Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Trying To Understand

Expand Messages
  • kaleaa077
    Dear Venerable Monks, For the past 10 years (off & on) I have been interested in learning about the teachings of Buddhism, but I seemed to have never had the
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 2, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      Dear Venerable Monks,

      For the past 10 years (off & on) I have been interested in learning
      about the teachings of Buddhism, but I seemed to have never had the
      time to actually delve into it. For much of my life, I seem to have
      been caught up in a neverending cycle of trying to deal with and
      solve my own problems -- as well as those of my family ----- and I
      seem to have made little, if any, head way.

      Recently, I have taken to reading about Buddhism beliefs again ---
      this time in more detail on a daily basis --- and find that what I
      have read makes more sense to me than anything else I have ever
      tried believing or living.

      I understand that past Karma (Kamma) plays a very important part in
      our lives, yet it seems we are able to change that Kamma, somewhat,
      by practicing self control, letting go and adapting a lifestyle
      of "always doing good". I'm also understanding that there is evil &
      suffering in this world and to accept this, without question, will
      enable us to live a more satisfactory life.

      I have many questions, but mainly -- I'm having the most difficulty
      difficulty with this: when a child suffers or dies, either from
      illness or at the hands of another, is it because of the "past life"
      (Kamma) of that child? If one were "reborn" in the womb and died
      before actually being physically born (as in a miscarriage), what
      would that mean?? I apologize for my ignorance, but I am still new
      to this.

      I love children and have always thought of them as innocent and
      pure. It is hard for me to comprehend & accept the physical &
      emotional suffering and/or death of any child without question. My
      heart has always ached for all those children throughout the world
      who are sick, hungry, cold, abused, and neglected. I've always prayed
      and hoped that the day would come when every child born could grow to
      be safe, strong and free -- yet I'm realizing now that praying &
      hoping are useless and that this is an "impossible dream".
      Could you pls help me to understand this aspect according to the
      teachings of Buddha?

      There are no Buddhist Centers near my home and I know of no one who
      can sort of be a "teacher" to help me along &/or instruct me. Would
      I be able to truly learn Buddhism on my own, by daily reading ,
      meditation and practice?

      Thank you much. ALEX
    • Khammai Dhammasami
      Dear Alex, Your understanding of the Dhamma is very good. As to the past kamma of children born of some defect or are victims of miscarriage, it is to be
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 3, 2002
      • 0 Attachment
        Dear Alex,

        Your understanding of the Dhamma is very good.

        As to the past kamma of children born of some defect or are victims of
        miscarriage, it is to be understood, as you presumed, that it is due to their
        kamma. This may prompt some to question if we condemn the children who have
        already suffered enough. It may look so. I know a few pediatricians who look
        for an answer why children have to suffer while they are all innocent.

        Therefore, it is very necessary to take kamma in the context of rebirth. The
        teaching of rebirth is not unique to Buddhism. It is shared in Hinduism and
        Jainism in much similar way. A belief in rebirth suggests that there have been
        many lives in the past and there will be endless lives, unless we become fully
        enlightened, in the future. An action, wholesome or unwholesome, may be
        accomplished in one life and its result obtained in another. They, action
        and its result, may also take place in the same life. Kamma is thus not fix,
        and therefore not a fate.

        We all ponder why a certain bad thing has to happen to certain children, say,
        cancer or AIDS. Before we continue to seek the answer to this mystified part
        of life, can we not also apply the same question to the good side? Say,
        without doing anything, why certain people have a lot to go for? Meaning, what
        is the basis of the good result they are enjoying? It hardly enters people's
        mind that this is equally a mystified question.

        Lee Shin Long, the eldest son of Lee Kuan Yew, the former prime minister of
        Singapore, had a place booked for him at a colelge in Cambridge when he was just
        one week old! That was possible at that time because both parents were educated
        there. He obviously shared the good fortune that his parents had. By virtue of
        being their child, he had many opportunities open to him since a week old.
        So, being in a company of people with the same kamma (meanign to have done
        something together in the past) he has benefitted more than any child born to the parents with average means.

        His good fortune, in short, can be attributed to his past kamma. Then this
        principle may be equally applied to the negative side of life.

        Kamma explains why people are different in what they are. Kamma has its
        original source in our intention. Our INTENTIONS are different, so are our
        actions. Our intentions are made different by the six roots of the mind, called
        hetu in Pali, half of which are unwholesome while the rest are wholesome. The three unwholesome roots, greed, hatred and delusion, dictate our intention to be
        negative. With unwholese intention, the action/speech we perform has
        unwholesome nature and will give unwholesome result.

        But we do not know when the result of our kamma is going to be seen. This makes
        the process of cuase and effect (the link between kamma and its result) more
        difficult to comprehend.

        In fact, before enlightenment, kamma remains only a belief in us. Once
        enlightened, kamma becomes sure: the way it operates and how it links to its
        effect. Enlightenment is described in three words: 1. seeing one's own kamma
        (past lives) in action in various lives, 2. seeing others' kamma in the same
        way and 3. having erdaicated all unwholesome roots (defilements). These three
        enforce each other.

        While accepting that the children who suffer are getting back what they did
        in the past (life), this is NO reason whatsoever to be indifferent to their
        suffering. After all, Buddhists are no less kind to children than other
        believers. Whatever theory and explanation we may hold, a child who suffers
        does suffer. The explanation is for us, adults, to console or satisfy our mind.
        If a Buddhist cares to his/her best a child who suffers, while holding the
        above view, I see no reason to condemn this person(adult). Instead, the child becomes an object of and a reason for compassion.

        Divine-based or otherwise, any religious explanation may not relieve the pain of the child directly. But belief in the past kamma does teach others to be mindful of their actions and intentions. While perplexed as to when and what a
        child did in the past to deserve a certain kind of suffering in this life, the child's mind is not directed to blaming others for the suffering, nor
        would he be mumbling for unfair treatment.

        As human beings lost in daily pursuits, we remember not many things of a day's
        work. We lose the sight of link between cause and effect even here and now.
        It is all quite possible that we lose trace between past cause (kamma) and
        the present effect. So, a good and long memory is essential to verify kamma.

        I cannot explain everything about kamma. However, I may add that kamma is not
        and cannot be perceived as a mechanical, fixed thing like the creation theory
        that is thought to fit in everything. First, we need to try and see how our
        present thoughts operate and what kind of effect they have on our life yesterday
        and today.I other words, how yesterday thoughts condition today's welfare or
        misery. With that, it is to begin to understand "intention" and then its
        impact.


        On a separate question that you raised, I think it is the best to study with
        a teacher. After all, the Dhamma has been handed down through traditions of
        teacher-pupil. The Buddha is reported to have said more than five hundred times
        in fourty five years that we need a teacher to overcome suffering.

        With Metta,

        Ven. Dhammasami





        In message <a8cklm+6cs1@...> SanghaOnline@yahoogroups.com writes:
        > Dear Venerable Monks,
        >
        > For the past 10 years (off & on) I have been interested in learning
        > about the teachings of Buddhism, but I seemed to have never had the
        > time to actually delve into it. For much of my life, I seem to have
        > been caught up in a neverending cycle of trying to deal with and
        > solve my own problems -- as well as those of my family ----- and I
        > seem to have made little, if any, head way.
        >
        > Recently, I have taken to reading about Buddhism beliefs again ---
        > this time in more detail on a daily basis --- and find that what I
        > have read makes more sense to me than anything else I have ever
        > tried believing or living.
        >
        > I understand that past Karma (Kamma) plays a very important part in
        > our lives, yet it seems we are able to change that Kamma, somewhat,
        > by practicing self control, letting go and adapting a lifestyle
        > of "always doing good". I'm also understanding that there is evil &
        > suffering in this world and to accept this, without question, will
        > enable us to live a more satisfactory life.
        >
        > I have many questions, but mainly -- I'm having the most difficulty
        > difficulty with this: when a child suffers or dies, either from
        > illness or at the hands of another, is it because of the "past life"
        > (Kamma) of that child? If one were "reborn" in the womb and died
        > before actually being physically born (as in a miscarriage), what
        > would that mean?? I apologize for my ignorance, but I am still new
        > to this.
        >
        > I love children and have always thought of them as innocent and
        > pure. It is hard for me to comprehend & accept the physical &
        > emotional suffering and/or death of any child without question. My
        > heart has always ached for all those children throughout the world
        > who are sick, hungry, cold, abused, and neglected. I've always prayed
        > and hoped that the day would come when every child born could grow to
        > be safe, strong and free -- yet I'm realizing now that praying &
        > hoping are useless and that this is an "impossible dream".
        > Could you pls help me to understand this aspect according to the
        > teachings of Buddha?
        >
        > There are no Buddhist Centers near my home and I know of no one who
        > can sort of be a "teacher" to help me along &/or instruct me. Would
        > I be able to truly learn Buddhism on my own, by daily reading ,
        > meditation and practice?
        >
        > Thank you much. ALEX
        >
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > SanghaOnline-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        > Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to http://docs.yahoo.com/info/terms/
        >
        >
        >
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.