Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Karma: Is Misfortune Good or Bad?

I have been thinking a lot about karma. In Sukyo Mahikari karma has a huge impact on the life cycle; in fact, it is due to ones negative karma that it is supposedly essential to join SM and take kenshu, bring in new members, receive okiyome daily, and adhere to all the other tedious tasks that SM deems mandatory to ridding oneself of the clouds on the soul. It is like a domino effect and negative karma is the first domino knocked over, setting off a chain reaction.

However, there are two completely different kinds of karmic belief.

The first belief states that bad things happen to people because they have done terrible things in their past lives. The religions who teach this belief, like SM, believes that mishaps in life are due to accumulated negative karma; therefore a person must compensate through misfortune for their sins of the past. SM teaches that the worst thing one can do for a person going through suffering is aid them to make the suffering less painful. For example, if you were to give a homeless man on the street some money for a meal; you are interfering with his compensation process and thus preventing him from working off his sins and impurities through physical suffering. SM believes in no charity of any kind for this reason.

The second belief states that bad things happen to people who are more spiritually elevated. For example, Gnostism teaches that everyone makes a contract with God prior to coming to Earth to live their life. The contract is a promise to live a life exactly the way it is written on a chosen chart. A chart is a blueprint of life; which documents everything that will happen to a person throughout their lifetime: their parents, birth, spouse, kids, job, death…everything is preordained, discussed, and chosen by the soul in question and God before life begins. People have the opportunity to live multiple lives because Jesus died on the cross so that all sins could be forgiven; it is due to his sacrifice that people have the opportunity to be born multiple times to learn new life lessons with every chart.

The hope is that someday a soul will be spiritually pure enough to go to Heaven and be with God eternally. Now, with that established…Gnostics believe that, just like school, you start out with easy lessons and work your way up to harder lessons. Thus, a homeless man on the street that is going through an extreme amount of suffering is more spiritually elevated than someone who has a simple life, makes a lot of money, and has not a care or worry in the world. Therefore, people who have difficult lives should be revered for their strength; because they are so far along in their spiritual evolution that they have to go through a harder life.

Quite a contrast in the karmic belief! SM would have members believe that they are the spiritually superior group; that they have to stay so busy purifying themselves because they have a divine mission that they cannot be bothered with any other act of kindness or aid. To them, being at the dojo, being available to offer okiyome to SM members on call, is the best thing they can do for humanity. They turn their noses up at people in trouble. They turn their noses up at people who ask for charity. They scoff at the humanitarian effort. But what if karma works the opposite way? What if misfortune is a natural part of spiritual evolution and the people who have a carefree life, a life where they can sit at dojo all day without a care while time slips by, where they can offer okiyome and avoid the rest of humanity selfishly, only worrying about their own purification and the few people they are able to sucker into joining…are the ones who still have a lot of work to do through reincarnation?

It got me thinking…


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The details are rather different, but what about the domino effect of letting anyone tell you what supposedly happens in realms (if they exist) that none of us can see?

It seems to me that both the above scenarios involve an awful lot of assumptions. The details vary, but the really basic assumptions are the same.

Do we know that reincarnation occurs? Do we know that karma exists? For that matter, what is this concept of "spiritual elevation"?

It seems to me that "spiritual elevation" is a rather dangerous way of ranking people. Not only does it judge a person's "worth" on the basis of unprovable assumptions, it also puts those who are judged "superior" in a position of knowing all the answers about things none of us really know anything about.

Isn't that how we were sucked into accepting Okada's take on reality?

Which of the following versions of reality sounds more sensible:
a) Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust because of the effect of their own karma (which makes the Nazis innocent)?
b) Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust because they chose that blueprint before they were born (which also makes the Nazis innocent)?
c) Millions of Jews died in the Holocaust because of one man's "vision" that he and his countrymen were a superior race?

Personally, I don't believe in reincarnation, I don't believe in karma, and I don't believe I would have ever chosen a "bluprint" in which I spent years being misled by one supposedly "spiritually elevated" man!!

5:18 AM  
Blogger Asher Kennedy said...

Thanks for your comments anonymous! If you choose to respond to my reply to you, please use a penname so that I can distinguish you from other anonymous ppl. It helps me keep track of who's who.

To me Gnostic beliefs are much easier to stomach than SM.

The idea of the blueprint is that when you are in Heaven prior to starting a new life; you know what lessons you have left to learn; you accept that the journey will be hard because you know that is what is necessary to be with God forever.

If you had something to learn from following a supposedly spiritually elevated man (which given the lavish lifestyle that Okada enjoyed according to Gnostic belief he wouldn't have been very spiritually elevated at all)then that is what you chose to do in order to get closer to God and closer to perfection.

Most people I talk with about this belief system have that same attitude...because they think "there's no way I chose the suffering that has occurred in my life"...however, when you accept the idea that you are experiencing those things for God, in order to be closer to Him, and eventually reside in Heaven becomes easier to see why things have been so hard.

You can choose to agree with me or not, but I have to believe that there was a reason for me experiencing what I have experienced. I can't believe that some people live terrible lives only to die and that's it...nothing else but six feet under? Not fair.

There has to be some reason for it all...

Another thing I love about Gnostism is their open door policy...everyone is going to Heaven, it is only a matter of how many lives are necessary to complete all the lessons one needs to learn...God is all loving...nothing like the Old Testimant God who was jealous and cruel.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Joe said...

karma is really anathema to the teachings of christianity. salvation is not obtained by good works, and every human being is considered born into sin. therefore good and bad "luck" are really nothing more than opportunities to accept the situation as christ would...his death was for the sole purpose to save humanity. a running tab would negate the need for christ. therefore, the idea is of antichrist. mahikari is of anti christ and this is why i accept jesus as my personal savior.that and the fact i am a sinner and cannot save myself. god bless ash.

10:08 AM  

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