[Buddha-l] Re: Karma and ethics [was: angels]

Bernie Simon bsimon at toad.net
Fri May 27 19:06:58 MDT 2005

"Steven  Lane" <steven505 at earthlink.net> wrote:

> The closet person I have ever had to a teacher specifically states the 
> view
> below is incorrect. While it probably is correct in Hinayana and 
> Tantric
> traditions in other Mahayana traditions one's karma is never made 
> worse by
> taking a vow and then breaking it. That particular teacher says that a 
> vow
> is a model for the mind it is better to take it and break it than 
> never to
> take it at all. At least the imprint of the vow remains even if it is
> broken. The Pure Land tradition agrees with that and it is my own 
> personal
> belief also. The tantric and Hinayana traditions emphasize the 
> retribution
> aspect of karma far too much for my tastes as well as far too much to 
> be a
> useful teaching in today's world. I personally am much more attracted 
> to the
> salvific doctrine of the Mahayana schools.

I think my most recent read, Karma Chagme's Mountain Dharma, sets out 
the traditional view on page 176:

"It is taught if you take a vow and break, it is better than not having 
taken it at all, in the sense that samsara will have an end for you.  
... But eventually means after a great deal of suffering, because the 
result of breaking any vow you take is to be reborn, definitely, in 
lower realms and to remain there for a long time and experience a great 
deal of suffering. In a sense, you can say it is better than having no 
connection whatsoever, but it is not a very happy situation."

It's like Devadatta, who gets liberated as a Pratyekabuddha for messing 
with his cousin, but has to hang out in Avicci hell in the mean time.

And I am a writer, writer of fictions

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