You are welcome.
I don't know if fear of water in your family is the result of karma, though it 
can be explained so. Your behavior in this life is decided by actions in your 
previous lives, as well as your surroundings and your free will in this life. 
Karma is a dynamic process, not at all fatalism. In contrast to that, Pol Pot 
believed everything was determined by what occurred in this life, so he 
tortured and killed the old generations with 'bourgeois idealogy' and raised 
kids imbued with his version of communism, with the result that he sent 15 year 
old children to operate radars provided by China. Then the Vietnamese planes 
had no trouble bombing Khmer Rouge facilities and wiped the regime out in a few 

--- On Mon, 22/11/10, Kristy McClain <> wrote:

From: Kristy McClain <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Monday, 22 November, 2010, 7:34 AM


Thank you for sharing this.  I realize that I wasn't clear before. Yes-- I was 
thinking more in terms of  the reincanation model.   I was thinking of it as a 
bit like fate, in the sense that whatever I had done in previous incarnations 
pre-determined my existence in this lifetime.  I did not mean to suggest that 
there is retribution  from others.  I actually meant that I understood karma to 
mean that my past life actions pre-determines (to a degree) what happens to me 
I mentioned  God / Satan and karmic retribution in the context of what I felt a 
belief in karma actually represented:  A fear of death. My thinking was that 
people evolved this belief in karma as a means to reassure themselves that even 
though their body dies, they will live on in another form.
You asked what do I believe?  I don't know for certain that karma does not 
exist.  But I can say that  I tend to believe its a psychological defense 
mechanism. That said, I will share an odd personal triad.  My dad's paternal 
grandparents drowned themselves, leaving four young children.  My mom has an 
eerie feeling that she lived in Atlantis, and died by drowning when Atlantis 
fell into the sea.  She has a deep fear of water to this day.  My car accident 
happened when  my car went into a lake, and I essentially drowned.  
Strange waters in my family.  Do you think those events are a result of karma?  
I will look for the biography you mentioned.  Thanks!

--- On Thu, 11/18/10, Anthony Wu <> wrote:

From: Anthony Wu <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Thursday, November 18, 2010, 5:16 PM


It is not true that belief in karma creates fear rather than compassion. It is 
closer to say that it creates both, in addition to many positive influences. If 
you read Mao Zedong biography, he was supposed to believe that death is like a 
lamp blown out. Nothing to fear. But on the death bed he showed fear and 
uncertainty. You seem to say karma is like retribution by 'others', be it a 
God, Allah, Satan or some other powerful entity. It is wrong. Karma is belief 
in yourself, not in contradiction with zen. heaven and hell is a small part of 
the karma system. Especially Buddha's no-self theory is against a long lasting 
soul that transmigrates from one place to another. In a physical world, if you 
throw a stone into a pond, it creates waves that expand up to the edges and 
flow back to the original place. That is karma. It does not rely on a god that 
directs the waves where to flow. Buddha mentions some incorrect ideas:
1. Things occur directed by God. (So you can ask him to absolve you, if you do 
something wrong)
2. They occur haphazardly, no rules at all. (It is no use making any efforts)
3. Fate decides everything. (You cannot change anything, as they are 
predestined by fate)
4. Nothing else exists in the world but matter consists of atoms and subatomic 
particles (including the funny 'charmed quarks').  (F.Engels says, 'life is a 
way of existence of protein'. Very simple)
Karma is different from all above. In it, the 'self' decides everything. 
Retribution comes from your own acts, independent of a third party. Of course, 
the 'self' will disappear when you become a buddha. Then you can say everything 
is 'just this'. Before that happens, you had better watch your acts.
The above argument has existed for two thousand years. What do you believe?

--- On Fri, 19/11/10, Kristy McClain <> wrote:

From: Kristy McClain <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Friday, 19 November, 2010, 7:02 AM


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 

--- On Wed, 11/17/10, Anthony Wu <> wrote:

From: Anthony Wu <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 3:19 PM


I don't mean to start a new thread, but you can deny karma, as much as you do 
Newton's Law. However, you keep seeing things that cannot be explained away 
other than by karma. Just like you cannot ignore gravity and fly in the sky.

--- On Thu, 18/11/10, Kristy McClain <> wrote:

From: Kristy McClain <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Thursday, 18 November, 2010, 5:25 AM


That simply proves that God has a good sense of humor.

--- On Wed, 11/17/10, Anthony Wu <> wrote:

From: Anthony Wu <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 2:20 PM


If karma did not exist, why were you born a smart woman, why I, stupid man? 
What is a better theory than karma?

--- On Wed, 17/11/10, Kristy McClain <> wrote:

From: Kristy McClain <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Wednesday, 17 November, 2010, 6:18 AM


You are starting with a premise that karma exists. How do you know it does?  k 

--- On Tue, 11/16/10, Anthony Wu <> wrote:

From: Anthony Wu <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Tuesday, November 16, 2010, 1:13 PM


Most of us are deeply bound by karma so that we are bored by 'just this'. I 
believe we can find satisfaction by just sitting down and eventual 
enlightenment, but we are way from that 'goal'. So perhaps Bill can improve his 
way of teaching like guiding children away from their toys.

--- On Tue, 16/11/10, Maria Lopez <> wrote:

From: Maria Lopez <>
Subject: Re: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Tuesday, 16 November, 2010, 7:17 PM


Thank you for both links.  It's been particularly interesting reading 
controversial Brad W reply in connection with Big Mind and Genpo Roshi...and my 
conclusion about the whole thing is,  that hearts feel profoundly grateful for 
having found Thich Nhat Hanh dharma in those years in which his home was not 
too crowded, not too  polluted by westerners speculation, aggression and most 
of it self, ego.  There are teachings that shouldn't be passed onto westerners 
in such a light way.  Big Mind might be one of those (I wouln't know because 
first hearing was in American websites) .  And yet there is the possibility 
that in the original eastern environment (perhaps under a differente name)  
have the effect of a most powerful way of breaking through the self by exposing 
it. Building up a bond in the process with other practitioners sailing in the 
same boat.
People don't want the simplicity of Buddhism and not certainly zen.  I wouldn't 
put the blame to anyone but just in oneself incapacity of seeing what is there 
presented in simplicity.  For instance Anthony himself has  pointed out more 
than once the boredom of "just this" or sitting down.  We look for excitement 
all the time.  No one external to blame afterwards if we get hurt but just 

--- On Tue, 16/11/10, ED <> wrote:

From: ED <>
Subject: [Zen] Re: FW: Amazon book
Date: Tuesday, 16 November, 2010, 5:44


"Big Mind"
"Merzel began developing the "Big Mind" process in 1999, after having taught 
more traditional Zen meditation and koan study for more than twenty years. The 
process is intended to allow anyone — including non-Buddhists — to experience 
"the enlightenment of the Buddha". 
The process is designed as a combination of Eastern meditation and Western 
psychological techniques to transmit the essence of Zen teachings in a way that 
is readily accessible and relevant to Westerners, a realization they can 
further deepen through meditation.
The Big Mind process is claimed to enable participants to get in touch with 
various aspects of themselves by inviting them to identify as and speak from 
these aspects or states of mind. 
The teacher walks participants through interactions with different aspects of 
their mind, including ordinary, finite ones such as the Protector, the Skeptic 
and Desiring Mind; and possibly less familiar, "transcendent" ones such as the 
"Non-Seeking/Non-Grasping Mind", "the Way", and "Big Mind and Big Heart".
Since 1999, he has offered workshops to more than 20,000 individuals all around 
the world. In addition to presentations in cities in North America and Europe, 
Genpo Roshi has made "Big Mind" available on DVDs and online.
Also see:
--- In, Kristy McClain <healthypl...@...> wrote:

To the contrary. I do not recommend Big Mind , necessarily.  In fact, I have 
said here that it is not a process that works for me. It seems a bit like group 
therapy, but not about zen.  
I know it well, as I have a home in UT, (though I live in CA).  Gempo Roshi's  
zen center is just two miles from my home there.   I did attend many 
meditation  groups , classes and even a few  retreats there..   I am friends 
with Diane Musho Hamilton, and she received her transmission from Gempo Roshi.
Actually, I have been critical of this teaching model in the past, but now--  
Well, I truly feel that there are different methods that work for different  
personalities and cultures. So, if one finds Big Mind meaningful, thats okay by 
me. I don't believe in one recipe. I do think it may attract people who would 
not normally include zen, or any spiritual practice in their lives. If so, 
then, I think there is a benefit to society at large.

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