Are karma and rebirth representative of reality

  • Created by: CG24601
  • Created on: 07-05-19 19:19
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  • “The teachings of karma and rebirth are representative of reality.” Evaluate this view.
    • Karma is not representative - the idea that life is driven by ignorance in the chain of dependent origination seems to contradict the idea that humans are becoming wiser as time progresses
    • The idea of rebirth is sometimes viewed as a religious fantasy
    • Karma is representative
      • complex theory, often mistaken
        • Sometimes seen as a personal improvement programme; bad incurs punishment and good reward
        • Three fires sometimes mistakenly seen as representative of sins that people should avoid rather than psychological drives that are inherent to existence
          • three fires are not external vices but internal states to detach from
      • ideas of guilt, blame and retribution are examples of self-indulgence and self-pity
        • the focus in Buddhism is understanding the principles in operation behind karma in reality and as a universal principle
          • The idea of sinfulness is much more representative of reality than any idea of sinfulness, guilt and vindication as these are a matter of perspective
    • Real-life
      • the concepts equip a person to deal with life and cope with the situation within the cycle of existence
        • Assist an understanding of the workings of karma and how this relates to the cycle of samsara and rebirth
      • The concept of karma is practical as it makes one more aware of the immediate world, drawing attention to the root of activities
        • Provides opportunity for people to reflect upon appropriate mental states to develop
    • When given religious/ cultural expression
      • i.e. bhavachakra
      • appears to be a departure from reality rather than to represent
        • hell realms, demons, Yama, heavenly realms etc.
        • Could be argued that this is something to be interpreted rather than legitimate
    • if Buddhist concepts are understood on a superficial level, then they're not really understood at all.
      • When explored fully and interpreted meaningfully rather than literally, Buddhist ideas have at least some similarities with reality

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