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question on karma, free will, souls

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posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:23 AM
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At times I think that our individuality is nothing more than a useful abstraction created by our brains. Buddhism and Hinduism seem to have that view, but they also seem to believe in karma, free will with moral responsibility, reincarnation of an individual soul, etc. That seems to be a contradiction, but I don't know much about those beliefs.

Just wondering if somebody can explain how these ideas fit together.




posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:33 AM
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Karma doesnt exist.

What does exist, and maybe the word Karma is used to represent this matter, is. . If you surround your self with dikheads, your going to end up been a dikhead and dikhead things happen to dikheads

whereas, if you surround your self with positive people, who are nice people - you only get nice things happen to you, you eliminate the dikheads

Karma doesn't exist in the sense of, i'll open the door for this lady and maybe some one will do it for me, thats just luck - infact luck doesn't exist, its just probability, probability which when taking the above into account, not been a dikhead and surrounding your self with nice people - the probability of something good happening to you, heightens, vice verca.

sorry if i didnt make sense, i hardly ever do

peace x



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:35 AM
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Originally posted by cloudyday
At times I think that our individuality is nothing more than a useful abstraction created by our brains. Buddhism and Hinduism seem to have that view, but they also seem to believe in karma, free will with moral responsibility, reincarnation of an individual soul, etc. That seems to be a contradiction, but I don't know much about those beliefs.

Just wondering if somebody can explain how these ideas fit together.


What exactly is contradicting? Free will with moral responsibility is not a contradiction, your given free will to do what you wish and karma is the balancing force so in your free will you decide to be bad you will have bad karma, if you decide with your free will to do good things then you will have good karma. Do good things and good things will happen to you, do bad things and bad things will happen to you.
edit on 19-12-2011 by mileslong54 because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:41 AM
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Originally posted by n00bUK
Karma doesnt exist.

What does exist, and maybe the word Karma is used to represent this matter, is. . If you surround your self with dikheads, your going to end up been a dikhead and dikhead things happen to dikheads

whereas, if you surround your self with positive people, who are nice people - you only get nice things happen to you, you eliminate the dikheads

Karma doesn't exist in the sense of, i'll open the door for this lady and maybe some one will do it for me, thats just luck - infact luck doesn't exist, its just probability, probability which when taking the above into account, not been a dikhead and surrounding your self with nice people - the probability of something good happening to you, heightens, vice verca.

sorry if i didnt make sense, i hardly ever do

peace x


I somewhat agree, what i disagree on is that, Karma is not about people around but how you look at other people. By doing good things you influence things and thought done by you(your mind). Keep your mind happy is the best thing to having a good health, saving or helping someone in the process is just a bonus which makes people have positive thoughts about you

lol, i guess i didn't make sense either.



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:47 AM
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reply to post by cloudyday
 


Hey

Look at enlightenment tribe on sig, 4 good videos from Professor Thurman (translator to Dalia Lama), some books and guides etc.

As you are exploring this is strongly suggest Alan Watts and all his work, it is huge and Audio is much better than written where his style can be too intellectual.

The Man









Also you cant go far wrong with the following:

The Robert Thurman Podcasts

His Blog

This is a MUST SEE:



An Interesting and Loving Place

Dharmanet Home all things Buddhist lots of resources and links and forums :-)

AS Above HinduNet all things Hindu

Beware of false prophets, especially online, if choosing an teacher or Guru eventually make sure you watch him/her closely for at least 3 but really 5 or 7 years before accepting them, only take teachings from those who have got the badge walked the walk etc...

Om Mani Padme Hum

May you only find true teachers, and quickly attain enlightenment for the benefit of all beings


Love

Karma Tashi Tsering
Elf
edit on 19-12-2011 by MischeviousElf because: spelling



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 11:50 AM
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Budhism is rational thought and observation as it pertains to your world around you. It allows YOU to dictate what is and is not correct within your own life experience.

Many soul searchers find that reincarnation is a reality for them, so it fits into budhism.

Free will..... we all have it.
It is the ability to explore the world and descide for yourself what is "truth".

Karma, what you put out comes back to you.....

This also goes with reincarnation. I cannot explain other than to give my own experience as an example.

My last lifetime I trained dogs for the military. I was killed by one of my animals after a pack escaped. My throat was ripped out during recapturing the animals. The alpha got me.

It carried over into this lifetime as a very intense fear of dogs with no rational explination for it....until I remembered...

The fear left, and now instead of fear, I show respect.



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 12:04 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


Thanks, I will check-out those videos this evening.

The contradiction I see is between the idea that the ego is an illusion on the one hand versus the idea that each person has an individual soul with an individual free will and karma individually bringing your actions back on you. (Again, I don't know much about Buddhism or Hinduism, but that is my simple understanding.)

I tend to think there is no individual. Any free will making decisions comes from a universal consciousness. You hurt your neighbour and you are really hurting yourself because it's just one part of the universe hurting another part of the universe. That seems more consistent with the idea that ego is an illusion.



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 12:14 PM
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Why do you even want to restrict yourself to teachings of any belief system? Start meditating and find out the real truth. Your truth. We can sit here and talk about dogma and orthodoxy and all the rest, but you will never know your truth until you go in search of it. Spoiler alert! It resides within you. lol

There is no such thing, really, as karma. There are energies. We are energies. We are energies that interact with and affect energies as we too are affected. This is what is really meant by karma. It's all about energies. There really is nothing else. The elegance is simply breathtaking.



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 12:27 PM
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I don't believe in Karma as an actual force, like gravity but I do see it as an psycho/social-logical effect.

Lets take the bankers for example, for too long they were playing around with peoples lives and futures. They have been borderline criminal! And as a Karmic consequence they (bankers) were all strung up from the lamp-post.....wait that hasn't happened yet has it?

What I am saying is if Karma is real, then it isn't doing a very good job. I have known bad things to happen to good people and good things happen to the bad.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be good. It feels good to be good.

ALS
edit on 19-12-2011 by ALOSTSOUL because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 01:12 PM
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reply to post by cloudyday
 

An pleasure. This is an often misunderstood part of Buddhism & Hinduism esp on the net and "new age" as such teachings, that the idea of "self" or "soul" or not.
It is really the crux the only difference between the two, both in terms of the practitioner and any "deity" or "god" and worship on or of thereof, that is the crux is just how these two are seen.

To try and shine light on this simply, the "you" "identity" "soul" "personality" "spark" "Mr Jones" is seen to have some validity, an essence and seperate "thing" that carries on, cant ever be killed or die, exists of its own volition external from needing other things or conditions to allow it to be as such, in Hinduism.

This relates then logically to the practitioners and faithfuls "frame of reference" or "viewpoint" to their Hindu Gods to, the Pantheon so they are then seen in that way and worshiped in that way to.

So they are worshiped as seperate "out there" "Divine" "God" like beings in the same way as Christians, Muslims & Jews do, but with an Sprinkling of thousands of these gods.

Just as Jesus was an Jew when younger and practicing in temples debate from some text, and evolved the religion as such to Christianity, Buddha just did the same with the Wisdom of India and the surrounding countries, mainly Hinduism and advanced Yoga into Buddhism.

Jesus brought the Compassion to the angry and worshiped sacrificed to old God of the OT ie no sacrifices in Christianity, not part of the doctrine, same Buddha stopped animal sacrifices and such like in his doctrine, and also refuted that this separate soul exists as such, this illusion of an "I" or even "soul" "Spirit" but from its own side, it can only exist dependent upon circumstances, other things than itself, itself also being made up of lots of other things!

Now he refused to talk much about the "Creator" or "God" but his implication and teachings also suggest the same around that an "dieties" or Buddhist gods worshiped when advanced in practice are realised to be an part of oneself and not separate, no "I" implies that all is one.

This was found to be true by the Great Tibetan Yogi Jetsun Milarepa and hopefully the following will show properly this fundamental difference in "views" or "perceptions" from Buddhist and Hindu practitioners. It also is often overlooked by many from the west who get into Buddhism, esp style gurus, it is fundamental and what allows even you or I lol to become enlightened in this lifetime if we so choose with enough tenacity:


Jetsün Milarepa spent the greater part of his life meditating in utter solitude in various caves. While meditating intensively in the cave that has come to be known as Chubar Dzong, which is situated between Tibet and Nepal, a group of non-humans appeared to him, among them the very powerful tshe-ring-mched-lnga, the ‘Five Sisters of Long Life.’ Seeing them, Milarepa recounted, “When I meditated in other caves, I made offerings and praised the local deities and spirits, like the Lords of Mountains. I didn’t make a torma (‘a ritual cake’) or offer tea, barley, or other nice things to the local deities here because I owned nothing. Perhaps this is why these mighty spirits are coming to me here.”

After he realized this, they didn’t leave but became fiercer and more threatening. Milarepa prayed to the Three Jewels, but it didn’t stop them from approaching. He prayed to the yidam deities and protectors, which didn’t change things either. He fervently repeated mantras, but things didn’t get better. He couldn’t even pacify the demons and terrifying ghosts with his melodious voice. On the contrary, they came nearer to him, grew bigger and bigger, and became very wrathful. One demon shouted: “You yogi. Your voice may be melodious, but I want to eat your flesh.”

Another demon bellowed: “I want to drink your blood. I will squish and kill you. You will see.”

They came nearer and nearer, looked him straight in the eyes, and became more vicious and threatening than imaginable. In response to their rage, clouds darkened the sky, the earth quaked strongly, and the thick walls of Milarepa’s cave rattled and shook – he was afraid.


contd



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 01:19 PM
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contd...


Realizing that all his attempts to appease the foul spirits were in vain, Milarepa turned his attention inwards, reflected, and thought, “Aren’t all outer and inner appearances of conditionality manifestations of our own mind? Isn’t it so that there are no appearances outside our own mind? Isn’t everything an illusory appearance of our own mind and in truth doesn’t exist?”

He continued contemplating and thought, “Who said this? Lord Buddha said this in many Sutras and Tantras and it is stated in commentaries on his words, too.”

Then Milarepa remembered his exalted Root Lama, Marpa Lotsawa, and recalled that he had given him the same instructions and again and again taught: “All things without exception are the appearance of our own mind. All outer phenomena that we perceive, like forms, sounds, scents, etc., are nothing but manifestations of our own mind. Mind’s essence, ngo-bo, is empty of inherent existence and its nature, rang-bzhin, is clear light. Not knowing that the true nature of our mind is free of mental constructs, that it is emptiness, and that it is brilliant clear light means being deluded.”

Milarepa also remembered that Marpa Lotswa had said:
“The fundamental nature of our mind as it is, gnäs-lugs, is phyag-rgya-chen-po, Mahamudra.”

Having brought the Mahamudra teachings he had received from Marpa Lotsawa to mind, Milarepa recognized and thought, “Clinging to the assumption that the fierce demons and threatening ghosts that are appearing to me are outer appearances is an illusion. They are nothing but a manifestation of my own mind. I am only afraid of them because I am deluded, ‘khrul-pa.”

After Milarepa had settled his mind on the practice of Mahamudra, he was able to experience perfect fearlessness and could abide in steadfast valour. He looked into the faces of the malevolent beings and told them: “There’s no reason for me to be afraid of your vicious and threatening outbursts. If you want to eat my flesh and drink my blood, I offer my body to you and I hope it tastes good. Everyone born inevitably dies. No matter what, I will die one day, so it makes no difference to me what you do.”
Distinguishing the Provisional from the Definitive in the Light of Mahamudra

So he pacified the "demons".

An traditional monotheistic or pantheistic religion always sees these beings as separate, Gnostiscism is the Buddhist Christian Way and probably what Jesus taught and was, but that is the fundamental oft overlooked difference between Buddhism and practically all other religions

NO Self
NO God
And this is one of Buddhas main teachings on it


"He who knows the nature of self
and understands how the senses act,
finds no room for selfishness,
and thus he will attain peace unending.
The world holds the thought of self,
and from this arises false apprehension. [7]

"Some say that the self endures after death, some say it perishes.
Both are wrong and their error is most grievous. [8]

"For if they say the self is perishable,
the fruit they strive for will perish too,
and at some time there will be no hereafter.
Good and evil would be indifferent.
This salvation from selfishness is without merit. [9]

"When some, on the other hand,
say the self will not perish,
then in the midst of all life and death
there is but one identity unborn and undying.
If such is their self,
then it is perfect and cannot be perfected by deeds.
The lasting, imperishable self could never be changed.
The self would be lord and master,
and there would be no use in perfecting the perfect;
moral aims and salvation would be unnecessary. [10]

"But now we see the marks of joy and sorrow.
Where is any constancy?
If there is no permanent self that does our deeds,
then there is no self;
there is no actor behind our actions,
no perceiver behind our perception,
no lord behind our deeds. [11]

"Now attend and listen:
The senses meet the object
and from their contact sensation is born.
Thence results recollection.
Thus, as the sun's power through a burning-glass causes fire to appear,
so through the cognizance born of sense and object,
the mind originates and with it the ego, the thought of self,
whom some Brahman teachers call the lord.
The shoot springs from the seed;
the seed is not the shoot,
both are not one and the same,
but successive phases in a continuous growth.
Such is the birth of animated life. [12]

"Ye that are slaves of the self and toil in its service from morn until night,
ye that live in constant fear of birth, old age, sickness, and death,
receive the good tidings that your cruel master exists not. [13]

"Self is an error, an illusion, a dream.
Open your eyes and awaken.
See things as they are
and ye will be comforted. [14]

"He who is awake will no longer be afraid of nightmares.
He who has recognized the nature of the rope
that seemed to be a serpent will cease to tremble. [15]

edit on 19-12-2011 by MischeviousElf because: ex tags link spelling layout



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 01:20 PM
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reply to post by ALOSTSOUL
 


What if bankers are the ones who are exacting that karmic "punishment", as people seem to think of the whole thing, by proving that "a fool and his money are soon parted"? What if they are doing their job? You cannot see the big picture. Karma, in any case, doesn't happen the next minute or in the next year or decade or even lifetime. This is why the concept of karma is "wrong" according to those who really only have a glancing overview of it. It's actually a lot deeper and more pervasive than that.



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 01:23 PM
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contd


"He who has found there is no self
will let go all the lusts and desires of egotism. [16]

"The cleaving to things, covetousness,
and sensuality inherited from former existences,
are the causes of the misery and vanity in the world. [17]

"Surrender the grasping disposition of selfishness,
and you will attain to that calm state of mind
which conveys perfect peace, goodness, and wisdom." [18]

And the Buddha breathed forth this solemn utterance: [19]

"Do not deceive, do not despise
Each other, anymore.
Do not be angry, nor should ye
Secret resentment bear;
For as a mother risks her life
And watches o'er her child,
So boundless be your love to all,
So tender, kind and mild. [20]

"Yea, cherish good-will right and left,
All round. early and late,
And without hinderance, without stint,
From every free and hate,
While standing, walking, sitting down,
Whate'er you have in mind,
The rule of life that's always best
Is to be loving-kind. [21]
The Gospel of Buddha

Now through reincarnation it is seen that some traits and natures as such go from lifetime to lifetime but it is not an soul or an separate entity as such, as an rain drop is not an rain drop anymore when it enters the ocean.

I should stop here as enough information, hope ive pointed you in the right directions, always go to the source, beware internet gurus and enlightened ones of all types particularly the permanent smile, unless they have spent an lot of time in retreat


Om Tare Tuttare Ture Soho
Love

Elf



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 02:17 PM
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I'd like to thank the members here who have posted such wonderful links. As a newcomer to Buddhism, there is a lot to learn. No one knows how much time we have left to gather the most important concepts and put them into practice. Right now I don't have a guru (I'm leaning toward the Kagyupa sect), so everything I can learn is advancement taken. Tashi delek, to all!
edit on 19-12-2011 by lowundertheradar because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 19 2011 @ 07:53 PM
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reply to post by MischeviousElf
 


Thanks, I think those replies do a lot to answer my questions. To be honest I have an irrational fear of Hinduism and Buddhism, and I want to diffuse that fear by learning something about those religions. Buddhism makes perfect sense to me intellectually so far.

What are the main religious texts in Buddhism and Hinduism? I tried reading the dhammapada but I've noticed different translations are radically different. Also the parts I have read seem a little pedantic and dull. What books were you quoting from?

Actually at my level of ignorance, I think a good text book about different religions might help.

edit on 19-12-2011 by cloudyday because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2011 @ 02:53 AM
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Sorry to be late to this thread, missed it somehow.
I am not sure for Buddhism, but for Hinduism the Vedas are the main books so to speak. Then there are a lot of other books as well.

But If I were to recommend I would recommend the Bhagvat Gita. Hindu belief about the soul and karma and reincarnation is very well explained there.

You can think of karma as an extension of the justice system (well a balanced and fair system) .
Free will and karma are not mutually exclusive, you have free will to do what you will, but must have the responsibility to face the consequences either good or bad.



posted on Dec, 20 2011 @ 02:54 AM
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Sorry to be late to this thread, missed it somehow.
I am not sure for Buddhism, but for Hinduism the Vedas are the main books so to speak. Then there are a lot of other books as well.

But If I were to recommend I would recommend the Bhagvat Gita. Hindu belief about the soul and karma and reincarnation is very well explained there.

You can think of karma as an extension of the justice system (well a balanced and fair system) .
Free will and karma are not mutually exclusive, you have free will to do what you will, but must have the responsibility to face the consequences either good or bad.



posted on Dec, 20 2011 @ 03:47 AM
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If you think of reincarnation as a tree, then you are a combination of many souls and memories from the past.

Karma can be seen as a complex system of behaviours and interactions on the emotional and physical scale, such as the laws of physics, there are innate principles that govern human behaviour and interactions and their repurcussions in the physical world.

That being said, there is the one consciousness that is shared by all, and it can think creativley, which is the mode by which one can escape or evade or deliver oneself from specific karmic consequences.
edit on 20-12-2011 by SystemResistor because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 20 2011 @ 04:02 AM
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This my brother is a great question? To this day man cant physically understand how the brain, like it dose with so many other thousands of reactions, creates the concept of individualism. Just like each new computer asembled man to is created and in many a sense shares similar parts. Just as hardware physicaly produces so dose our internal organs, such as our software produces so dose our cellular level. Blood runs through my veins connecting with every piece of tissuse passing on life, just as electricity flows through the circuits that allow ware to be. Yet man exhibits conciousness on a higher level then most life is capable to precieve, how could this be? Well lobes of our brain cordinate electrical impulses that produce reaction. So when i think about the idea of speaking i understand that the "wordsalad" lobe, which is also responsible for several other priorites, gives my conciousness the ability to pull words out of thin air to produce speech of any language, but i dont ever recall searching for such a response, it just is. This now tells me that threw the concept of subconciousness, with contact to the physical brain, produces reactions we need not comprehend, to have occured. Knowing this helps guide us to the answer you seek. Cause now as spiritual beings were going look into the notion of oneness and how it is esablished through the example above. Our conciousness ,which is created through literaly thousands of other beings known as cells, which make up tissues, which make up organs. Creating in the end a one being that is only aware of what "its" capable of preciving as reality with assistance of its physical hardware, your eyes, mouth and tounge, touch sensors embeded in your skin from your nervous system. That physical state is to how our now one concious state is to the earth. We both create within it, its our world, at times some of us can see out side of it, as we see into space our ocular cells give us the ability to look into what our reality is. The point of all this is to reach out on a subconcious level, to have your concious state grab hold of notions from thin air unknowingly pushed through a vibratory state, while your hooked up to a third source, the "god" like state. This state is where what you precieve as individualism comes from. Its your essence, are you a mass produced to work towards the one state or are you a cancer eating away at what already is. Your state of conciousness acts just like this to our world which we inturn must also be connected , as our cells to our brian, and our brain to the sub concious, as our conciousness to the earth and what ever life it may produce. We are god all of us as one we make this world work, through the logic of nature are one state is connected to another one state we are all unaware of. This state guides us to true purpose of being, except it is possible for man to hear for what it calls. Now take two advil and re evaluate what is, and from there produce what should be.



posted on Dec, 20 2011 @ 04:28 AM
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Originally posted by ALOSTSOUL
I don't believe in Karma as an actual force, like gravity but I do see it as an psycho/social-logical effect.

Lets take the bankers for example, for too long they were playing around with peoples lives and futures. They have been borderline criminal! And as a Karmic consequence they (bankers) were all strung up from the lamp-post.....wait that hasn't happened yet has it?

What I am saying is if Karma is real, then it isn't doing a very good job. I have known bad things to happen to good people and good things happen to the bad.

But that doesn't mean you shouldn't be good. It feels good to be good.

ALS
edit on 19-12-2011 by ALOSTSOUL because: (no reason given)


You are leaving reincarnation out of your equasion. One does not necesarrily (in fact rarely) pay off the karma in the same lifetime as in which the actions are done. That is why some people are born into great comfort and others are born into absolute misery and suffering. They are paying off karma from previous lifetimes.

Rest assured, the bankers will pay very dearly for what they do wrong. Each and every one. However, you will not get to know about it.

Another intersting fact about karma is that it is karma (both postive and negative) that acts as the deciding factor on who we are born to, who our brothers and sisters are, and even who we marry. But, as we are in control of the karma we create (not the karma we pay) we are in a sense in control of the people that play major roles in our lives.

Karma is a natural law of nature. It is there, and does not need you to believe in it be so. It just is.

What you sow you will reap. There is no escape.



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