Karma is a kind of wishful thinking about causality. There is of course some general tendency for people to do to others as others do to them but that has plenty of limitations. The ideas that 'doing' good will inevitably bring good in the end is nonsense. Just as dumb as Christians thinking they will get their reward in Heaven.

One's life moment to moment is the only 'reward'. There is nothing other than the present moment, though of course the rules of causality connect the past present and future so one's actions in the present do influence the future, but only when it becomes the present.


On Oct 14, 2008, at 4:12 AM, Anthony Wu wrote:

Bill and Edgar,

Perhaps you can have a little digression from your major discussion by answering my practical questions.

A hammer hitting a toe occurs every day and everywhere in the world, resulting in a lot suffering. How does zen address this problem? Many zen masters still remember the origin of zen, which is mahayana Buddhism has a root vow of Bodhisatva to save all sentient beings in the world. I have trouble seeing that reconciled with the non duality.

If causality is illusory, are there rules that govern human behavior, such as karma, in place of God, so that man have to think twice, before they commit evil deeds?


--- On Tue, 14/10/08, Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]> wrote:
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Causality
Date: Tuesday, 14 October, 2008, 9:32 AM


I'm in general agreement close enough to continue. I agree with you that in some sense both the hammer smashing your toe and the pain in your toe are illusions, but my point is that they are consistently related. One follows inevitably upon the other in all normal circumstances. That's causality. It's the rules that govern the realm of illusion, the realm of forms. Because something is ultimately illusory doesn't mean it follows no rules and is totally random and arbitrary. Quite obviously the daily world of illusion follows the rules of common sense and science as they describe particular causes and effects (though not scientist's views of ultimate reality of course where Zen is correct).

The 'things' that stand in causal relationships are particular form patterns abstracted or discriminated from the whole flow of process or Tao. It is particular form patterns which do in fact tend to occur in repeating causal sequences and that facilitate effective volition in the world of forms. (By that I mean that organisms discriminate forms whose causal patterns they can understand so as to be able to function successfully in the world of forms. E.g. If a hammer hits my toe I feel pain, therefore I don't hit my toe with a hammer.) Those 'things' are normally referred to as 'events' of course.


On Oct 13, 2008, at 8:28 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED] org> wrote:


Thanks for your response, although it's far from satisfying for me. I could go on with this discussion from the exchanges below, but I think we've started in the middle and both have a lot of assumptions that we may not fully share. If we're going to have a discussion on causality, and I hope
we are, I'd like to get a clarification from you before we start:

Causality to me is a term for the concept of cause and effect. I believe cause and effect is illusory and you are stating that it is not. You say the our concept of cause and effect is a reflection of a mechanism of cause and effect that exists in what you've referred to as the real physical world. Causality presumably describes a specific type of relationship. A
relationship implies that there are at least two 'things' to relate.
- Do you agree with the above three sentences? If not, how would you define
- If you do agree, or agree close enough to continue, what would you call
these 'things' that allegedly have a cause and effect relationship?


Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Monday, October 13, 2008 7:25 PM
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness

Hi Bill,

Great questions.

Take a hammer and whack your toe. I guarantee it will hurt like hell.
Causality is proven. QED. Doesn't matter whether you have satori or not.

The point is that the world of forms, of illusion, does obey consistent rules, causality among them. Just because the physical world is illusion in
an ultimate sense and merely empty forms doesn't mean that it doesn't
operate according to consistent rules. The fact that the hammer hurts both my and your toe means that the rules are shared to some extent, that we have similar, but certainly not identical, cognitive constructs of the physical world. Therefore we can assume that the physical world may in fact exist independent of both of our existences though we can never experience that

Yes, the cognitive constructs of consciousness are what illusion is, just
another name for the same thing from a different perspective.

Yes, our concept of causality is a construct of our consciousness, but it is our consciousness' approximation of actual physical laws of the physical
universe, at least that is where the consistency of the cognitively
constructed world in my mind leads me. When I drop that I just experience
without the causal thought net overlay. That is Zen.

Confusing and contradictory certainly and thus the Zen adage that,
'Illusion, when seen as illusion, is reality.'


On Oct 12, 2008, at 10:07 PM, <[EMAIL PROTECTED] org>
<[EMAIL PROTECTED] org> wrote:


In your post below you stated:
>Causality though does exist and provides the rules which make
>our conscious perspectives and material world view cognitive
>constructs consistent. Thus causality does govern what happens
>in the world of forms.

Why are you so certain that causality does exist and operates according to some kind of rules? What kind of rules could those be? Universal rules?

You stated our concept of the material world, the world of forms, is
observer dependent and 'simply a cognitive construct of our consciousness' . What is the difference between 'cognitive construct of our consciousness'
and illusion?

In either case, if our concept of the material world is a construct of our consciousness, why wouldn't you believe our concept of causality is also only construct of our consciousness; and the supposed rules which in fact are the defining factors of causality (along with the concept of time) are, if not completely observer dependent, at best species and perhaps even
socially/culturally dependent, and ultimately illusory?

This is closer to what I believe...Bill!

Of Edgar Owen
Sent: Sunday, October 12, 2008 8:53 PM
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness


Not quite. What I'm saying is that consciousness and the material world are identical. Consciousness is observer dependent perspectives on the material
world from the POV of particular observers and events. Each of these
consciousnesses is all that exists for the particular observer (all is consciousness only). Our concept of a material world is simply a cognitive construct of our consciousness, however that construct seems consistent and sharable thus we may assume it has an independent existence beyond our particular consciousness though we of course can never actually confirm that
because we can never step outside of consciousness.

Not easy to explain or perhaps understand.

To address your questions: Replace Karma with causality. Karma has moral implications that are unsubstantiated. Causality though does exist and provides the rules which make our conscious perspectives and material world
view cognitive constructs consistent. Thus causality does govern what
happens in the world of forms.

As to when we die, the answer is that when you die your consciousness stops
and your body decays (my perspective) . On the other hand I can never
experience death since death is the end of experience.

Hope that helps,

On Oct 11, 2008, at 11:00 PM, Anthony Wu wrote:


Thank you.

You seem to say that the world is nothing but universal consciousness. Material objects and all kinds of living beings are just manifestations (contents) of the universal consciousness. Maybe I am wrong, but that is an
interesting philosophical discussion.

Whether or not it is relevant to zen, I would like to know the practical
aspects of your theory:

- Does karma work in the universal consciousness, or whatever you call it? - When we die, do we just merge into the universe and lose our individual


--- On Sun, 12/10/08, Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED] net> wrote:
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED] net>
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness
Date: Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 7:46 AM

Well not quite. Personal consciousness is associated with material beings and disappears with the dissolution of the material form. However if you read my paper http://EdgarLOwen. com/HardProblem. pdf you will see that my view is that everything, that is the entire material world, is in fact the same experiential 'stuff' of consciousness that is the same 'stuff' of human consciousness just in a different form particular to the material it is associated with. I.e.. a human has human type contents in this consciousness stuff and a molecule has molecule type contents of it. That's probably not very clearly stated but the idea is that the interaction of all matter with other matter amounts to matter's experience of matter which is what the causal process of reality that continually flows through the present moment with clock time is. That same flow is experienced as human consciousness by humans, and mouse consciousness by mice as the details, the contents of consciousness, depend on the different biological and cognitive structures of mice and men while the phenomenon of consciousness itself as opposed to its details is common to both mice and men, and in fact everything in the

So the contents of consciousness will be different for each being and the
contents are the forms that arise in consciousness itself which are
illusion. Whereas consciousness itself, that in which the contents of
consciousness arise is the same for everything in the universe. It is simply
the physical reality of the present moment.. So tuning into the pure
consciousness itself, devoid of its contents, is Zen, or satori since the content forms which are the veils of illusion are no longer present and do
not distract from consciousness itself.

But of course the contents do persist in the material world and so the trick is to continually recognize these contents for what they are, contents of pure consciousness, ripples or disturbances in the field of consciousness itself, so that one doesn't get entangled in the individual forms but always sees them as contents of the underlying pure consciousness itself. The forms
themselves have no real substance since they are just ripples or
disturbances in what would be the perfect stillness of consciousness itself
devoid of any forms or ripples.

Hope that makes it a little clearer.

As to the OBE, I really haven't felt I had to explain it. It was just
something that happened. In my view it is a fundamental mistake to think consciousness is located or centered in the physical body, since everything we see and experience is actually happening in our own head and the idea of
an individual 'self' is just a cognitive construct, so that cognitive
construct can subjectively locate its concept of observer anywhere it wants, at least temporarily. In that view 'our' consciousness continually pervades everything that we experience to its furtherest boundaries. Since all that is experienced is consciousness, consciousness must then be antecedent to
the division between self and not self.

Remember the furtherest boundaries of the horizon are simply our retinas inside our eyes, and the whole world exists in the nigredo of our brains (the black obsidian crystal ball which we wish to turn into a perfectly clear crystal ball brain - unconsciousness into consciousness) , but of course that means our eyes are the sky and our consciousness in our brains
pervades the entire universe.

Thus the Zen adage: "Awaken the mind, while dwelling nowhere.." Which means
wake up and recognize that consciousness is not centered anywhere but
everywhere and transcends the distinction between self and world.


On Oct 11, 2008, at 5:58 PM, Anthony Wu wrote:

Hi Edgar,

I keep an open mind. In your view, does consciousness just disappear, when
we die?

You seemed to say you had an OBE in Japan. How do you explain that based on


--- On Sun, 12/10/08, Edgar Owen <edgarowen@ att. net> wrote:
From: Edgar Owen <[EMAIL PROTECTED] net>
Subject: Re: [Zen] consciousness
Date: Sunday, 12 October, 2008, 3:23 AM
Thanks Margie,

Your comments or questions would be welcome.

Much appreciated,

On Oct 11, 2008, at 9:55 AM, roloro1557 wrote:

Hi Edgar-

I am still reading HardProblem - I'm on page 10. So far it is
wonderful! :-)

Margie (roloro1557)

------------ --------- --------- --------- ---------
FROM: Over the hills and far away... . .
Don't be an observer of life. Be life. T'ao Shan
OldWomansZenChronic les.blogspot. com

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