Disabilities and re-birth

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greggorious
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Disabilities and re-birth

Post by greggorious » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:45 am

I work in theatre, and more specifically, Inclusive theatre, which means I work with a lot of people who are physically and/or mentally disabled. I find it impossible to believe that their hadicapes are a result of past Karma, and some people I have spoken to would be extremely offended by this. If fact I know of many people in high places who have lost jobs due to thinking in this way. Also it's worth mentioning that people I know who have Autism, cerebral palsy, downs syndrome, seem perfectly content, despite their "Limitations".
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah

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Goofaholix
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Goofaholix » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:52 am

greggorious wrote:If fact I know of many people in high places who have lost jobs due to thinking in this way.
Don't think that way then.
“Peace is within oneself to be found in the same place as agitation and suffering. It is not found in a forest or on a hilltop, nor is it given by a teacher. Where you experience suffering, you can also find freedom from suffering. Trying to run away from suffering is actually to run toward it.” ― Ajahn Chah

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retrofuturist
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:55 am

Greetings Greg,

Goof's advice is good. What good could come from such speculation anyway?

Working in the theatre, you are there to help improve people's well-being - focus on that, rather than whatever complex layers of causality may or may not have resulted in these people coming into your theatre.

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Ben
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Ben » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:00 am

retrofuturist wrote:Greetings Greg,

Goof's advice is good. What good could come from such speculation anyway?

Working in the theatre, you are there to help improve people's well-being - focus on that, rather than whatever complex layers of causality may or may not have resulted in these people coming into your theatre.

Metta,
Retro. :)
:goodpost:
“No lists of things to be done. The day providential to itself. The hour. There is no later. This is later. All things of grace and beauty such that one holds them to one's heart have a common provenance in pain. Their birth in grief and ashes.”
- Cormac McCarthy, The Road

Learn this from the waters:
in mountain clefts and chasms,
loud gush the streamlets,
but great rivers flow silently.
- Sutta Nipata 3.725

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beeblebrox
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:19 am

I'm deaf. I think people will always make of this what they will... and what they see would be a result of their own past kamma... but due to the nature of kamma, I think this can be influenced towards something that is more enlightening.

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amtross
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by amtross » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:22 am

Kamma is not a judgmental process. It does not follow that if you believe in Kamma that you view other people's problems as something they deserve. If you believe in past lives, which I assume you're referring to since the discussion is about people born with disabilities, then you might as well buy the whole ticket and believe that the number of those lives is infinite. That's infinite possibilities to make mistakes. I imagine just about everyone has accrued quite a bit of bad kamma along the way (I know I have). I imagine we've also gathered plenty of good kamma as well. Whether good Kamma or bad Kamma ripens at any given moment is completely dependent on the conditions that are present.

Kamma is always uncertain, that is why we strive to escape from samsara.

May you be well
sean

greggorious
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by greggorious » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:30 am

Retro, all I do is speculate, ask questions and get frustrated that I don't know the answers. I'm a natural born, depressed philospher.
"The original heart/mind shines like pure, clear water with the sweetest taste. But if the heart is pure, is our practice over? No, we must not cling even to this purity. We must go beyond all duality, all concepts, all bad, all good, all pure, all impure. We must go beyond self and nonself, beyond birth and death. When we see with the eye of wisdom, we know that the true Buddha is timeless, unborn, unrelated to any body, any history, any image. Buddha is the ground of all being, the realization of the truth of the unmoving mind.” Ajahn Chah

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retrofuturist
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by retrofuturist » Thu Feb 09, 2012 4:33 am

Greetings Greg,
greggorious wrote:Retro, all I do is speculate, ask questions and get frustrated that I don't know the answers. I'm a natural born, depressed philospher.
I appreciate your honesty. :D

Just as a general rule, I'd encourage you to discern what is relevant to the question of suffering/cessation and what is not. One useful test is to ask yourself, "If I knew the answer to this, would it lessen suffering?" If not, it's more likely to contribute towards you being a depressed philospher. Don't get depressed though... just gradually learn to nudge yourself in the right direction.

:thumbsup:

Metta,
Retro. :)
"Do not force others, including children, by any means whatsoever, to adopt your views, whether by authority, threat, money, propaganda, or even education." - Ven. Thich Nhat Hanh

"The uprooting of identity is seen by the noble ones as pleasurable; but this contradicts what the whole world sees." (Snp 3.12)

"One discerns wrong view as wrong view, and right view as right view. This is one's right view." (MN 117)

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Bhikkhu Pesala
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Bhikkhu Pesala » Thu Feb 09, 2012 10:24 am

greggorious wrote:In fact I know of many people in high places who have lost jobs due to thinking in this way.
I doubt if anyone ever lost their job for thinking in any way — they lost it for expressing their view in a country where the prevalent view is not the Buddhist one.

The Buddha's teaching on kamma is well known, though often misunderstood. It is my job to tell people what it is. It is their responsibility to make sure that they don't misunderstand it.
7. "Here, student, some woman or man is one who harms beings with his hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is sickly wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to sickness, that is to say, to be one who harms beings with one's hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives.
Everything we have learnt through science teaches that there is always a cause. However, science never yet discovered any proof of previous lives, and kamma done in previous lives. Science remains quite ignorant about mental processes. All that science can say is that it doesn't know when it comes to such matters.

The Buddha did know and spoke about it on many occasions. His teachings on previous lives is not only found in the Commentaries, but also in the Suttas. Believe it or not, as you wish — that is your kamma and you will inherit the results of right or wrong views in accordance with the law of cause and effect. Right View is crucial in following the Buddhist path, just as knowing the right route and direction is essential in making any journey by road, sea, or air. If you wish to follow the Buddhist path to nibbāna, do make sure that you attain the right view.
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Khalil Bodhi
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Khalil Bodhi » Thu Feb 09, 2012 11:23 am

Bhikkhu Pesala wrote:
greggorious wrote:In fact I know of many people in high places who have lost jobs due to thinking in this way.
I doubt if anyone ever lost their job for thinking in any way — they lost it for expressing their view in a country where the prevalent view is not the Buddhist one.

The Buddha's teaching on kamma is well known, though often misunderstood. It is my job to tell people what it is. It is their responsibility to make sure that they don't misunderstand it.
7. "Here, student, some woman or man is one who harms beings with his hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives. Due to having performed and completed such kammas, on the dissolution of the body, after death, he reappears in a state of deprivation... If instead he comes to the human state, he is sickly wherever he is reborn. This is the way that leads to sickness, that is to say, to be one who harms beings with one's hands or with clods or with sticks or with knives.
Everything we have learnt through science teaches that there is always a cause. However, science never yet discovered any proof of previous lives, and kamma done in previous lives. Science remains quite ignorant about mental processes. All that science can say is that it doesn't know when it comes to such matters.

The Buddha did know and spoke about it on many occasions. His teachings on previous lives is not only found in the Commentaries, but also in the Suttas. Believe it or not, as you wish — that is your kamma and you will inherit the results of right or wrong views in accordance with the law of cause and effect. Right View is crucial in following the Buddhist path, just as knowing the right route and direction is essential in making any journey by road, sea, or air. If you wish to follow the Buddhist path to nibbāna, do make sure that you attain the right view.
:goodpost: Sadhu Bhante! I was discussing this very topic with my wife last night and, despite her being a nascent Buddhist, she still can't get over the notion that Kamma is in some way unfair when it affects our children.
To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind — this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
-Dhp. 183

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beeblebrox
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 09, 2012 3:17 pm

I think the only correct way to talk about past kamma would be to build an understanding of how it works, and then use that to lead yourself (and others) out of samsara. Anything beyond that is a waste of time.

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Mr Man
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Mr Man » Thu Feb 09, 2012 5:38 pm

A previous manager of the England football team was sacked for a "controversial belief that the disabled, and others, are being punished for sins in a former life." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glenn_Hodd ... ngland_job

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beeblebrox
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by beeblebrox » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:06 pm

Deaf people today somehow manage to communicate very well without using sound... that is also due to their past kamma. Sign language can be traced 300-400 years ago to a large deaf community in France... just a food for thought. :anjali:

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Aloka
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Re: Disabilities and re-birth

Post by Aloka » Thu Feb 09, 2012 6:45 pm

Hi Greg,

The Buddha said that speculating about the results of kamma was one of the four unconjecturables which would drive one crazy:

AN 4.77 Acintita Sutta: Unconjecturable

"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana..

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka ... .than.html
Rather than worry about what might have happened in past lives, its better to focus with mindfulness on what one does in the here and now - because what one does today will very soon be in the past too !

with kind wishes,

Aloka

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