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Thread: Karma and the Nation

  1. #1
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Karma and the Nation

    Hi everyone,
    Is there a Karma that relates to the tribe, the nation? And can that Karma be escaped?

    Thank you for your teachings.

    Gassho.
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  2. #2
    Is there a Karma that relates to the tribe, the nation? And can that Karma be escaped?
    If earlier half-assed Sutta and Sutra study is recalled correctly .. the answer is that the buck stops here with this body and mind. But others may be better informed. Personally I think we are swept along by big powerful rivers of tribe and culture that get right into our bones, but the buck must stop here. These rivers can be respected while being escaped.

    I came from a half (Russian)Jewish and half (English/German)Christian background. As a kid we lived in a casually antisemitic industrial town where I was too Jewish, and had to stand in the hall during the Lord's prayer at school. Then we moved to a big city Jewish area and because my mother wasn't Jewish, I wasn't Jewish, and got it from the other side. In his youth my father's family lived in the Gorbals. In her youth my mother's attended Mosely Oswald meetings. The partial nature of identity... identity period, was nailed home.

    National, racial, religous, identity has value to the extent that it gives a kid the some history and grounding, but it is a curse if he is brainwashed into it. I love Canada (being raised here and all), but am under no illusion about it's fabricated nature, moral amiguities, and how the borders act like a light bending lens.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  3. #3
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Dear Myozan,

    Yes and no. Yes, because as soon as you surrender to suchness, this is embraced by suchness. No, because shit smells shit, and it is also an inspiring task to act and move your a...

    and your wording "escape"is most revealing. As soon as you escape, you are a prisonner. As soon as you flee, get out, you get into another pattern.

    The skill is not to escape. To realize there is nobody and nothing to escape from.

    At the same time...

    Stay and do what is necessary. Help, shout, hug, cry. Work with the situation as is. Handle shit. Be alive beyond all judgements and self criticism.

    If you and others are in pain, do your job, release things in stillness and action. Sit and act.

    Nothing wrong with the tribe, as the tribe, fiction among fictions, doesn t have you.


    gassho


    Taigu
    Taigu, teacher at Treeleaf Sangha, was born in 1964, started Zazen early and received Shukke Tokudo in 1983 at age 18 from Rev. Mokusho Zeisler of the Deshimaru Lineage. Received Dharma Transmission from Chodo Cross in 2002. Now resides in Osaka, Japan.

  4. #4
    Hmmm. My impression is that there was no traditional doctrine in Buddhism of "collective Karma". The "buck stopped" with the individual in South Asian Buddhism. On the other hand, since there is that view in the Mahayana that I am you and you are me and this, that and the other guy ... all interdependent, inter-being ... how far off might such a view be? Also, even though not strictly "Karma", there has always been the view that there are effects in the world and society of group action even if not strictly "Karmic" effects. It seems that some modern Buddhist thinkers have tried to develop such concepts of "collective", including "national", Karma over the past century.

    http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/Lecture10.pdf

    So, whether it is a traditional view or not ... whether it can be strictly called "Karma" or not ... I will say that the nations and societies we are part off are responsible for their violence, greed, taking resources in excess and the like, and the effects of our collective actions. Many socially engaged Buddhists of recent years have come to such a view ...

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...ate_disruption

    Can we escape such effects? Well, it would help to escape the effects of violence and excess if our nations and societies would come to be less violent, greedy and wasteful.

    I second Taigu's view ...

    The skill is not to escape. To realize there is nobody and nothing to escape from.

    At the same time...

    Stay and do what is necessary. Help, shout, hug, cry. Work with the situation as is. Handle shit. Be alive beyond all judgements and self criticism.


    There is nobody and nothing to escape from. Yet, let's work to make this world better. Both at once, one.

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 09-19-2012 at 02:00 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by Taigu View Post
    The skill is not to escape. To realize there is nobody and nothing to escape from.

    At the same time...

    Stay and do what is necessary. Help, shout, hug, cry. Work with the situation as is. Handle shit. Be alive beyond all judgements and self criticism.
    Ahhh, very nicely put Taigu, thank you.

    Gassho
    Michael
    Last edited by Shingen; 09-19-2012 at 07:38 PM.
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hmmm. My impression is that there was no traditional doctrine in Buddhism of "collective Karma". The "buck stopped" with the individual in South Asian Buddhism. On the other hand, since there is that view in the Mahayana that I am you and you are me and this, that and the other guy ... all interdependent, inter-being ... how far off might such a view be? Also, even though not strictly "Karma", there has always been the view that there are effects in the world and society of group action even if not strictly "Karmic" effects. It seems that some modern Buddhist thinkers have tried to develop such concepts of "collective", including "national", Karma over the past century.

    http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/Lecture10.pdf

    So, whether it is a traditional view or not ... whether it can be strictly called "Karma" or not ... I will say that the nations and societies we are part off are responsible for their violence, greed, taking resources in excess and the like, and the effects of our collective actions. Many socially engaged Buddhists of recent years have come to such a view ...

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...ate_disruption

    Can we escape such effects? Well, it would help to escape the effects of violence and excess if our nations and societies would come to be less violent, greedy and wasteful.

    I second Taigu's view ...

    The skill is not to escape. To realize there is nobody and nothing to escape from.

    At the same time...

    Stay and do what is necessary. Help, shout, hug, cry. Work with the situation as is. Handle shit. Be alive beyond all judgements and self criticism.


    There is nobody and nothing to escape from. Yet, let's work to make this world better. Both at once, one.

    Gassho, J

    Thankyou for the two links, Jundo.

    The Theosophical idea of collective karma is IMO no different than saying an innocent dies in pogrom due to past life mischief. It is the same thing on a large scale and a heartless way of making sense of the world. I remember hearing someone ask a friend who's family was devastated in WW2 ... What wise and helpful karmic lesson they learned in "schoolroom earth" by going through that? The friend was not calm in response. The second article by Taigen Dan Leighton feels right..... but maybe it would be more helpful to drop the "K" word and just talk about living in one space with the consequences of our collective actions born of greed anger and delusion... minus metaphysics. metaphysics has no legs today.

    Gassho, kojip.
    大山

  7. #7
    Friend of Treeleaf Myozan Kodo's Avatar
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    Thanks everyone. Very interesting.

    Collective karma. Hummm...?

    We are free of it...
    ... And we are not.

    We are timeless and born in a specific time and place.

    American karma.
    French karma.
    Irish karma.

    Have we been shaped by place? Yes.
    Are we free of that also? Yes.

    These links are of great interest Jundo.
    And your heart advice goes straight to the heart Taigu.

    Maybe we are more likely to be free of cultural constraints and national traits if we acknowledge them?

    Just my dumb thoughts tonight.

    Gassho
    Myozan
    Myozan Kodo
    Ordained Soto Zen Priest in Training
    Dublin, Ireland

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.
    "Here the way unfolds."

  8. #8
    Thank you Myozan for starting this thread. It opened a can of worms for me over the last 24 hours, and a better understanding. Taigu's response to your question has percolated down.

    When just sitting there is no identity, but moving in the world an identity is inescapable, including affinities and aversions, strong and weak. ..and this includes ambiguous identity, uncertain identity, and conflicted identity.. it is no different... it is identity. ...and through practice identity, regardless of its shape , it is no problem as such.

    Thankyou... now I'll shut up. Gassho.
    大山

  9. #9
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myozan Kodo View Post
    Hi everyone,
    Is there a Karma that relates to the tribe, the nation? And can that Karma be escaped?

    Thank you for your teachings.

    Gassho.
    Myozan

    Thank you, Myozan,

    It seems Karma Is `the world of tribe and nation. Seemingly all phenomena in the historical dimension is totally Karma, that is what it is. 'Can Karma be escaped?' Ultimately it seems it can, if one can attain and stay immersed infinitely in and of the Boundless Expanse. Without it being a goal, small steps to that end, where there is no end in sight. Karma is what makes `the world go round and round.
    Nothing Special

  10. #10
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Hmmm. My impression is that there was no traditional doctrine in Buddhism of "collective Karma". The "buck stopped" with the individual in South Asian Buddhism. On the other hand, since there is that view in the Mahayana that I am you and you are me and this, that and the other guy ... all interdependent, inter-being ... how far off might such a view be? Also, even though not strictly "Karma", there has always been the view that there are effects in the world and society of group action even if not strictly "Karmic" effects. It seems that some modern Buddhist thinkers have tried to develop such concepts of "collective", including "national", Karma over the past century.

    http://www.unm.edu/~rhayes/Lecture10.pdf

    So, whether it is a traditional view or not ... whether it can be strictly called "Karma" or not ... I will say that the nations and societies we are part off are responsible for their violence, greed, taking resources in excess and the like, and the effects of our collective actions. Many socially engaged Buddhists of recent years have come to such a view ...

    http://www.ancientdragon.org/dharma/...ate_disruption

    Can we escape such effects? Well, it would help to escape the effects of violence and excess if our nations and societies would come to be less violent, greedy and wasteful.

    I second Taigu's view ...

    The skill is not to escape. To realize there is nobody and nothing to escape from.

    At the same time...

    Stay and do what is necessary. Help, shout, hug, cry. Work with the situation as is. Handle shit. Be alive beyond all judgements and self criticism.


    There is nobody and nothing to escape from. Yet, let's work to make this world better. Both at once, one.

    Gassho, J


    Jundo... speaking from a Carl Jung perspective of the collective unconscious (and he was deeply vested in Eastern theory/philosophy, esp Taoism), it seems there very much is a collective karma, as one psychological movement (the country of Germany, which for a time, the peoples very much supported Hitler to escape their deep personal and national struggles). From a small grouping of two, to our personal tribes (taking on family traditions and beliefs), to nations, and as you seem to point out, hell the Universe. It could be said, we, the phenomena, have about as much chance of escaping it as does a hope in hell. Its the process of owning our personal stumbles, and the collectives personal messes that are the lessons of karma, if we/they choose to learn from it.
    Nothing Special

  11. #11
    disastermouse
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    We are so immersed in our respective cultures - it's hard to see it very clearly. Sometimes, by virtue of the somewhat out-of-step nature of my life (multiple moves, frequent career changes and aspirations, extended unmarried-childlessness), I can see, out of the corner of my eye almost, how locked in to certain perspectives we can be as a culture. We've talked about it before, but simple quasi-democratic consumer culture itself comes with a great many unquestioned assumptions - 'Employment' is good (as opposed to career ownership), more objects are better, money earned equals the blessing of the universe (we got that one from Calvinism), etc.

    Humans have the longest childhood of all primates, and so we are quite primally influenced by that. Is it karma? It is to the extent that what came before affects that which comes after.

    Chet

  12. #12
    Senior Member galen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by disastermouse View Post

    Humans have the longest childhood of all primates, and so we are quite primally influenced by that. Is it karma? It is to the extent that what came before affects that which comes after.

    Chet

    Nice to meet you online, Chet! If 'it is to the the extent', what is it after extent? 'Is it karma?'

    Thank you for this extent .
    Nothing Special

  13. #13
    disastermouse
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    Quote Originally Posted by galen View Post
    Nice to meet you online, Chet! If 'it is to the the extent', what is it after extent? 'Is it karma?'

    Thank you for this extent .
    I meant that how you view karma will affect how you view this question.

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