Friday, May 16, 2014

Alan Watts: Karma, Time, Meditation (audio)

Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Western Zen teacher Alan Watts "Way Beyond the West" via Mitch Jeserich (, Pacifica Free Speech Radio, Berkeley, California)
Science maps the brain, while Buddhism maps consciousness (
"Mind" (citta) is heart
Karma does not mean "cause and effect." That is an unfortunate translation, a misleading oversimplification based on wanting to show that Buddhism is "scientific."

Buddhism is more than scientific. We will not experience most science we are taught, but we can personally experience all the important things Buddhism teaches.

Science class says "cause and effect," and a budding Buddhist says, "Hey, that's like what Siddhartha said!" That's very superficial and separates past from present as if they were separate. They are quite connected and unbroken, like a snake's head and tail.

Cool cats (Dee McIntosh/deemac/
What is the right view on this matter? Karma means "action," based on kri, "doing." What happens is our doing. What is happening to us, we are doing. It isn't happening to us. Our actions are.
  • (What comes to fruit in the future and present, like it did in the past, is intentional-action). 
But this is a deep insight fraught with risk as we try to bring it into conventional language: "You mean, I did it? I'm to blame? Yada, yada, yada." Alan Watts explains it beautifully. Karma is action.
  • (The tangible karmic-fruit, the phala, and the mental-resultants, the vipaka, are distinguished from the action, the karma, by the Buddha. But this is for the sake of understanding a process; in reality, they are inseparable).

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