Monday, May 21, 2007


I was working today with one of my best friends, Noah. He's a deep thinking kind of guy that took a few religion classes and is just fun to have discussions with. Not to mention he and I can just be goofy and weird together, which is a great tension breaker when you have twenty frappuccinos to make in a row. Anyway, we were sitting outside on our lunch break discussing some Buddhist stuff and it made me think a bit.

Suppose I kill flies all day because they're pissing me off and buzzing in my face. I've planted some bad karma and might come back as a fly for the next hundred lives or so. I can understand the punishment aspect, the lessons being learned from the lives you will live as a fly, etc. Here's what I can't grasp: What was I in my last life? Because I don't know what I was in my last life, I can't get behind the idea. Here's why.

If I don't know what I was in my last life, how am I supposed to be learning a lesson? I don't know what I did wrong, so it seems unjust that I am being punished for it in this life. I hear Buddhists on a discussion blog that I read every day talking about how unjust the Christian God is for sending people to hell for their lives. How is this any different? I don't think that being turned into a fly is fair if when you're a fly you don't remember why you were turned into a fly.

This leads me to a little more thinking.

Does the fly get bad karma for bugging the hell out of you? What if the fly bugs humans aaaaaaaall day because he hates humans? Will he come back as a human in the next life? Then what is punishment and who defines it? I'm kinda lost and the whole thing doesn't make sense to me.

Some of my Buddhist friends tell me "don't bother why hypotheticals. Just live in the moment and worry about yourself!" Well, you know what? Hypotheticals are my life. They strengthen my faith. If a faith can't stand up to hypotheticals and explain something, it seems to lack credibility. People that say, "Just believe and go with it!" really bother me. Blind faith is a really poor way to live in my personal opinion. Life is still good, I just had to vent out that paragraph.


lindsey said...

According to my text book from Buddhism class, you probably made an offering of clothing in your past life.

I on the other hand was a sinful man, but I must have done a few things right in other lives because I'm a pretty blessed woman.

Today, however, I think I'm a hungry ghost. :-\

I would argue that in Buddhism and Hinduism you can know your past lives, as it has happened to people before. Buddha himself saw his past incarnations while sitting under the bodhi tree that night.

But who has time to just sit under trees any more?

Anonymous said...

I think of it the same way I think of Christian sin and atonement. I can't remember every little sin I've committed in my life, but I don't have to be able to enumerate them to understand that I have sinned, and I need to cut that out of my life. For Buddhists (coming from a novice, mind you), they don't need to know the specifics of their past life, because the lesson they need to learn is very clearly laid out in the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. As they progress in their studies and faith, it will become clear what they struggle with most, and they can make adjustments to accommodate that.

Jennifer F. said...

People that say, "Just believe and go with it!" really bother me. Blind faith is a really poor way to live in my personal opinion.

I couldn't agree more. I actually have a sort of admiration for people who can do that, though. I think they're naturally more in tune with God than I am and can just be at peace. :)

Though I think that some people do that because they're afraid to scratch the surface on their belief system, because they fear what they might find. Which is a shame. Because when you find the truth you can keep going and going and going and asking every tough question you can think of, and it just deepens your faith and brings you more and more peace.

Anyway, just discovered your site in my referrals. Great stuff! You're a great writer and bring up some very interesting points. I'll be back.