Message Boards Message Boards

Wetpaint Migration 4

The physics of Karma

Toggle
The physics of Karma
Answer
2/19/08 5:26 AM
Author: Soakn108
Forum: Dharma Overground Discussion Forum

Does this sound like Karma to you? Chaos theory is tripping me out.

= )

"The phrase butterfly effect refers to the idea that a butterfly's wings might create tiny changes in the atmosphere that ultimately cause a tornado to appear (or prevent a tornado from appearing). The flapping wing represents a small change in the initial condition of the system, which causes a chain of events leading to large-scale phenomena. Had the butterfly not flapped its wings, the trajectory of the system might have been vastly different."

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Butterfly_effect

RE: The physics of Karma
Answer
2/19/08 8:38 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
So, all we have to do is find that annoying butterfly and squash it, and no more tornadoes? emoticon

I prefer a more hands-on understanding of karma: Intention / intentional action. Leaving aside the point that this is what the Buddha apparently defined karma to be, it is actually useful for my practice. My present experience is influenced by what I choose to do at the moment, by the immediate consequences of what I'm doing right now, and by the consequences of what I did before (as well as many other factors which are *not* affected by my choices). And that exhausts my ability to shape the present moment. This is all I myself can do to bring about my goals, not more, but not less either.

After I had my first "oh, doh!" experience regarding this view of karma, I felt strangely disempowered. That's really all I'm supposed to be able to do? My intentions? That's all I can have a say on? But gradually, this turned into confidence: I really can do something to bring about change in my experience. The next step was to comprehend how this strange power affected other people, too: those I love, for example. My choices have an effect on them, too. So karma and sila have a real-life interaction! Who would have thought!

Not quite tornadoes, but then I'm not a relativistic quantum chaos butterfly or whatever the species is called. emoticon

Cheers,
Florian

RE: The physics of Karma
Answer
2/20/08 4:23 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Yeah, this is something I've thought about some and it seems to me that any theory that explains how things are causally related (including systems theory), is in a broad sense, a teaching on Karma. With science in particular, I tend to think they are getting at a very exquisite karmic theory, and the cause and effect involved in the material universe (of which we are definitely a part). The Buddha's teaching on karma seemed to focus more exclusively on the interior experience of the individual, and as Florian was saying, more how intentionality and our own individual action shapes our individual course.

Then again, in the Abhidharma there are several different types of karma which are recognized (though I can't remember them now!) and they included inanimate karma. Lastly, check out this interview I did with insight meditation teacher Wes Nisker, on Karma and Science: http://www.fallingfruit.tv/episodes/atto-zepto-and-yacto-buddhist-marx-brothers

RE: The physics of Karma
Answer
2/20/08 5:48 AM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Yeah, while there are definitely types of karma-vipaka discussed in commentarial literature, differentiating between the "elements appropriated" (that would be one's actual body) and "non-appropriated" (that would be the general environment), karma (i.e. action) or specifically cetana (i.e. intention/volition) is not the only kind of causation recognized in the early Abhidhamma - there are five niyamas or "orders": uttu, bija, citta, dhamma, kamma. Common, shared, combined and collective karma are seldom discussed.

Of course, there are other formulations of conditionality as well, including specific applications of the dependent co-arising (pratitya-samutpada) notion, like "causes and conditions", "generation from emptiness" and "generation as dharmadhatu" (i.e. everything simultaneously together, each thing and everything, horizontally and vertically). For science to make a contribution in this respect, it needs to allow interiority as an irreducible dimension, right?

RE: The physics of Karma
Answer
7/12/12 9:31 PM as a reply to Wet Paint.
Here's my take. You'll find it a lot more common sense and pleasant than the religious views. You know everything that is said by the old masters? It's quite possible that it's all bullshit.

When you do something hurtful and you're aware of it, you feel guilt. Guilt = fear of punishment by God. So we think "ok I'll get in first and punish myself before God does". So we hold the fear, and the fear attracts the thing feared.

The solution is not to say "don't do bad things to others". That's for children. The solution is to say "when you come to a point where the action you're contemplating is likely to cause harm, you're acting out of fear". Then think "what am I fearing?". Then don't fear it. Then the impulse for the "bad" action goes away.