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Controversial Life is Easier Without Karma - a Discussion

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Embers, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. Embers

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    Confused Ji and I would like to take up the discussion of Karma and right understanding of Karma, stated in another post. I suggest we do so here, pulling on Sikh and non-Sikhi philsophy as appropriate to arrive at a conclusion.

    The Sikh Wiki reads:

    This might be the personal opinion of the author however it is the reasons I remarked that "Life is easier without karma", and in place consider Hukam as the root in line with the Wiki. I am personally however not opposed to Karma but considered, when posting, that the wiki quote is the Sikh view; i.e. that there is only Hukam.

    So, we will discuss karma as Confused Ji requests. I will not limit my replies to Sikhism alone (hence this directory). I hope everyone feels free to contribute too. peacesign

    Peace to all.
     
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    #1 Embers, Aug 5, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2012
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  3. Embers

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    So, if all is Hukam and there is no Karma then every action is the Lord's will. We then enter hard determinism, in which everything that a person does or receives is simply the Lord's will. This makes life easier because 1) I don't have to question why I am rich/poor or lucky/unlucky. There is just acceptance. Life is easier in the sense that I do not have to change anything.

    Is life 'better' or more divine for this acceptance? Personally I see dilemmas as one is equally able to act on ill intentions considering that intention good e.g. Stealing or murdering because it feels like Hukam to do so. The issue here is grave misunderstanding, even ignorance. Ignorance is pretty much the cause of samsara and suffering, so to consider everything Hukam may lead to harm without the guide of the Guru (God/Sri Granth).

    Just some thoughts to get us started :)
     
  4. Kamala

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Everyone knows life is easier without karma.. but I don't understand why you need to point it out considering it here.

    Karma is based off your previous birth, Sikhi isn't Abrahamic. Karma means if you do good you will get good in your next incarnation.. even if it is an animal or a human. Just like how dogs get some of the most loving homes, and some aren't so lucky (dogs). You can get mukti and get out of the rebirth passage where there will be no Karma. But if you aren't interested in that, just be nice to others and you will get a nice 'next' life. This is why you see poor people being poor, or disabled people being disabled.. still we need to respect them as much as we respect others, as it is good for us and them.
     
  5. Embers

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Thanks for your input, Kamala ji. It is useful to know.

    I understand Confused Ji will propose a reason why it is incorrect to say life is easier without karma.
     
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  6. Harry Haller

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Ambersji,

    Sikhiwikki is not the most reliable source of information on Sikhism. There is a lot of confusion and contradiction.For instance some pages say the tenth master had only one wife, some pages say he had three, and it seems the Dasam Granth was indeed written by the tenth master.

    every action COULD (paypal address needed Gyaniji), be the Lord's will, but every action is not. Some actions are our own will, this is the difference between being manmukh and Gurmukh.

    No, you must question. Sikhs live in the real world, not mountain tops.As a Sikh you do not sit, chant, meditate, pray and observe rituals for a better life, you have to get off your *** and make things happen. Now if the thing you want to make happen, and the way in which you can make it happen are both within Bani, then you are aligned with Creator and Creation, give it your best shot, and it may come good. Creator is not looking down judging you, judgment comes from Creation. If you stroke a dog, it will lick you, if you kick it, it will bite you, instant karma!

    Kamalaji, this is incredibly Vedic and far from what I believe to be traditional (or should that be heretic) Sikh thinking. I find it ridiculous that you are pointing at sections of society and saying 'your like this because of a previous life'. If you are disabled, or poor, then Sikhism says you are blessed, you are alive, you have the potential to find the real you inside, and thus Naam. Being poor or disabled is no bar to a Sikh, and no bar to finding Naam.
     
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  7. Harry Haller

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  8. Embers

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Thanks Harryji
    I had the impression it wasn't to be relied upon. I think I will look to the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji next time :happykudi:


    How does one draw the line between our will and Hukam?
    Getting off one's *** and making things happen is Hukam or free will in Sikhi thought? Just curious because I am not sure on the Sikhi view.



    (Not aimed at you Kamalaji, but on the topic of Vedic rebirth) My personal view is the body is karma, based on our past actions e.g. if I eat chocolate I will get fat.

    I do not subscribe to the idea that karma will give me a birth in a Varna or Caste. Why? One reason is that I was not born in a varna or caste this time and that is a birth with freedom from discrimination (except maybe by some Hindus who believe people outside of a Varna are not Hindu, I guess). mundahug
     
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    #7 Embers, Aug 6, 2012
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2012
  9. Embers

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  10. Luckysingh

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    The problem that we have with this karma issue is exactly what it means.
    I do not and I'm sure many others don't find the classic hindu karmic philosophy applicable. To be living this life so that I get a better next life is NOT my goal in any way.
    Then trying to do good all your life so that in my next life I may come as a higher caste or as a maharaja is NOT my goal either. - I strictly do NOT believe this kind of philosophy.

    I probably have my own karmic philosophy and i'm sure most of you will.
    I believe it more on the lines of reaping what you sow or getting out of creation and universe what you put in!- It is much more than that, but those are the starting points in my view.

    AS for the question of ***Life being easier without karma***
    I don't agree or disagree as I find it not applicable.
    Do I really want my life to be that easy ??
    We should have all learnt by now, that having a very easy life is also the MOST BORING and probably more harmful for our self confidence and esteem!!

    -My simple answer to the above of '' is life easier without karma??''
    Is Simply, life is too easy to complicate and I feel my life won't get harder or easier with or without karma. Then again, I really don't want it to be that easy anyway.
     
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  11. Embers

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Thanks LuckySingh Ji
    You offer a different view, I haven't consider an easy life as perhaps a less fullfilling life, but I find myself agreeing in the general sense. Having lots of free time can become boring at times.

    Just on that topic too, when I say "easier", I mean easier to understand action and all that comes with life. Not necessarily that my life will be stress free. One thing I have noticed is that problems change but there are always problems in my life e.g. On Friday I worry about the work I need to finish, on Sunday I worry about the work I will need to start on Monday. The problem changes but there is always a problem of acting. For me it is the question of acting and who the doer is, that I feel needs to be answered philosophically for me to be content (not necessarily have less problems).

    Sat Siri Akaal.
     
  12. Luckysingh

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    That's OK, i'm not saying you are being unrealistic. We all need our own reasons to get up every morning. For you, what work you do on Monday am is keeping your adrenaline going, there is nothing wrong with that.

    Karma, in my view is about my actions and what they lead to, it's not related to reincarnation.
    To me, karma is more about a balance of my good and bad actions in line with the whole universe. It is something that can help me balance out my negativities if i take the action and chance.

    My views on karma don't take me off tangent to sikhi in any way, I don't think.
    I think and feel that they are in line to whatever references I come across in the bani.
    My views on both reincarnation and karma don't attach themselves together as in vedic philosophy, maybe that is why I don't deny them and believe in them both, but on different terms.
     
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    #11 Luckysingh, Aug 6, 2012
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  13. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Harry Ji..I loved that Instant karma example....Clap Clap..BULLS EYE....PERFECT SHOT..London 2012 Archery gold !!....STROKE..and you get LICKED....KICKED..and you GET BIT !! instant Karma ha ha ha.. Those Vedic fellows would have ME...stroking the living daylights out of my hands/aching fingers... for about 70 years..before I get LICKED back ??? No way am i ever going to stroke anything for THAT long...all the ice creams melted and disappeared in the gravel....who wants a LICK after THAT happens ???...ICE CREAM on TOP of the Cone is the ONLY worthwhile LICK..hainnah ??
     
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  14. Archived_member14

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Ambers ji,

    Sorry that I misread your comment "Life is easier without karma". I took it to be a statement reflecting your own outlook. Thank you for clarifying that it was in fact a conclusion that you draw from a particular understanding about Hukam.

    In response to I think, a slightly different understanding about Hukam, one suggestive of a need to understand the workings and hence learning to go with the flow, I had suggested in another discussion, that understanding the law of moral cause and effect or Karma, was perhaps one way that this is done. Rather than think abstractly about who we are in relation to the world, understanding the reality now is perhaps the only way that any tuning with Hukam happens.

    Now I am not saying that I believe in something that is equivalent to Hukam. My intention however was to find place for the concept of karma to be accommodated in this particular idea. At the time I was involved in another discussion in which I referred to the Buddhist teachings on the Fivefold Cosmic Order, namely:

    1. utu-niyama: the caloric order
    2. bija-niyama: the germinal order
    3. kamma-niyama: the moral order
    4. citta-niyama: the psychical order
    5. dhamma-niyama: natural phenomenal sequence.

    These refer to all phenomena there is. There is of course big difference between Hukam and the Fivefold Cosmic Order, the most fundamental being that the former is pointing at some kind of “center” from which everything else comes to be and moves. The latter on the other hand, points to the existence of fleeting and impersonal phenomena hence away from any possibility of there being such a “source” or controller.

    So why do I still think to fit karma with Hukam? It is because I believe that we are all a mix bag of different views, even opposed, depending on the situation. That someone who is Sikh and believes in God but also in Karma is reflection of this. And since Hukam can be understood to mean something like Cosmic Law, I thought that Sikhs could find something of value from the description about the Fivefold Cosmic Order. And since Sikh teachings include morality, so why not understand this as in fact being “karma”?

    I’ll respond to your other message in a short while.

     
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  15. Archived_member14

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Gyani ji,


    So you believe that each time anyone, anywhere kicks a dog, he'll be bitten by that dog?
    I've read people try to give their own take on the idea of heaven and hell by saying that heaven is when one is at peace and hell is when one is feeling angry and agitated.

    But this is nonsense.

    Karma as cause refers to the intention accompanying volitional action and understood as a particular kind of consciousness. The result of Karma include birth, death, life-continuum and the experience through the five senses and these are known to be consciousness of a different nature.

    So in Harry ji's example, what is being pointed at are both volitional actions, one the man kicking the dog and the other the dog biting the man. This is *not* what the law of moral cause and effect is about!

    Likewise in the other example, the state of peace as well as anger and agitation, both are the stuff of cause, whereas birth, life and death in heaven and hell are resultant consciousness which are of a very different nature from states of calm and agitation.
     
  16. Archived_member14

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Ambers ji,

    Frankly, I thought we were simply going to discuss Karma and not this below. But I'll give a response even though I see it as philosophical and therefore not so useful.

    Actually at the deeper level, the Buddhist understanding regarding conditionality and karma also points to the fact that “nothing can be controlled” and therefore leads to a kind of acceptance. But of course this comes as a result of understanding the nature of a present moment reality, by virtue of which, there is detachment. So really it is more about detachment rather than acceptance. And yes there is no element of determinism involved, since it is the Middle Way, and this directly does away with determinism on one hand and free-will on the other.

    What you infer about the Sikh position cannot happen in reality, according to the Buddhist understanding regarding conditionality and non-control. One, thinking is not understanding, two, what the thinking thinks, this is dictated by the realities conditioning it from moment to moment. If therefore there is ignorance and craving, these dictate what one moment will be the object of thinking and what the next.

    And we are moved from the moment we wake up to the time that we sleep, by ignorance and craving to think about this and that all day. When understanding arises in the moment it knows such realities as thinking, perception, consciousness, feeling and the attachment, aversion, kindness etc. which is the conditioning force. To follow instead the particular thought means therefore that no understanding has arisen to know any of this. No understanding and if no kindness, generosity, morality and such either, means that it must be ignorance and craving which weaves those thoughts and follows them.

    Just this thought as “I will do good” if not understood as being only thinking, must be motivated in fact by attachment to results. How much more so what follows from reading some set of teachings and thinking subsequently to follow them. This is the problem of “self-view” which the Buddha taught about. And it is from this kind of understanding that life then becomes gradually easier.

    Easier in the sense that we don't end up making good, yet another object of attachment. Easier in the sense that it is only with understanding the present moment that there is real detachment. Anything else is just more ignorance and craving and therefore can never be “easy”. Worse is when self-view is the motivating force, because this involves wrong thinking which sometimes leads to all kinds of wrong practices (rites and rituals). Even if this is just the thought, “I'll follow”.

    Much evil is done by people following one religion or another as a result of the intention to do good.

    As I've tried to show above, I see a problem in the very idea of following, more so when this is in fact an abstract idea.
    One very important understanding arrived at from a correct interpretation of the Buddha's teachings is that it is descriptive of the way things are and not prescriptive of actions to follow.

    Should we now begin to discuss about what karma is?
     
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  17. Gyani Jarnail Singh

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Confused Ji..

    What I understand form SGGS..and delving into Gurbani is that when Guru nanak ji came on the World Scene..He found lines already drawn...lines representing Karma..reincarnation..heaven ...Hell..rebirth..33 Kror Devis and Devtas ..Vedas, koran, bible simrtees, purans, caste system etc etc etc...

    Instead of wasting valuable time ( even then it took almost 10 lifetimes and 230 years form planning to fruition ) ...REFUTING..ERASING..DIMINISHING all those "lines"....Guru nanak Ji took the Way of DRAWING LONGER LINES.....and by simple comparison..a SIKH can CHOOSE. Thus we have posters here who INSIST that Devis and devtas EXIST simply because their existence was NOT EXPLICITLY DENIED by Gurbani...BUT these posters then also ADMIT that compared to Akal Purakh..the Devis Devtas are INSIGNIFICANT. THATS exactly the POINT....beside the small short line of Shivji..Brahma..Guru Ji drew such a HUGE LONG LINE of AKAL PURAKH that comparison is out of the question...its like comparing a one celled amoeba with a Whale !!! comparing a speck of silica on the beach with the Himalayas...(even these examples fall far short but will have to suffice for sheer necessity for NOW)..

    SAME goes for all those Karmas , reincarnations, laws and theories....and all....His HUKM OVER_RIDES ALL by such a wide Margin that all the galaxies and Universes cant . measure it.. ITS SHEER and MERELY CHURNING WATER...no butter in water.
     
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  18. Harry Haller

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Allow me to share my understanding, although it does remain, just my own personal understanding

    Hukam is within Bani, free will is just that, free will. Just because one follows Hukam, does not mean one sits around waiting for something to happen, you make things happen, you plant seeds, lots of seeds, and then you forget about them, just keep planting seeds, here, there, everywhere, keep forgetting about them, and then one day, you look outside, and there are flowers, blooms, plants, every colour, every shape, all out there, all been growing quietly, a beautiful sight, one that fills your heart. Some that plant seeds keep checking on them, you don't need to do that, you need to forget them.

    Now free will can plant seeds too, some may be flowers, some may be weeds, some may be downright evil, ugly poisonous plants, and one day, as you go about living free will, you look outside, and see the fruits of your actions and are confronted with a savage pit of a garden.

    Both require hard work, devotion, action, it all depends which seeds you want to plant, Creator brand, or Human brand.

    Hope that helps
     
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  19. Embers

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Thank you Confused ji for the replies and clarifying your understanding. To be honest I had not realised the misunderstanding until now, so I am glad we have cleared the way.

    Yes, lets dicuss karma. One thing that interests me a lot is how to view 'my actions', so I would be interested in learning from you.

    You have offered a lot to consider and reply to, I have taken a few sentences in bold to reply. I agree with the majority, there is a small area of consideration i.e. “nothing can be controlled”, I disagree from a Buddhist perspective and I hope to explain why below.

    My understanding of Buddhist Karma (Theravada) is that there is an element of control in Dependent Origination. We are conditioned by past ignorance and the formations, however we can control the six senses and that in turn changes name&form and consciousness. This halts craving and attachment.

    My understanding is that 'free will' or rather will, exists as intentions. When the intentions follow the Eightfold noble path, then they are skilful intentions and will lead to a chance of benevolent results. This I feel is pretty much your explanation above, however I mention this to point out that it doesn't agree that “nothing can be controlled”. Rather there is control but at a much earlier level of six-senses and the arising consciousness.

    This is where Karma (kamma) takes a role in Buddhist thought, as you probably know. Karma is the field, consciousness the seed and Craving the moisture. Our past habits and actions form karma which reappear in the present moment, consciousness 'falls' on the field and through craving we empower the action based on our previous karma. This in turn strengthens karma and leads to further results and ignorance. This is a rough sketch from my memory, I would have to quote the Pali Canon for accuracy.

    Now, for me there are two issues beyond karma which lead me to look elsewhere for answers. Firstly Buddhism offers no explication for existence, except for craving, and secondly the world is suffering even after Nirvana. Nirvana is the extinguishing of craving, aversion and ignorance, but it does not lead to a better world. My point here is that it isn't Karma which is a concern so much as the fact that I do not belive the material world has an inherent quality of dukkha - suffering.

    In my view, the world is neither good nor bad. It can be considered Divine if we introduce theism. However what I see in my self is that the mind changes from good, negative and passionate, the view of the world changes with the mind. So all that needs to change is the mind's view, not the world. When we change the mind's view (or reside in pure consciousness) we are liberated. But we must still act, so this is where Karma is interesting for me personally.

    I feel this is probably enough and I am running into a tangent, but I hope it helps in our talk.

    Best wishes!
     
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  20. Kanwaljit Singh

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Karam and Hukam are easy to understand.

    Karam = things that were in your hand or control to some extent e.g. you slapping your neighbour

    Hukam = things that are beyond your control e.g. cyclones
     
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  21. Ishna

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    Re: Life is easier without karma - a dicussion.

    Kanwaljit bhaji

    What about the over-lap between one person's karam becoming hukam for someone else?

    For instance, if we follow your model, it is the attackers choice (karam) to attack the victim, and it is hukam for the victim that they are struck down (they have no control).

    Just trying to understand. Many thanks.

    Also is there a difference between 'karam' and 'karma'?
     
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    #20 Ishna, Aug 7, 2012
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