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What Is Karma In Buddhism And In Sikhi?

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Just wrote a very long post and lost it so am going to try again tomorrow as too exhausted now. I hate computers! :crash: yellingsardarni:down::8-:):crash:
while writing longish replies it is advisable to use MS word or notepad and never forget to hit CTRL+S every time you stop to think. will save you a lot of time. japposatnamwaheguru:
 
Nov 15, 2004
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Tejwant ji,


Thank you for pointing out what you perceive about me. It is good to remember whenever I feel irritated by anyone else's expressions, how much of a pain I can be to others with the way I express myself. But thats about the only thing I can do since its unlikely that I will change anytime soon. I realize too, that people are discouraged from responding to my posts for this and other reasons, not only here, but elsewhere as well. Besides I do express my Buddhist ideas on things in a way which could well come across as imposing to some people.

You wrote:
The problem I find in this interaction of ours is and please correct me if I am wrong that you see everything even what is shared with you about Sikhi through your Buddhist lens hence disregard what the true values and Sikhi concepts are shown to you. The interaction becomes a circular argument rather than a learning interaction.
C: One could say that I'm generally inattentive and about the most muddle headed and self-absorbed person that I know. And this happens more or less when reading too. Regarding reading Sikh ideas through my Buddhist lens, you must be referring to my statements to Ambarsaria ji regarding the vices? I admit yes, that this is what I did. But then again, I do not recall reading anything substantial and definitive regarding Karma from the Sikh perspective. Indeed I’m waiting to hear this, and thought yesterday, on reading Findingmyway’s post which got lost, that perhaps she had done just that.

On ‘disregarding Sikhi concepts’, what do you mean exactly by this? I can say that I disagree with them, but you seem to be saying that I am not even interested to read, which of course is true to some extent, since I read only the responses given to me and nothing more.

Regarding ‘circular argument’, I’m not familiar with the concept, so I don’t really know what it is that you are referring to, but would be interested to hear about it.

=======
Tejwant:
I can rebut your response one by one……..

C: Please do, as much as you think needed, otherwise how would I know what people think? I like to believe that something useful has been said, but if it turns out that nothing at all is accepted, then I shouldn't continue to waste other people's time.

=======
Tejwant:
I can rebut your response one by one but that will lead us no where as it seems you are not open minded enough to accept Sikhi concepts of things like Karma, reincarnation and many more. No one is asking you to embrace them but just try to find another lens through which you can appreciate within of this prism which encompasses everything.

C: Again I’m sorry for being such a pain.
I know people make reference to being open-minded a lot, but the concept does not play any part in my own thinking.

If you are saying that I am ‘fixed’ in my way of thinking, I can only say that I wish I could be more and more confident about those things that I value and try to share with others here. If you are saying that I don’t speak with enough of a friendly attitude, I admit that I don’t have much kindness. If you are expecting me to leave room for the possibility of other teachings being right, all I can say is that I’d need to hear about it and would go on a one idea at a time basis. But then maybe I’m not hearing and this is what you are telling me! But as I said earlier, I’m not very attentive, however, with regard to those parts that I do read, I think that like everyone else, the evaluation happens automatically, even if this was to ‘pause and give more thought to the subject’. In other words, the lens through which I perceive is conditioned and I can’t see through two of them at the same time. Whatever the associated thoughts and how quick or slow one arrives at any conclusion; I don’t think one is necessarily more right than the other in this regard. I'll admit to being uncompromising, but is this necessarily a sign of foolishness? On the other hand, in being open and receptive, is this a sign of wisdom necessarily?

========
Tejwant:
As, you, yourself have admitted many times that you do not like long responses/posts which shows that your mind has already been made up and hence the refusal to see the contents of the long post which I am sure would be a learning expereince and at times eye openers.

C: Sure, I do speak often from preconceived conclusions, but I do not encourage this. It’s just that there is too much ignorance and attachments and these arise uncontrollably. Were wisdom to arise instead and with this some goodwill, my interactions would have been different or maybe, I’d not say anything at all. ;-)

The fact that I don’t read long posts however is not only when it comes to materials here, but also those that interest me deeply. You may be surprised to hear that I have read only one Buddhist book by my favorite author in ten years. I have at least seven other books by her and many others with very valuable material, but I have yet to read any of these. So you shouldn’t take it that I don’t bother because I have made up my mind. Although to some extent this is true, since I’d likely have done it had I read comments made here that aroused my curiosity.

=======
Tejwant:
What I would suggest and this suggestion is only if you are interested in learning about Sikhism in a comparative fashion, to read many threads and posts already posted in this forum which have all the answers you have thus far asked and then share your experience by comparing them with your concepts and values.
C: I’m not interested in comparing, but I would be interested to hear what it is that is really taught. It would be too much work for me to read through all those postings here and I suspect that even then, I’d not be able to make out what is the definitive understanding. Even in Buddhists groups when the same thing is suggested to me, I usually ask that person to provide me with a summary or detailed exposition as he sees fit. And this is what I’d like to request of you Tejwant ji, if it is not too much trouble.

Thanks in advance.
 

Randip Singh

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Tejwant ji,

You wrote:

Karma is again different than it is in the Hindu concept. Karma in Sikhi means,"we reap what we sow" in this life as reincarnation does not come in the equation. Hence, Karma in Sikhi is a proven fact.<end quote="">

Could you please elaborate and give some examples of this, namely that Karma is a proven fact?

Thanks.
The strongest argument for me against the Hindu notion of Karma not being the same as the Sikh notion of Karma is the caste system.

As Sikhs we do not believe in caste, because caste is linked to ones past sins in a former life.

If you don't believe in caste then you don't believe in the Hindu notion of Karma.

</end>
 
Nov 15, 2004
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Randip ji,


The strongest argument for me against the Hindu notion of Karma not being the same as the Sikh notion of Karma is the caste system.

As Sikhs we do not believe in caste, because caste is linked to ones past sins in a former life.

If you don't believe in caste then you don't believe in the Hindu notion of Karma.

</end>

But isn’t this a wrong application of the concept by a certain group of people only? Between the two, the concept of Karma and Caste System which of these would define Hindu? Would it be right if someone were to throw out certain concept in Sikh teachings based on misapplication by some group of people claiming to follow Sikhi? You surely wouldn't say that the concept of Karma originated in the minds of those who wanted to control people and create the caste system, would you? If not, how about giving some credit to any correct application of the idea by those who may in fact disagree with the caste system as you do, most particularly those who lived long before the caste system came into existence? And would not the reasonable conclusion be that, “those who believe in Karma will not believe in the caste system”!?
 

Tejwant Singh

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Tejwant ji,


Thank you for pointing out what you perceive about me. It is good to remember whenever I feel irritated by anyone else's expressions, how much of a pain I can be to others with the way I express myself. But thats about the only thing I can do since its unlikely that I will change anytime soon. I realize too, that people are discouraged from responding to my posts for this and other reasons, not only here, but elsewhere as well. Besides I do express my Buddhist ideas on things in a way which could well come across as imposing to some people.



C: One could say that I'm generally inattentive and about the most muddle headed and self-absorbed person that I know. And this happens more or less when reading too. Regarding reading Sikh ideas through my Buddhist lens, you must be referring to my statements to Ambarsaria ji regarding the vices? I admit yes, that this is what I did. But then again, I do not recall reading anything substantial and definitive regarding Karma from the Sikh perspective. Indeed I’m waiting to hear this, and thought yesterday, on reading Findingmyway’s post which got lost, that perhaps she had done just that.

On ‘disregarding Sikhi concepts’, what do you mean exactly by this? I can say that I disagree with them, but you seem to be saying that I am not even interested to read, which of course is true to some extent, since I read only the responses given to me and nothing more.

Regarding ‘circular argument’, I’m not familiar with the concept, so I don’t really know what it is that you are referring to, but would be interested to hear about it.

=======



C: Please do, as much as you think needed, otherwise how would I know what people think? I like to believe that something useful has been said, but if it turns out that nothing at all is accepted, then I shouldn't continue to waste other people's time.

=======



C: Again I’m sorry for being such a pain.
I know people make reference to being open-minded a lot, but the concept does not play any part in my own thinking.

If you are saying that I am ‘fixed’ in my way of thinking, I can only say that I wish I could be more and more confident about those things that I value and try to share with others here. If you are saying that I don’t speak with enough of a friendly attitude, I admit that I don’t have much kindness. If you are expecting me to leave room for the possibility of other teachings being right, all I can say is that I’d need to hear about it and would go on a one idea at a time basis. But then maybe I’m not hearing and this is what you are telling me! But as I said earlier, I’m not very attentive, however, with regard to those parts that I do read, I think that like everyone else, the evaluation happens automatically, even if this was to ‘pause and give more thought to the subject’. In other words, the lens through which I perceive is conditioned and I can’t see through two of them at the same time. Whatever the associated thoughts and how quick or slow one arrives at any conclusion; I don’t think one is necessarily more right than the other in this regard. I'll admit to being uncompromising, but is this necessarily a sign of foolishness? On the other hand, in being open and receptive, is this a sign of wisdom necessarily?

========



C: Sure, I do speak often from preconceived conclusions, but I do not encourage this. It’s just that there is too much ignorance and attachments and these arise uncontrollably. Were wisdom to arise instead and with this some goodwill, my interactions would have been different or maybe, I’d not say anything at all. ;-)

The fact that I don’t read long posts however is not only when it comes to materials here, but also those that interest me deeply. You may be surprised to hear that I have read only one Buddhist book by my favorite author in ten years. I have at least seven other books by her and many others with very valuable material, but I have yet to read any of these. So you shouldn’t take it that I don’t bother because I have made up my mind. Although to some extent this is true, since I’d likely have done it had I read comments made here that aroused my curiosity.

=======


C: I’m not interested in comparing, but I would be interested to hear what it is that is really taught. It would be too much work for me to read through all those postings here and I suspect that even then, I’d not be able to make out what is the definitive understanding. Even in Buddhists groups when the same thing is suggested to me, I usually ask that person to provide me with a summary or detailed exposition as he sees fit. And this is what I’d like to request of you Tejwant ji, if it is not too much trouble.

Thanks in advance.
Confused ji,

Guru Fateh.

Thanks for the response.

One can easily notice how you contradict yourself from one sentence to the other in your post above. I am not interested in rebutting or giving you point by point answer because, as you have admitted yourself above that it would be just a waste of time because you are unwilling to make knowledge your best friend by refusing to read what has been offered.

I will just respond to what I have put in bold above. In Sikhi,inner journey is meant to be of the individual and of the individual only. Each of us carry our own spiritual torch. You have asked me to give you a summary of what I mean. Rather than giving you a summary, I have requested you to read many threads that are already on this forum which also include my posts so you can have an idea about the subject being discussed from the Sikhi viewpoint, but you have refused to do that.

I am sorry to disappoint you but I can not offer you something that you should have a desire yourself to know on a silver platter in the form of cliff notes. You have to make an effort yourself for that because it is your own personal journey. If you refuse to learn and exchange ideas, then I am afraid, I can not be of any help.

Enjoy your journey.

Thanks & regards

Tejwant Singh
 

Ambarsaria

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Confused ji, Randip Singh ji and Tejwant Singh ji I have written a brief post given some of the discourse in this thtread. Sharing it for discourse not to prove right or wrong.

Some time-lines about Hinduism, Karma and Buddhism below,

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  • Hiduism (Aryan based), Brahmins and Caste origination 1500 BC
  • Buddha was born in B.C. 560 and died at the age of eighty in B.C. 480.
  • The Bhagavad Gita (5th to 2nd century BC)
  • Caste System much enforced from 700AD onwards (supported by Islamic interactions and forgiveness of Jizya for upper classes)
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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The following summary for illustration from,

(http://www.hinduwebsite.com/hinduism/h_caste.asp)


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1. Justification in the Vedas: No vedic tradition is valid unless it is found in the Vedas. The caste system would not have found approval among the vedic people unless there was some reference to it in the Vedas. The Purusha Sukta in the 10th Mandala of the Rigveda describes how the castes came into existence, from different parts of Purusha, the Cosmic Soul, at the time of a grand sacrifice performed by the gods. The brahmins came out of his mouth, the kshatriyas from his arms, the vaisyas from his thighs and the sudras from his feet.

Miracles and born and bred as unequal, not recognized in Sikhism as equality at all stages of life postulated.
2. Justification in the theory of Karma: The concept of karma perfectly justifies the caste system based on birth. It favors the argument that people of lower castes have to blame themselves for their plight because of their bad karma in their past lives. (Lord Krishna).

Assignment of higher or unequal by birth, not recognized in Sikhism as equality at all stages of life postulated.
3. Justification by the theory of Gunas: According to many schools of Hindu philosophy, all beings and objects in the world contain the triple gunas or qualities of Prakriti. Their dominance or suppression cause people to act and behave differently and make them fit for certain types of occupations. These three qualities are sattva, rajas and tamas.

Sikhism postulates all being from one source and continuing so and a creation of God which cannot be fully known or described by anyone.
4. Justification by the religious laws:The caste system was justified by most of the smriti literature, Manusmriti being the most notorious among them and by such religious scriptures as the Puranas, the Sutra literature and scriptures such as the Bhagavadgita and some later day Upanishads. The law books not only justified rigid caste system but prescribed severe punishments in case of violation.

The rigidity of Caste system starts to creep back in after the death of Buddha and during interactions with Islam later on in the Indus valley.

Supported by early Islamic interactions and forgiveness of Jizya { Under Islamic law, jizya or jizyah is a per capita tax levied on a section of an Islamic state's non-Muslim citizens} for upper classes. This was followed by Islamic aggressors and conversions of Hindus to rigid Islamic interpretations. This was the time of establishment of Sikhism to de-demonize Hinduism practices, beliefs and systems as well as fighting the Islamic aggression and religious preachings.

There are actual counter writings about each and every of the four categories of Hinduism Caste and Karma identified above in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.



Randip Singh ji
The strongest argument for me against the Hindu notion of Karma not being the same as the Sikh notion of Karma is the caste system.
As Sikhs we do not believe in caste, because caste is linked to ones past sins in a former life.
If you don't believe in caste then you don't believe in the Hindu notion of Karma.


As we can see there are possible more than one basis of Karma and Caste System associations in Hinduism. I have wrote the four summaries above which provide a greater set of concepts and comments about Sikhism that I understand. So while it supports what you posts it perhaps helps in the dialog, just my wish.
Buddhism while believing in Karma does not subscribe to Caste systems (same as Sikhism for caste system rejection) but different and specific concept of Karma. The specifics of Karma in Buddhism, not subscribed to completely, as described in Sikhism postulations and discoveries through Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.


While there appear to be in some writings Miracles, "I am God" statement attributions, monks having a specific purpose and duties while supported by the rest of the population to provide for their subsistence; one sees some parallels with Hinduisms and Brahmin like practices via-a-vis Monks and Brahmin Pujaris.


Confused ji,
You may be surprised to hear that I have read only one Buddhist book by my favorite author in ten years.
Confused ji thanks for your posts and I would like to know if possible for you to send a PM or otherwise provide info about the book you refer to. I will also get to, one day, describe the equations in my post depending upon how this thread develops.

Sat Sri Akal.peacesign
 
Nov 15, 2004
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Tejwant ji,

You wrote:

One can easily notice how you contradict yourself from one sentence to the other in your post above. I am not interested in rebutting or giving you point by point answer because, as you have admitted yourself above that it would be just a waste of time because you are unwilling to make knowledge your best friend by refusing to read what has been offered.

This is the second time that this has happened. The first time, perhaps the realization was weaker, that I quickly found justification to continue as I did before. This time however, it is different.

I had written a somewhat critical response to you, but when it was time to review it; this part quoted above struck me differently. I realized suddenly, how foolish I have been.

True, at no time did I ever think to learn ‘from’ Sikhi, this is consequence of what I’ve come to understand through the Buddha’s teachings, which I consider very different from everything else. Indeed the more I come across core ideas of other teachings, the more wrong they all appear to me. And so I see myself here, as more or less sharing my understanding in order that other people may refine their own. Although I was not out to convert anyone for sure, sometimes however, the ‘sharing’ does become more like ‘preaching’! I’d have an idea that this was going on, but would brush it aside as unavoidable and of little consequence. In other words, I’d manage to wriggle out of the situation.

However today, after reading your comment quoted above, the image of being an ‘intruder’ came to mind. And suddenly I realized how very foolish and unkind I have been. It is one thing to share one’s understandings, however most of my comments especially those recently made, have been something else altogether. They have been more about the great ‘me’, than with any objective to help other people. Not only this, but the “I” conceit would come in each time that I feel compelled to respond and argue.

Indeed how could all this not happen? The very idea to come in here and think to share must in fact have been conditioned by some degree of conceit!! And therefore to a good degree, I’ve been fooling myself all along and in the process have given others the wrong impression ending up perhaps, misleading some. Probably some here saw through all this, but chose not to say anything!

But just one point Tejwant ji, with regard to my unwillingness to wade through all the posts you have asked me to read. I really do have an aversion to reading in general. Besides there are other things that would take my interest away from reading even a little. I would however have read any comments you make with interest if it was in a discussion, and so you should not take my unwillingness to read what you suggest as sign of insincerity. It would have been easier if you’d said that you do not wish to go to the trouble of re-writing all the comments which you have made before here. Then I’d simply have to decide whether or not to continue, i.e. if I wanted to, I’d have to read and be satisfied with whatever I can gather, or not bother with it at all. Besides it did not even occur to me at the time, that all you were asking of me was to read ‘your’ comments in those discussions.

But anyway, this is my last post before a response to Ambarsaria ji, which I will compose later on after dinner. Lastly, I take this opportunity to apologize to you and everyone else here, for having been so intrusive. I’d likely read on and off some of the messages, and maybe respond to any response to this post of mine, but certainly no more poking my nose into any discussion.
 

Randip Singh

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Randip ji,

But isn’t this a wrong application of the concept by a certain group of people only? Between the two, the concept of Karma and Caste System which of these would define Hindu? Would it be right if someone were to throw out certain concept in Sikh teachings based on misapplication by some group of people claiming to follow Sikhi? You surely wouldn't say that the concept of Karma originated in the minds of those who wanted to control people and create the caste system, would you? If not, how about giving some credit to any correct application of the idea by those who may in fact disagree with the caste system as you do, most particularly those who lived long before the caste system came into existence? And would not the reasonable conclusion be that, “those who believe in Karma will not believe in the caste system”!?
No!

Its not an application, but an absolute fact. Caste and Karma in Hinduism are beyond question linked. One goes in hand with the other. If you have no Caste you have no past Karma.

Karma in Hinduism was designed to control people (Varna/Jati are testiment to this)

The Sikh notion of Karma is more akin to, for every action, there is an equal but opposite reaction. Sikhism simply states that Human life is precious and above all other forms of life, so use it well, for if you don't you will suffer (here and now) in one way or another.
 
Nov 15, 2004
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Ambarsaria ji,

At the end of my post to Randip ji, I had wanted to suggest that after rejecting the particular Hindu understanding of Karma, the Sikh understanding about it should be provided. But I decided against it as I thought that it may come across as a challenge.

I don’t know Hindu, but I wouldn’t try to learn about it from any scholarly writings. A scholar seeks to come to a general conclusion about groups of people and does not take into consideration the mind of the individual. He may study outward behavior of selected individuals, but then this clearly is a place where his projections likely take effect. And scholars will talk in terms of philosophy and the evolution of ideas, but again this is an abstraction and missing the point. Because religion is about the individual, not the outward behavior, but his attitude towards experiences.

I don’t know Hindu, but what I do know is that any religion must be based on moral principles and this is what attracts different people to it. When I stated that Karma existed before there was caste system, historically I thought that this was the case, but this was not all that I had in mind. One thing I had in mind was that Karma as a moral principle is a universal law, and any correct or incorrect application must necessarily come after some recognition of this fact. And this means that Karma must override any other considerations, ones that we may feel disinclined to accept.

An individual who approaches religion is attracted to those parts which teach morality, and Karma *is* a moral law. If there is anything else that interests him, these comes *after* and is never that important. It seems like an insult then, to suggest more or less that Hinduism is built on the caste system and that those who follow it are fools. I would say that even amongst those who feel suppressed by the system, they gain inspiration from those parts of their teachings which is about Karma and rightly!

After all, what is the urge ‘to do good and avoid evil’ all about if not a reflection of this law being a Universal Truth? If Hinduism teaches about Karma, then it surely must have been based on such a truth and not as suggested, a creation by those who seek to control other people? You may not agree with the teachings, but why insult people’s intelligence?

I appreciate your efforts to provide the necessary information and I think you were hinting at the Sikh concept of Karma when you remarked:

“Sikhism postulates all being from one source and continuing so and a creation of God which cannot be fully known or described by anyone.”

I am however not going to engage in discussions here anymore and therefore apologize for having to make your efforts go more or less in vain.

Regarding the book you asked about, it is not like it was an important book from where I got all my ideas. But just that it is small in comparison and easier to read. It was “Buddhism in Daily Life” by Nina Van Gorkom. You can do a search and will surely come upon an online version of the book.

Thanks for all your discussions and kindness shown.
 

Ambarsaria

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Confused ji thanks for your contributions. I have downloaded the book you referred to and plan to study/read it.

In my way of philosophical thinking,

  • When all agree there is no learning.
  • When everyone states their mind and puts in effort, there is great learning
Not to stroke any egos, I have learnt a lot through this thread and many others at SPN with contributions from all or even jostling of philosophies and beliefs.

As you may have noticed in the contributions, Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji in Sikhism is not a book of definitions or rituals to salvation, etc.

It is in a way a self contained Off-Line course that one can go through at their own pace to find answers for a practical life within the grander belief in "One Creator" who has enabled each and all to discover all without limitations and free from,

  • Where were you born in the Universe?
  • What is your sex?
  • What is your profession?
  • Who are your parents?
  • What is your education?
  • What are your physical attributes?
  • What physical environment you live in?
  • What religion you follow?
  • .
  • .
  • An open ended empowering of you if you need or want to discover and live a practical life!
Enjoy life and through your posts I have come to know that you do and are a practical person.

Sat Sri Akal.mundahug
 

Tejwant Singh

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Tejwant ji,

You wrote:

This is the second time that this has happened. The first time, perhaps the realization was weaker, that I quickly found justification to continue as I did before. This time however, it is different.

I had written a somewhat critical response to you, but when it was time to review it; this part quoted above struck me differently. I realized suddenly, how foolish I have been.

True, at no time did I ever think to learn ‘from’ Sikhi, this is consequence of what I’ve come to understand through the Buddha’s teachings, which I consider very different from everything else. Indeed the more I come across core ideas of other teachings, the more wrong they all appear to me. And so I see myself here, as more or less sharing my understanding in order that other people may refine their own. Although I was not out to convert anyone for sure, sometimes however, the ‘sharing’ does become more like ‘preaching’! I’d have an idea that this was going on, but would brush it aside as unavoidable and of little consequence. In other words, I’d manage to wriggle out of the situation.

However today, after reading your comment quoted above, the image of being an ‘intruder’ came to mind. And suddenly I realized how very foolish and unkind I have been. It is one thing to share one’s understandings, however most of my comments especially those recently made, have been something else altogether. They have been more about the great ‘me’, than with any objective to help other people. Not only this, but the “I” conceit would come in each time that I feel compelled to respond and argue.

Indeed how could all this not happen? The very idea to come in here and think to share must in fact have been conditioned by some degree of conceit!! And therefore to a good degree, I’ve been fooling myself all along and in the process have given others the wrong impression ending up perhaps, misleading some. Probably some here saw through all this, but chose not to say anything!

But just one point Tejwant ji, with regard to my unwillingness to wade through all the posts you have asked me to read. I really do have an aversion to reading in general. Besides there are other things that would take my interest away from reading even a little. I would however have read any comments you make with interest if it was in a discussion, and so you should not take my unwillingness to read what you suggest as sign of insincerity. It would have been easier if you’d said that you do not wish to go to the trouble of re-writing all the comments which you have made before here. Then I’d simply have to decide whether or not to continue, i.e. if I wanted to, I’d have to read and be satisfied with whatever I can gather, or not bother with it at all. Besides it did not even occur to me at the time, that all you were asking of me was to read ‘your’ comments in those discussions.

But anyway, this is my last post before a response to Ambarsaria ji, which I will compose later on after dinner. Lastly, I take this opportunity to apologize to you and everyone else here, for having been so intrusive. I’d likely read on and off some of the messages, and maybe respond to any response to this post of mine, but certainly no more poking my nose into any discussion.
Confused ji,

Guru Fateh.

Thanks for your candor and honesty. It is much appreciated. As a Sikh, a student, a learner and a seeker; I must admit that I have learnt a lot from your insights shared by you through your posts in different threads.

I feel very fortunate to be a Sikh because it makes learning a life long endeavour and this is the main objective of mine for interacting in this forum.

Enjoy your journey.

Thanks once again for your valuable contributions.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
 

findingmyway

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I see a lot has happened in this thread! This time my reply comes from a pre-typed document which was my usual course of action until recently!!

Confused ji,
This is going to be a very long reply too (though possibly not as long as the one I wrote earlier). Your posts have confused me no end as I really don't fully understand where you are coming from or the concepts you are proposing. I see lots of mixing up between the mind and the real world in a way that doesn't make sense to me. I'll try and tackle various points you have mentioned so bear with me. Before I do that though I would just like to mention that we all feel we are on the right path. Listening to other points of view is great until they are put across as I am right and you are wrong and it cannot possibly be any other way. When things are discussed without this bias and talking down to people then it is a positive learning experience by allowing us all to amend our understanding. This is why I like to hear other points of view. Yours provide much thought as they come from a different perspective.

Q: So karma is one kind of experience with the nature and function of being ‘cause’, and this is different from those kinds of experiences which are its ‘result’?
A: Yes, we need to understand the difference and not join the two together; otherwise we end up either talking about karma in terms of ‘situations’ which then likely leads to more proliferation of thought. Or worse, we may confuse the two, taking what is in fact of the nature of cause to be a result. For example in feeling aversion to some pain, not being able to distinguish these two, we may think that the pain is continuous, when the truth is that the pain itself does not last long, but the thinking with aversion which is accompanied by unpleasant feeling, keeps arising to give the impression that ‘pain’ persists.

I am not really clear on what you consider to be result or cause. You refer to such concepts a lot so it may help for you to clarify. I ask not to be contrary but to understand more. With reference to karma, what do you see as causes and results? How are you relating pain to karma? Pain is pain-it still hurts. That is due to the firing of pain neurons which are there to make us sit up and take note. We cannot change that. I would say it is the ability to deal with pain rather than the pain itself which is related to karma. Our current lifetime is going to have a huge impact on that. Good karma results in ultimate peace rather than worldly praise, status, pleasure etc that you allude so several times in your posts.


Please also clarify what difference you see between rebirth and reincarnation and how this affects your understanding? My understanding is that rebirth refers to the spiritual soul during this lifetime and is determined by our actions and thoughts. Reincarnation is the rebirth of soul into a new body, new life and is not a central belief in Sikhi.


Going back to the beginning, you define karma as intention and volition. There is a huge difference in the 2. Intentions are not enough, actions are essential for good karma. There is a Christian saying, “The road to the devil is paved with food intentions.” If we follow our will it can take us in the wrong direction. Gurbani teaches us to control our will and bend it to look beyond ourselves. That is how to earn good karma which will help us to lead a happy and spiritual life. Merely knowing our own mind is not enough as per my understanding, we need to then learn to control our senses and hence become better people. Knowledge is power but only if we choose to use it rather than sit on it saying this is the way it is!


You mention memory. Memory is a very powerful teaching tool. Paying a good deed back is not necessary, it can also be paid forward. Paying forward is actually more beneficial. Your concept of karma requires an even more elusive concept of memory-that of the memory of previous lives encased in a soul. Memory during the lifetime seems more credible. Gurbani is all about thinking about our actions so they are not controlled by lust, anger, attachment, greed and ego. Memory can help with this.


I find some difficulty in understanding your concept of attachment and how you judge people. On one hand you agree that a persons intentions cannot be known but then you also seem to use your perception of those actions for understanding karma. Attachment cannot be eliminated completely but needs to be used constructively. You are attached to your notion of karma and other Buddhist concepts and I am attached to the SGGS. I would not necessarily call these negative attachments if they sustain and inspire us. You also talk about pleasure. I see this as a worldly attachment along with many other sensations. It is spiritual peace I aim for to try and detach myself from worldly pleasure and pain. (Not close to achieving this yet though!) Forgive me if I have misunderstood you.


You talk about misunderstanding being dangerous. To whom and how? 100% understanding on every topic by all people is not possible. That is also God's will! Karma is such a topic where I don't think it is possible for any of us to know with complete surety what is right. I am a scientist and like to have evidence. I see the evidence of Waheguru's existence all around me in the real world. I see the effects of karma within a lifetime but I do not see the effects of past lives. This does not mean it is not possible but until I see evidence then I will not believe. If I did it would become blind faith and this is not encouraged by Gurbani. Until there is evidence, nothing is a proven fact.


This may be a case of “agreeing to disagree” over whether past lives are central to karma or not. If you feel I am a lost soul that is ok as I am used to it. One of my Christian friends no longer talks to me as I refused to be saved by Jesus! Apologies for the length, jumping nature and generality of this post. I hope it is still coherent. It has been an exhausting week!
Gurfateh.
 
Nov 15, 2004
408
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Findingmyway ji,


I really appreciate your earnestness in asking for clarification and the willingness to continue with this discussion. But I don’t think that it is going to be fruitful to do so.

My own understanding is very weak and the impression I often get but keep overlooking is that given the depth of the Buddha’s teachings, it should be expressed only when someone asks to hear and not otherwise. This was not the case with me approaching this group. Besides I’d often be led to conclude that I should start from the very beginning and go step by step, but this did not happen either. I took it that Karma was also taught in Sikhi and thought to encourage a more accurate understanding about this by putting forward my own understandings. I was told by a friend that without the understanding of conditionality and non-self, this would not work, but I ignored this too.

After I decided finally not to participate anymore, given the space, I have grown even more convinced about the need to not continue making the same mistake. Besides, people know me already and can always contact me in private if they are interested and then I could direct them to some books, like the one I did for Ambarsaria ji.

I would have liked to be able to respond to all your questions, but I’ve actually already explained many of them in previous messages. It may be that my posts have always been so long that these points got hidden? Other questions follow from these and would not have needed to be asked.

I’d however like to close this discussion with a comment on this part of your post:

Findingmyway:
"Karma is such a topic where I don't think it is possible for any of us to know with complete surety what is right. I am a scientist and like to have evidence. I see the evidence of Waheguru's existence all around me in the real world. I see the effects of karma within a lifetime but I do not see the effects of past lives. This does not mean it is not possible but until I see evidence then I will not believe. If I did it would become blind faith and this is not encouraged by Gurbani. Until there is evidence, nothing is a proven fact."

When I was your age I would never have imagined that one day I’d be talking in support of the concepts of Karma and rebirth. I had rejected religion and everything that came out from it and considered myself scientific in thinking. When I first got interested in Buddhism, like so many people everywhere, I interpreted these ideas in terms of what I could observe in the conventional world. However when I did finally come to accept the idea of rebirth ten years ago, this was not because I suddenly became fearful of consequence and started to believe blindly. It was in fact because I was led to consider realities that are here and now, that caused me to accept and not reject the idea as I did before. In other words, I accept Karma and Rebirth on the basis of an understanding of mental and physical phenomena that make up my life, now.

And while this is based on some level of understanding, the insistence on interpreting them in terms of the present life, in fact came from attachments to other ideas / world views, one tending towards annihilationism. There was a well know Buddhist monk in Thailand with a huge following in Thailand and also in the West. This monk in his writings explained Karma and Rebirth and the idea of Heaven and Hell as I used to do in the past.

When I was first introduced to the understanding that I now have, I was still reading and listening to this particular monk. But gradually I came to detect faults in his teachings and later on to conclude that this monk was in fact quite childish and arrogant. This is a monk who was supposed to be a disciple of the Buddha, but what he teaches is actually saying that the Buddha was ambiguous in his teachings or that he was using those ideas only as a metaphor. A little sense would have gotten him to realize where he was coming from with his own interpretation. A little appreciation of the power of ‘truthfulness’ would have made him see that the Buddha couldn’t have referred to something which his audience could easily take literally, what in fact was meant to be metaphorical. A little appreciation of the Buddha’s ability to teach in diverse ways would have made him realize that he needn’t have to rely on the metaphors to begin with. A greater understanding would have led him to conclude that the Buddha could have uttered only words that are affirmations of the Truth and beneficial to others.

I have been hearing similar attitudes expressed here with regard to the idea of Karma and reincarnation, sometimes with the fervor of a rebellious young man. If one’s mind can’t wrap around an idea, this is what one needs to realize, or else come to know where one is coming from with one’s own interpretation. Instead, people insist upon it that reincarnation is meant only as a metaphor. But the fact is that there is really no need for using such metaphors to express an idea since there are in fact many other ways to do it. It would be ambiguous to do so since after all it is more likely that people (in India!) would take it literally. Would it then not reflect a lack of teaching skills on the part of the teacher and also of the tendency to truthfulness?

You do not want to believe blindly in rebirth, and I say you shouldn’t. But you seek to determine the truth of this in the way that science does for anything it subsequently comes to accept or reject. And I say that this is the path of ignorance and craving and which makes you no better than the blind believers. Why?

Any idea held in mind is due to the function of memory and thinking. While the latter two are ‘realities’ with particular characteristics, ideas are concepts created by these. The concept of the earth being spherical is based upon certain experiences through the five senses which are real, but science does not at all take these into consideration, but instead builds the idea from other concepts arisen over and over again, such as what is involved in a person travelling in one direction and coming back to that same point. All these are concepts held together by force of attachment and made to associate in such a way that the final conclusion is arrived at. And once the final product is there, what is its status? Just another conclusion held together by the power of memory and thinking. In other words, the idea held in mind of the ‘round earth’ or that of the ‘flying hippo’, neither of these are affirmations of Truth. The former may have the status of an agreed upon convention and the latter not, but this makes it only a ‘conventional truth’ and not an ‘ultimate’ one.

The ultimate truths would be as I’ve pointed out so many times, such phenomena as seeing , hearing, sound, taste, the earth element, the fire element, thinking, perception, feeling, birth consciousness, dying consciousness, attachment, aversion, wisdom, kindness, morality, concentration, masculinity, feminity, life faculty, attention etc., etc. These have particular characteristic, function, manifestation and proximate cause none of which is mentally created. They are what both the scientist as well as the believer in flying hippos can come to understand directly, but do not.

And this is due to “ignorance”, another one of the ultimate realities with a particular characteristic, function and proximate cause. And the above should answer this query of yours:

Findingmyway:
"You talk about misunderstanding being dangerous. To whom and how? 100% understanding on every topic by all people is not possible."

Understanding and misunderstanding is spoken of with reference to the mental and physical realities which make up the experiences of all people. It is not about knowledge based on conventional truths which does not add to or subtract anything from the equation. And while all the scientific knowledge based on so called ‘evidence’ does absolutely nothing to reduce doubt, insight into the phenomena which make up our lives is the only way by which doubt is lessened and finally overcome.

I’ve just done it again, going on and on with a degree of conceit. ;-) But you must have been patient, in which case I must thank you for it.
And with this I end.
 
Last edited:

Ambarsaria

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Confused ji thanks for coming by. Please continue to do so.

It appears custodians in all religions/thought constituencies leave something to be desired and we also talk about that in other threads about Sikhs.

Do continue to visit and you may never know that one day we will have a common understanding or at least a full and honest understanding of each others thoughts.

Your contributions I have found thought provoking and triggering me to study more and that is a positive for me.

I do want to attend to my "equation post" if you would have time in the future. That is very much related to some pretty critical spiritual incidents in my life so perhaps these will lead me to something too.

Regards and Sat Sri Akal.

PS: What is the greeting/salutation in "Buddhism" or is it basically joining of the hands and showing a respectful smile as we do too.
 

spnadmin

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Confused ji

I agree with Ambarsaria. It is important to have the perspective of other religions, from those who are knowledgeable, and not necessarily restricted to Interfaith Dialogs.

Reading earlier you thought yourself an "intruder" -- I do not myself see it that way. The decision and judgment of course is for your to make. The dialog here can be tenacious and that is not always negative all the time. Think about your decision.
 

findingmyway

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Confused ji,
Some clarifications.
1) I asked for clarification because I did not understand your point of view. Even if it was answered in your previous posts it was not clear to me. This may be my fault in understanding.
2) I do not reject karma or rebirth but my understanding of them is very different to yours. This is not because of science though I do use science to confirm things for me but science has many holes yet. Your understanding is based on Buddha's teachings whereas mine is based on Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Therefore, it is to be accepted that there will be some areas where our understanding will differ. Who is right? Well only Waheguru knows so I will not say you are misunderstanding but equally I do not believe I am misunderstanding either until someone shows me otherwise from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Other points of view help me differentiate thoughts in my head.
3) I'm not sure I agree with your list of ultimate truths as these can be changed and can be misleading. Thats maybe another idea we will not see eye to eye so probably best to leave things here.
 

Ambarsaria

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Dec 21, 2010
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findingmyway ji and others I wonder if we want to continue dialog in this thread. I may or may not represent a studied view per Sikhism but I do want to share some thoughts on this pretty important topic.

There is also possibility for spnadmin ji to merge it with older or other threads as appropriate.

There is very common proverb in Punjabi and is often heard mostly from elders as "Karma the lekhah", i.e. "It is all Fate"; "Puranian bughtey hovan gae", i.e. "We are paying for the past"; "Patah nahin kihdi sajah sanu mil gaee", i.e. "Don't know whose bad actions we are paying for"; "Wadhian nen koyee parupkar keteh hone gae", i.e. "Perhaps we are reaping the results of good deeds from past generations"; and similars. Many times these are also implied and stated as Karma or "Jo karma wich", i.e. "whatever the destiny".

I await some feedback and confirmation.

Sat Sri Akal.
 
Nov 15, 2004
408
388
59
Thailand
Ambarsaria ji,



Regards and Sat Sri Akal.

PS: What is the greeting/salutation in "Buddhism" or is it basically joining of the hands and showing a respectful smile as we do too.

There is pressing the hands together with the tip of the fingers being at the level of the chin or higher and a slight bow or more depending on how much respect one likes to show. It is meant as greeting or parting when the word Sawasdee is used. The same gesture is also used when thanking and apologizing. This is Thai culture and not particularly Buddhist.

There is however a Buddhist expression using the same gesture called Anumodana. It is used in the general Thai population to mean simply congratulations. The original meaning however is, “I rejoice in your good deeds”, and this I find very special but never practice myself. This is because I must have too little accumulation for generosity and perhaps wisdom as well, and too much miserliness. Anumodana is an expression of generosity, which involves one’s own ability to appreciate goodness and with a good heart, let the other person know that this is what you just got from that person’s good deeds.

But in case you are wondering what I might write at the end of a post? I use Metta sometimes. Metta is loving-kindness or goodwill or friendliness and I write this to remind myself of its value.

Metta, :)
 

Tejwant Singh

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Jun 30, 2004
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Ambarsaria ji,

Guru Fateh.

You write:

There is very common proverb in Punjabi and is often heard mostly from elders as "Karma the lekhah", i.e. "It is all Fate"; "Puranian bughtey hovan gae", i.e. "We are paying for the past"; "Patah nahin kihdi sajah sanu mil gaee", i.e. "Don't know whose bad actions we are paying for"; "Wadhian nen koyee parupkar keteh hone gae", i.e. "Perhaps we are reaping the results of good deeds from past generations"; and similars. Many times these are also implied and stated as Karma or "Jo karma wich", i.e. "whatever the destiny".
All these famous proverbs which are commonly used in Punjabi in our everyday lives are justifications for what has happened. They do not lead us anywhere and are based on Hinduism and Islam because Hell and Heaven are parts and parcels of Karma and reincarnation.

In fact, there are many verses in Gurbani that reject all and some more of these sayings.

Do you think our 5th and 9th Gurus and all the other Sikhs who sacrificed their lives and fought against tyranny and injustice uttered these words? "Puranian bughtey hovan gae", i.e. "We are paying for the past"; "Patah nahin kihdi sajah sanu mil gaee", i.e. "Don't know whose bad actions we are paying for".

We know they did not because they believed and lived in Hukum and Bhana.

So, these sayings mean nothing to a Sikh, to the contrary. There is also another saying " rab toun dariah kar"- be fearful of God which also does not reflect Gurmat values that teach us rather to be God loving. In fact I wrote a little piece about it and I would request Spnadmin ji to send it to you.

Sikhi rejects karmas of previous lives because it rejects reincarnation.

Sikhi is a very pragmatic way of living. Gurbani teaches us to breed goodness within and make this world a better place for others as our Gurus did for us. It teaches us to leave the footprints of goodness for others to follow irrespective of anyone's hue, creed or faith.

Lastly, Sikhi teaches us to become the flowers of the Gurmat garden so that we are able to emit the scent of goodness in all directions sans bias.

Regards

Tejwant Singh
 

spnadmin

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Jun 17, 2004
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There are 2 reasons not to close the thread. Or merge it with a related thread.

1. To close/nerge threads has an adverse effect on Google page ranks. So thread closing has to be used judiciously, and my philosophy has been to shut down disruptive conversations started for purposes of dawa'h, or trolls, or those disrespectful of Sikhi and Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

2. We continue to learn, even when we are tired of reading and writing the same old thing. After this thread loses interest, you never know. Another Buddhist may come along. Maybe one with a Mahayana perspective or some sub division of that branch of Buddhism, like Zen. Or maybe a Buddhist will want to relate this conversation to "engaged Buddhism." Such individuals may have very different things to say. Perhaps we can learn more about Buddhism from that conversation. And.. perhaps a Sikh will want to discuss another facet of the conversation that we have not considered.

The thread is in Interfaith Dialogs to exchange ideas across experiences of religious definition and belief.

Of course I can be over-ruled. :noticemunda:
 

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Shabad Vichaar by SPN'ers

This shabad is by Guru Nanak Dev ji, and is found on Ang 1331 of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji. Some of the key words have been translated for you, but you may have a better translation. Some words...

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