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Nothing for Nothing

Emptying the pool table of your soul.

Charlie Martin


August 4, 2013 - 11:00 am
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I think one of the essential keys to understanding what the Buddha taught is understanding the term karma. Now, I know this has come up before, but let’s look a little more closely at it, because karma is one of the terms that has been adopted into English in a horribly distorted, badly translated sort of accumulation of half-understood concepts combined with Victorian Orientalist New Age whoo whoo.

To put it gently.

The whoo whoo explanation of karma — which, to be fair, is at least similar to the understanding in more theistic kinds of Hinduism too — is that it’s some kind of Scale of Cosmic Justice that arranges, through reincarnation, to see to it that you are punished through horrible life experiences in one life for bad things you’ve done in some previous life, and that you’re rewarded for good things you’ve done. So anything, good or bad, that happens to you is the result of some thing you did in some previous life that you now have no control over. “It’s just karma, man!”

The word karma, though, has a much simpler and more straight-forward meaning: it’s “action”. It’s paired with another word, vipaka, which just means “consequences of an action”.

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All Comments   (3)
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I heartily recommend, "Lord of Light" by Zelazny,for a different take on the Buddha
PS. Opening office next week
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Fair enough, I think it's cool, too.

But watch out: If you enjoy the infinite coolness -- if you even passively experience it as "coolness" -- rather than encountering it with passive indifference, then you do so only by satisfying a desire of which you should already have purged yourself by traveling the appropriate paths.

One must desire nothing; in the Buddha's system carried to its fullness suffering is ended not by fulfillment but by absence of striving. To experience the coolness of meaning is to have had a need for meaning and to have found it satisfied, however temporarily and inadequately. And there is a value-judgment implied: meaning is better than non-meaning. Gotta watch that!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Because, after all, it's impossible to enjoy something without striving to have that and avoid all those times when you're not noticing it.

Go back and think again, young padawan.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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