Karma and insanity

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Revata BD
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Karma and insanity

Post by Revata BD » Mon Dec 17, 2018 11:28 pm

How is ones Karmic debt affected by insanity? If the insane person could not but help to be insane, does Karma still write up the debt in the same terms? Say the insane person eventually becomes sane. That person's actions obviously change drastically for the better. But does Karma write up the debt from the insane period as if the "wrongdoings" were purposeful? Or is there allowance for such things in some way? You could also consider my question in relation to babies. Surely Karma doesn't "judge" a baby for kicking it's mother in the eye and blinding her? There's no intention present. Is intention the sole aspect here?

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Wayfarer
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Dec 18, 2018 5:25 am

Hi Revata, welcome to DharmaWheel.

Karma is not really 'written up', although I suppose as a metaphor that is kind of what it seems like.

The key point about the Buddhist understanding of 'karma' is indeed the quality of intention that motivates an action. In fact that is one of the ways in which the Buddha's teaching diverged from the Brahmins - their view was that good karma was accrued solely by the correct performance of the sacrificial rites laid out in the Veda. The Buddha gave the teaching of 'karma' a very different meaning, which is that from good actions, beneficial results will flow, and vice versa.

Actions triggered by psychiatric illness obviously may not be 'intentional' in that sense, as by definition a person suffering from such delusions may not be responsible, or able to be responsible, for their actions. That is also generally recognised in criminal law, of course.

(That is simply my advice on the basis of general knowledge, another contributor might know more. A useful web resource on the Buddhist understanding of Karma can be found here.)
'Only practice with no gaining idea' ~ Suzuki Roshi

Revata BD
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Revata BD » Tue Dec 18, 2018 11:06 am

Interestingly I found an old post here about the very thing I was thinking of! Narcissistic personality disorder. Very strange to find that right after making this post. The person (as usual with this disorder) describes exactly how my life was. Totally without free will and unable to take the critique of others having been abused by Narcissistic abusers which then leaves you unable to trust opinions and judgements from other humans AT ALL... You only ever manage to heal alone. Buddhism did a lot to heal me, as did the first authentic kind person I met. (and then married)

Bundokji
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Bundokji » Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:28 pm

Your view of Karma implies an omniscient being that keeps a tally..
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

Revata BD
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Revata BD » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:36 pm

I don't actually think that. I've just phrased it a bit poorly in trying to get my question across. It could be better phrased but I suppose I lack the correct language.... Lets see if I can rephrase it here...
A person who has no free will, a mad or disordered person or even a baby, does not have intention when for example they kick another person as a grown, sane and developed person who just decides to go kick someone because they want to.
Intention being a very important factor in misdeeds. Surely a baby isn't "guilty" of a misdeed because it kicks it's mother in the face and blinds her?
In this case the baby had no intention or even proper control of it's movements to prevent or guard against the kick. The same goes for a disordered or mad person it seems.
So do these such events by these such people lacking the free will component, still amount to being a misdeed and therefore bad Karma?

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Grigoris
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Grigoris » Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:51 pm

Bundokji wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 7:28 pm
Your view of Karma implies an omniscient being that keeps a tally..
This guy (for example)?
Yama_tibet-wik-56a0c4743df78cafdaa4d7ae.jpg
Yama_tibet-wik-56a0c4743df78cafdaa4d7ae.jpg (141.23 KiB) Viewed 843 times
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Bundokji
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Bundokji » Thu Dec 20, 2018 10:15 pm

Revata BD wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:36 pm
I don't actually think that. I've just phrased it a bit poorly in trying to get my question across. It could be better phrased but I suppose I lack the correct language.... Lets see if I can rephrase it here...
A person who has no free will, a mad or disordered person or even a baby, does not have intention when for example they kick another person as a grown, sane and developed person who just decides to go kick someone because they want to.
Intention being a very important factor in misdeeds. Surely a baby isn't "guilty" of a misdeed because it kicks it's mother in the face and blinds her?
In this case the baby had no intention or even proper control of it's movements to prevent or guard against the kick. The same goes for a disordered or mad person it seems.
So do these such events by these such people lacking the free will component, still amount to being a misdeed and therefore bad Karma?
If you mean by freewill the ability to comprehend the consequences of an action in terms of predictability and significance, and if you use freewill as a criteria to measure the moral weight of an action, then, logically, the insane and the child are not as morally responsible as a sane adult.

The problem with moral questions, in my view, is that the answer you get would depend on the criteria being used. If your question is about Karma, and if Karma is the law of intentional actions, then the moral value of an action would depend on the individual's criteria or belief system, a sort of inner integrity.

All in my opinion :anjali:
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

Crazywisdom
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Crazywisdom » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:30 am

Revata BD wrote:
Thu Dec 20, 2018 8:36 pm
I don't actually think that. I've just phrased it a bit poorly in trying to get my question across. It could be better phrased but I suppose I lack the correct language.... Lets see if I can rephrase it here...
A person who has no free will, a mad or disordered person or even a baby, does not have intention when for example they kick another person as a grown, sane and developed person who just decides to go kick someone because they want to.
Intention being a very important factor in misdeeds. Surely a baby isn't "guilty" of a misdeed because it kicks it's mother in the face and blinds her?
In this case the baby had no intention or even proper control of it's movements to prevent or guard against the kick. The same goes for a disordered or mad person it seems.
So do these such events by these such people lacking the free will component, still amount to being a misdeed and therefore bad Karma?
Intention is the root of karma.
Vajra fangs deliver vajra venom to your Mara body.

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Grigoris
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Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Grigoris » Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:44 am

Indeed: intention and motivation.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
The Supreme Source - The Kunjed Gyalpo
The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

Bundokji
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Joined: Thu Aug 23, 2018 8:51 pm

Re: Karma and insanity

Post by Bundokji » Fri Dec 21, 2018 2:15 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Fri Dec 21, 2018 11:44 am
Indeed: intention and motivation.
The problem as i see it is:

1- Karma can be used to convey an underlying reality of "justice" that is not apparent for most human beings
2- Karma is a universal law which applies equally to Buddhists and non-Buddhists
3- Buddhists are more likely to be less deluded by virtue of encountering and practicing the teachings of the Buddha
4- Delusion or ignorance are related to knowledge. Being deluded does not protect you from the karmic consequences of your action
5- Actions of ill-will or greed are considered as bad karma with negative consequences
6- Intention is not an isolated phenomena, but linked to knowledge. People who act in harmful ways are acting based on what they know.
7- Therefore, it would be unjust for people to deal with the consequences of their actions if they simply acted on what they knew
8- if knowledge is dependently arising phenomena, and if the law of Karma is universal, then the quality of the action is not independent from the belief system that driven it

I think each of the above has a grain of truth to it. The law of Karma can be approached in many different ways. I think the ultimate goal of the law of Karma is to transcend it, but that would depend on the individual practitioner.

Peace :namaste:
The cleverest defenders of faith are its greatest enemies: for their subtleties engender doubt and stimulate the mind. -- Will Durant

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