Author Topic: The irony of samsara  (Read 5983 times)

Q

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The irony of samsara
« on: March 08, 2013, 04:53:34 PM »
Imagine this scene: a layman sits in front of his house, eating a fish from the pond behind the house, holding his son in his lap. The dog is eating the fishbones and the man kicks the dog. Not an extraordinary scene one would think, but ven. Shariputra commented:

"He eats his father's flesh and kicks his mother away,
The enemy he killed he dandles on his lap,
The wife is gnawing at her husband's bones,
Samsara can be such a farce."

What had happened?. The man's father died and was reborn as a fish in the pool, the layman caught his father, the fish, killed it, and was now eating it. . The layman's mother was very attached to the house so she was reborn as the man's dog. The man's enemy had been killed for raping the man's wife; and because the enemy was so attached to her, he was reborn as her son. While he ate his father's meat, the dog - his mother - ate the fish bones, and so was beaten by her son. His own little son, his enemy, was sitting on his knee.

Samsara certainly is complicated... and we further complicate our lives with meaningless activities which collects only negative karma...

When we think about it, if we truly believed in karma and reincarnation, we will never be mean to anyone ever again... because the people around us could have been our parents in a previous life. In fact, after millions of rebirths, we definitely have crossed paths with the very people that are beside us right now. The kindness of one's mother cannot be erased even if it was a mother from another life... she would have loved us just like how our mother in this life loves us.

Tenzin K

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 05:25:02 PM »
"Countless rebirths lie ahead, both good and bad. The effects of karma (actions) are inevitable, and in previous lifetimes we have accumulated negative karma which will inevitably have its fruition in this or future lives. Just as someone witnessed by police in a criminal act will eventually be caught and punished, so we too must face the consequences of faulty actions we have committed in the past, there is no way to be at ease; those actions are irreversible; we must eventually undergo their effects."
His Holiness the Dalai Lama, from 'Kindness, Clarity and Insight'

The shortest explanation of karma that I know is: 'you get what you give'. In other words; whatever you do intentionally to others, a similar thing will happen to yourself in the future. Causing suffering to others will cause suffering to ourselves, causing happiness to others will result in happiness for oneself.

Perhaps our biggest to understanding or even believing in karma may be time. The 're-actions' or results of our actions usually show up with a big time delay, and it becomes extremely hard to tell which action caused which result. Actions done in a previous life can create results in this life, but who can remember their past life, and who can tell exaclty which action caused which result? For ordinary humans, the mechanisms of karma can be intellectually understood to some extent, but never completely "seen".

dondrup

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #2 on: March 10, 2013, 10:23:42 AM »
Sentient beings play a different role each time they take rebirth. And this role playing continues life after life endlessly.  We spent so much effort to develop the relationships with others in each life.  Unfortunately all these relationships end upon our death.  We will forget the relationships that were developed in our past life when we live the current life. 

Have we ever wondered why we bother to do all these?  Everything becomes meaningless upon death!
Samsara can be such a farce!  How very true!

RedLantern

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #3 on: March 10, 2013, 12:21:35 PM »
In the Buddhist view,the type of rebirth we have in this life is determined by our actions or karma from our previous life,and the circumstances of our future rebirth are determined by our actions in this life.This view does not imply any blame or judgement of beings who are born into difficult circumstances or in to the lower realms.From the Buddhist point of view ,all beings have been circling in samsara from beginless time ,sometimes in the upper realms and sometimes in the lower realms.So there is justification for judging beings
who are less fortunate then ourselves,since we have all experienced all types of misfortunes and good fortune in our previous lifetimes. A proper understanding of samsara will lead one to have compassion for all beings,including ourselves,who are trapped in this cycle of birth and death.
This story reminds us to be more aware of the reality and truth about our past karma and attachments.

Big Uncle

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #4 on: March 10, 2013, 01:27:34 PM »
Yes, this is a very popular teaching of the Buddha with regards to the workings of karma. It points to the fact that our attachment and aversion ties us to an eternal fate. These bonds are stronger than steel and last for lifetimes. I have heard many times that people having children hoping they would take care of us in our old age but are almost always sorely disappointed. Most of the time, we don't spend enough time to nurture and show a good example to them and they turn out to be monster children, a very bid disappointment. It is almost as if the enemy from a previous life has taken rebirth to a seek revenge.

vajrastorm

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #5 on: March 10, 2013, 02:01:49 PM »
"He eats his father's flesh...". It says, in the Lamrim, that recognizing all sentient beings as having been our mothers, is one of the most difficult truths for anyone to accept. Yet therein lies the most painful irony of samsara. Meat eaters are actually eating the flesh of animals that had been their mothers before.

Indeed, the sooner we realize this truth in our mindstreams, the sooner will we stop harming any sentient being and instead develop love and kindness towards all. We will refrain from killing animals and eating their meat. We will, instead, work to benefit all beings and practice altruism and  borderless compassion.

Midakpa

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #6 on: March 10, 2013, 03:09:10 PM »
Q's example of the irony of samsara illustrates the workings of karma and how complicated it can be. In the Cause and Effect Sutra, the Buddha revealed the truth of causes and effects in three-conjuncted lives. The Chinese refer to this sutra as the "Sutra of three lifetimes".

In the sutra it is said:

"A good man thrives not because he is overshadowed by the evil in his past life. When such evil terminates, the good man naturally deserves his present credits."

"An evil man perishes not because the virtues of his past life still crown him. When such virtues expire, the evil man has no way to escape punishment."

The Buddha mentioned four good causes that when carried out, will bring a man wealth and happiness:
1. Parents must be loved.
2. The Buddha must be respected.
3. There must not be killing or fighting and all living things should be well taken care of.
4. Eat only vegetables and give alms for public welfare.

 

Klein

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #7 on: March 10, 2013, 03:29:21 PM »
"When we think about it, if we truly believed in karma and reincarnation, we will never be mean to anyone ever again... because the people around us could have been our parents in a previous life. In fact, after millions of rebirths, we definitely have crossed paths with the very people that are beside us right now. The kindness of one's mother cannot be erased even if it was a mother from another life... she would have loved us just like how our mother in this life loves us."

The above paragraph from Q is so true and powerful for us to practice equanimity and compassion. If we meditate on the above daily, it would be very difficult to even react negatively to others who mistreat us. Just like how we forgive our mother so readily, we'll forgive others the same way.

With the same meditation, we will also find ourselves to be more caring to others since they could have most likely been our mother in our many previous lives. If most of us remind ourselves daily on this, there will be less conflicts and social problems in our community.

kris

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #8 on: March 16, 2013, 10:44:47 AM »
@Q, thank you for sharing such interesting story. Many people (including me) believe in reincarnation and previous lives, but most of the time we never thought deeply about it. What Ven. Shariputra illustrated has so much wisdom...

The people we love now may be someone whom we hated, while the animals around us could be someone we love and loved us in previous life, yet we don't appreciate them.

Reading this story reminds me of renunciation, to be less attached to people/things I like because they may be something we hated previously; it also reminds me to treat people or animals I don't like because they may be someone we love previously.

Also, very importantly, do not eat meat because they can be our loved ones in some of our countless past lives.

Aurore

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #9 on: April 07, 2013, 07:22:28 PM »
The Buddha mentioned four good causes that when carried out, will bring a man wealth and happiness:
1. Parents must be loved.
2. The Buddha must be respected.
3. There must not be killing or fighting and all living things should be well taken care of.
4. Eat only vegetables and give alms for public welfare.

When I read this 4 points, it seem so simple and easy to follow. Yet due to heavy negative karma, people (me included) remained ignorant and unaware. However, looking at it deeply, it's really not so difficult to do if we understand the laws of karma. We wonder why we are always unhappy and miserable. On the other hand we harm and make others miserable. When we start to really respect parents, the Buddhas and all sentient beings, we will stop mistreating. That's where we should start to do as a simple first step.

fruven

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #10 on: April 07, 2013, 11:17:30 PM »
We have strong desire for things and possessions and hatred of others. It comes from the selfish as taught by the Buddha. Thinking that these will bring happiness we continuously engage in this mode of habituation. The cause has been created therefore the effect of the cause must be experienced by the person who did it. Therefore when we hate someone we are also attached to that person, a very strong feeling towards him or her. To cut down hatred cut down our own attachment and selfishness.

yontenjamyang

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Re: The irony of samsara
« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2013, 11:03:29 AM »
The workings of karma is so complex that no ordinary beings can comprehend it fully. Only Buddhas and Boddhisattvas can fully see how karma works. This teaching is from the Lamrim and illustrate the farce of samsara and is a very likely and possible scenario is one is not careful.
The meaning behind this is for us to know how ridiculous the results of our uncontrolled behaviors can be and how samsara is suffering. Upon realizing this, we should take refuge in the Guru and the 3 Jewels and practice renunciation to be free from karma ie to attain liberation from samsara.