clean slates

Marcus’ post on Monday really had me thinking. It touched on some half-realized thoughts I’d had for a while now and made them whole.

This world” Sunim replied with gravity as well as a smile, “is perfectly fair. Everything you create eventually comes back to you.

The momentum of our Karmas surrounds us, pulling and pushing like magnets. Through our thoughts, our words, our actions we direct this momentum, we control it, as much as it may seem the other way around. As Sunim spoke, “Everything you create comes back to you.”

When we can see our Karma unfold from this lifetime, it’s easier to accept, but when it’s Karma from a life long ago, it can seem unfair.

The realization I had was, what if we could see into each other’s past? What if we all saw exactly what we’ve all created and have coming back to us? What if if knew where the Hitlers, the Mussolinis, the Pol Pots were today? Would we doubt the fairness of their suffering for a moment?

What I know about the people who are able to see into the Karmic affinity of others (Dae Haeng Kun Sunim is the first to come to mind) is that they would still have compassion, even knowing what they’d done. It can be difficult to accept, but these are the ones who need compassion the most. Perhaps that’s why, for the most part, we can’t see into each other’s past, through rebirth we’re given a clean slate.

JiJang Bosal is one of the great Bodhisattva because he vowed to enter the Hell realms and help the suffering there. But who are the beings there who he’s sacrificed his Nirvana to help? Most likely beings who have committed despicable actions. With Seung Sahn Daesanim there to help him now, they must have a half-decent Zen Center on the go! Maybe even a Sangha!

My point is, when we see suffering in the world, as unfair or undeserved as it may appear, the only way to respond is with compassion.

9 thoughts on “clean slates”

  1. And, of course, there is no way of knowing what leads to what. Trying to understand the workings of Karma can do nothing but, as the Buddha said, cause your head to crack into pieces (I think nowadays we’d say it makes your brain explode!). You are right, the only posible response is compassion, infused with wisdom. Lovely post. Thank you Joseph. _/\_

  2. Thank you for this.

    Kun Sunim’s point that that the world is perfectly fair can, for me seem perfectly horrifying given the mountain of suffering at large on this small planet. Genocides, floods, earthquakes, famine; is that really the karma of all those nameless millions now dead playing out?

    Without compassion – it is all too easy for people to look at the suffering of others and say “He had it coming.”, “She deserves her lot in life.” Trust me when I say I have heard practitioners who should have known better say exactly that. That simplistic interpretation and reaction to the concept of karma is really nothing more than whistling past the graveyard and a means of putting others out of our hearts.

    1. Thanks Roy,
      That was pretty much my response when Marcus posted…
      What entered my mind reading your comment is that perhaps the mountain of suffering is not only as a result of our collective karma but also a collective general lack of compassion in response to each other…

      How many of us offer prayers of compassion to someone like George Bush, let alone Hitler?!

      1. RE: How many of us offer prayers of compassion to someone like George Bush, let alone Hitler?!

        Well – I know that I never did. 😦

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