Samsara

Posted by on Dec 11, 2006 in General, Philosophy | No Comments

I believe that there area a lot of people who think this world is unfair. They ask “ Why are some people born in high income “first world” countries and while other people are born in very poor countries who are also at war? Why are some people born into a rich family with nice parents and some people have to be born into poor families with no father or mother or with bad parents?” I believe there are a lot of unfair things in this world but we are not God so we don’t know what those reasons are or for what purpose.
In Buddhism we believe life is in samsara. It means when we are born and when we die we transmigrate into new bodies. Life is just like walking in a circle. I know there are a lot of people who don’t believe this. They think that when you die it means you are gone; that you disappear from this world. But just like we know water can be ice and can also change into dew and steam, how can we sure that when we die we don’t exist in this world anymore? Ancient people thought water disappeared when they saw it vanish after becoming vapour but now we know vapour still exist suspended in the air.

Physics enters into this discussion as a principle called The Conservation of Energy. Energy within a system may take on various forms (e.g. kinetic, potential, heat, light). The law of conservation of energy states that energy may neither be created nor destroyed. Therefore the sum of all the energies in the system is a constant. Our body also is one kind of energy. After we die we just translated into different energy forms. Scientists admit we only know a little part of this world. And we still don’t know our origins or dark energy or dark matter….

Buddhists also believe in “Karma”. Karma means “action and the appropriate result of action.” Karma is not limited by time or space, and is not strictly individual; there is group Karma, in family or nation, etc. So with our every action we bring about the appropriate result: Good is recompensed with good, bad is recompensed with bad. And if payment is slow in coming, it is because the hour has not yet arrived.
Of course I know a lot of people who don’t believe this either. So let us talk about physics again.

In Newton’s third law of motion he talks about “action and reaction force pairs”: For every action force there is an equal (in size) and opposite (in direction) reaction force. Forces always come in pairs – known as “action-reaction force pairs.”
It’s just like in Martial arts training when we use a fist to punch the heavy bag. When we use force to hit the bag, simultaneously there is also a reaction force that hits our fist. Or, if you hit someone, that person might still keep that in mind until, one day, you get hit back. You don’t have to wait for your next life. “An eye for an eye” only makes for lives alternating in suffering. Just look to Israel and Palestine.

So if physics confirms that action force and reaction force always comes in pairs, then why can’t Karma be believed? I find that in every religion there is some form of Heaven and Hell. It means if you are a good person, after you die you can go to Heaven. If you do a lot of bad things you will go to Hell. I’m curious, if Heaven and Hell don’t exist, then why does every religion mention them? Some scientists think that rather than the obvious four-dimensional world we live in, there actually are six or even ten dimensions that exist around us, so doesn’t that make it possible that Heaven and Hell might exist in another dimension?

Every time when I read news from Internet I can see there are a lot of people who are affected by the worldly concept that money is everything. They do things like make money on the crook then buy a very expensive car, wanting people to respect them because of their possessions. That’s really ridiculous. Bill Gates and Warren Buffett have respect and it’s not just because they are the number one and number two wealthiest people in the world. It’s also because they donating their assets to charity organizations and creating non-profit foundations, trying to help this world get better. If we just want to respect those who have a lot of money why don’t we respect Citibank or the FED (Federal Reserve System)? Just like I believe Karma, I also believe that when Bill Gates and Warren Buffett donate their money, they are also planting a good fortune in their afterlife.

Perhaps you have heard of “Muscle Memory” before? It means that if you keep practicing one movement, your muscles will naturally remember it without requiring conscious thought. It’s why you can still ride a bike years after your last ride. Besides “Muscle memory” I believe that we also have “Spirit memory”. Through intensive practice our spirit part can remember parts of training undertaken during our life. When we die then we can choose where we want to go. That’s why in Tibet the Dalai Lama and other Rinpoches can keep being reborn.

So, if you know everyone has to assume responsibility for every action in his or her life into the future, do you still think this world is unfair?

-Danny Lai

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