How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens know

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Ervin
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How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens know

Post by Ervin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 6:42 am

Hi everyone,

The question is pretty much how does karma know the difference between good and bad?

Also, how do for instance, hell wardens and king Yamaha know?

I am not a monotheist or etc..., but at least explains how can someone know and judge, ie God. Angels, devil, who made them and so forth is explained.

So, are there any sutras that explain, and give the answers to the above?

Thanks

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 06, 2015 7:43 am

'Karma' is not a person or an agent, it doesn't have to 'know' anything. When you cut your hand, your hand doesn't need to 'know' how to hurt. It simply hurts.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

Ervin
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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Ervin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 8:13 am

Thanks fort that Wayfarer, that's a satisfying answer to that. But what about the he'll wardens and all these other beings that work for karma, how do they know?

Also, where they come from and who created them? How did they form? Because it seems that they know!!! Are these beings who are tottering wrongdoers also creating a bad karma, if not? How come?

Your answer is probably the best possible but it's a little bit atheist(I have nothing against the atheists by the way).

I am pretty sure that I read somewhere before many times that Buddha said to question everything , even him. Which is what I am doing.

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Seishin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:24 am

The Buddha didn't say to question everything, he said we should investigate, which is a nuanced difference in my opinion. But I digress;

We know good and bad because of the discriminating mind and we are the creators of our own karma. It is not outside ourselves, not governed by a supernatural being.

In gassho,
Seishin

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by jundo cohen » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:30 am

Ervin wrote:Hi everyone,

The question is pretty much how does karma know the difference between good and bad?

Also, how do for instance, hell wardens and king Yamaha know?

I am not a monotheist or etc..., but at least explains how can someone know and judge, ie God. Angels, devil, who made them and so forth is explained.

So, are there any sutras that explain, and give the answers to the above?

Thanks
Hello,

I just offer a view from one corner-non-corner of the Mahayana world, please do not take it as more than one practitioner's view.

However, it is possible that Karma is only Karma due to your own thoughts, and the "hell wardens and King Yama" exist and "know" only when you believe such and believe in "hell wardens and King Yama" in your own mind. Your own thoughts breathe life into such things, like the boogeyman-under-the-bed which the child creates simply by her own nightmared imaginings. Wake up from this dream.
When delusions are absent, the mind is the land of Buddhas. When delusions are present, the
mind is hell. Mortals create delusions. And by using the mind to give birth to mind they
always find themselves in hell. Bodhisattvas see through delusions. And by not using the
mind to give birth to mind they always find themselves in the land of Buddhas. If you don’t
use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is empty and every thought is still. You go
from one buddhaland to another. If you use your mind to create mind, every state of mind is
disturbed and every thought is in motion. You go from one hell to the next. When a thought
arises, there’s good karma and bad karma, heaven and hell. When no thought arises, there’s
no good karma or bad karma, no heaven or hell.

---

And what are the three lower states? They’re where those who persist in poisoned thoughts
and evil deeds are born. Those whose karma from greed is greatest become hungry ghosts.
Those whose karma from anger is greatest become sufferers in hell. And those whose karma
from delusion is greatest become beasts. These three lower states together with the previous
three higher states form the six states of existence. From this you should realize that all
karma, painful or otherwise, comes from your own mind. If you can just concentrate your
mind and transcend its falsehood and evil, the suffering of the three realms and six states of
existence will automatically disappear. And once free from suffering, you’re truly free.

[Attributed to Bodhidharma (arguably) in the Wake Up Sermon, but like language is found throughout the Mahayana]
HOWEVER, neither should one reject Karma, cause and effect, and act in any immoral way one wishes.

So long as one believes or does not believe in Karma, one is not free. If not believing, and therefor willing to engage in any hateful, greedy, divisive act, one is a prisoner of one's evil thoughts. One must not ignore Karma. However, if believing that one is bound by Karma and King Yama, one is no less a prisoner of cause and effect. In the clarity of Buddha Nature, what evil actions can arise from the start? All wash away in the Wholeness of Emptiness. There was never a hell from the start except as made by your own hateful words, thoughts and acts, and it is a self-created fiction ... but if you fill yourself with those hateful words, thoughts and acts such that you are driven by delusion, you fall right into your prison, dream or not. It might only be a nightmarish dream of hell, but it feels real enough! This is the so-called "Fox Koan" which we celebrate in the Zen World ...
The man said, "I am not actually a human being. ... One day a student asked me, 'Does a person who practices with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?' I said to him, 'No, such a person doesn't.' Because I said this I was reborn as a wild fox for five hundred lifetimes. Reverend master, please say a turning word for me and free me from this wild fox body." Then he asked Baizhang, "Does a person who practices with great devotion still fall into cause and effect?"
Baizhang said, "Don't ignore cause and effect."
Immediately the man had great realization. Bowing, he said, "I am now liberated from the body of a wild fox.
And I do not know about hells and King Yama in worlds to come (frankly, I am rather skeptical that there is such a fellow with his courtroom), but I have seen people make all manner of living hells for themselves and those around them right in this world, in this life. So, live gently now, in this world. If there is a King Yama in the next world, it will allow you a good case to make in your trial. If there is no King Yama in the next world, your life will still be gentle now.

In any case, King Yama or no King Yama, live gently now.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Ayu » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:55 am

Briefly speaking: karma is nothing that comes from "outside" only. Its origin is "inside". Likewise nothing happens from it's own side only. Things are dependend on perception, judgement and appelation.
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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Ervin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:29 am

So, are you guys saying that all these sutras on different realms realms are to be taken metaphorically and that its all in this life?

Thanks

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by jundo cohen » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:36 am

Ervin wrote:So, are you guys saying that all these sutras on different realms realms are to be taken metaphorically and that its all in this life?

Thanks
Speaking for myself ...

I do not know or care whether they are taken metaphorically or (while I have my doubts) represent an actual place or something else altogether. If you believe in it, it is real in such way at least. I do not worry overly much about whether there are future lives or only this one. In fact, this whole world and life has aspects much like a dream made of our own ignorant thinking.

However, "real place" or "metaphor" or "dream" or "delusion" ... future lives or no future lives ... in any case, live gently, free of greed, anger and divisive thoughts in this one.

Gassho, Jundo
Last edited by jundo cohen on Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:02 am, edited 2 times in total.
Priest/Teacher at Treeleaf Zendo, a Soto Zen Sangha. Treeleaf Zendo was designed as an online practice place for Zen practitioners who cannot easily commute to a Zen Center due to health concerns, living in remote areas, or work, childcare and family needs, and seeks to provide Zazen sittings, retreats, discussion, interaction with a teacher, and all other activities of a Zen Buddhist Sangha, all fully online. The focus is Shikantaza "Just Sitting" Zazen as instructed by the 13th Century Japanese Master, Eihei Dogen. http://www.treeleaf.org

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Seishin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:55 am

"Real or not" doesn't change the nature of karma, or the nature of mind. But if these realms ARE only mind, what does that mean about the human realm? What does that imply? This is worth investigating IMO.

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Paul
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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Paul » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:45 am

Ervin wrote: Also, where they come from and who created them? How did they form? Because it seems that they know!!! Are these beings who are tottering wrongdoers also creating a bad karma, if not? How come?
He'll guardians are not sentient beings - they are projections from the mind of the hell being in question. It is not possible, therefore, to be reborn as a hell guardian. That also explains how they 'know' about the being they are torturing.

I think it was Asanga who explained this, but I'm not certain and can't look it up right now.
Look at the unfathomable spinelessness of man: all the means he's been given to stay alert he uses, in the end, to ornament his sleep. – Rene Daumal
the modern mind has become so limited and single-visioned that it has lost touch with normal perception - John Michell

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Ervin » Fri Nov 06, 2015 9:52 pm

Paul wrote:
Ervin wrote: Also, where they come from and who created them? How did they form? Because it seems that they know!!! Are these beings who are tottering wrongdoers also creating a bad karma, if not? How come?
He'll guardians are not sentient beings - they are projections from the mind of the hell being in question. It is not possible, therefore, to be reborn as a hell guardian. That also explains how they 'know' about the being they are torturing.

I think it was Asanga who explained this, but I'm not certain and can't look it up right now.
Thanks Paul,

Is there any chance that you could provide a name and an excerpt of the sutra that explains what you are writing abou?

Thanks

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Wayfarer » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:22 pm

I think in all honesty you ought not to worry about such questions as 'what hell beings know', and how karma works. It may not be possible to ever reach a satisfactory understanding of such issues. We only have so much time, and so much attention; you will notice in the texts, the emphasis is always on the one thing: 'this is suffering, the is the cause of suffering, this is the end of suffering'. Observing and understanding that principle is all that is really necessary or even possible. Wondering about 'what hell beings know' or whether they even exist, is not necessary for that, because if we do successfully understand and follow the basic principles, then those other questions will just become clear in due course. That would be my advice.

:namaste:
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:32 pm

Ervin wrote:
Paul wrote:
Ervin wrote: Also, where they come from and who created them? How did they form? Because it seems that they know!!! Are these beings who are tottering wrongdoers also creating a bad karma, if not? How come?
He'll guardians are not sentient beings - they are projections from the mind of the hell being in question. It is not possible, therefore, to be reborn as a hell guardian. That also explains how they 'know' about the being they are torturing.

I think it was Asanga who explained this, but I'm not certain and can't look it up right now.
Thanks Paul,

Is there any chance that you could provide a name and an excerpt of the sutra that explains what you are writing abou?

Thanks
Read Vasubandhu's Viṃśatikākārikā.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by boda » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:42 pm

Seishin wrote:We know good and bad because of the discriminating mind and we are the creators of our own karma. It is not outside ourselves, not governed by a supernatural being.
How could it be only inside ourselves? Or do you believe that everything, including other minds, are only a projection of your mind? If I'm not mistaken that's called solipsism.

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Malcolm » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:49 pm

boda wrote:
Seishin wrote:We know good and bad because of the discriminating mind and we are the creators of our own karma. It is not outside ourselves, not governed by a supernatural being.
How could it be only inside ourselves? Or do you believe that everything, including other minds, are only a projection of your mind? If I'm not mistaken that's called solipsism.
Yogacara argues there is no container universe in reality, but that nevertheless, mind streams are distinct and unique.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by boda » Fri Nov 06, 2015 10:58 pm

Malcolm wrote:
boda wrote:
Seishin wrote:We know good and bad because of the discriminating mind and we are the creators of our own karma. It is not outside ourselves, not governed by a supernatural being.
How could it be only inside ourselves? Or do you believe that everything, including other minds, are only a projection of your mind? If I'm not mistaken that's called solipsism.
Yogacara argues there is no container universe in reality, but that nevertheless, mind streams are distinct and unique.
The question isn't about distinctness or contents, it's about values (good and bad) and interactions (cause and effect).

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Admin_PC » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:44 pm

Malcolm wrote:
Ervin wrote:Is there any chance that you could provide a name and an excerpt of the sutra that explains what you are writing about?
Read Vasubandhu's Viṃśatikākārikā.
Thanks for the recommendation Malcolm!
Do you have any other Sutra, Abhidharma, or commentary recommendations for those looking to better understand Mahayana teachings on karma?
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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Norwegian » Fri Nov 06, 2015 11:58 pm

Check out Vasubandhu's Karmasiddhiprakarana.

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Malcolm
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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by Malcolm » Sat Nov 07, 2015 12:42 am

boda wrote: The question isn't about distinctness or contents, it's about values (good and bad) and interactions (cause and effect).
I was responding to your objection, not his question.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: How can karma know,and how do for instance hell wardens

Post by boda » Sat Nov 07, 2015 1:32 am

Malcolm wrote:
boda wrote: The question isn't about distinctness or contents, it's about values (good and bad) and interactions (cause and effect).
I was responding to your objection, not his question.
I made no objection. My queries are following the OP question:
The question is pretty much how does karma know the difference between good and bad?
"Good and bad" have to do with value.

We might ask where this value resides, to begin with.

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