Re : Guidance on karma and domestic abuse

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dude
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Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re : Guidance on karma and domestic abuse

Post by dude » Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:08 pm

I decided to give this issue its own thread :

When I was a new member, the guy I took as my mentor once observed that a lot of the guidance he got from his mentor seemed more like Japanese cultural tradition talking than Buddhism. I was so young in faith that I had never considered this, but my mentor told me that after thinking about it, he concluded that he didn't have the wisdom to know what was or wasn't.

The guidance about abusive relationships, and, well, some other issues, like work situations etc. was consistently "change your karma and the situation will change."

Japanese culture is still very hierarchical and tradition-bound. I don't know from experience, but I can't imagine that same guidance being given in the U.S. today. Times change, and so do the norms of society.

That's just my opinion. I'm not an authority, but it's the way I see it.

narhwal90
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Re: Re : Guidance on karma and domestic abuse

Post by narhwal90 » Sat Jan 27, 2018 4:18 am

Its really easy to hide behind "change your karma and the situation will change" as guidance, I've heard that line too. Its fine and well meant but missing some detail. Some of the old-timers were chatting in the last meeting I attended about the old days when someone would complain about a problem or misfortune and the answer would be "congratulations!"- in the sense that a hardship is an opportunity to transform oneself. I got some of that too, likewise missing detail. I'm pretty close to a few other SGI folks, some of them go to chosen leaders for guidance quite often, I stopped doing that early on because of the "chant and it will work out" sort of response. OTOH perhaps the quality of the guidance is in what one brings to it and I've not put in the effort, but the SGI leadership organization doesn't attract me much so I am not connected to them. These days, if I wanted guidance, I would not approach an SGI leader who wasn't reasonably trained and/or experienced in the issue at hand.

I spent a lot of time chanting for stuff, for other people to do or not do etc.. IMHO not productive, more attachment & aversion to the things of my mind. What seems to have traction for me is to chant to transform myself. That transformation can take many forms; willingness to get out of my comfort zone, gain awareness of how I contribute to the situation & manipulate others, discovery of ego-centered attitudes & action etc. But thats what the practice means to me right now; courage & endurance to work in the training ground of the world with greater wisdom and compassion.

So, maybe the old simplistic guidance is right after all in its own way and I just lacked awareness of how to apply it.

dude
Posts: 618
Joined: Tue Jan 01, 2013 3:38 am

Re: Re : Guidance on karma and domestic abuse

Post by dude » Tue Feb 13, 2018 8:35 pm

You've been around for a while. Maybe almost as long as I.
I remember those days with mixed feelings.
I totally agree with you on the near-automatic response : "It's your karma, you have to change it" and "oh your life fell apart? congratulations."
I had a lot of district leaders and group leaders give me guidance I didn't trust, but was afraid not to follow because ya know, this stuff is real, will I get punishment? Mostly I did what I wanted anyway but worried about it.
One experience I remember to this day : I was talking to one of my members on getting guidance, and I said "Yeah, I trust my general chapter leader more than the lower level leaders" and he said "if you ask me that's where it starts" and we both laughed.
It sounds like you've learned a lot and gained a lot of wisdom about how to find the way in practice.
Guidance is just that, guidance (pointing the way). We each have to walk the walk for ourselves and be true to ourselves.

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Queequeg
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Re: Re : Guidance on karma and domestic abuse

Post by Queequeg » Thu Feb 15, 2018 5:22 pm

dude wrote:
Fri Jan 26, 2018 11:08 pm
I decided to give this issue its own thread :

When I was a new member, the guy I took as my mentor once observed that a lot of the guidance he got from his mentor seemed more like Japanese cultural tradition talking than Buddhism. I was so young in faith that I had never considered this, but my mentor told me that after thinking about it, he concluded that he didn't have the wisdom to know what was or wasn't.

The guidance about abusive relationships, and, well, some other issues, like work situations etc. was consistently "change your karma and the situation will change."

Japanese culture is still very hierarchical and tradition-bound. I don't know from experience, but I can't imagine that same guidance being given in the U.S. today. Times change, and so do the norms of society.

That's just my opinion. I'm not an authority, but it's the way I see it.
That's an interesting observation. My father says things like that, that what NSA/SG taught was Japanese culture. My mother would disagree, with a caveat that Japanese culture is deeply inflected with Buddhism, so the two are closely related.

To figure out where one starts and the other ends, we would need to strip things back.

I would start with - "What does Buddhism say about the nature of reality?"

From there, you'd have to examine the standard approaches to "guidance" to weigh how closely they conform to reasonable conclusions based on the Buddhist insights. If reality is so, what is the reasonable action to take?
Those who, even with distracted minds,
Entered a stupa compound
And chanted but once, “Namo Buddhaya!”
Have certainly attained the path of the buddhas.

-Lotus Sutra, Expedient Means Chapter

I think each human being has things to find out in his own life that are inescapable. They’ll find them out the easy way or the hard way, or whatever.
-Jerry Garcia

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