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OfflineViveka
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Guilt as Karma
    #2901552 - 07/18/04 03:33 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

I was reading the post about the dude who found some buds at someones outdoor grow and snatched a few plants. I found it funny how some people were like "dood, yer an asshole...karma dood". As if the fact that these people thought it was wrong, even if it was, somehow leads to the conclusion that something of equal badness is going to happen to the guy someday.


I think the typical Western notion of karma has more to do with guilt than anything else. I have had the notion before that if "karma", in the sense that if you steal someone's pot, yours will get stolen, does exist, it is simply a function of someone's subconcious guilt. For instance, maybe the guy will feel bad about ripping the plants, so in a few weeks, he'll forgetfully leave a sack of his nuggage laying around on the coffee table where it can be snatched up by one of his roommates.

By this same logic, one might conclude that if one could completely suppress or destroy their conscience, then they could avoid any "karmic" repercussions in the Western sense as I've outlined it. Simply because they would no longer harbor the subconcious desire to be punsihed for their own transgressions.

Of course, this thought train should deliver any rational individual to the conclusion that karma is not a function decided by human value systems. It is simply the utmost basic concept of causality. If i steal someones shit, it doesn't set into motion any inertia that will guarantee that some of my shit is thereafter stolen. However, if the person whose shit I stole discovers my deed, they may be more likely to enact some negative consequence upon me, but there's still no guarantee that I'll have something of mine stolen. Maybe they'll kill my dog. Or maybe they'll forgive me and give me a present. Who's to say? There's no laws governing these complex human interactions and their consequences. If planet earth intersects the path of an asteroid at just the right time, our home gets smashed, that's karma.

Where's the guy who's writing this shit down and from where comes his sense of judgement that he can so righteously and accurately dole out punishment? Can we abandon this moralistic notion of "karma", or will people continue to twist a very simple concept into a tool to inflict guilt upon others (not to mention a rationalization to help them live with the shit that life sometimes drops on us)?


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Offlinedeafpanda
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2901779 - 07/18/04 07:49 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

That's why the idea of a conscience/karma doesn't make sense without a god or something similar that "knows" a priori what right and wrong is. The idea of a conscience is that it knows instantly whether an act is right or wrong, and that's absurd unless you factor a deity into the equation.


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OfflineMiscusi
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: deafpanda]
    #2902604 - 07/18/04 03:18 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

What post would this be? and would it be on OG?


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Invisibletoad857
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2902678 - 07/18/04 03:42 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

id never really thought about it as being a guilt thing. hmm..

just the guilt alone would be enough punishment to some people.
if someone, for example, stole something and didn't think that it was morally wrong, he wouldnt suffer from guilt.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2903551 - 07/18/04 09:51 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Guilt is a useless base emotion that serves no practical purpose to the morally advanced human.


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InvisibleDieCommie
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #2903570 - 07/18/04 09:59 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

So if a person is "morally advanced" they are incapable of guilt?

I think if a person is not capable of guilt they are very morally un-advanced.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: DieCommie]
    #2903581 - 07/18/04 10:03 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

No not incapable. Many advanced people are eat up with useless guilt. If you need to right a wrong you should be righting it not feeling guilty and doing nothing. If you are wrong but you are not going to change then feeling guilty is useless. Guilt changes nothing. I cut guilt from my life several years ago. It is a loathsome parasite. Few things deserve as much contempt as guilt. It is the slackers punishment.


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InvisibleSkorpivoMusterion
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2903628 - 07/18/04 10:28 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

the notion before that if "karma", in the sense that if you steal someone's pot, yours will get stolen, does exist, it is simply a function of someone's subconcious guilt. For instance, maybe the guy will feel bad about ripping the plants, so in a few weeks, he'll forgetfully leave a sack of his nuggage laying around on the coffee table where it can be snatched up by one of his roommates.


The notion that ?==insert any belief or dogmatic system; astrology/Christianity/voodoo/love/==- in the sense that if you -==insert verb in pertinent conjunction with belief system(s) which leads to ostensive ?proof? and affirmation that supports and reinforces the aforementioned belief system(s)==-, it is simply a function of your subconscious creating external reality through internal input (aforementioned beliefs).

For instance, perhaps someone will subconsciously sabotage a potential relationship with another because they read and input information regarding the astrological compatibility between his/her sign and the other individual?s sign.
Or, one may subconsciously direct themselves towards specific circumstances that will reinforce their believed notion that individuals who enjoy heavy metal music are inherently evil people who, by default, are against the religion of Christianity.
Another example; a girl?s mother shared a biased story of how a black individual maliciously tried to trip her while she was enjoying a walk down the park; and in the future, the same girl will ?forgetfully? leave her purse laying around where it can be snatched by a nearby black person who meant to tell her she forgot to take her purse with her, only to be blindly deemed an evil negroid trying to steal her purse and gets some time behind the slammer? et cetera? et cetera.

It is a good theory that the subconscious mind is quite capable, and in all probability, does substantiate the beliefs or informational input that we filter into the depths of our psyche--whether they are validated beliefs or not.



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InvisibleDieCommie
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #2903634 - 07/18/04 10:34 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Guilt compels me to do what is right....i think guilt does change something. Guilt, like many emotions, is not inherently good or evil, it all depends on the actions taken because of it.

I find it hard to believe you "cut guilt from my life several years ago"...perhaps you simply found a constructive outlet for legitimate guilt, or abandoned illegitimate guilt?


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Invisibletoad857
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: DieCommie]
    #2903674 - 07/18/04 10:55 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

i agree.  i believe that guilt has an important role in one's mind.  psychologically speaking, i think that guilt is an important player in the moral development as one grows up.  after that, i think of it as a 'reminder', or a conscience reinforcing what you know to be right.  humans really are all good hearted...stuff just clutters it up.

:nut:


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: toad857]
    #2903943 - 07/19/04 12:18 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Nah, guilt ALWAYS comes after the fact, such as a night of binge-drinking. "I swear I will never do that again!" The guilt sets in and yet the person quickly returns to the drinking or other destructive behaviour. Guilt is avoidance of change, not motivation to change.


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: toad857]
    #2903944 - 07/19/04 12:18 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

When one is a child this may help our developmental process, but as an adult you should need no motivation to do the right thing other than doing the right thing. Guilt is merely something telling you that there is something else you should have done. Why not do that thing you should have done and not sit around feeling guilty. Guilt is responsible for nearly all personality disorders. It is not a healthy emotion. Think out every action and try to carefully regulate your communications with other humans and there is no place for guilt. I have been through long spells of feeling guilty in my life, in the end I decided to always do my best and never look back. That does not mean I don't screw up...I just try to right it as soon as I realize it...no guilt needed.


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InvisibleDieCommie
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #2903968 - 07/19/04 12:29 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

For me guilt is a definite motivation to change. I got arrested for shoplifting when i was young, and felt guilty...havent shoplifted after that...
Also i have said things i regret (as all people do) and felt guilty and apologized...i could go on all day but i think you understand what i mean...

You say "it is not a healthy emotion", emotions cant be healthy or unhealthy...suppressing emotions on the other hand can be very unhealthy..

At its basic form guilt is recognition of past wrongs, not an avoidance of change. Those who feel no guilt will never change...why would they?


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: DieCommie]
    #2903987 - 07/19/04 12:39 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

You are an adult now I assume...you don't need it.


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InvisibleDieCommie
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Huehuecoyotl]
    #2904007 - 07/19/04 12:46 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

ok then...simple question...

If adults shouldnt feel guilt, what compels them to change?  It seems to me if somebody is incapable of feeling guilt, they are too arrogant to change there views...

edit-I just looked up guilt in the dictonary  :tongue:  There were definations pertaing to guilt/innocence in the eyes of the law...and there was this--"Remorseful awareness of having done something wrong." How can there be anything wrong with that?


Edited by Qubit (07/19/04 12:53 AM)


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InvisibleHuehuecoyotl
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: DieCommie]
    #2904163 - 07/19/04 01:55 AM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Change should be based on reason. If your moral awareness is up to snuff you should always seek self improvement. Guilt is for after the fact. Pay attention to NOW and do your best and you will have no reason to ever feel guilty. As long as in your heart you know that you are doing your best you can leave guilt behind. If you make a mistake while doing your best you know that you could not have done better at that time. When a mistake occurs correct it without delay. If you do your best there are no apologies to be made. Know that your best changes with each circumstance.


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OfflinePedM
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2909111 - 07/20/04 05:26 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

A major point of confusion about Karma for people in the west is the idea that it's the outward action which is the karma, and not the inward action. Similarly, it's believed that it's the outward event that is the reciprocation of one's karma, and not the internal experience. All of this comes from institutionalized Christianity, I believe, which is centered on the idea that human beings are fundamentally seperated from the divine, from God. If we are raised with the belief that divinity is something not-human, it is natural that upon encountering a divine law such as karmic law we would assume that karmic law is judgement imposed externally.

Karma is a special instance of cause and effect whereby our actions are the cause and our experiences are the effect. It's important to understand that 100% of our experiences occur internally, not externally. If someone steals from us, that act is only conceived of as unfortunate in dependence upon our own belief that it is so. Unfortaunte circumstances do not emanate from the outside like sound through our ear drums. They are unfortunate only relative to the perceptions of our overall mindset. Our mindset is the same as our karma.

Before we can commit actions, we must have an intention. When we carry out our intentions through our actions, we create a impression upon our own minds. If we have many intentions to bring harm to others, or to interfere with the happiness of others for our own benefit, we will commit many actions which create identical impressions upon our mind. This affects our overall mindset. By the same token, if we have many intentions to help others, to put aside our own desires for the wellbeing of others, we will commit many actions which create identical impressions upon our mind. They too affect our overall mindset.

It is within the mind that we experience our karma. If our mind is filled with many negative impressions, such as those created in harming others, we will be much more susceptible to the harmful actions brought unto us by others. If we steal from others with maliciousness or unconcern, we increase the potential for us to experience maliciousness directed against us, or feeling uncared for. It's important to remember that this effect appears not necessarily in authentic action -- that is to say that no one needs to be malicious toward us for us to experience feelings of malicious intent. If we have very much malicious karma pervading our mindset, we are prone to interpreting maliciousness when in fact there is none. This is why people who commit many negative actions against others have a reputation for developing into paranoid, isolated individuals, suspicious even of their loved ones. Such people are experiencing the karmic echo of their own actions.

In this way, Karma is a purely internal circumstance.


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OfflineViveka
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Ped]
    #2909654 - 07/20/04 08:29 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

Quote:

It is within the mind that we experience our karma.




What about suffering of the body? Disease that resides in the genetic material?

I grew up in a cult that used their notion of karma to rationalize suffering. My parents used their understanding of karma to rationalize suffering in their lives. If an individual is born diseased, then it is implied, by the understanding of karma I was raised around, that it is caused by transgressions in their past lives. I suppose the idea that one's parents' karma could lead to a diseased condition in their offspring could fit into understanding of karma I was raised with. But in either case, karma is being experienced within the body. Ok...it is being experienced in the mind, but suffered through the body,

As you see it, is human bodily disease that is inborn a condition seperate from one's karma? A child born with cystic fibrosis or muscular dystrophy or down's syndrome: is this simply a chance mutation, an isness that manifested for no other reason than a biochemical glitch? Or is it dictated by some cosmic force. If a person's condition of birth guarantees stunted development and a limited capacity relative to other individuals, is that just the way things are or is there some cosmic force dictating why that person must suffer?

How is everything in its right place in a world of physical suffering, if karma is only experienced within the mind?


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OfflinePedM
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Viveka]
    #2910350 - 07/20/04 11:24 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

I'm not quite sure how to answer your question. 

It's true that the disease itself is not the karma ripening.  Instead, it's the degree of suffering sustained which is the karmic experience.  Whether or not this means that a person's biology is impacted by their karma, however, is difficult to approach.

The body is one transistory facet of an individual's continuum.  Like all transistory phenomenon, they are sustained by causes and conditions.  One of those conditions is the mind.  If the mental continuum were to become seperated from the physical continuum, the physical continuum would cease it's evolutionary cycle and begin to decay.  That is death: the irreversable seperation of mind from body.  Understanding this, it must be so that the mental and physical continuum are interlinked at least for the duration of the impermanent phenomenon which is the physical form.  If the two are intertwined as such, then it must follow that one's experiential mindset -- their karma -- would impact the state of their body.

We can understand how this works by contemplating the condition of two seperate vehicles driven exclusively by two seperate drivers.  We can think of the car is the body and the driver as the mind.  Without a driver, the car remains immobile.  By the same token, a driver cannot drive without a vehicle.  If one vehicle is driven by a person who is under constant stress and anger, that vehicle will undoubtedly sustain much more wear than the vehicle driven by someone who is very peaceful.  The stressful person will accelerate quickly, brake harder, turn sharper, and will in general place much more strain on his vehicle than someone whose driving style is patient and accepting.  In this way, the driver is able to actually deposit some of the karma from his mental continuum into the vehicle.  It manifests in the form of wear and tear.  An astute mechanic (who also studies Zen (hehe)) might be able develop knowledge of a person simply by looking under their hood. 

In the same way, if our bodies are driven by minds which are constantly preturbed, we are much more likely to develop sicknesses and disease, or to die prematurely.  Since the mind is pervaded by one's karma, and since harmful actions preturb our mental continuum, it is reasonable to say that the development of physical disorders can in fact be the result of our past harmful actions, including those of past lives.

A monk once told me a story about a time when he was having dinner at a restraunt with his teacher.  When the food arrived, his teacher tasted a few bites and then said that he found it difficult to continue eating because it was clear to him that the cook was in an angry state of mind.  The idea here is that a person's karma is manifest in all of their actions.  In this case, it manifested through the food prepared by the angry cook.  If an individual possesses a quiet mind, they would necessarily possess an awareness which would enable them to detect such things.  It is said that highly accomplished Zen masters can learn all about a person's karma simply by listening to the sound made when they strike a gong.

Please understand that your question is approached within the context of Tibetan Buddhism.  I hope this has been helpful. :smile: :smile:


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Edited by Ped (07/20/04 11:30 PM)


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InvisibleSwami
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Re: Guilt as Karma [Re: Ped]
    #2910445 - 07/20/04 11:49 PM (12 years, 4 months ago)

A monk once told me a story about a time when he was having dinner at a restraunt with his teacher.
Great, a twice-removed anecdote.

If an individual possesses a quiet mind, they would necessarily possess an awareness which would enable them to detect such things.
I will be glad to support the Swami Angry Cook Challenge.

It is said that ...
Many things are said and rarely are they demonstrated. (On the shroomery, rarely translates to never.)


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