Newton’s Third Law of Karma?

I almost always focus on Quantum Physics but for a change, I have decided to delve into, if even for an instant into some Newtonian Physics.

Sir Isaac Newton’s Third Law of Motion, which states that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, or in other words, if Ido something there will be a direct measurable result to my actions. I don’t know about you but this sounds a lot like Karma or cause and effect to my very Buddhist ears. How so, you ask? Let us jump right in.

As I push on the wall with my finger the wall exerts an equal force back onto my finger. The result here is balance unless one force overpowers the other. This is relatively easy to understand.

Now, if I hurt you, you likely will hurt me this is also clear. If I hurt you, do I by default also hurt myself? I think so, at the very least from an emotional or psychological standpoint. Even on an interpersonal level Newton’s third law still stands. And the proof is in the pudding. The residual effect of violence is that one has mental imprints of guilt, sadness, and hate. Positive actions function in exactly the same way. Acts of kindness perpetuate more acts of kindness and positive emotions. I remember the “pay it forward” idea in the early 2000’s. In the drive thru lines in Canada people were paying the food bills for the others in the line with no expectation of anything in return other than a good feeling of doing something nice. This phenomenon continued for some time.

It seems that even Newton knew about Karma at least on a physical level. If it’s true that on a psychological or interpersonal level that a similar law exists we would be wise to begin treating every being as we ourselves would like to be treated or at least stop planting weeds in our own minds. If we don’t the wall will begin to push back on us in ways we will not like.


The Power of the Breath

There is an amazing power that we all share and that is the power of the breath. This power stays with us from the first moments of our life and till the last moments of our death. In fact, there is no life without our breath.

Most of us however go on in life without ever giving our breath a single thought except when we have a problem. At this time it’s usually a bit too late.

Not only does our breath oxygenate our blood and rid our bodies of carbon dioxide, which alone is nothing less than amazing, but it can also be a force of healing and letting go. How so? Glad you asked. Let’s explore this on three levels.

Level one, most of us don’t breathe fully. This means that especially when we are stressed we might only take in 20% of a full breath. This is clearly an exasperation of the situation. When we are stressed we are ineffective in all that we do. One must simply take a few deep breaths and imagine with every inhalation peace love and joy coming into us and all our problems leave us on the exhalation. Recollection of the breath Shiné in Tibetan Shamata in Sanskrit forms the basis of almost all meditations. It also only takes a few seconds or minutes. Try it now, take 10 full breaths in a row without being distracted.

Level two is the level of the bhodisattva. A bhodisattva is someone who works for the benefit of others. So how does this work with the breath? Here we begin to really meditate. The meditation is called Tonglen in Tibetan. It translates as giving and taking. In Tonglen we breath in the pain and suffering of others as black light or energy and we send them back the bright clear light of love and healing. The exact process is that as the black energy enters us and touches our heart center it dissolves or is transformed by our compassion into the light that we then give back. We start with our family then our friends then the neighbors then the whole city, country, continent and then the whole planet. We repeat the steps a few times depending on how long we wish to practice.

The third level is called Tummo in Tibetan and this is quite similar to prajnanic breathing that one can learn in a Hatha yoga class. Tummo is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa and has been traditionally a very secret teaching. The practice fulfils several very interesting needs of the meditator or yogi.

Tummo is also known as inner heat and as one can imagine that a yogi sitting in a cave meditating in the mountains of Tibet might have been a little cold from time to time, this heat must have come in handy. Secondly, the complex series of bodily movements, some of which can now be found on YouTube would have been necessary to keep one’s body fit when one sits for many hours in meditation posture. Lastly, since the source of this heat is one’s emotions, the yogi uses this “way of methods” practice to free himself from samsara. This very powerful meditative experience is profound and life changing, to say the least. Nevertheless, this meditation should not be tried by the uninitiated and by rookies.


Coemergence of Subject Object and Action

The hard question of consciousness asks us to consider where consciousness arises from.

I believe that this question is fundamentally flawed and should be restructured. Instead of asking where does consciousness come from, what we should be asking is, what arises from consciousness?

Many of my subscribers are familiar with the theory of panpsychism, which presupposes that consciousness is omnipresent. It is everywhere, even your chair under you or your screen that you are reading or watching this on is in a small way conscious. Does this seem far fetched to you? The only other explanation is that consciousness is nothing more than a biological and chemical reaction limited to somewhere in the brain or body.

So if we presume that consciousness is everywhere and all things are conscious, then we could extrapolate that consciousness is the cause of everything. That the simple act of observation or awareness collapses the wavefront of all the possibilities of particles in superposition into our everyday world.

Now the stage is set for some more questions. The Buddha Dharma talks a lot about the unity of subject, object, and action. This is one of the many ways of expressing non duality. Let’s explore this, we have three things. A subject, (you or me), and an apple (object) that we would like to enjoy (action). So now, what good is a subject (you or me) without an object (apple) to enjoy (action)? What good is an object (apple) without a subject (you or me) to enjoy (action) it? And finally what good is action like enjoyment without a subject ( you or me) to do it to an object (apple)? This system of codependent existence is very interesting to play with. to understand what I mean here is that it is simply not meaningful or logical for one of these things to exist without the others.

Co emergence or co arising are two terms that are often used when comparing our very dualistic experience to a non dual reality. A general understanding of this would be that both good and bad, light and dark, and up and down only exist dependent on each other. We are pointing at the unity of two extremes and saying that what we want or what we perceive is actually in the middle somewhere, but we do not naturally perceive this. We see or understand only the separation or the borders between, in fact our total understanding of the world is based on an ontological seperation of all things. We project the idea of separation on to all that we see. The Buddha Dharma shows us otherwise.

Are we starting to see how all of this is connected?

Now if we ask both questions 1. How does consciousness arise? and 2. What arises from consciousness? at the same time, we begin to close the gap in understanding the conditioned physical world of particles and form, and the unseen world of forces, waves, and our conscious energy. Understanding that some things are not mutually exclusive but rather inclusive or both and, makes our world of experience full and complete. There is a lot of freedom in this understanding.

I want to close with two thoughts. Firstly to quote Albert Einstein when he was speaking about the famous double slit experiment, detailed in the link above. “It seems as though we must use sometimes the one theory and sometimes the other, while at times we may use either” Einstein knew that a “both and” understanding is optimal for complete understanding of the very strange world of particels and waves.

And secondly that, consciousness is the universe’s way of seeing and understanding itself. What is an object, the universe, without a subject, our consciousness, to enjoy or perceive it?


The Paramita of Generosity

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Ego = 0

Much to the chagrin of many Roman/Greko philosophers the idea of zero as a number was born in India. To quote Russel Peters, a Canadian comedian the concept was first used in the well-known technique of bargaining by an individual who wanted something but did not want to pay. There are stories and proof of zero concepts in several cultures, not just in Europe and Asia. Even the ancient South Americans seem to have some idea what zero is.  There is, however, a Buddhist link expressed by my favorite philosopher Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna is famous for his groundbreaking treatises on sunyata Sanskrit for emptiness. What could be more empty than zero? Even in the cardinal script, the shape of the zero says “hey man there is nothing here look into the circle it’s empty.” One thing for certain even if the zero was not first conceptualized in India, Indians were with certainty the first people to take the concept out of the mathematical arena and into a philosophical debate. Philosophy and mathematics have always had an interesting coexistence. It is said that above the entrance to Plato’s Academy “let no one ignorant of Geometry enter” was inscribed.

The idea of emptiness is not an easy concept to understand in fact it is more often misunderstood that any other buddhist teaching. This is in part due to many translations of buddhist texts compiled by Christian scholars who had the intention of belittling and demonizing the Buddha Dharma therefore calling it Buddhism.

Nagarjuna’s premise is that things or objects in our world have no independent existence in and of themselves, this is emptiness.

The idea is that we as individuals project our own meaning, concepts, and ideas onto everything that we perceive. We label everything good or bad and so begins the constant samsaric battle of attachment and aversion. This step of labeling is a mistake of our egos as we see ourselves as separate from that object of perception. This separation or act of creating a border between that which we truly are and that which we perceive is the original mistake. Mind or our consciousness is compared to an eye. An eye cannot see itself it only sees outwards. This is why we must turn our mind’s eye inwards in the practice of meditation. Only then do we truly see that Ego = 0


Introducing Buddha Bytes

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Introducing Medi Bits

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