Philosophy 312: Oriental Philosophy
Abstract: The behavior of Siddhartha's son is used as an example of karma.I. The son's karma can be inferred and studied..
1. What a person does will inevitably have an effect on that
person at present and in the future.
3. Cf., Paul's Epistle to the Galatians 6:7, "As ye sow, so shall ye reap" or Job 4:8 "Even as I have seen, they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same."
2. A Buddhist saying is "The present is a shadow of the past,
the future is a shadow of the present."
2. Karma is a natural law which cannot be suspended by a duty. Past misdeeds cannot be forgiven; they have made us what we are.
3. We should try to bring our actions into harmony with universal law.
4. Bad karma can be destroyed and good karma can be cultivated by letting some "causes" go—i.e., by selective attention.
Just by letting them pass. The doctrine of inaction is similar to how one deals with distraction in meditation.
Sow a thought and reap an act;
Sow an act and reap a habit;
Sow a habit and reap a character:
Sow a character and reap a destiny."
2. Or look at it from the opposite point of view. Our destiny issues from our character (not from events in the world because we in large part create those events through our own past decisions).
Our character from our habits...
Our habits from our acts... and so on.
Compare this process to Aristotle's
description of action.
2. Sixth consciousness: intellectual. The judgment which compares sense data with ideas. (E.g., consider the case of the person born blind suddenly made to see.)
3. Seventh is ego consciousness (unity of apperception).
. b. Also included is our ability to discriminate between ourselves and others.
b. Our life and character reflect our karma; hence, they are the architect of our destiny.
c. "A bodhisattva is concerned about what he does (cause) but not about what he receives (effect)."
G. The Son's karma [95, D, 97 B]—He will have to go his own path.
2. Siddhartha's final and most difficult task is to realize that his son must go his own way.
3. What do...
habits of rich
fine food, soft be
lead to? ... The road will be a difficult one.
B. Question: How can one be Buddha and love others? Can you care for something without trying to change it? How do you care for something you like or love? Do you give it something extra? (Cf., caring for a plant—Do you give it extra water?)
Vasudeva's answer: the river.
2. Be nonjudgmental about what he should be; we are not smart enough to determine what his path will be. (Accept things as they are, if you have no power to change them.)
3. Who do we think we are to take the life of another and make it into what we think it should be?
b. To seek to change another's mistakes is to limit not only what they learn about life but also to limit their resourcefulness in dealing with future problems.
c. E.g., when one reminds another person about a daily responsibility and that person forgets, one can be turned into a nagger. By relying on you, that person is made worse.
Why are things made worse?
b. Siddhartha's unconditional love negates the son's self-esteem and ability to make decisions for himself because of the non-authentic feedback.
b. You cannot alter another's destiny [98D].
2. The love here is viewed by Hesse as an integral step in Siddhartha's own quest for enlightenment. Also, he seeks to illustrate that Siddhartha should shirk no experience since all experiences make us what we are.
b. Without that depth of feeling, the crisis and the resolution of the crisis in enlightenment might not be possible.
c. E.g., in Zen the koan is an artificial attempt to make one crazy--to burst into intuitive enlightenment (much like Govinda's enlightenment later).
B. The ability to foresee the inevitability of certain circumstances seems magical.
B. Does the dilemma of caring too much lead to an unhappy life?
Zen Guide, "Karma."