Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Evaluate the idea suggested in this chapter that by seeking to change another person's mistakes, we limit that person's resourcefulness in dealing with future problems. By seeking to help others, we often make things worse.

  2. With Siddhartha's love for his son, he became like the childlike people. Discuss whether or not human love is Sansara? Are not human love impermanent and one manifestation of tanha or desire? Is the compassion of Buddha just a form of "impersonal" love?

  3. Would you agree that Siddhartha's most difficult task is to realize his son must find his own path? Analyze Siddhartha's dilemma of child-rearing. Would Barbara Coloroso's advice been of any help to Siddhartha in altering the son's karma?

    Strong-willed children are never easily led by anybody—not by you, but also not by their peers. So celebrate your child's strength of will throughout the early years … and know that the independent thinking you are fostering will serve him well in the critical years to come.[1]

    Trace out the probable consequences of Siddhartha's encouraging his son's independent thinking. What would be the difference in Siddhartha's son's karma? Is it possible for one person to affect another person's karma?

  4. In a sense, Vasudeva's clairity of mind allows him to intuit the "lost" oar. His thought is not clouded by personal expectations and desires. Discuss how the ability to forsee the inevitability of certain circumstances seems magical but is actually a product of awareness. Consider, as well, C. G. Jung's description of the intuitive temperament:

    Introverted intuition apprehends the images arising from the a priori foundations of the unconscious… In these archetypes, therefore, all experiences are represented which have happened on this planet since primeval times. The more frequent and the more intense they were, the more clearly focused they become in the archetype.

    …introverted intuition, through its perception of these inner processes, can supply certain data which may be of the utmost importance for understanding what is going on in the world. It can even forsee new possibilities in more or less clear outline, as well as events which later actually do happen. Its prophetic foresight is explained by its relation to the archetypes, which represent the laws governing the course of all experienceable things.[2]

    Is the capacity for an intuitive understanding of the world a necessary condition for compassion and, eventually, enlightenment?



Barbara Coloroso. Kids Are Worth It. William Morrow, New York: 1994.


C. G. Jung. Psychological Types in The Portable Jung. Ed. Joseph Campbell. New York: Viking Press. 260-261.