General Is There A God?

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Ambers ji

Thanks for sharing your personal reflections. I find they tie things together very well for me. May I elaborate on an idea you have introduced? Buddhi is not always a negative. Buddhi can refer to a discriminating intellect, a property of mind that motivates us to begin asking quesitons about the nature of the Divine in the first place. Buddhi is the source of our curiosity.

Aham buddhi -- intellect infested with ego leads us astray. Some thoughts from Reflections on Gurbani by T. Singh (Sikhism - Reflections On Gurbani)

Thus, although the man was born with Intact Consciousness ("Saabat Soorat"), however, with the expression of Vaasnaas or ego-sense, he ended up being a limited body-mind-intellect, from which arose the perceiver of objects, the feeler of emotions, and the thinker of thoughts. To put it otherwise, when we were born, our consciousness was adorned with the Intuitive "Ease" (Sahaj). But, because of the forgetfulness of our True Unconditioned Nature, we have become "dis-eased" (diseased)! The Gurbani puts it as follows:
  • ਨਾਪਾਕ ਪਾਕੁ ਕਰਿ ਹਦੂਰਿ ਹਦੀਸਾ ਸਾਬਤ ਸੂਰਤਿ ਦਸਤਾਰ ਸਿਰਾ ॥: Naapaak paak kari hudoori hudeesaa saabat soorat dastaar siraa: Purify what is impure, and let the Lord's Presence be your religious tradition. Let your Intact Consciousness be the turban on your head (sggs 1084).
When we trust only our intellect -- in others words, demonstrate an unbending need for logical and empircal proofs, we are doing nothing more or less than confusing the actuality of the material world with truth. Buddhi which is discriminating intellect is neither good nor bad. However, intellect can be the greatest spinner of illusions. The great psychologists have demonstrated how that happens. Guru Ram Das spoke of "my beloved mind" which like a camel roams if it is not brought under control.

ਅੰਤਰਿ ਨਿਧਾਨੁ ਮਨ ਕਰਹਲੇ ਭ੍ਰਮਿ ਭਵਹਿ ਬਾਹਰਿ ਭਾਲਿ ॥
anthar nidhhaan man karehalae bhram bhavehi baahar bhaal ||
The treasure is deep within, O camel-like mind, but you wander around outside in doubt, searching for it. (Ang 235)

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji:- Ang 235 -:SearchGurbani.com ਗੁਰੂ ਗ੍ਰੰਥ ਸਾਹਿਬ
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer



I would like to add to post #74 and partially respond...as an agnostic.



Logically we cannot prove anything physical with the scientific method, Physicists know this (because even the brightest minds who study the nature of matter have not reduced it to any irreducible piece that can be conceptualized or expressed in Euclidean or non-Euclidean Mathematics). The atomic structure of matter is nothing more than a belief. A materialist’s entire existence is based upon the belief in the existence of matter, whose very nature, in turn, they do not fully comprehend.

Sinister ji I am not sure why the huge fonts are necessary. However, your point is well taken. And I can never figure out why the evangelists of atheism tend to overlook your assertion whenever it is put forward in a discussion. Science is not about "proving." Science is about systematic doubt. Systematic doubt means systematically searching for evidence that will make a theory less plausible, not more certain. An honest scientist will always say that, and add that a scientific theory must always provide the quesitons that will allow for disproving (to coin a phrase) or falsifying some or all of the theory.

Einstein: "No amount of experimentation can ever prove me right; a single experiment can prove me wrong."
 

Tejwant Singh

Mentor
Writer
SPNer
Amber ji,

Guru Fateh.

You write:
At this point we must take care not to allow the mind to assume one way is better than another, be it devotion (bhakti) or knowledge (Jñana) all ways can lead to the divine
I like what you said above. Allow me to explore it a bit more.

As Ik Ong Kaar is in all there is, then couldn't this devotion (bhakti) or knowledge (Jñana) of Piri lead to the same devotion (bhakti) or knowledge (Jñana), so that divine can be practiced through experience in the real world albeit as a student at a school, college, as a householder and as in any professional life?Our main objective as Sikhs is to find the Gurmat fulcrum within and it can not happen if devotion (bhakti) or knowledge (Jñana) are not used in all aspects of our lives because we are surrounded by the the WOW! and AWE! factors of The Source.

Thanks for your great input.Regards

Tejwant Singh
 
Dear Curious and Naranyot
It is a wondeful investigation unfolding. May I add some thoughts.

The difficulty presented to us is that the intellect (buddhi) is limited in its ability to come to the conclusion of God's existance without some kind of aid or guidance. Nanak Ji and the SGGS promote other methods to arrive at the premise that Naranyot Ji beautifully captures above, sat nam. I think this point of it being a premise is fundamental and enlightening. Thank you!

The method perscribed by the 11 Gurus is through kirtan, naam simran, meditation and the company of others. I propose that Nanak Ji was fully aware of the diffulties of coming to any conclusion based on the mind and intellect (buddhi) initially. The way of jñana, the buddhi, is not impossible, but can be highly demanding. The Sikh way is a way of devotion and worship (bhakti) and it is through this way that we come to trust our love and being rather than depend on knowledge and logic (Jñana) alone. However the logic and knowledge (Jñana) is there in the form of the 11th Guru and this is one reason that Sikhism is so encompassing and welcoming.

At this point we must take care not to allow the mind to assume one way is better than another, be it devotion (bhakti) or knowledge (Jñana) all ways can lead to the divine.

The point is that it is personal to begin with. There does not need to be evidence of God if it feels right to a person to worship (bhakti) but for others there needs to evidence, a satisfied buddhi, and this can come through logic and knowledge (Jñana). The result of both paths is that the mind becomes stilled and the premise becomes known to the knower. In other words God bestows Her grace on those who think only of Her.

The knowing of the Lord, for both those on the bhakti and Jñana path is more subtle and accute than the mind and intellect can fathome on a mundane daily level. (The reason for this is maya). So yes, the answer is in bhakti for those who dismiss the fickle mind with pure devotion and yes the answer is in jñana for those who can dismiss the fickle mind through logic and investigative-discrimination. For this reason the Guru shows us the way catering for our inviduals needs.

In my experience an atheist has the mind which requires the Jñana path if they desire an answer. Most athesits are more convinced of material existance and science than they are of worship. They would not fall to their knees and worship without a strong logical case to do so. Of course every generalisation serves only to make a point to allow us to begin investigation and should never be taken up as truth beyond that. What happened in my case personally, to my surprise, was once the mind (buddhi) was satisfied with the logic of the Jñana path, my whole being whelmed up with love and devotion (bhakti). :)

Peace!
Ambers

Ambers ji

My answer will be totally subjective!:) Its been my experience that wisdom, while necessary its time consuming for one must acquire knowledge and with patience observation , one can eventually acquire wisdom, but in my own very personal and very subjective, I grant, eperience meditation and Bakhti leads you to an overwhelming experience of the Divine and it confers you Gnosis and Wisdom , besides being an easier path.

As I said this is subjective, and I am not discarding wisdom specially since knowledge obtained through other than experiencing the divine can also be a great help and blessing specially by corroborating the spiritual experience.

These are my two cents

Truth
Curious Timeless
 
Atheist

As a result of your response I think you should redefine yourself as an agnostic. None of your responses stated flatly that God does not exist.

You referred to the "flat earth myth". I don't accept that everyone at one time believed the earth was flat. For instance anyone who sailed the seas, lived on a sea coast or the desert would see things approaching on the horizon by their highest point first and then grow in stature such as the sail of a ship or even highlands. A Little off topic.

Thank you for your response.

Peace
 
Curious ji,

After a few days I didn’t expect any response and have therefore been away from here.

Thank you for your post; I appreciate you giving thought and the time to explain your position.


You said:
<<Creation is central to theism and its validity. If there is a creator, then the whole ethical situation changes radically, we are placed in subordinate position to an entity that must be greater than us, and that, clearly, its greater in power and and knowledge…….. >>


I should have thought about this even though I had another reason for asking my question, but I won’t go into that now especially since it is directed to both sides of the discussion. Unlike others my intention wasn’t to discuss theism. I brought up the question of ‘truth’ but even this wasn’t something I really wished to get into a debate about. What I was trying to lead to was highlighting the importance of ‘good’ as distinct mental qualities that should be known for what they are and thereby encouraged.

You said:
<<If there is creator then ethics has an objective and absolute aspect and life would have some sort of ultimate purpose, independent of our will and our desires.>>


Is this something that is taught or something arrived at by your own reasoning?

As I understand it, Sikhism does teach about Karma and the fact of it leading to going around in the cycle of birth and death experiencing sometimes good results and sometimes bad. This is law; of cause and effect, one which I believe, if not understood / accepted, would lead to no good results. ;-)

There is no need to recourse to any other explanation for the one who knows and sees that good is good because it is. To go about looking for reason to justify why one should be friendly, have compassion, truthful, be moral etc. and why greed, hate, pride, envy and so on are wrong, other than the fact of their being intrinsically good and bad, is to not really ‘know’. These are *causes* leading to their corresponding results, and they can be recognized as such from studying their nature as and when they arise. Indeed it is when we don’t know this that need arises to seek justification outside of the reality itself and rest satisfied with one explanation or the other.

Being dependent on reference points outside of the reality itself as motivation to do good and avoid evil, although this can be maintained for some good time, in truth however there is so much room for being mistaken and down the road going altogether wrong.

For example, the attachment that we have in a day for family and friends is often mistaken for loving kindness. Encouraging this we end up invariable also encouraging aversion, after all this latter is consequence of the former when failing to satisfy. On the other hand, if true kindness was known for what it is, it’s “rightness” would be apparent when faced with the otherwise arising of attachment. And rather than leading to aversion being encouraged, this very aversion would then be seen rightly as opposite in nature to the kindness, and therefore to be discouraged. Likewise in the case of what we usually experience as sadness / pity, which in reality is a form of aversion, but since the concern appears to be directed to the other person, we mistakenly take this to be compassion. The difference however, is that while one is characterized by restlessness and accompanied by unpleasant feelings, the other is actually calm.

Besides, when not inclined to study the actual nature of these mental realities, most people are left with approximating the value of their actions by outward appearance, and this again is quite misleading. For example, giving money to help someone (forget charity, that’s mostly self serving in more ways than one), in being focused on the outward action and related stories about the whole situation, one often ends up falling prey to attachment, aversion, conceit and the like, creating an overall effect of more bad than good being done. Plus, not knowing that this is what took place, one ends up also with more and more ignorance.

There are many other ways in which we cheat ourselves into believing that what we do is good and right, when in fact it isn’t. In some religions, such as in Christianity where karma isn’t taught, the religion itself encourages these, for example ‘guilt’. The person who knows otherwise, to him it is clear that this is restlessness of mind which then conditions aversion, and that both these are causes which down the road lead to bad results. But for the follower, it is something that should happen in order that in the future one will not repeat the kind of deed. Perhaps conditions are such that such a deed won’t indeed be repeated, however a host of other unwanted states, most particularly those that arise from ‘self-concern’ do invariably arise as consequence.

Finally, whether one is Christian, or Hindu, or Muslim and whether or not karma is taught there, one phenomena common to followers of all, is attachment to their own religion resulting often in a strong need to defend it. This again feels good and right, and just because the harm in the mental reality of attachment has yet to be appreciated enough.

In conclusion, I think if someone here truly wishes to follow his religion, let him consider very seriously this teaching on Karma. Let this in fact be such that one is then not swayed by other laws put forward, such as those by science, which in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than “stories” about this and that. Of course the reason why we feel inclined to this is in fact because it more or less matches with the kind of observations we usually make and upon which we rely. The person of science therefore stands as one who happens to be more informed; indeed the situation is that of one blind being lead by another more interesting one.

I’ve gone on and on quite a bit Curious ji, but I hope you didn’t mind.
 

spnadmin

1947-2014 (Archived)
SPNer
Dear Sikhs,

I would like to know why you believe in god. I am intrigued - is it a personal experience? If so, what was it? Please elaborate on why you believe in god, thank you.

confused ji

The thread starter was Atheist ji. I am myself curious about his reactions to your very interesting ideas. Particularly what you said in your last paragraph,


"In conclusion, I think if someone here truly wishes to follow his religion, let him consider very seriously this teaching on Karma. Let this in fact be such that one is then not swayed by other laws put forward, such as those by science, which in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than “stories” about this and that. Of course the reason why we feel inclined to this is in fact because it more or less matches with the kind of observations we usually make and upon which we rely. The person of science therefore stands as one who happens to be more informed; indeed the situation is that of one blind being lead by another more interesting one.?
 
Curious ji,

After a few days I didn’t expect any response and have therefore been away from here.

Thank you for your post; I appreciate you giving thought and the time to explain your position.


You said:
<<Creation is central to theism and its validity. If there is a creator, then the whole ethical situation changes radically, we are placed in subordinate position to an entity that must be greater than us, and that, clearly, its greater in power and and knowledge…….. >>


I should have thought about this even though I had another reason for asking my question, but I won’t go into that now especially since it is directed to both sides of the discussion. Unlike others my intention wasn’t to discuss theism. I brought up the question of ‘truth’ but even this wasn’t something I really wished to get into a debate about. What I was trying to lead to was highlighting the importance of ‘good’ as distinct mental qualities that should be known for what they are and thereby encouraged.

You said:
<<If there is creator then ethics has an objective and absolute aspect and life would have some sort of ultimate purpose, independent of our will and our desires.>>


Is this something that is taught or something arrived at by your own reasoning?

As I understand it, Sikhism does teach about Karma and the fact of it leading to going around in the cycle of birth and death experiencing sometimes good results and sometimes bad. This is law; of cause and effect, one which I believe, if not understood / accepted, would lead to no good results. ;-)

There is no need to recourse to any other explanation for the one who knows and sees that good is good because it is. To go about looking for reason to justify why one should be friendly, have compassion, truthful, be moral etc. and why greed, hate, pride, envy and so on are wrong, other than the fact of their being intrinsically good and bad, is to not really ‘know’. These are *causes* leading to their corresponding results, and they can be recognized as such from studying their nature as and when they arise. Indeed it is when we don’t know this that need arises to seek justification outside of the reality itself and rest satisfied with one explanation or the other.

Being dependent on reference points outside of the reality itself as motivation to do good and avoid evil, although this can be maintained for some good time, in truth however there is so much room for being mistaken and down the road going altogether wrong.

For example, the attachment that we have in a day for family and friends is often mistaken for loving kindness. Encouraging this we end up invariable also encouraging aversion, after all this latter is consequence of the former when failing to satisfy. On the other hand, if true kindness was known for what it is, it’s “rightness” would be apparent when faced with the otherwise arising of attachment. And rather than leading to aversion being encouraged, this very aversion would then be seen rightly as opposite in nature to the kindness, and therefore to be discouraged. Likewise in the case of what we usually experience as sadness / pity, which in reality is a form of aversion, but since the concern appears to be directed to the other person, we mistakenly take this to be compassion. The difference however, is that while one is characterized by restlessness and accompanied by unpleasant feelings, the other is actually calm.

Besides, when not inclined to study the actual nature of these mental realities, most people are left with approximating the value of their actions by outward appearance, and this again is quite misleading. For example, giving money to help someone (forget charity, that’s mostly self serving in more ways than one), in being focused on the outward action and related stories about the whole situation, one often ends up falling prey to attachment, aversion, conceit and the like, creating an overall effect of more bad than good being done. Plus, not knowing that this is what took place, one ends up also with more and more ignorance.

There are many other ways in which we cheat ourselves into believing that what we do is good and right, when in fact it isn’t. In some religions, such as in Christianity where karma isn’t taught, the religion itself encourages these, for example ‘guilt’. The person who knows otherwise, to him it is clear that this is restlessness of mind which then conditions aversion, and that both these are causes which down the road lead to bad results. But for the follower, it is something that should happen in order that in the future one will not repeat the kind of deed. Perhaps conditions are such that such a deed won’t indeed be repeated, however a host of other unwanted states, most particularly those that arise from ‘self-concern’ do invariably arise as consequence.

Finally, whether one is Christian, or Hindu, or Muslim and whether or not karma is taught there, one phenomena common to followers of all, is attachment to their own religion resulting often in a strong need to defend it. This again feels good and right, and just because the harm in the mental reality of attachment has yet to be appreciated enough.

In conclusion, I think if someone here truly wishes to follow his religion, let him consider very seriously this teaching on Karma. Let this in fact be such that one is then not swayed by other laws put forward, such as those by science, which in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than “stories” about this and that. Of course the reason why we feel inclined to this is in fact because it more or less matches with the kind of observations we usually make and upon which we rely. The person of science therefore stands as one who happens to be more informed; indeed the situation is that of one blind being lead by another more interesting one.

I’ve gone on and on quite a bit Curious ji, but I hope you didn’t mind.

Confused ji

Well it seems to me that it was you who asked about a creator:) Then you say above about whether a Creator would have a purpose and IF ETHICS WOULD HAVE AN OBJECTIVE VALUE SOURCE if a creator was posited:

"Is this something that is taught or something arrived at by your own reasoning?"

A Creator chooses to Create and thus S/He? would have a purpose and since we exhibit all the characteristics of ethically cognizant and aware beings we must also assume that we were 'wired ' that way and that we are expected to be ethical . Therefore ethics would have an Objective standard other than a subjective only standard.

We are indeed dependent on the Creator for this Objective standard, taking Sikhism as an example Sikhs accept that selfishness is wrong in and of itself based on the Gurbani This is an objective standard. But God in any religion is definitely not outside reality, so frankly I do not know what you are getting at, can you clarify?

As to attachment , if you have put your will under Hukam of God's will and you live according to it , then you do not need to worry about attachment because you do things because they are the right thing to do and you do not value the emotion or the thing you value the ethical essence or the contributions to it that are gained through your choice and or deed.

Zarathushtrians, for example,have a very brief but profound declaration that I can paraphrase here as The Dine Order Expresses God's Will, the Divine Order Loves Goodness, It is the Most Wonderful and Highest of things. To be attuned to it is to dwell in Divine Light. This Divine Light comes to the one who is for the Divine Order only because The Divine Order is Truth and Right , that is for its own sake. The Divine Order is its own reward.

To put it in more Sikh like terms, you do hukam because its God's will , and because it is God's will it is True and Right. You do not do things for personal gain aggrandizement or ego, you do them because they are the Hukam.

Curious
The Doctrine of the Most Wise is the love of mankind
 
curious ji

The thread starter was Atheist ji. I am myself curious about his reactions to your very interesting ideas. Particularly what you said in your last paragraph,


"In conclusion, I think if someone here truly wishes to follow his religion, let him consider very seriously this teaching on Karma. Let this in fact be such that one is then not swayed by other laws put forward, such as those by science, which in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than “stories” about this and that. Of course the reason why we feel inclined to this is in fact because it more or less matches with the kind of observations we usually make and upon which we rely. The person of science therefore stands as one who happens to be more informed; indeed the situation is that of one blind being lead by another more interesting one.?

Narayanjot ji

Me thinks you are confusing me with Confused ji.:) The paragraph you cite is by him not by me. As to Atheist ji, I am still waiting on his reply to my post 74

Blessings
Curious
The Doctrine of the Most Wise is the Love of mankind
 

Atheist

SPNer
Dear Curious Ji,

Finally I've got some time to respond to your intriguing post.

Atheism means without God, it does not mean you KNOW that we are without God. You cannot KNOW we are without God

You are absolutely correct. We cannot KNOW that something does not exist, and god falls into this category. It would be unscientific to simply say that we are 100% positive there is no god. At the same time, however, we cannot KNOW that the pink unicorn does not exist, right? We cannot prove negatives like that. We can prove positives (I can prove that some apples are green), disprove positives (I can disprove the claim that all apples are red), disprove negatives (I can disprove the claim that green apples don't exist), but when it comes to proving negatives, things get much more tricky. Proving that god does not exist is impossible. But, proving that the unicorn does not exist is equally impossible.

So, technically ALL OF US are AGNOSTIC in terms of the unicorn right? Because we cannot disprove the unicorn's existence. But in practice, we are all a-unicornists. You don't waste time or energy trying to disprove the existence of the unicorn even though there is an extremely small chance it exists. So, in practice, you are an a-unicornist. Similarly I am technically agnostic with respect to god, but for me the likelihood of god existing is equal to the likelihood of the unicorn existing - very low and close to but not equal to 0. So in practice I am an a-unicornist and an atheist to the same extent.

Thus being without physical proof we humans all, atheist, agnostics and theists, must function by evidentiary systems of -proof- but these are not absolute , and we end up with possibilities , probabilities , opinions and, whether you like it or not, beliefs. So in the end yours is a belief system, You believe that there is nothing outside the physical and thus no God , or a lot other things, but the point is that when you say you do not belief, that atheism is not a belief, you mean that you do not believe in God, but you do belie in materialsm so yoiurs is a belief system.

Right - it would be a belief if I told you "There is 100% no chance that god exists" - where is my proof of that claim? I have none. Now I can't regurgitate the entire chapter, but Richard Dawkins, in his book in chapter 4, explains "why there almost certainly is no god." Again, not 100% proof, but again we can't disprove the cookie monster either. Suppose N% is the percentage chance that I will give the cookie monster of existing (very very VERY low but not 0%). The likelihood of god existing is also N%.

I cannot prove God physically, you cannot disprove Her/Him physically.

Agreed.

to say you do not need to prove what you do not believe in does not deny the fact that your opinion , i.e. that God does not exist, cannot be proven.

Lots of negatives in that one, let me see if I get it right. You are saying that: if I claim I do not need to prove the thing I don't believe in, it still means that my opinion can be proven. Is that what you're saying? But it cannot be proven, as above, we cannot prove that something doesn't exist, and that includes the cookie monster, unicorns, and tooth fairies.

You must hold opinions that to you make the possibility of a creator implausible.

Not implausible, but highly unlikely. Again, just as unlikely as the cookie monster or leprechauns.

But you see the Theists , at least some theists, have proof of the existence of a Creator that, to them, leaves no doubt and that proof is a personal and earth shaking experience with the Creator.

Yes that's true, and originally this is why I believed in god too. But some people have similar experiences with unicorns and for them that is no doubt proof and they may see it as an earth shaking experience with the unicorn. But that is not very likely to impress you (at least I hope it doesn't). The argument from personal experience only goes as far as the person who is having the experience. If we give too much credit to that, then anyone with a personal experience in leprechauns would then suggest that leprechauns exist.

It is very hard when you are man centered, to even consider the possibility of a Creator with an open mind. I know this very well as I used to be an atheist , and in fact used many of your own arguments and logic. But if you keep your mind open and do not prejudge , you will with an impartial study of all the evidence get to a point where you will have to concede the POSSIBILITY of a Creator.

I can be equally woman centered too. Women after all have the ability to give birth (unless you're a seahorse). Is there a possibility of a Creator? Sure...just not a very high one. I do not prejudice, in fact in another post I am trying to show people that the SRM is prejudiced against disabled people, claiming that their laws are more "practical" - as if the point of living is being practical. Like I said there, life is not about being practical, it's about doing the right thing - but that's a separate forum.

I would like to think that I do have an open mind. So if there is some good evidence, I am totally willing to see it. After all, if the mormons are right, I want in.

If the Creator is then possible, that is, he is no longer in the realm of the Pink Unicorn, or the all present Cookie Monster, you can then suspend judgment and seek personal experiential proof .

The creator is possible, but the pink unicorn and cookie monster are equally possible. I am open to personal and experiential proof, and am curious to know what other people's proofs are, which is why I started the forum.

You must do this with a totally open mind and in total sincere honesty. Just take the Mool Mantra and the Jap ji and realize that in order to first experience the spiritual you must suspend the self by putting your will under the Hukam of God's will, Surrender your will to the Creator's command, put yourself under Orders, recognize Our Superior. Then ask the Creator to show you His Grace and Presence . If you are able to do this in sincerity it is my belief, and certainly my own personal experience, that you will have a meeting of the God kind, a meeting that will change your life

I am open to it, I have done "paath" (however you spell it) before. I have performed kirtan, played the tabla, and immersed myself in the kirtan of Ragis or even my mom or the community. There is no better poetry than Guru Gobind Singh's "Tav Parsad Saveya" (forgive my spelling). It is so eloquently written and Bhai Dya Singh sung it as if Guru Gobind Singh Ji himself were to sing it. And it carries such an amazing message - if it were true. I have spent many hours of my life contemplating this and trying to immerse myself in the deep spiritual realm of Sikhi. But so far...an empty well.

Will it physically prove God exists? No You will, however, KNOW that S/He exists and you will not need proof for His existence , any more than you need to prove yourself that there is a sun , or an ocen or flowers or any other thing that is, because you will KNOW HE IS and IS in every thing

So is god to you a personal god, a pantheistic god, both of those, or something totally different?

Be true to yourself and try it, with all sincerity and humility, you have nothing to loose and everything to gain

I am still open to it. If god reveals himself to me, you will be one of the first to know. As a pseudo-scientist I try to be open-minded to all possibilities, because our puny little brains know very little, so we have no choice but to be open minded to the vastness of the universe, because you never know what you might find. So far though, I have not found god, tooth fairies, or cookie monsters.

:)
 
Narayanjot ji


You wrote:
<<The thread starter was Atheist ji. I am myself curious about his reactions to your very interesting ideas. Particularly what you said in your last paragraph, >>

And quoted:
<<"In conclusion, I think if someone here truly wishes to follow his religion, let him consider very seriously this teaching on Karma. Let this in fact be such that one is then not swayed by other laws put forward, such as those by science, which in my opinion, amounts to nothing more than “stories” about this and that. Of course the reason why we feel inclined to this is in fact because it more or less matches with the kind of observations we usually make and upon which we rely. The person of science therefore stands as one who happens to be more informed; indeed the situation is that of one blind being lead by another more interesting one.?>>


Thank you.
However from my side, this was not meant for Atheist ji, but for the rest, those who follow Sikh teachings and have some faith in the reality of karma. I myself do not believe in God. However, I’m not here to question anyone’s belief, but to encourage people to seriously consider this particular teaching, something which Atheist ji would not offer, given where he appears to come from.
 
Curious ji,

You wrote:
<<Well it seems to me that it was you who asked about a creator. >>


My question was about ‘creation’ and not creator. And this was placed along with the question about ‘origin of the universe’. And as I said, that I had another reason in mind for asking this, but had I remembered to think in terms of the ‘creator’, I’d probably not have put forward the question.

You said:
<<Then you say above about whether a Creator would have a purpose and IF ETHICS WOULD HAVE AN OBJECTIVE VALUE SOURCE if a creator was posited:

"Is this something that is taught or something arrived at by your own reasoning?"

A Creator chooses to Create and thus S/He? would have a purpose and since we exhibit all the characteristics of ethically cognizant and aware beings we must also assume that we were 'wired ' that way and that we are expected to be ethical . Therefore ethics would have an Objective standard other than a subjective only standard.>>


And I was trying to show that the law of cause and effect which is Karma is as real and absolute as anything can be. It can be understood now at this very moment, though only at an intellectual level at first. The reference point however is not an abstraction, but such things as seeing, feelings and thinking that is happening for example, while you are reading this response.

I’ll just leave it here though, as I said in my first response in this thread, the truth is not something one can hope to achieve in time, but is something that’s either understood now to any extent, or not at all.

Thanks for your thoughts.
 
Atheist,

Thanks for asking. You could say that I almost expected you to. ;-)

Roughly, Karma is good and bad deeds performed through body, speech or mind. Examples: through body are killing, stealing and the restraint from these. Through speech are lying, divisive speech and their opposites. Through mind are envy, ill will and the avoidance of these.

More precisely, Karma is the mental reality of “intention” whose ethical value is determined by what is known as ‘roots’. These roots include on one side greed, hatred and delusion and on the other their opposites, namely non-greed, non-hatred and wisdom. Intention performs the function of coordinating the other mental realities accompanying the mind-moment, but in the case of volitional actions such as the above, it also ‘wills’. This latter is what must later bear fruit. In other words, intention is ‘cause’ for the result which arises later on, as experiences through the five senses, namely eye, ear, nose, tongue and body and also for birth and death and that which maintains the particular life in between.

However, not all instances of intention during acts through body, speech and mind are “cause”. This is because during such times the volition is too weak. Such instances in fact make up most of our day, and includes such things as waking up from bed, going to the bathroom, eating our meals preferring one food over another, watching one’s favourite TV program and lying down on a soft bed.

They’d still be rooted though, and in the case of the examples given, would most definitely be that of greed and delusion. And wisdom would know that even though during such actions no ‘harm’ is done at the time, attachment for example accumulates, such that any strong liking for a particular experience today could result in acts such as that of lying and stealing sometime in the future when a wish arises to have the kind of experience.

From this you can see, that wisdom is key and the highest form of good. Indeed it is the *only* good which leads one not to be trapped in the cycle of birth and death. Other kinds of good lead to good result, but would still be adding bricks to the prison walls around oneself. Wisdom on the other hand, when strong enough, is the process by which these bricks are gradually removed.

I’d like to stop here Atheist ji, and hope that this is enough for now.
 

Atheist

SPNer
Dear Confused Ji,

Thank you for your response. You know me well if you knew I would ask you what your definition of Karma is. If you do not believe in god, how is there a life/death cycle? What system is there, if not god, that controls this life/death cycle? So if there is a life/death cycle are you saying we have souls? If you do not believe in god where do souls come from and once you have broken the cycle of life/death where does your soul go if not heaven?
 
Atheist ji,


Quote:
<<Thank you for your response. You know me well if you knew I would ask you what your definition of Karma is. If you do not believe in god, how is there a life/death cycle? What system is there, if not god, that controls this life/death cycle? So if there is a life/death cycle are you saying we have souls? If you do not believe in god where do souls come from and once you have broken the cycle of life/death where does your soul go if not heaven?>><end quote>


No I don’t know you, but I did make some remarks which I thought would cause you to react.

Since you do not believe in God and since I don’t think that you are playing the devil’s advocate, I’ll try to answer without reference to God.

One of the main things I wanted to draw your attention to in my last response was the fact of Karma being a “mental” reality. And that this mental reality can only be known for what it really is by another mental reality, namely wisdom.

Our knowledge of the fact of there being physical phenomena on one hand and mental phenomena on the other is based on inference and never by direct understanding. So what ever we imagine the actual nature of these to be, it will likely be wrong. In the meantime, we can recognize where we are coming from each time that we consider these things. And gradually misconceptions will be shed and a point may come when even though we still don’t truly know, we know at least not to jump into conclusions.

The exact workings of Karma are actually the domain of the Fully Enlightened. But between this and say, a working hypothesis, there are degrees of understanding which must be developed leading to increased confidence. There is absolutely no place here for blind faith.

When it is pointed out that Karma is actually the mental reality which is intention, can there not be a beginning of understanding this? When it is said that the cause are volitional actions and results are experiences through the five senses such as seeing, hearing and touching, can we not begin to appreciate the difference? What should be also considered is that every moment of consciousness, be it cause or effect, this comes into existence due to complex set of conditions, some present and some from the past. All these, although they follow certain fixed laws are however not predictable.

But then you may question why one should even consider volitional actions to be cause and the experience through the senses as result of these….? Well, you don’t have to. But then you may at some point wonder why / how consciousness arises at all and why there are so many varieties of these. And you may also think about such things as birth and why from the very beginning as infants, there is so much attachment and aversion. And you may also wonder why for example, twins show such difference in temperaments and why the difference in situation between people where they are born into.

Sure, you’d have some explanations of your own, some preconceived and some that are conceived of right now, while you are reading this. But would any of those be a result of direct study of the mind? And while you are being drawn into believing in what you think, is there any awareness of what is actually going on?

The point here is that while we so easily reject the concept of Karma, we are not aware of the “views” influencing us in the moment towards which there is clinging. And while we turn so readily to other explanations for what is observed, none of these are the result of any level of understanding, but rather something that just happen to be the satisfying one at the time. Yet, the kind of attitude encouraged by those who believe in Karma and rebirth and which one argues against, is that of direct study of mind and matter, and discouraging even, of the tendency to rest satisfied with any kind of explanation. Moreover it is from here that “views” are recognized for what they are when they arise. This is the process of ‘straightening of views’, whereby such things as the annihilationist leanings of say, the scientist, is seen for what it is and that of eternalism is also known.

So, is there a soul? No, not if there is what is called Right View.

Right View would have it that at any given moment, there are only conditioned mental and physical realities arising and falling away in an instant, conditioning the next altogether different, but related reality. Seeing this, one will not believe then that there is some permanent entity for which one might then say, that in this life he takes the form of a human and in another, that of a dog. But neither would he see any of this as being random, since this moment is not uncaused such that one moment of consciousness is intimately related to the next one.

But cause there is, and so too, results. When death therefore occurs, which btw, is a resultant consciousness performing the particular function; there is therefore no reason to believe that such conditioning power somehow disappears. And it’s not so hard to comprehend were we to consider how all this takes place even now at this very moment. Indeed, there is death with every falling away of consciousness and birth with the arising of a new one. The one difference is that death consciousness itself happens only once in any given lifetime, and there is such thing as life-continuum at other times. Consciousness of different types alternate, but there is this that the one falling away is immediately followed by the next and so it is that when death consciousness falls away, rebirth must immediately follow. In a way therefore, it is just like now! No reason for any of this to appear mysterious. Indeed as far as I’m concerned, all other explanations offered are like fictions. And I’m sure that you’d also see them as such, once you’ve learnt to appreciate the difference between ‘reality’ on one hand and ‘concept’ on the other. ;-)

These are some random thoughts, Atheist ji. I doubt having been able to convince you to any extent, but even then, it demands more than just to be able to read and agree with the arguments. Understanding is developed by way of great patience and the need to hear, read, consider and also discuss with those who understand more, over a long, long time. As one wise man once said to the effect:

It is like holding a knife handle. From one day to the next one can’t recognize that there has been any wearing away. But after a long time, there can be some recognition that there has been a change.

To me, understanding from one lifetime to the next, can be compared to the difference from one day to the next in the case of the knife handle. If after being shown these truths, one is attracted, this does not indicate any quick change of perspective, but one which the seeds have been sown over many lifetimes and only now been given yet another chance to expose itself to the air and given water.

Hope all this has at least given some food for thought. ;-)
 
Confused ji

I do not believe karma to have any meaning regarding good and bad. There is no good karma and bad karma. Karma just is. A law of cause and effect to keep this in balance.
There is no "good" or "bad" outside of man's state of conscious in this temporal world of maya.

Peace
 
Satyaban ji,

Confused ji

I do not believe karma to have any meaning regarding good and bad. There is no good karma and bad karma. Karma just is. A law of cause and effect to keep this in balance.
There is no "good" or "bad" outside of man's state of conscious in this temporal world of maya.

Peace

Karma just is what? And what is kept in balance thereby?

Do you mean to say that you are wrong whenever you think to perform good deeds and avoid evil? If I perceive kindness on your part in trying to teach me the truth, should I not take that perception seriously. Indeed why should I take you seriously at all when all is just maya?
 
Satyaban ji,



Karma just is what? And what is kept in balance thereby?

Do you mean to say that you are wrong whenever you think to perform good deeds and avoid evil? If I perceive kindness on your part in trying to teach me the truth, should I not take that perception seriously. Indeed why should I take you seriously at all when all is just maya?

Confused ji

There is no "what" it just "is". Everything you mentioned is perceived in the veil of maya. Certainly it is good to recognize kind acts but suppose I gave you so money how would it be perceived by someone I didn't give money to?

Peace
 

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