At 08:40 AM 1/7/2006 +0700, you wrote:
> >Sodaiho-roshi posted:
> >...snip...
> >  The noted Rabbi who wrote about bad things happening to good people
>suggested >that there was a certain randomness in our universe and that we
>westerners were not >comfortable with that fact.
> >  As Buddhists, we also are not comfortable with randomness, as we want to
>see >everything as interdependent and thus cosmicly related.
> >  Still, what is randomness but a pattern to large to see?.
>I am not a practicing Buddhist but I am a long-time zen practitioner.  I am
>very comfortable with the concept of randomness and do not feel the need to
>see everything as interdependent.
>Still, I kind of liked your definition of randomness as 'a pattern to large
>to see'.  That is exactly the same conclusion that present-day
>mathematicians have arrived at when they speak of chaos theory and chaotic
>systems.  In general terms they do not believe in such as thing as truly
>'random' anymore, they are chaotic.  They believe that everything has a
>pattern, but we're just not 'smart' enough to be able to discern that
>'pattern' - yet.  I disagree with them.  Pattern detection in data is my
>As for your definition I at least must question your use of the word
>'pattern'.  If you mean 'pattern' in a formal manner as a system of events
>interrelated by a LOGICAL (understandable) and SINGULAR chain of cause and
>effect, then I disagree.  If you are just using the word 'pattern' as a
>place-holder, and allow that this so-called 'pattern' is ultimately
>NON-LOGICAL (unknowable, unable to be understood) and PLURAL (the chain of
>causes and effects can be seen as being interrelated in more than one way so
>it is open to interpretation), then I don't disagree.  Maybe the latter
>connotation is what you meant when you said it was 'to [sic] large to see'.
>To put it in the context of this thread: when we see an event and we assign
>it a category of 'good' or 'bad' and then thank God for the 'good' thing but
>wonder why God allowed the 'bad' thing to happen, and then we rationalize
>the 'bad' thing by thinking 'God knows best.  We cannot understand God; we
>can just accept.', we are buying into the belief that there is a pattern
>there, but we just cannot see it, and in fact will probably NEVER be able to
>see it.  We just need to 'trust' God and accept it.
>Or maybe we could all just sit (zazen) and not worry so much about things
>like this...

Very interesting and clear breakdown of "pattern" Bill - thanks.

If everything is empty, then it must all be dependently arisen. Therefore, 
ultimately everything arises dependently on absolutely everything else.  If 
that is so, then there is no ultimate understanding of the "why" of an 
event, no pattern, because there is only the entire universe in all it's 
dimensions and all time.  The whole universe is the "why", the event is the 
entire universe, so the event is it's own "why" and there is nothing 
further.  The car ran over a rock.  A little girl was killed.  There is no 
why, there is only whatever is happening, whatever you witness.  Right 
there, that's the ultimate truth, that's the entire universe.  There's a 
strange and sometimes sorrowful beauty in that, I think.

On the other hand, if we narrow the scope of our question down somewhat 
from the ultimate, then patterns do start to appear, relationships become 
apparent.  The car ran over a rock because this driver mistook it for a 
paper bag.  The rock was in the road because it fell off a truck 
(maybe).  If we ask specific questions we can find specific answers.

The Buddha did not ask the "ultimate" question about life: why?  He asked 
specific questions: what causes suffering? how can we end it?

"From an inconstruable beginning comes transmigration. A beginning point is 
not evident, though beings hindered by ignorance and fettered by craving 
are transmigrating & wandering on. Long have you thus experienced stress, 
experienced pain, experienced loss, swelling the cemeteries - enough to 
become disenchanted with all fabricated things, enough to become 
dispassionate, enough to be released."

Ajahn Chah took one look at me, saw that I'd been in a deep meditation, and 
he said, "Brahmavamso, why?"

I was completely surprised and confused, and replied, "I don't know."

Afterwards he said, "If anyone ever asks you that question again, the 
correct answer is, 'There is nothing.' Do you understand?"

"Yes," I said.

  "No you don't," he replied.

(I love that story)

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