VincentRJ

How does Karma and Rebirth relate to modern theories of Evolution

51 posts in this topic

On ‎21‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 1:04 AM, rockyysdt said:

 

My preoccupation of late is peoples motives, and in this case peoples motives which cause them to be drawn to Buddhism.

 

I find most people already have a formed view, and in the case of Buddhism, a formed view of what Buddhism is.

 

In many cases their formed view of what Buddhism is significantly differs from the Buddha's basic teachings.

 

If their formed opinion of what Buddhism is aligns with their personal preferences, then they'll be drawn to it.

 

This might include such things as:

Vegetarianism.

Ethical lifestyle.

Philosophy rather than religion.

 

My other observation is that one's first impression/experience is very powerful.

 

Even when something or someone turns out to be quite different, people automatically return to a first impressions picture  or view.

This is part of the auto view/response rather than functioning in the moment.

 

Interesting points, Rocky. However, speaking for myself, I have difficulty in identifying any first impression about Buddhism that was very powerful. My first memory, in relation to Buddhism, is when a school colleague, during the weekly scripture lessons at school in the U.K., was asked by the teacher to give a brief talk to the class,on a religion other than Christianity. He chose Buddhism, and would probably have spoken about that basic story of Buddha coming out of his palace for the first time and being shocked at the suffering he witnessed. However, I can't remember the details of that student's talk, and I can't remember being particularly impressed in a way that motivated me to do further research on the subject at the time.

 

The next impression of Buddhism I remember is just a few years later, around the age of 20, when I was travelling in India on a tight budget, travelling 3rd class on the trains, and being saddened, but also amazed and perplexed at the degree of poverty, homelessness and suffering. The thought occurred to me, if India is like this in the 20th century, what would it have been like 2,500 years ago during the times of the Buddha? Could it have been even worse?

 

At this time, whilst still in India, I began to read a few texts on Buddhism, and recall being particulary puzzled by the concept of 'ceasing all thought processes' to achieve Nirvana. I'd come out of the U.K. where I'd been exposed to constant pressure to study hard and constantly think, in order to pass exams and get a good career. Yet here is a religion which is describing the ultimate goal as a cessation of all thought, which appears to be the opposite of my conditioning.

 

After travelling through India to Madras, where I got on an ocean liner to Penang and then hitchhicked up to Bangkok, my next impression of Buddhism was when I taught English to a class of monks at Wat Mahatat in Bangkok. I was teaching in return for free accommodation, because I was essentially broke, but I was impressed with the general niceness and friendliness of the monks, and the Thai people in general.

 

I spent 14 months in Thailand, earning a living giving private English tuition (even though I had no qualifications as a teacher), and during that time I was constantly impressed by the apparent happiness and friendliness of the Thai people who were in general so much poorer than people in the U.K. who seemed more miserable in general than the Thais were, despite their greater wealth. I now think that this attitude is directly related to the teaching of Buddhism, but at the time I don't recall thinking much about that connection.

 

After I left Thailand and got on with my life in developed countries, eventually emigrating to Australia, Buddhism didn't occupy my thoughts much, although, because of my philosophical interests, I was always aware of the connection between Buddhists concepts of 'cause and effect' and the scientific methodology, and the more difficult concept that what we perceive through our senses is not objective reality, but our own interpretation of that reality in accordance with individual characheristics and the more general characteristics of the Homo Sapiens biology.

 

For example, a leaf isn't really green. We have a sensation in our mind, according to our biology, that interprets certain wave lengths of light that are reflected from the leaf, as the color green. We then project that sensation of greenness, which exists only in our own minds, onto the leaf and say 'the leaf is green'.

 

My interest in Buddhism was renewed when I stumbled across the Kalama Sutta just a few years ago, probably because of the widespread dissemination of free information on the internet, and also because of my association with Rod Bucknell who is a Buddhist scholar with a few published books. (He had his 80th birthday a few days ago. I hope he lives much longer than the Buddha. :wink:  )

 

I tend to think my strongest impression of Buddhism might have been my reading of the Kalama Sutta for the first time, but that definitely was not my first impression of Buddhism.

Edited by VincentRJ

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