In my blog “Karma, maybe it doesn’t mean what we thought it did….?” I challenged the conventional interpretation of Karma. This wasn’t a flight of fancy on my part where I just made up my own idea of what it means. I think that in that blog I sufficiently showed that there was something wrong with the commonly held beliefs about Karma. I tried to understand the traditional views about it but I just could not correlate them with the rest of the Buddha’s teachings. So I set about trying to determine which parts did line up and which didn’t. One of the first problems I had with the traditional view of Karma is that it leaves things open for others to feel that whoever is having a bad time in life was just “getting what they deserved for some indiscretion in their current or past life. Where is the Karuna (Compassion) in that way of thinking? It also lets everyone off the hook to do anything to help the person in need because “who can mess with Karma right?” It isn’t your fault this is happening to them, it is theirs. Also in order for Karama to work in the traditional sense there would have to be a score keeper. Someone or something that permanently tracks who is doing what and then makes sure that they get the payback that is due. There is ample evidence that this idea fly’s in the face of many of the Buddha’s core teachings. What I demonstrated in that past blog was that Karma not only literally means action, it is ACTION! Any and all action we take will have an effect on the universe as a whole and all of us in it. If we take positive action it is likely to influence the world in a positive way. The important part here is that if we take “no action” we have no influence. Let me say that again “if we take “no action” we have no influence”!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I recently read a blog by someone I feel is certainly one of the best writers I have come across. Not only is he a master of the English language to a degree that I will never attain but he really has something important to say. And the beauty of the ideas that he conveys is that they are straight from the heart with no filter. There are times when it is important to get the truth as hard as it may be to take instead of the syrupy, unintelligent, politically motivated, narrow minded, totally partisan, brain washing, mind numbing crap that you get on the nightly news every night!!!! You can read the blog on this site:
The blogs title is “Hypocrisy”
The gist of the blog is that the Buddhist community as a whole talks about love and compassion but in the midst of all the various calamities going on in the world they seem to remain silent. They seem to be happily meditating away in some darkened room or dedicating some new stupa someone is erecting, or maybe giving lectures on Karuna (Compassion) and its central place in the Dharma. One reason I believe things are like this is that there is, what I believe to be false, a notion about Karma that absolves us all of any responsibility. Let me ask you, we have been seeing night after night on the news about the calamity and suffering cause by hurricane Harvey. Do you think it makes any sense that all those thousands of people affected “ALL” did something in the past or past lives that made them deserve what has happened to them? That idea is beyond ludicrous!
In my interpretation of Karma an uncountable series of actions since the beginning of time resulted in the conditions to be right for that hurricane to arise and also for those particular people to be at that place at that time. The Buddha implored us to use our minds to determine for ourselves what is true. So I ask you now, “Which makes more sense to you?”
The reason that it matters is that if you go with the first interpretation you can all just go back to meditating in your dark room and wait for it all to be over. If you agree with the second you can see that any positive action you take now can change the universe and help lessen the suffering of all these people affected. You have the innate power to change it!!! This shouldn’t be limited to the hurricane either. Our country and the rest of the world is facing huge challenges in the years to come. These are not left or right issues, so stop listening to your partisan news channel no matter what flavor you chose! We in America are so lucky and most of our population do not have a clue how lucky they are. Most of you have never seen a communist country up close to know the difference. You have the power to make a change through your “Action” and your vote. There were countless people on one side having kittens over the result of the last presidential election. But very oddly when they were then asked if they voted they answered a resounding “NO”! A huge portion of our society did not even bother to get up off the comfy couch and go to the voting booth. They just wanted to sit back and complain about the results. Well at least these folks have somewhat of an excuse as the vast majority are not Buddhist and do not know anything about Karma. The other thing that we have, or are supposed to have, is free speech! Don’t get me going on this one!!! Free speech means just that, free. Not free if we like it! We have to be willing to protect with our lives (as our military members do) the most foul offensive speech that anyone can conjure up in order to protect our own speech. There is no debate about this. If you think there is just keep trying to stifle other people’s speech. One day when the majority swings against you it will be your speech that is on the chopping block and your head getting cracked open with that club. Violence is not the way to deal with speech you do not like, speech is! If you cannot form a logical argument to convince others that your ideas are right then maybe you really don’t believe what you think you believe, and need to rethink your position. There has been violence on both sides of all the recent debates and it all needs to stop. Don’t try to justify it just because the side that you are on is the one doing it. And if you did live in that communist country that I mentioned before we wouldn’t even be having this discussion because there is no free speech and generally there isn’t freedom of religion either so we probably wouldn’t be Buddhist anyway! What is all of this with the left and the right anyway? Most western Buddhist I come across seem to be hard left. Most Asian Buddhist are much more conservative. Why does it have to be like this? Doesn’t anyone remember the Buddha’s teachings on Non-duality and the Middle way? If all of your idea’s are completely on one side, how can that be the middle way? You should already know that something is wrong or out of balance.
I mention in one of my earlier blogs that when learning what the Buddha taught you have to pay attention to who he was speaking to. This is because most of the recorded sermons were directed toward the monastic community. The monks separate themselves from society to focus solely on spiritual development. So they need to withdraw from the world at least in the beginning of their practice. But this withdrawal was never meant for the laity. It was understood that we had a different set of responsibilities. We had families to take care of, jobs to work to earn a living so we could survive. We are also supposed to help take care of the monastics so that they do not have to worry about these things so that they can develop spiritually and teach the rest of us. So we need to worry about all these events in the world because we need to worry about ours and our neighbor’s livelihood. So on top of having the misunderstanding about Karma let’s not misunderstand who the Buddha was talking to when he mentions withdrawing from the world. That is not our place.
So give this some thought and see if it makes sense to you. If it does do something about what is going on around you. To me this is Karma in action. The Desertcurmudgeon acted, it caused me to think and act, if we can get others to do the same it is proof that we create our own Karma and have the power to change the universe. Do something that matters!!!!!!!!!