Why and how did karma come into existence?

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Odin
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Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Odin » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:22 pm

What did the first living organisms deserve bad actions from others since they didn't do anything bad? When space and time began.

Or does their past lives from before the end of space and time were filled with bad karma cause that result?

Maybe it wasn't killing maybe it first started with other negative behaviors such as being greedy then the bad karma caused them to be killed by another living organism(s).

What about organisms that seem to not be conscious of their actions does that mean they can't receive bad/good karma?

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tiagolps
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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by tiagolps » Tue Sep 19, 2017 8:38 pm

Odin wrote:When space and time began.
There is no beginning to time.
Homage to you, blissful, virtuous and peaceful,
Enjoy the domain of the tranquil nirvana.
Fully possessing the om and the soha,
You overcome even the greatest of evils.

_______________________________________________
"Buddhahood really is like an infection and it goes from one person to another. You can fight it off, but it's a pity if you do that..."
-Rigdzin Shikpo

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Johnny Dangerous » Tue Sep 19, 2017 9:04 pm

Odin wrote:What did the first living organisms deserve bad actions from others since they didn't do anything bad? When space and time began.

Or does their past lives from before the end of space and time were filled with bad karma cause that result?

Maybe it wasn't killing maybe it first started with other negative behaviors such as being greedy then the bad karma caused them to be killed by another living organism(s).

What about organisms that seem to not be conscious of their actions does that mean they can't receive bad/good karma?

It is beginningless, but thankfully, not endless, in that Buddhahood is possible. The Karma of this universe (according to some sources at least) came from karmic traces of the previous one, and so on.
What about organisms that seem to not be conscious of their actions does that mean they can't receive bad/good karma?
Like what, instinct? Instinct is a kind of Karma, both cause and result really, so animals etc. that operate mainly on instinct have solidified their habits and impulses since beginningless time. That's one of the reasons it's said to be so hard to escape the lower realms of being, and why a human birth is so precious. Animals etc. have far fewer opportunities to examine their actions, discover a concept of virtue, etc.

If you examine your own mind and temperament you will find things that seem to be "not conscious" also, things that are so basic to your makeup they are nearly instinctual (in modern psychological language they often say "temperament", often considered a set of biologically "hardwired" traits). I imagine it's the same for beings in lower realms - but worse, because it is much harder for them to become conscious of them or examine them, and therefore to change them. Nonetheless, they are the result of previous actions, and if unexamined, surely the cause of future circumstances.
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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Jeff H » Tue Sep 19, 2017 10:13 pm

Karma is based on the law of causality which negates the possibility of a beginning: there cannot be a first cause because that would be an uncaused effect. The way you state it makes it sound as if there was no karma until someone killed someone else without cause or reason -- and then karma “began” because killing was "wrong". That’s more of an Abrahamic view.

Karma arises from wrong view (ignorance). It’s a process of observing a phenomenon, believing it to exist independently, then forming distinctions around that error, such as “this is mine not yours”, and actions such as “take it and I’ll kill you”.

Buddha's advice is meant for working backward to overcome wrong view, because ordinary beings are already mired in samsara. He provides guidance in the form of suggesting that certain actions –- such as killing and the other nine non-virtues –- are key indicators of the ignorant view that we need to overcome. The non-virtues create karma in the sense of perpetuating it, not in the sense of prime origination.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Odin » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:14 am

Jeff H wrote:Karma is based on the law of causality which negates the possibility of a beginning: there cannot be a first cause because that would be an uncaused effect. The way you state it makes it sound as if there was no karma until someone killed someone else without cause or reason -- and then karma “began” because killing was "wrong". That’s more of an Abrahamic view.

Karma arises from wrong view (ignorance). It’s a process of observing a phenomenon, believing it to exist independently, then forming distinctions around that error, such as “this is mine not yours”, and actions such as “take it and I’ll kill you”.

Buddha's advice is meant for working backward to overcome wrong view, because ordinary beings are already mired in samsara. He provides guidance in the form of suggesting that certain actions –- such as killing and the other nine non-virtues –- are key indicators of the ignorant view that we need to overcome. The non-virtues create karma in the sense of perpetuating it, not in the sense of prime origination.
What are the nine non-virtues?

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Odin » Wed Sep 20, 2017 12:20 am

I thought the dalai lama says science and buddhism go hand in hand??? Just because scientists believe that the world came into existence from a big bang meaning out of nothing that doesn't mean that laws where not created at the start or gradually over time. Such as the law of gravity. I like to view karma as a philosophical law similar to a scientific one but unable to prove it in some respects.

So buddhists meaning all sects believe that space and time has always existed? There will be no end space and time but unless you reach nirvana then die and you live without suffering outside of space and time?

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Jeff H » Wed Sep 20, 2017 3:36 am

There are ten non-virtues. I was referring to the nine in addition to killing which you mentioned. The point is that they provide a practical and easily understood, behavioral-based place to begin reversing our habitual negative karma. I’ve heard some variations to the list, but the ones I hold are below. Step one is to refrain from those actions. Step two is to cultivate the opposite actions.
Of body: Killing; Stealing; Sexual Misconduct.
Of speech: Lying; Divisive Speech; Harsh Words/Slander; Idle Chatter.
Of mind: Coveting; Malice; Wrong View.

HHDL has said, “Big bang, no problem … but not a first big bang.” Buddhism is not based in materialism; start there if you want to understand karma.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by tiagolps » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:25 am

Odin wrote:I thought the dalai lama says science and buddhism go hand in hand???
They do, but don't misunderstand, both have different different ways of looking at things. One is materialistic, another is spiritual.
Science is very good at explaining the material and has helped a lot, but to believe science has a monopoly on truth, is just plain superstition.
Homage to you, blissful, virtuous and peaceful,
Enjoy the domain of the tranquil nirvana.
Fully possessing the om and the soha,
You overcome even the greatest of evils.

_______________________________________________
"Buddhahood really is like an infection and it goes from one person to another. You can fight it off, but it's a pity if you do that..."
-Rigdzin Shikpo

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Seishin » Wed Sep 20, 2017 8:59 am

There are several different scientific theories on how this universe came to existence. One such theory is that the big bang that created our universe was created by a previous universe collapsing. And in turn, the collapse of this universe will cause another big bang and the creation of another universe, and so on, and so on. This model matches the Buddhist model of a cyclic universe that collapses and expands. See here for other scientific models of the universe https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyclic_model

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Hag » Thu Sep 21, 2017 10:49 pm

tiagolps wrote:
Odin wrote:When space and time began.
There is no beginning to time.

There is no time or space, no karma. Everything is just our illusion....

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by PadmaVonSamba » Fri Oct 13, 2017 2:58 am

Karma is often misunderstood.
It's not something you get.
It isn't a system of rewards and punishments meted out by a spiritual universe.
What you experience in the mind, what you project from the mind, that is the essence of karma.
A person who is greedy, for example, only experiences deprivation even though they may be wealthy.
Karma arises with the perception, a delusional perception, of a duality between an intrinsically existing self, and an intrinsically existing other.
Karma accumulates with the actions of the body, speech, and mind with regard to this dualistic delusion.
So, for example, suppose you lose your gold watch, and you get all upset and sad about it.
Maybe it was valuable or had personal sentimental value.
Of course, it's very natural to be upset. Very easy to experience karma this way. Cause and effect based on delusion.
But if we look at the nature of that suffering, it's because you perceive both yourself and that watch as having intrinsic reality
when in fact, both you and the watch are made of temporarily existing parts.
Ultimately, there is no you, and no watch, and thus no owner of the watch to begin with. It's hard to experience that if you don't practice.
For a monk, probably not very hard to experience it.
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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by seeker242 » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:28 am

It doesn't matter because even if a beginning could be known, that won't help you put an end to being stuck in it. :meditate:
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by boda » Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:29 am

I’m afraid that something that doesn’t have a beginning doesn’t have an end, because if it always exited it will always exist.

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:08 am

I wouldn't spend (waste?) too much time trying to reconcile evolutionary history with karma. Karma is not a naturalistic theory, although I would hope it doesn't contradict naturalism. But there are many imponderables involved. For instance, one of them is that the human notion of time is inextricably bound up by days, months, years, and the human life-span. It might be the case that beings in other domains or realms of existence experience time in a vastly, even inconceivably, different way to human beings. That might be why there are references to 'aeons of kalpas' in Buddhist texts. (It's a scary thought - probably rightly so.)

But as far as re-birth is concerned, once a long time ago, I was studying pre-historic anthropology. I got an idea of how long the time periods were, when our predecessors lived as hunter-gatherers on the European plains - many tens of thousands of years. Who were those people? I wondered. And one day I had the thought - hey, they were humans just like myself, going through the pleasures and pains of existence, procreating and making a living. We inherit quite a bit of that when we're born, we onboard a kind of collective karma.

I also have wondered about how animals generate merit, and I really can't imagine.

But it's not the kind of idea that the Buddha ever spent much time on explaining. I think it like is one of the 'undeclared questions', likened to a poison arrow - don't ask too many questions about who shot it, just get treatment for it.
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Jeff H » Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm

boda wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:29 am
I’m afraid that something that doesn’t have a beginning doesn’t have an end, because if it always exited it will always exist.
That is correct. But something that affects us even though it never existed can cease to affect us.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by boda » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:49 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:08 am
I wouldn't spend (waste?) too much time trying to reconcile evolutionary history with karma. Karma is not a naturalistic theory, although I would hope it doesn't contradict naturalism. But there are many imponderables involved. For instance, one of them is that the human notion of time is inextricably bound up by days, months, years, and the human life-span. It might be the case that beings in other domains or realms of existence experience time in a vastly, even inconceivably, different way to human beings. That might be why there are references to 'aeons of kalpas' in Buddhist texts. (It's a scary thought - probably rightly so.)
That's fine if karma has no basis in causality as we know it, I suppose, but then doesn't that render karma effectively random and meaningless?

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by boda » Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:50 am

Jeff H wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm
boda wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:29 am
I’m afraid that something that doesn’t have a beginning doesn’t have an end, because if it always exited it will always exist.
That is correct. But something that affects us even though it never existed can cease to affect us.
Something that never existed doesn't effect anything.

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Jeff H » Sat Oct 14, 2017 3:05 am

boda wrote:
Sat Oct 14, 2017 12:50 am
Jeff H wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 4:37 pm
boda wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 3:29 am
I’m afraid that something that doesn’t have a beginning doesn’t have an end, because if it always exited it will always exist.
That is correct. But something that affects us even though it never existed can cease to affect us.
Something that never existed doesn't effect anything.
The dependent origination of samsara is that we think it does. An effect was never actually created and therefore can't be annihilated, but affects we generate from those thoughts can cease.
We who are like children shrink from pain but love its causes. - Shantideva

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Wayfarer » Sat Oct 14, 2017 4:39 am

Boda wrote:That's fine if karma has no basis in causality as we know it, I suppose, but then doesn't that render karma effectively random and meaningless?
Nope. Just because you can't work out the details, doesn't mean it isn't true. It's like what Padma Von Sambha says. Just because you can't figure out the logistics, doesn't mean your karma wont' run over your dogma. :tongue:
In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities; in the expert's mind there are few ~ Suzuki-roshi

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Re: Why and how did karma come into existence?

Post by Aemilius » Wed Oct 25, 2017 9:07 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Fri Oct 13, 2017 7:08 am
I wouldn't spend (waste?) too much time trying to reconcile evolutionary history with karma. Karma is not a naturalistic theory, although I would hope it doesn't contradict naturalism. But there are many imponderables involved. For instance, one of them is that the human notion of time is inextricably bound up by days, months, years, and the human life-span. It might be the case that beings in other domains or realms of existence experience time in a vastly, even inconceivably, different way to human beings. That might be why there are references to 'aeons of kalpas' in Buddhist texts. (It's a scary thought - probably rightly so.)

I also have wondered about how animals generate merit, and I really can't imagine.
There are a lot of views and studies in biology about altruims. It is defined differently in biology than in Buddhism. Biology's discussion of altruism is relevant to Buddhism in many ways. I have read mainly Tor Norretranders and Richard Dawkins on this topic, both are really good. Here is what the hated wikipedia says https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altruism_(biology)
Given that animals have action, they inevitably have results of action, i.e. merit and demerit, etc.
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