Collective karma

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
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Nicholas Weeks
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Group Karma

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Fri Jun 25, 2010 10:14 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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mudra
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Re: Group Karma

Postby mudra » Sat Jun 26, 2010 1:13 am


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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sat Jun 26, 2010 2:34 am

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Indrajala
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Indrajala » Sat Jun 26, 2010 3:14 am

Would it then not follow that on the reverse if people are united in a benevolent cause, such as saving lives, charitable activities and/or being of benefit to others, then all share in the merit of a single good action by a single individual?

I remember my Tibetan guru talking about this before. We're collectively creating the world we live in through our actions. The example he provided was the locks on a door -- in the beginning you didn't lock your door, then you added one, then two, then three, then an alarm system. I think for him, coming from Tibet and then rural India, the notion of home security was a bit strange. Our collective actions produce a society where people are terrified of being robbed, raped, killed and so on. One secondary result of that is the amount of locks on a door (and the home security systems).

The world as it exists is a result of the collective actions of all beings. It follows that if more and more people have positive thoughts and abandon evil actions, speech and thoughts, then the collective result will reflect that.
tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:51 am

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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mudra
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Re: Group Karma

Postby mudra » Sat Jun 26, 2010 12:49 pm


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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Sat Jun 26, 2010 4:42 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Re: Group Karma

Postby dave » Sun Jun 27, 2010 11:55 am


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Grigoris
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Grigoris » Wed Mar 23, 2011 12:22 pm

That there is a common effect for similar actions is beyond dispute, the teachings of the Buddha on kamma show this very clearly, and that karmic effect is modified by intention, the object that is acted upon (killing an arhat as opposed to killing a mosquito), the quantity and quality of the action and satisfaction gained from an action is also indisputable.

But to say that the karma vipakka will be indentical is going a bit too far.

Okay, the Abhidha...ma texts basically outline the limited range of sentient experience, so it can be said that since we are dealing with such a limited range of experience then the combinations that can occur are also limited and that there is a distinct possibility that the karma vipakka for a group of individuals engaged in the same action may be similar. But I think the term "similar" is of importance here. The abovementioned passages seem to say that the karma vipakka will be the same. This, I feel that this is too far fetched. Why? Because sentient beings have been cycling through samsara forever, so the possibility that their individual mind streams will bring about an identical outcome is kinnda difficult to believe.

If one looks to the Abhidha...ma "lists" one finds a limited but still seemingly vast array of experiences, if one combines these with the structures of dependency outlined in the Patthanuddesa Dipani http://www.dharmaweb.org/index.php/The_ ... _Relations then the possible number combinations shoot right off the end of the scale!

Though I don't find the theory of group karma improbable the lack of references to it in Sutta and Sutra leads me to believe that it is a later development in Buddhist theory which, of course, is not a negative trait but is a point of concern. Maybe the theory requires better elucidation/analysis based on realisations?
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Group Karma

Postby Tilopa » Thu Mar 24, 2011 12:06 am

All the teachings I have received on this subject have included an explanation of 'collective karma' where groups of individuals share the same general experience. For example all those affected by the recent earthquake and tsunami or the Tibetans being invaded and oppressed by the Chinese. For sure individual karma affects each persons specific experience so that some die, some don't and so forth but why does something like that happen to a group, tribe, family or whatever? Collective karma.

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Re: Group Karma

Postby ground » Thu Mar 24, 2011 5:06 am

Being mindful everyone may experience "group karma" in one's own sphere. It is the way of perceiving and fabricating what arises. Education, school, media ... being member of this or that group ... just watching one's habits and challenge these can reveal the being conditioned by the karma of other individuals and the absorption of habits that are more or less dominant in the collective one is born into and the sub-collective(s) one "chooses" (?!) to associate with.

Mindfulness on the other hand is the way to become independent of "collective" karma in the same way it is a method to stop the workings of one's individual karma. Actually the borderline between "collective" karma and "individual" karma cannot be drawn. Why? Neither can be identified as such.


kind regards

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Re: Group Karma

Postby Grigoris » Thu Mar 24, 2011 7:51 am

"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Nicholas Weeks
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Nicholas Weeks » Fri Feb 10, 2012 4:38 pm

A bodhisattva does not become weary of evil beings nor does he commit the error of bringing forth thoughts inclined to reject them and cast them aside. Avatamsaka Sutra, ch. 25

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Grigoris
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Re: Group Karma

Postby Grigoris » Sat Feb 11, 2012 9:05 am

It seems to me that what he is talking about is not an "overflow" of the outcome but the outcome acting on the individuals mindstream in such a way as that it acts as a cause for (or colours) their next action.

Like, for example, as a consequence of a former action a negative outcome manifests which "causes" me to get angry and thus act in a negative manner again, thus being a cause for the suffering of others. Or another example may be: the outcome of a meritorious act is that I gain material wealth and then I use this material wealth for the benefit of others. The others are benefiting from my action of donation which, the consequence of previous merit, allows me the capacity of benefiting others. ie They benefit from my action . I could have had a positive outcome (gaining wealth) but act greedily and hoard it. The outcome of the previous merit is manifest (wealth) but my actions do not allow others to benefit from it. I could have negative outcomes, but choose to deal with them personally (overcome their effect on my mindstream) and thus not affect those around me negatively.
:namaste:
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: Group Karma

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Feb 11, 2012 11:20 am

Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats

lotwell
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Collective karma

Postby lotwell » Sat Nov 10, 2012 11:22 am

Is there any historical or sutric basis for such a concept or is it merely a figment of modern syncretic blending of religious ideas?

with love,

Lotwell

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Indrajala
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Re: Collective karma

Postby Indrajala » Sat Nov 10, 2012 12:01 pm

tad etat sarvajñānaṃ karuṇāmūlaṃ bodhicittahetukam upāyaparyavasānam iti |

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Re: Collective karma

Postby joda » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:11 pm


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Aemilius
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Re: Collective karma

Postby Aemilius » Sat Nov 10, 2012 1:48 pm

The term collective karma is found in the 100 000 Songs of Milarepa, when Milarepa is discussing with an indian yogi the difference between tibetan and indian collective karma. I don't know the corresponding tibetan word, the idea seems to exist in older buddhist sources too. It is a sensitive question, you would have to define it more accurately: what is collective karma?

There certainly are basic tendencies that you will have because you have been born and educated in Africa, in America, or in Europe. These are a result of common values and common habitual views and national customs. They become so inbred that you are hardly even conscious of them. Presumably you didn't have them before your birth into that particular life, so what are they? Collective karmic patterns, maybe? Or did you take birth there because you already had some of them? As a not-yet-manifest habitual tendency.

And: is there karma that is a result of collective action, like what a whole nation does? There are examples of collective action in Jataka Tales, and the collective results of these actions.
svaha

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KathyLauren
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Re: Collective karma

Postby KathyLauren » Sat Nov 10, 2012 7:58 pm

Karma is individual and personal. However, several people can perform similar actions with similar motivations and therefore experience similar consequences (perhaps in a single event). "Collective karma" is simply a somewhat misleading term for these similarities. It does not mean that there is some causal connection, or that my action causes your consequence.

Om mani padme hum
Keith


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