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Old 09-11-2011, 11:38 AM   #1
Immonnaornach

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Default A perspective on Karma and Free Will
A perspective on Karma and Free Will

By Aik Theng Chong


" It is said, a view into space is at the same time a view into the past. Space is visible time, however visible only in one direction.

We can see worlds which are thousands of light years away and one day we may find out that one of them is our own world, not as it is now but many millions of years ago. If we look into space in a starry night, it is not a universe of the present but that of a past that we are seeing. It is a universe in which the different parts do not even exist simultaneously though it is seen in the same moment.

As it is now, we are living more in the past than in the present. Our body themselves are actually the visible appearance of our pass consciousness. It is actually materialized karma, the consciousness of past moment of existence made visible.

Karma is but the acting principle of our consciousness, which as effect becomes visible appearance, this appearance is thus essentially ‘past’. The position of the body as the product of a passed consciousness and also as a basis of the present one give rise in us one part that is conscious and subject to our will such as our movement, speech, action and functioning of our mind, and another unconscious part such as the growth and decay of our body."

Continued here:

http://www.buddhistchannel.tv/index....,10442,0,0,1,0


Any Comments?
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Old 09-11-2011, 12:21 PM   #2
CoenceLomneedtrue

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I'm finding it hard to distill a clear message out of it. Maybe this is a language problem or it might be that ATC's and my perspectives are too different. There are some statements I'd agree strongly with, though, such as kamma being psychological rather than metaphysical.
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Old 09-12-2011, 06:09 AM   #3
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Typical word salad.

A thousand words that say nothing.
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Old 09-12-2011, 09:32 AM   #4
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Well known facts framed into a search for modern ways to spread the Dharma...why not?
It seems to me that modern interpreters and teachers struggle with common traditional expressions. Perhaps Aik Theng Chong tries to spread the message of 4 noble truths across to the new age generation of ignorant seekers? Maybe some self acclaimed or elected teachers feel the urge to create new suttas for people of this century? Which is nonsense of course since the teachings are clear and understandable and proven by practice.
Perhaps they just want to start a debate about how to reach out into what we consider modern ways of life?
This can be fruitful or could have the undesirable effect of watering down the Buddha's teachings. Sure it works in both directions.
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Old 09-12-2011, 10:36 PM   #5
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To the Buddhists, Free Will is a freedom inside the limits of Necessity, namely the necessity of retribution based on the Law of Causality. This is Hinduism.


It is the freedom to move within the boundaries of causation, a freedom inside the prison of Dependent Origination.
One has to wonder if the author has ever heard of the Buddha's teaching of paticcanirodha.


Life itself is a constant movement towards an issue in final deliverance. It is an evolution of our moral progress. When all good deeds have brought their fruition as in the Law of Karma, final deliverance will be attained in Nirvana. This is Hinduism.

The absolute is reached, causation than become extinct and Free Will, will become an inconsequential factor in one’s life. The Buddha did not teach that "causation becomes extinct". This is nonsense.

Acting without the influence of ignorance and paticcasamuppada is precisely "Free Will"; the "will" is freed from these influences.


Fortunately, our consciousness can partake in both the present and future if given the opportunity, and can free us from the burden of the past which are subjected to the law of cause and effect and the necessity of retribution. This is Hinduism.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:40 AM   #6
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@ Stuka...

Instead of just pointing out that ‘This is Hinduism, and that is also Hinduism’, why not in your own words tell us what should be the correct Buddhist interpretation of these statements then?

The Buddha did not teach that "causation becomes extinct". This is nonsense.
The whole statement should be read in conjunction with the four simple words’ The absolute is reached’, or is it a deliberate way of leaving it out so that you can claim the rest of the statement to be nonsense?
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Old 09-13-2011, 01:19 PM   #7
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@ Stuka...

Instead of just pointing out that ‘This is Hinduism, and that is also Hinduism’, why not in your own words tell us what should be the correct Buddhist interpretation of these statements then?
I know very little about Hinduism myself Stuka, so cross references and comparisons between the Hindu and Buddhist teachings (with links) would also be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
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Old 09-13-2011, 04:51 PM   #8
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Greetings,

Demarcation of Hindu teachings as Hindu teachings helps to establish them as different and apart from the Buddha's own teaching... this in itself is a service and offering to be grateful for. Thank you Stuka.

Unless one has an interest in pursuing Hinduism, I don't understand why anyone would be interested in reading Hindu references that contradict the Dhamma, on a Buddhist forum. It is sufficient to know it is not Buddha-vacana.

Metta,
Retro.
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:14 PM   #9
whatisthebluepill

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Greetings Retro,

If I'm not familiar with Hinduism and someone says 'This is Hinduism' how do I know that they're correct ?

If I said to you 'this is clearly Greenism' how would you know that I was right (or having a fantasy) unless I explained my position?
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Old 09-13-2011, 05:15 PM   #10
paydayus

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Demarcation of Hindu teachings as Hindu teachings helps to establish them as different and apart from the Buddha's own teaching... this in itself is a service and offering to be grateful for. Thank you Stuka.

Unless one has an interest in pursuing Hinduism, I don't understand why anyone would be interested in reading Hindu references that contradict the Dhamma, on a Buddhist forum. It is sufficient to know it is not Buddha-vacana.
My view on the above opinion is it is non-sequitur

My impression is the opening quote is essentially a view that forms part of the body of the "Buddhist" teachings

I am not fluent in Hinduism however my guess is Hinduism teaches the soul cannot be destroyed and finds a new body after death

Where as it is Buddhism that teaches consciousness-mind-body-sense organs are conditioned by past karmic formations

Mr Aik Theng Chong in the OP has voiced a point of view which seems to fall within the traditions of Buddhism

Below are quotes from the Buddha himself plus contemporary scholars which seem to support Mr Aik Theng Chong's view

In fact, one of the scholars below has done four years of Pali study at the University of Wisconsin

Even if Mr Aik Theng Chong's view is a debatable interpretation of Buddhism, to me, it does not seem to fall within Hinduism



As it is now, we are living more in the past than in the present. Our body themselves are actually the visible appearance of our past consciousness. It is actually materialized karma, the consciousness of past moment of existence made visible.

Karma is but the acting principle of our consciousness, which as effect becomes visible appearance, this appearance is thus essentially ‘past’. The position of the body as the product of a passed consciousness and also as a basis of the present one give rise in us one part that is conscious and subject to our will such as our movement, speech, action and functioning of our mind, and another unconscious part such as the growth and decay of our body."
Monks, I will teach you about new kamma and old kamma, about the ceasing of kamma and the path that leads to the ceasing of kamma. Listen well, pay close attention and I will speak.

What, monks, is old kamma?

The eye, ear, nose tongue, body and mind, monks, is to be regarded as old kamma, brought into existence and created by volition, forming a basis for feeling. This, monks, is called 'old kamma.'

SN 35.145
What is the supporting condition for the sixfold sense base? 'Mentality-materiality' should be the reply.

What is the supporting condition for mentality-materiality? 'Consciousness' should be the reply.

What is the supporting condition for consciousness? 'Kamma formations' should be the reply.

SN 12.23
For example, the Buddha‘s Dependent Origination, which is a 12 part cyclical process of arising, decay, death and rebirth of all things...

The ―missing link which needs to be added to the deterministic theory is the thinking mind, the element of free-will and kamma formations. Kamma formations can be from a current or a past life, in fact the differences between many siblings, can probably best be explained as evidence for re-birth, past lives.

http://www.thedhamma.com/buddhaslists.pdf

David N. Snyder was born in an apartment in Kaiserslautern, Germany while his mother slept and his father was away on military maneuvers. His mother literally slept through the labor process as there was no pain to her. The Buddha was born in a similar way and the Suttas report that all samma-sam-buddhas (enlightened Buddhas who teach the masses, the next one being Metteyya who currently resides in the Tusita heaven waiting for when the Dhamma dies out in some distant future time) are born with no pain to the mother. The birth year was the (Chinese) year of the Tiger (famous in Buddhist lands as the tiger is known for independence and is on some Buddhist flags). The birth date of David N. Snyder was also an important religious day, known as Uposatha, being the New Moon Day of the month in which he was born (on Uposatha days many Buddhists go to the temple for meditation and for renewing the Precepts). Tibetan lamas (high ranking monks/teachers) have often looked for people with such birth events for locating the rebirth of famous Rinpoches (gurus, teachers) of the past.
As you point out, it [Momentary DO] doesn't in itself refute "rebirth".

However, we have something of a "serial pest" here - a banned [ex-]member who keeps creating new accounts and try to engage in disruptive conversation. He has formerly used the momentary DO model as vehement argumentation against rebirth, and this has unfortunately coloured the discussion here somewhat.
Having done four years of Pali study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison South Asian/Buddhist Studies program, I think I know what the words mean. Humor me here. Where does any text define sankhara of the paticcasamuppadaq formula in terms of vitakka & vicara?

Also, paticcasaumppada in its traditional structure certainly does not negate a three life reading, and by its language strongly suggests it. And it certainly suggests - can only reasonably be read in terms of - a three time period reading.

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Old 09-13-2011, 07:13 PM   #11
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According to Paul Williams, Hindu influence probably gained momentum starting in the fourth century AD....Hinduism was reaching an apex at the time and Buddhism was coming under competitive pressure. So it's likely that certain doctrines were reinterpreted in a way that would appeal to the "Hindu market", if you will.

North India during the last century or so BCE and the first three centuries CE was subject to foreign invasions and fragmentation.
Impermanence (lack of inherent existence) was present in the very fabric of the socio-political environment! With the rise of the Gupta empire in the fourth century, however, all changed. For two centuries the Gupta empire dominated India, and this domination marks the high point of classical Indian civilization…More ominously for the history of Indian Buddhism, it is from the Gupta period that we can see the flowering of Hinduism in its classical Purapic form, the form in which it is now familiar. (The) Tathagatagarbha sutras are associated with the Gupta period, the high period of vigorous classical Hindu culture. There is some evidence in the Mahaparinirvana Sutra itself of yet another crisis in the wake of the Hindu renaissance (Nakamura 1980: 213-14). It is tempting to speak of Hindu influence on Buddhism at this point, but simply to-talk of influences is almost always too easy. One tradition will only ever influence another if the tradition which is influenced is capable of making sense of the influences in terms of its own tradition. The influenced tradition is already halfway there, there is never a complete change of direction. There was already within Buddhism a long tradition of positive language about nirvana and the Buddha, relating this to an experiential core found within in meditation. Having said that, of course the Mahaparinirvana Sutra itself admits Hindu influence in a sense when it refers to the Buddha using the term 'Self in order to win over non-Buddhist ascetics. The cross-fertilization apparently went both ways, however -- as Advaita Vedanta shows distinct Buddhist influence.

I think we can see similar processes at work today. Certain strains of Asian Buddhism seem to pick up on elements found in Christianity (devotionalism, focus on the laity, providing moral teachings as the basis for a virtuous life, philanthropic and social outreach movements, youth groups, etc). Or, to be more accurate, they foreground certain aspects of Mahayana doctrine which have similar appeal. It's hard not to believe there hasn't been some conscious effort to compete.

Aik Theng Chong's talk of "final deliverance" sounds a bit Christian to my ear...
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:03 PM   #12
Amoniustauns

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@ Stuka...

Instead of just pointing out that ‘This is Hinduism, and that is also Hinduism’, why not in your own words tell us what should be the correct Buddhist interpretation of these statements then?
I am the one writing the post, and you do not dictate what or how I write.

The absolute is reached, causation than become extinct and Free Will, will become an inconsequential factor in one’s life.
The Buddha did not teach that "causation becomes extinct". This is nonsense.

Acting without the influence of ignorance and paticcasamuppada is precisely "Free Will"; the "will" is freed from these influences.
Your claim that I "left it out", deliberately or not, is clearly preposterous.


It is the freedom to move within the boundaries of causation, a freedom inside the prison of Dependent Origination. One has to wonder if the author has ever heard of the Buddha's teaching of paticcanirodha. Please address the above.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:23 PM   #13
alskdjreyfd

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Even if Mr Aik Theng Chong's view is a debatable interpretation of Buddhism, to me, it does not seem to fall within Hinduism
Calling it "Hinduism" is actually more of a convenient catch-all phrase for karma-and-reincarnation-based religions of superstition.

Alternatively, one might say, "Aik Theng Chong might as well paint on the red dot and be done with it".



Really, though, Element, the whole sock-puppet-stalking thing has become an embarrassment for others of us who do not imbibe in Buddhism-as-Superstition. You have fashioned yourself into a convenient Straw Man for Tilted Bill and his ilk to compare the rest of us to and dismiss what we have to say summarily through strategic deployment of the Guilt By Association Fallacy.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:24 PM   #14
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Unless one has an interest in pursuing Hinduism, I don't understand why anyone would be interested in reading Hindu references that contradict the Dhamma, on a Buddhist forum. It is sufficient to know it is not Buddha-vacana.
Indeed.
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Old 09-13-2011, 10:27 PM   #15
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@ Stuka...

Instead of just pointing out that ‘This is Hinduism, and that is also Hinduism’, why not in your own words tell us what should be the correct Buddhist interpretation of these statements then?
I did that here:



One has to wonder if the author has ever heard of the Buddha's teaching of paticcanirodha.

...

The Buddha did not teach that "causation becomes extinct". This is nonsense.

Acting without the influence of ignorance and paticcasamuppada is precisely "Free Will"; the "will" is freed from these influences.
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Old 09-13-2011, 11:40 PM   #16
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.....might as well paint on the red dot and be done with it".
I'm not happy with the ''might as well paint a red dot on the forehead'' phrase occuring repeatedly in discussions, Stuka. It seems really disrespectful and I live in a multicultural society and also have friends from Hindu families - and at least one of them is interested in looking in here from time to time....so its a bit embarassing.
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Old 09-14-2011, 01:35 AM   #17
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If you are talking about Nibbana as the Buddha taught it, then the claim that "causation becomes extinct" is utter nonsense.


383. Exert yourself, O holy man! Cut off the stream (of craving) and discard sense desires. Knowing the destruction of all the conditioned things, become, O holy man, the knower of the Uncreated (Nibbana)!

Dhammapada There is, bhikkhus, a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned. If, bhikkhus, there were no not-born, not-brought-to-being, not-made, not-conditioned, no escape would be discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

But since there is a not-born, a not-brought-to-being, a not-made, a not-conditioned, therefore an escape is discerned from what is born, brought-to-being, made, conditioned.

Nibbana Sutta
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:02 AM   #18
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I'm not happy with the ''might as well paint a red dot on the forehead'' phrase occuring repeatedly in discussions, Stuka. It seems really disrespectful and I live in a multicultural society and also have friends from Hindu families - and at least one of them is interested in looking in here from time to time....so its a bit embarassing.
Nothing wrong with being a Hindu.

The point of course is to distinguish between what the Buddha taught and what others attempt to stuff in his mouth.
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:04 AM   #19
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Acting without the influence of ignorance and paticcasamuppada is precisely "Free Will"; the "will" is freed from these influences.
To assert "free will" is possibly tenuous. The behaviour of an arahant conforms to the Dhamma Law (Niyama).

[1] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to intentionally deprive a living being of life. [2] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to take, in the manner of stealing, what is not given. [3] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to engage in sexual intercourse. [4] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to tell a conscious lie. [5] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to consume stored-up sensual things as he did before, when he was a householder.

[6] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on desire. [7] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on aversion. [8] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on fear. [9] It is impossible for a monk whose mental fermentations are ended to follow a bias based on delusion.

Sutava Sutta
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Old 09-14-2011, 02:05 AM   #20
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Uncreated....
You might as well quote the "lotus sutra" to me as quote the dhammapada, which the Buddha did not teach.

...uncreated.....not-conditioned...blah blah... Neither of these is "cause-and-effect".
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