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Bodhi Bit--Karma is Not a Cosmic Retribution System

By       Message Grant Lawrence     Permalink
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"I remember a Buddhist teacher's reflections on the Holocaust...'What terrible karma those Jews must've had...' This kind of fundamentalism, which blames the victims and rationalizes their horrific fate, is something no longer to be tolerated quietly. It is time for... modern Buddhism to outgrow it by accepting social responsibility and finding ways to address such injustices."

David Loy, 'About Karma'

Source: Barbara's Buddhism Blog

I generally abhor fundamentalism of any sort, but I am not a fundamentalist on my general disdain of fundamentalism.

Still I recognize that as people develop spiritually there is a certain mindset that demands to be told what and how to think, and what is real and unreal. These people gain great comfort from the security of having everything given to them.

But in reality this type of thinking can be quite dangerous since it can lead to a great deal of abuse from those seeking to take advantage of the gullible and it often leads to some form of psychic illness.

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The idea among some 'fundamentalist' believers of the various orientalist philosophies is that Karma is an exact and even exchange for every action and reaction.

But this not in the spirit of the Buddha's teachings. Instead the Buddha taught that Karma was not strictly deterministic, or else there would be no room for spiritual growth. Rather Karma is conditional.

Thus, our lives depend on many different factors and interplay of forces. Karma promotes certain tendencies and conditions but there are also an interplay of various other factors that help determine our lives.

To the western mind, people are separate individuals; ultimately in control and responsible for every aspect of their lives.

But is this Real?

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Albert Einstein once wrote this observation of reality:

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us "universe," limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest - a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a prison, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons close to us.

Our task must be to free ourselves from our prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all humanity and the whole of nature in its beauty."

If we examine our lives, we see that we are in an interacting system with our "universe" and that we are a part of and formed by this "universe."

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