Bill and All,

Be nice to your partner, or else you will be at the receiving end of a
this-worldly unspiritual effect. Tell the truth to your boss about how
he can improve his management style and you will experience another kind
of this-worldly unspiritual effect. Don't jump when the powerful say
jump, and the effects will be not at all illusory.

Karma is as non-illusory or as illusory as the justice-inflicting
Abrahamic God-conception is non-illusory or illusory.

I am allergic to the habit of mixing the impersonal with the personal.
Nevertheless, here we go: I am an agnostic with respect to karma
extended over putative life-times. I am an agnostic with respect to all
supranatural phenomena I have not experienced or verified. As an act of
faith, I am a non-believer in the Abrahamic God - and here's 'why':
http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible3.htm
<http://www.nobeliefs.com/DarkBible/darkbible3.htm>

--ED.




--- In Zen_Forum@yahoogroups.com, <billsm...@...> wrote:
>
> As most of you already know I believe karma as understood of a kind of
'spiritual cause-and-effect' is illusory - both the short- and long-term
version.

> I do, however, think Chris' interpretation below that identifies karma
as part
of the action (instead of a result of the action) has a lot of merit. If
I were
to believe in karma it would be something along these lines.

...Bill!



>> Chris: Is that what people mean by karma? I was taught that "karma"
means "action,"
and that the Buddha just meant that to be mean is an unpleasant state to
be in;
the effect and the cause are indivisible, the very blindness that pushes
the
brain towards being mean makes the heat of anger burn the brain a bit.
When one
is free enough from ego/blindness, the heat of anger has space in which
to
dissapate harmlessly, and the more pleasant baseline state of our brain
is
re-established.



Anthony,

One problem I have with karma is that it assumes some pre-determination
to our
life experience. In my view, most of the problems in society around the
globe
stem from theology differences. Let me ask you: What is so fearful about
a
belief that once our mortal body dies, we are just gone? This fear of
death has
created so many myths and fantasies to explain away death, by soothing
our ego,
so we can believe our "soul" energy is transformed to some other type of
existence. This fear of God /Satan / or karmic retribution only
encourages a
state of fear within, and a judgement of others by comparison.

What is your worst-possible fear once you die? Once you are aware of the
answer,
deal with that realization. It is my feeling that these belief
structures only
reinforce the negativity that keeps us separate from self-awareness and
compassion, then extended to those around us, and then social orders
beyond.

I don't know for certain whether karma exists or not, but I am comfident
that
there is not a person living today who can explain it accurately. I see
it as a
means to help one stay in fear, rather than compassion. This idea of
some
heavenly or spirit retribution for all your mistakes. Why wake up in the
morning and get out of bed? Its all just a means to somehow "earn" the
next
trip back? So what if I end up a pidgeon or an ant? So what if I simply
return to the dust of the earth? According to Mormons, every one has an
afterlife, as a human being, in one of three levels of heaven. Your
assigned
level is dependent on one's behavior and faith in this mortal existence.
If you
are really good, (and you are male), you will eventually become a God of
your
own world.

So many different belief systems.

So much of this is rooted in fear and ego-- our deep need to feel that
we
matter, somehow. I'm not judging or balking at those who believe in
karma. If
it works for you, thats fine. But I know it doesn't work quite the way
you
think it does.. You asked how else to explain some events? Why does
everything
always need to be rationalized and explained? (And remember I am saying
this
as a science and social scientist).

I remember learning a fundamental Law in a 1A physiology class as a
freshman.

Energy can neither be created nor destroyed: It is merely transformed.
Okay,
that can be debited to the karma ledger in a mild sense. But it does not
suggest
a theology framework.

I was raised a Christian, and still go to church at times--like
Christmas and
Easter. I embrace many buddhist philosophies. I have some very close
Jewish
friends, and last Thanksgiving, we shared their traditions. I practice
zen
daily. For me, these practices simply help refine my character and
compassion,
so that I can focus on doing the right things in this life, rather than
the
next.

Kristy



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