All things are in their essence good, and suffering is the servant of this Good.
The Doctrine of Merit Nevertheless, though men are in essence One they are, at their present distance from enlightenment, separate entities, and though Karma reflects in all the acts of each, yet the average man is a Karmic unit, as it were, who suffers the good and evil results of his own actions. This fact is the basis of the doctrine of merit, of which so much appears in Buddhist literature. All good acts acquire merit for the actor in that at some future date, in this life or a later one, the cause will bear its due effect.
This is a fact, but it is a low, unworthy motive for the doing of good deeds. When such limited thought expresses itself in action, he goes on, that action creates further limitation of thought. Into this simple reality, reward and punishment have been introduced to deter so-called wrong action. If one is good—the good depending on limitation of thought, not upon understanding—then in the future or in the next life one will be suitably rewarded, and if one is not, one will be suitably punished. This element of fear, as reward and punishment, destroys understanding and love.
If thought is influenced by reward and punishment, gain and loss, it cannot understand the craving that seeks reward and avoids punishment. Thought can only understand its own process if it does not identify itself with and cling to any of its own creations, any of its outgoing desires. None the less, the doctrine of merit is a useful application of the Law of Karma to the daily round, for whatever the motive the habit of good deeds will purify the mind, and prepare it for greater widening of its scope. A better motive for right living is a wider appreciation of the Law and its relation to the Universe as a whole.
With an understanding, however dim, of the basic unity of life and the interrelation of all its members comes the desire to assist all life towards enlightenment. Such thought will bear its own result, a further hardening of the heart which, blinded with its dear delusion, continues to feel separate from its fellow men and, like the Levite, passes by on the other side. Only the light of compassion, an understanding love for all that lives, can see that Karma as Law is a loving Law; that if it is just it is also utterly merciful. We who on earth make laws with which to judge our fellow men know that our justice is fallible, and therefore add to the cold machinery of justice the warmer quality of mercy which, so far from dropping like a gentle dew from heaven, is a virtue latent in the human heart.
To our eyes there is past, present and future, and a cause and its effect are separated by an interval of time. In essence the cause-effect are as the two sides of a coin, inseverable and instantaneous, but we see them severally. It follows that we can, for purposes of understanding, analyse and classify the cause-effects of Karma, and four such classifications may be mentioned here.
Karma is often analysed in terms of time. Karma [wrote W. Judge in his Aphorisms on Karma] may be of three sorts: a Presently operative in this life through the appropriate instruments; b that which is being made or stored up to be exhausted in the future; c Karma held over from past life or lives, and not yet operating because inhibited by inappropriateness of the instrument in use by the Ego, or by the force of Karma now operating. Karma reacts, as already explained, on all three planes, the mental, whence it originally sprang, the psychic and the physical, and the make-up of a man in any life will accord with the differing Karma that he has produced on the several planes of consciousness.
A great mind may abuse its body and be reborn with a poorer one; a glorious body, exquisitely cared for, may harbour a poorly developed or even vicious mind. Yet the interaction is close. Again, the evil in the mind may be rectified by a greater understanding long before the effect, say, of cruelty practised by the body has worked itself out on the physical plane.
Hence the hunch-back with a lovely mind. General Karma perpetuates the round of existence as set out in the twelve Nidanas, which may be applied to all manifestation. Then comes Inanimate and Animate Karma. Finally, with man there is the still more particular Karma wherein he is his Karma, and as such and only as such moves from birth to birth towards enlightenment. Finally, for the present purposes, Karma may be classified in terms of the size of the unit involved.
In the same way a nation will not only reap the benefits and evil of its collective acts, but re-incarnate in the larger cycle of its destiny. Rome and Greece were units of rebirth, and the Punic wars are with us again to-day. Red Indians will appear in the race that slew them in such quantity, and many a minority movement in a country represents some olden enemy returned, this time, within the gates to continue an age-long war.
Buddhism and Karma
He who would understand the pattern of history cannot ignore the doctrine of Karma; still less can he ignore Rebirth. Summary Karma, then, is the fundamental Law that rules all manifested things, and man, the conscious user of it, is but another aspect of the Namelessness. It is utterly impersonal and absolutely just. It strives for harmony, and he who disturbs the harmony must suffer the adjust ment.
Man is punished by his sins, not for them; it follows that there is no such thing as forgiveness and therefore none who can forgive. Yet the Law is merciful, for the Law is Love. It is not a new theory of life to be idly discussed by the dilettante mind. Either it is a fundamental Law of the Universe or it is untrue. It is not an Eastern doctrine, a product of an Eastern mode of thought. If it is true, it embraces not only East and West but the whole Universe, and the lightest study of Western literature for the last three thousand years will show that it has been held as true by most of the greatest minds.
Karma not anti-Christian It is not opposed to Christianity, nor even incompatible with it. To this extent and to this only Buddhists are atheists, in that they refuse to demean the ultimate Namelessness to the status of a tribal deity. In other words, the Christian holds the soul to be the immortal part of man; the Buddhist presses the analysis of our being a whole stage further back and claims that nothing in man is eternal, but only that Oneness, the Essence of Pure Mind which, though it shines in every man, is never his.
The light in an electric bulb shines through the bulb, but the bulb does not own it. There is but a river of life or light that flows through a myriad conduit pipes. It is, however, as difficult to speak of the teachings of Christianity, as if they were all agreed, as of the teachings of Buddhism. The Founders came, and taught, and went away. Their followers treasured all that they remembered of what they had, or thought they had, understood. Finally we have translations, as accurate as the understanding of the translator and no more.
Such is the history of the Buddhist and Hindu Scriptures, and assuming that Jesus was an historic figure, such was the Christian tragedy too. It is said that there are three hundred sects of Chritianity; there are certainly six in Buddhism. If I have a soul or, to be more accurate, am a soul with a body, and that soul is immortal and specially created by God at my birth, then I shall inevitably fight for the benefit and salvation of that soul, while vaguely hoping that those of my fellow men will be equally fortunate.
The feeling is that of separation, save for the common Fatherhood of a God whose ways are unpredictable. So much for differences. But are they ancient or modern? But more of this hereafter. At the moment it is enough to observe that Karma is not by any means anti-Christian. Karma is; how we view it is our own affair. We who see but a few strands of the web cannot know the design of which these tangled threads are part. What may seem at the time misfortune may, by clearing away the refuse of past error, open a way to further advancement; good fortune may so puff up the recipient that from spiritual pride he falls to the ground again, and suffering tests and strengthens character.
And how does it come to pass? As the Disposer has disposed it. Man-made labels do not clarify; they cloud the mind to proper values. As is written in a Japanese Scripture, Since everything in this world is caused by the concurrence of causes and conditions, there can be no fundamental distinction between things. In the sky there is no distinction of East and West; people create the distinction out of their own minds and then believe it to be true. In the universal process of becoming there are inherently no distinctions between the process of life and the process of destruction; people make a distinction and call the one birth and the other death.
In action there is no distinction between right and wrong, but people make a distinction for their own silly convenience…. To Buddha every definite thing is illusion, something which the mind constructs; he knows that whatever the mind can grasp and throw away is vanity; thus he avoids the pitfalls of images and discriminative thought.
Still less is it Fatalism. On the side of light is the will, in the sense of the driving force towards enlightenment; on the other are the massed desires of the lower, personal self which craves for its separative own aggrandizement. These two forces strive unceasingly, and now the one and now the other gains the field. And thus there are two wills, and neither is entire….
A man is in a room with two doors. He piles up the furniture against one door and falls asleep. Later he wakes, and complains that he has no choice of exit, for there is only one door available. He is bound by his fate, but he is his fate, and nothing in the world save his own debility of will prevents him becoming free. If there is no luck or chance there is no such thing as coincidence. But whether the additional fact that the results fell out so strangely to our eyes has any significance is a different matter, for Law is Law but meaning is what we add to it, and the meaning drawn from any facts will vary with the individual.
Many apparent coincidences are clearly the effects of previous acts. Taking the matter on a larger scale, it may be that a man who is incarnated into a particular family or race at a particular time was guided there by his Karma, under the laws of affinity, in order that he might be subject to the working out of national Karma, whether of war or earthquake or a period of prosperity.
It is enough to explain what seem to be its basic principles, and leave the individual, with an awakening intuition, to study for himself the Law which in a sense he is. IV What Karma explains Once the Law is reasonably understood it solves a large proportion of the problems which cloud our present mind, and certainly in the East, where Karma is as obvious as the law of gravity, these problems do not arise. In the first place it explains the inequities and inequalities of daily life.
Only Karma can explain the mysterious problem of Good and Evil, and reconcile man to the terrible apparent injustice of life, For when one unacquaintedwith the noble doctrine looks around him, and observes the inequalities of birth and fortune, of intellect and capacities; when one sees honour paid to fools and profligates, and their nearest neighbour, with all his intellect and noble virtues, perishing of want and for lack of sympathy; when one sees all this and has to turn away, helpless to relieve the undeserved suffering, that blessed knowledge of Karma alone prevents him from cursing life and men, as well as their supposed Creator.
They are not. Each is born with the burden, pleasant or unpleasant, of his own Karma, and no two men are equal, for no two are the same. All mankind is one family, but its members are of different ages. Therefore there is no equality of opportunity and no equality of responsibility. Although all are marching towards a common goal they cannot bear equal burdens, and would not be expected to if the Law of Karma were understood.
There is no problem, for there is no original sin. But the teaching of the Wisdom is clear. Evil is manmade, and is of his choosing, and he who suffers suffers from his deliberate use of his own free will. Infant prodigies, on the other hand, are clearly the result of specialization in some particular line, and even 1 1 The Secret Doctrine, H.
The Scales of Karma, Owen Rutter. Conscience is a Karmic memory. The Essence of Mind is deathless, and its ray, the consciousness vinnana which moves from life to life, is a storehouse of immensely complex memory. All that is inherited from parents is the body, the outermost garment of the many-robed, essential man. Heredity is therefore the servant of Karma and not its substitute. Karmic Cycles Modern astronomy has reached considerable knowledge of the stellar cycles, and even modern astrology, the half-understood remains of a once esoteric and spiritual science, has much to say on planetary cycles and their effect on man.
These cycles affect all planes of manifestation, the psychic and mental as well as the physical, but the law which governs these cycles cannot be understood save in the context of the wider, Karmic Law. The obvious example of the working of the Law on a mass unit of humanity is the rise and fall of races or sub-races, which may or may not be coincident with nations.
Whole civilizations are known to have risen, flourished, reached a great height of culture and then decayed or, as in the case of the Khmers of Indo-China, suddenly disappeared. On the other hand, many a nation now at its prime has risen suddenly, and in the round of time will as surely fall. In due course, when the cycle has reached its greatest height, these great ones, far on the road of genius in their several ways, begin to leave, and with the assistance of external causes, themselves Karmic, such as disease, sterility, conquest or moral decay, the race dies out.
The Cause of War One of the obvious cycles is that of peace and war. War is an effect, the mass-effect of mass thinking, and once the cause is produced the effect is inevitable. Were no man to hurt his brother, KarmaNemesis would have neither cause to work for, nor weapons to act through. When the opposing thought-forms on the psychic plane have reached a point of over-loading it needs but the lightning flash to cause a discharge. But the analogy is insufficient. When the thunder-cloud has fallen the tension is over; the discharge itself does not, in the ordinary sense, produce another cloud.
But in war there is hate, deliberate cruelty, revenge and lust. All these are causes, and each must bear its inevitable effect. Even in peace we are causing war. In our daily life we are competitive, aggressive, nationalistic, vengeful and self-seeking, which inevitably culminates in war. Intellectually and emotionally we are influenced and limited by the past, which produces the present reaction of hate, antagonism and conflict….
Until our own lives are no longer aggressive and greedy, and psychologically we cease from seeking security, and so breaking up the world into 1 1 2 The Secret Doctrine, H. Notes of a Talk in America. Practical Occultism, H. But this war is an everlasting war within, and until each human being has slain the foe within he will not find peace without.
But just as a meteorologist can only predict from his known facts, and there are usually factors of which he has no information, so the fortune-teller, whether he be an astrologer dealing in world astrology or some other type considering the affairs of an individual, can only calculate from known factors to the resultant effect which is not yet manifest. If a single factor is missing the whole calculation is worthless. But is it? Or does this morbid craving to lift the veil of the future lead but to a weakening of the will?
The first type wonders what the future will bring; the other decides it. Further Advantages The advantages of working by the Law of Karma have no end. As already explained, the Law provides a graded sanction or reason for right living. Karma destroys the cause of envy and jealousy and the consequent ill-will, for your neighbour is more fortunate than you because he has earned a better fortune.
It removes impatience, for when there is all but infinite time ahead, why worry the fretful hour? It largely removes the fear of death, for where there is inner conviction of rebirth and, by the law of affinity, reunion sooner or later with those one loves, why worry that the hour must come for leaving the present robes and resting, ere returning, robed anew, for fresh experience? Here is a fascinating field for research and experiment. Karma would seem to be the missing link in modern psychology.
In other words, the psychologist, however skilful his analysis, can only restore the position at birth, removing the knots and inhibitions of wrong thinking and leaving the patient free to resume the path of development with less impediment and wasted energy. These, however, are the exceptions, for the West has need of applying the Law to the many, not only to the few.
V Some Difficulties considered Many persons on being first introduced to Karma demand the precise details of its working, and failing to receive them refuse to accept the Law. It is useful to ask them in reply if they know the nature of electricity. If they are truthful they answer, No. To which one may reply, Nor does one know the nature of Karma but, like our knowledge of electricity, we know just a little how it works. The rest is a matter of research and experience. It is a strange aberration of the mind that refuses to accept a law of life because it cannot at present grasp its detailed working.
Karma is true or untrue, and only the individual can decide in which category to place it. But to refuse to accept it on the ground that our knowledge of its working is limited is, to say the least of it, an immodest point of view. It is sometimes said that Karma is cold, that it is heart less. Karma is neither warm nor cold. It is. If Karma is the Law of Harmony, so is love. Karma is an aspect of the One, the Unnameable; love is another, If Karma controls the relations of the myriad parts to each other and the Whole, love is the cement that binds them all in One.
He who regards Karma as a Law and his brother as separate from himself does not understand Karma. There is but one Karma, though each part of the wholeness suffers the effects of what the smallest part has caused. Yet the Biblical story of the mote and the beam should be borne in mind, and practised. There may be nothing finer than selfforgetfulness, but the very thought of whether or not one is interfering is self-remembrance, not forgetfulness, and he who helps wherever help is needed, and for the rest removes his own beams from his eye, is doing his duty, and no man can do more.
The question has been raised in extreme form by certain pacifists who, refusing to lend themselves to violence, equally refuse to help a dying man in an air-raid lest they should seem to be taking part in the war. Egotism could hardly go further, and such absorption in selfish thinking is pathetic. The Law of compassion, which never clashes with that of Karma, overrides all else. He who acts according to his heart, as controlled by experience and sweet reasonableness, may act in error, but only by error will he learn his error.
For the rest he will earn the merit of doing what he feels to be right, and no man can do more. It is obvious that a person with a lovely mind will shed a radiance round him in which all may share, and a 1 The Voice of the Silence.
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The dangers are obvious. Each time that a repentant sinner is assured that the effects of causes he himself set in operation can be nullified by forgiveness from any source, he is being taught an untruth which cannot but imperil the future development of his soul. But the doctrine of vicarious salvation is a little different, and though easily abused, has a foundation in one aspect of the Karmic Law. The Bhikkhu Silacara has 1 Reincarnation, Anderson. When, he says, a Buddhist performs an act of merit, and on the pagoda-platform, after offering incense and flowers before the image of the Buddha, strikes a great bell which lies beside him, he is not calling on the supposed keeper of the records of Kamma for another item to be put to the credit of that person.
The doer of the deed hereby gladly offers you a share of his merit from the doing of the good deed, and begs you with equal gladness to accept it.
To radiate love to all beings is one of the standard meditations of Buddhist practice, and its object, besides suffusing the heart of the meditator with unbounded love, is to assist all living things in their development. For the effect of love is to kill out hate, to dissolve the illusion of selfishness and to reduce the unworthy desire which is the cause of suffering.
If every living thing experiences to some extent the acts of every other, then each can deliberately strive to see that the effects of his own causing are, so far as he can control them, good. Once more, therefore, the inseparability of the threads of Karma is a clue to a doctrine which, though easily and frequently abused, is spiritually true. An immediate answer would be that if so, there must equally be unmerited happiness, for which in due course we must compensate with suffering, and that on balance the cosmic harmony, within and by the Law of Karma, would be restored.
The key to the problem is time, one of the necessary illusions of manifestation. Karma and Duty There are some who find difficulty in reconciling Karma and duty. The answer imports a new term, Dharma in Pali, Dhamma , which, like most key-words in Oriental philosophy, is untranslatable. Many words have been suggested in translation, among them Law, Duty, the Good, the True, Righteousness, the Norm, the Ideal and even the Way, but it is the symbol of a concept of too complex a nature to admit of translation by any one English term….
Hence the meaning of Norm, or Ideal Form, as the clothing of a vast idea…. Hence the insistence in nearly every occult work on the due performance of all duty, from the Bhagavad Gita and the Bible to The Voice of the Silence and the Dhammapada. By oneself evil is left undone; by oneself one is purified. The Buddhist Lodge, London. VI Rebirth Certain writers have distinguished shades of meaning between the doctrines of Metempsychosis, Transmigration, Pre-existence and Rebirth, but for present purposes the word Rebirth is used to cover the doctrine which, from the human point of view, is the inseparable twin of Karma.
In this sense, just as physical progress is effected through hereditary transmission, so spiritual progress is achieved by the process of rebirth. Cause and effect are an indivisible unity, but in the illusion of time the one follows the other. In the opinion of the Bhikkhu Silacara, One might even say that they are the same doctrine, looked at in one case subjectively, and in the other objectively. In a manner of speaking, Kamma is rebirth latent, and for the time being unmanifest; and rebirth is Kamma become active and manifest. REBIRTH 69 The Reincarnating Entity It has been seen that that which reincarnates is not an immortal soul but the product of countless previous lives, a bundle of attributes called Character which is changing from moment to moment, and lacks any element of immortality which it could truthfully claim as its own.
Against this degradation of a mighty truth the Buddha taught the doctrine of An-atta—not immortal Soul—destroying the wrong conception of the positive by stressing the negative. In the well-known story of Vacchagotta the Wanderer, there is a passage on the nature of self which explains the Buddhist and therefore the true Brahmin point of view. Vacchagotta asked the Buddha what he had to say about the Self, but the Blessed One refused to answer. When the questioner had departed in disgust, the Venerable Ananda enquired the reason for his silence.
But if, Ananda, I had replied that the Self does not exist, that would be to side with those who are annihilationists. The Self is and is not. That which is reborn is the old man and yet a new. As an immortal entity there is no soul, even, as a personal deity, there is no God. Analogies sometimes help, and a favourite theme of Buddhist exegesis is the flame.
Life is a flame, and transmigration, new becoming, is the transmitting of the flame from one combustible aggregate to another; just that, and nothing more. If we light one candle from another, the communicated flame is one and the same, in the sense of an observed continuity, but the candle is not the same. To sum up on this all-important matter of the nature of the thing reborn, there are three selves in man, or, more correctly, he functions at three main levels of consciousness. The mind on its lowest level is a discriminating mind; on this level it has the ability to see, hear, taste, smell, touch, to combine these sense concepts, to discriminate them, and to consider their relations.
On a higher level it is an intellectual mind, where it has the ability to make the inward adjustments that are necessary to harmonize the reactions of the discriminating mind and to relate them to each other and to a whole ego conception. On its highest level it is Universal Mind. By the law of attraction the incoming man is drawn into the current which will land him in an environment most suited to his spiritual needs. Whether the new-born soul dislikes or likes its environment is immaterial.
It made its bed, and now must lie on it. In the words of the Light of Asia: Who toiled a slave may come anew a Prince For gentle worthiness and merit won; Who ruled a King may wander earth in rags For things done and undone. But such a change is not necessarily for the worse.
It will be noted that the mind chooses the body and is not its child, as is still the belief of Western materialism. The soul chooses the body most suited to its needs, and therefore comes into the family which will provide that body. If a lawyer wishes further experience as a lawyer he will probably enter a legal family. Other factors are the rhythm of the sexes, of the introvert and extrovert types of mind, and of a thousand other complementary types of character, while men may change the pattern of their lives as the years go by and with it the kind of experience they gain.
In all there is infinite variety; not even the element of progress is constant, for blinded with illusion a man may in a single life undo the accumulated merit of many lives preceding, and every conquest made is painfully relative to the distance yet to be run.
Veil after veil will lift—but there must be Veil upon veil behind. Change of Values Those who accept or re-accept the Law of Karma will find that the new conception radically alters the prevailing point of view. Parents, for example, are seen with new eyes; friends are probably old friends, and foes old enemies. The body is seen as an instrument to be, as a dog or horse, well cared for but well disciplined.
The various parts in the drama-comedy of life are seen for what they are, so many masks assumed for the part, then laid aside when the play is ended. The mental eyes are shortened and yet lengthened in their view. On the one hand, now is the time that matters, now when the lightest act is building the days unborn, here where the effects of every act must be digested, not in a heaven or hell to be known hereafter. On the other hand, death is not the end of the adventure.
And the struggle is worth while. Yet sooner or later each incarnation comes to an end. The mask begins to perish and the actor, laden with new experience received through his senses and his perishable brain, longs for a period of rest wherein to digest the lessons of that life. And so the body dies, not of death but of too much life.
The pressure of the electric current in time wears out the lamp, and the lamp must be renewed. Life never tires, nor ages; only the form grows old. So death is the ending of a larger day, and in the night that follows every man finds rest, until of his own volition he returns to fresh endeavour and to labours new. So has it been with this our brother, so will it be for all of us, until the illusion of a separated REBIRTH 75 self is finally transcended, and in the death of self we reach Enlightenment.
The friend remains, and by a law beyond all breaking will be met with in the lives to come. After Death The period between lives can never be the subjec relatable experience, and anything said of it rests on a different footing from the principles and doctrines above set out, for these are not only the accumulated experience of mankind, but are capable of verification by all who study them. The purpose of this book being to make Karma and Rebirth a living reality in the mind of those who accept it, any discussion on post-mortem states of being is only of marginal interest, but for the sake of completeness reference may be made to Letter XXV of The Mahama Letters to A.
Sinnett, where the subject, referred to casually in numerous works of Eastern wisdom, is usefully summed up. There are two fields of causal manifestation, the objective and subjective. So the grosser energies, those which operate in the heavier or 1 From a Buddhist Funeral Service. But the moral and spiritual qualities of the previous Bacon would also have to find a field in which their energies could expand themselves.
Devachan is such a field. This alternation of states of consciousness, objective in the body and subjective out of it, has been poetically described as a string of black and white beads alternating, strung on the thread of life. In time, after a period which may cover hundreds of years, the hand of Karma begins to draw the dreamer back to waking consciousness.
Desire for fresh experience, choosing a body and other environment according to its needs, impels these higher vehicles of the evolving man to assume fresh worldly garments, and so the pilgrim wakes on earth to new discovery and a new-old treading of the Way. The degraded belief in rebirth in animal form can be shown to be another example of a spiritual truth misunderstood. It is all a coarse symbol caricaturing the inner vital truth of reincarnation [says Mr Walker, who studied the subject closely], springing from the striking resemblance between men and animals in feature and dispostion, in voice and mien.
If evil reaches a stage beyond redemption there may be an utter dissolution of that entity; otherwise, though man may become a super-man, he will never be less than man.
Objections to Rebirth There are various objections put forward to belief in the doctrine of Rebirth, and they are always the same. The first is that we do not remember previous lives. Memory is a faculty of the mind, not of the brain which is its temporary instrument, and memory is the power to re-read the indelible records made by every thought and deed in the atmosphere around us.
But though the average person remembers nothing of the past, there are thousands who, through a lower psychic development, occasionally recall their own past lives and speak of it. But the psychic world in which these chance impressions are picked up by the receptive mind is a world of illusion. Moreover, few of those who complain that they do not remember would be brave enough to do so were they suddenly given the power.
The obscuring of memory [writes Owen Rutter] is surely merciful. The remembrance of all the wrongs we have done and all the wrongs which have been done to us, throughout our chain of lives, would be an intolerable burden. Would it help our present striving up the mountain side to learn of the loathsome acts and thoughts and feelings of our own dead selves? The Law is wise, and it is well that the brain, the newly created instrument of each rebirth, has only its present folly to remember. The inner mind is garnering all the time what it needs of the lessons of experience, and the wise man knows that though it is sometimes right to remember, it is often wise to forget.
The second objection usually raised is the injustice of our suffering for the deeds of someone about whom we remember nothing. The answer is the same. It is the inner mind, the reincarnating entity, which draws from the universal memory the lessons it would learn. The man who has forgotten, the man who complains is, though he has a new brain, the man whose deeds he suffers, is the Karma of which he now complains. The third objection is that Rebirth is disproved by the doctrine of heredity. The former chooses a body, in the sense that it is drawn by the laws of 1 The Scales of Karma.
Finally, the objection is often raised that the doctrine is uncongenial.
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In essence you are part of the Law, and made it so. And why this fierce objection to return? He who understands the Law knows that all causes have effects, and that all effects have sprung from causes. The obvious and reasonable answer is here, on earth, and if the sufferer dislikes this life it is he who made it so. Taking the world as a whole, therefore, it would almost be justifiable to reverse the question at the head of this chapter, and to ask, Who does not accept the Law of Karma-Rebirth, and on what grounds do they reject it?
In any event, it is pertinent to examine the European attitude to the doctrine, and most books on the subject give, with a wealth of detail and quotation, the evidence which shows how widespread such belief has become. On the other hand, as Owen Rutter points out: No one is likely to accept a philosophy which does not appeal to him, nor is he necessarily to be convinced of its truth, because, throughout the ages, men of intelligence have accepted it.
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In his interesting introduction to Reincarna tion, E. But the Western Branch of the race, in working out the material conquest of the world, has acquired the compensating discontent of a material philosophy. The East has known the Law from time immemorial; the West accepted it until and for a long time after the birth of Christianity. Greek and Roman, Egyptian and Jew, in one form or another knew the Law, and chapters of books and books themselves have been written to show its prevalence 1 The Scales of Karma.
Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but the corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. On Rebirth, Jesus said, when asked about the man born blind, that it was neither he that had sinned nor his parents.
Clearly it was he in a previous life. But, it may be said, the ancients were ignorant of the truth before the coming of Christ, and a few Biblical passages may be incorrectly reported. It is strange, then, that so many writers, in prose and verse, in the last three hundred years have apparently seen the inevitability of the doctrine. In many cases this is the East, and they are therefore ill at ease in what to them is an alien Western body. Others are not so certain where they were previously born.
Tennyson, more sonnet begins: mystical, in a little-known As when with downcast eyes we muse and brood And ebb into a former life, or seem To lapse far back in a confused dream To states of mystical similitude… Browning is more personal, in a poem to Evelyn Hope,who died at the age of sixteen: Just because I was twice as old 1 George Eliot inThe Spanish Gypsy.
We were fellow mortals, naught beside? Delayed it may be for more lives yet, Through worlds I shall traverse, not a few; Much is to learn and much to forget Ere the time be come for taking you. Rossetti remembered places: I have been here before, But where or how I cannot tell; I know the grass beyond the door, The sweet, keen smell, The sighing sound; the lights around the shore.
But it has been left to John Masefield, the present Poet Laureate, himself a student of Buddhism, to proclaim his personal creed for all to hear: I hold that when a person dies His soul returns again to earth; Arrayed in some new flesh-disguise, Another mother gives him birth. With sturdier limbs and brighter brain The old soul takes the road again… So shall I fight, so shall I tread, In this long war beneath the stars; So shall a glory wreathe my head, So shall I faint and show the scars, Until this case, this clogging mould, Be smithied all to kingly gold. The list is endless.
For those who like precedent for their own belief there is ample precedent, and any man who for the moment doubts the truth of a doctrine which seems to run counter to so much of the popular belief around him may take heart of courage from the fact that so many of those who have given the matter thought have been impressed with the reasonableness, even the inevitability of the Law. Karma is the universal Law of Cause and Effect.
It states that for everything that we do, there will always be a return of such action. So in essence Karma is a Universal Law that governs all things and not just humans. Karma is the effect, while Kriya is the action or intention. This means that not only action give effects but also intentions.
Intentions have a cosmic energy in them and hence they cause certain types of energies to be released with them. Phala basically affects the person in the same life or immediately. Samakara affects the person internally which hence eventually affects him and the future events that will occus in his life and future lives. We are not controlled by others but we are generally affected by our own intention and thoughts and actions on given aspects we are faced with. When we think of good or moral acts, we tend to act morally and thus we live morally and thus our lives become good.
On other hand, if we think of wicked thoughts, our actions will become evil and thus bad things will come to us. For no good thing arises from a bad intent or action and nothing bad will come out of kindness and goodness. Karma, being a universal law is transcendental and is applicable to any time or generation, be it in the time of the Buddha or in our present day.
A lot of times we may not see the effect of Karma but when it happens, you will be surprised. Karma affects our relationships. When we love truly with no expectations we feel good things happening. However possessive love causes us to be jealous. Jealousy causes pain and suffering in our hearts and thus with this bad intent, we suffer now.
What is Karma? | Zen Buddhism
A jealous love now, may also affect future relationships. If you have sown seeds of anger and possessiveness, you may be bitter in the future. You must remember that love cannot be controlled and that to love is to accept and to allow the other person grow. The way we interact with our family affects our future. If we do not care for our children now, how can we expect them to care for us in our old age? But we should never expect anything from anyone; we should never demand love and fealty.
Be a good parent and you will raise a good child. This child will then be a good person. Be a neglectful parent and you will have an evil child. This child will grow angry and hateful and will hurt others. Be kind to your old parents, to set an example to your children. If you care not for your aging mother or father, you cannot ask your child to care for you.
Be careful at how you treat your family members , each word or deed you put in their hearts will sow a seed that may turn good or bad. Karma affects your money, career and your future. Help others who are in need and you can know that in someway you will receive help either in this life or the next.
Do not envy, for envy sows hate. Do not desire money too much. Money is a number and numbers never end. If you devote your whole live to earning money you will learn that you have lost time for your family and friends. But work hard to gain a good and stable future. Karma works in every thing we do. Life is full of suffering.