YOU CANNOT POST. OUR WEB HOSTING COMPANY DECIDED TO MOVE THE SERVER TO ANOTHER LOCATION. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN VIEW THIS VERSION WHICH DOES NOT ALLOW POSTING AND WILL NOT SAVE ANYTHING YOU DO ONCE THE OTHER SERVER GOES ONLINE.

A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth - Dhamma Wheel

A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths. What can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
Shonin
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 9:12 am

I'd like to raise this explanation up the flagpole for your responses.

According to traditional Buddhist explanations there is rebirth, however it is not rebirth of a permanent self (Atman). In fact, according to most interpretations, there is no permanent self that survives even from moment to moment. Rather, there is only karma and the fruit of karma which continues as a singular stream (or storehouse consciousness in some versions) and this stream influences future experiences both for this life and for the future being that inherits this karma. This is the traditional reply to the question of how there can be rebirth in Buddhism without a self.

OK, so far so good.

Now I'd appreciate if you could look at this alternative, if only as a thought experiment. There is a serious point to it.

In some way, the traditional account has to have the karma of each being isolated in an important sense from the rest of the universe and in particular from other sentient beings, otherwise beings would reap the fruit of one another's karma and the system would not function as described. Exactly how this is achieved; what medium karma is 'stored', 'communicated' or 'transported' in; and whether this isolation is perfect or just approaching perfect, is not made explicit in the suttas, although there is a degree of greater detail inserted in the various Abidhamma and Mahayana commentaries as they attempt to interpret the suttas.

Now, rather than imagining a singular, continuous stream, imagine that the trauma of death divides it into two. If you are tempted to dismiss this out of hand as a fantasy then simply acknowledge that if such a stream of karma exists and that it contains the potentialities generated by thousands of actions, then there is no logical contradiction with it's division and it is hard to exclude the possibility that such a stream could in principle be divided. Now, what if, rather than simply splitting in two, it divided into two copies of the original karma, just like genetic material being reproduced.

Now, imagine that each of these streams goes on to be inherited by a new being. How would that be experienced by those beings? The life experience of each one would be just the same as for regular karmic inheritance. It's just that there would be two beings with the same karma (and in the initial case each being would have only half the karma). Is this logically coherent? I don't see any reason why not. And even if that person can recall previous lives (ie. memories are inherited in some way too) then he or she will still have memories of a succession of 'ancestor lives' just the same as with the classical account.

'But which one would be me?' I hear you ask. However, there being no self to inherit the karma or which survives along with it, this is a meaningless question. However, it does reveal our tendencies to think in terms of a surviving self, when we think of karma.

In addition to these 'asexual' forms of karmetic reproduction, we can imagine other variations:

'Karma sutra': streams of karma split into two and each one combines with the half-stream from another 'person'. Thus each lifespan has fruit from two previous lives. 'Doesn't that mean I'll inherit another person's bad actions?' I hear you ask. Wrong question! Again this is based on the notion of a continuous surviving self. The question is meaningless. There is only the karma and the fruit of karma. No one owns it. There is no self that carries forward to claim it. The sense of self we may experience now is just the fruition of past karma, not a real transcendent self.

'karmic fission': on death, karma splits into dozens or thousands of streams, which go onto become/ be inherited by future beings. 'But which one will be the real me?' you ask. 'Wrong question' I reply.

Thoughts?

(Apologies for this to Buddha and Derek Parfit)
Last edited by Shonin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:41 pm, edited 2 times in total.

dhammapal
Posts: 1562
Joined: Sun Nov 01, 2009 9:23 am
Location: Sydney, Australia

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby dhammapal » Fri Oct 08, 2010 10:45 am

I love the Buddha's catch-all logic re speculative views:

"Is the agent who performs an act of kamma the same as the person experiencing
the result?"
"...someone else?"
"...both the same person and someone else?"
"...neither the same person nor someone else?"

With metta / dhammapal.






5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby 5heaps » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:49 am

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

Shonin
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:12 pm


User avatar
Dan74
Posts: 3012
Joined: Sun Mar 01, 2009 11:12 pm

Re: A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Dan74 » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:20 pm

An imaginative speculation, but what is the motivation for this?
_/|\_

Shonin
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 12:24 pm


5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby 5heaps » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:15 pm

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."

Shonin
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 1:29 pm

Last edited by Shonin on Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:52 pm, edited 2 times in total.

User avatar
Sobeh
Posts: 329
Joined: Tue Mar 16, 2010 3:35 am
Location: Salt Lake City, UT, US
Contact:

Re: A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Sobeh » Fri Oct 08, 2010 3:30 pm

Heads are gonna 'splode...

Individual
Posts: 1970
Joined: Mon Jan 12, 2009 2:19 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Individual » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:07 pm

The best things in life aren't things.


Shonin
Posts: 583
Joined: Wed Apr 28, 2010 5:11 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of kamma and rebirth

Postby Shonin » Fri Oct 08, 2010 4:13 pm


5heaps
Posts: 334
Joined: Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:19 am

Re: A new theory/interpretation of karma and rebirth

Postby 5heaps » Sun Oct 10, 2010 5:54 pm

A Japanese man has been arrested on suspicion of writing a computer virus that destroys and replaces files on a victim PC with manga images of squid, octopuses and sea urchins. Masato Nakatsuji, 27, of Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, was quoted as telling police: "I wanted to see how much my computer programming skills had improved since the last time I was arrested."


Return to “Connections to Other Paths”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 33 guests

Google Saffron, Theravada Search Engine