves as well as for others, while 'kusala' actions including acceptance -and this includes acceptance that a past being that only shared one's mindstream (and not one's current persona) may have unknowingly preformed 'akusala' actions that led to us suffering natural consequences in this
life- lead to happiness, giving us the opportunity to win freedom from the illusion of selfhood.