Friday, April 11, 2008

On Buddhism

There is an essence to Buddhism that at first glance appears to be extremely soothing. As a philosophy it puts on a kinder face that to so many appears to be more welcoming than the harshness of the Judeo-Christian belief system. One such mechanism that has engendered one to think of Buddhism in a more enlightened framework was the replacement of the all-powerful judging God viewing each and every one of our actions with the belief in karma, that argues that every action has a consequence to it. In reality both the God and the karmic system function to guide our action toward doing what is the ‘good’. Bad acts in the Buddhist world invite bad karma which leads to suffering. In Western theology these acts are punished by the wrath of God, which too leads to suffering. So what we have here are alternative explanations for the same outcome. But are they really alternatives or is the one, karma, perhaps merely a description as to how God meets out justice? My problem with the karma view on its own is that it augers in too conveniently with the laws of classical physics. It provides for a predictability of outcome that for convenience is oversimplified. The complexity of human nature fits neatly into an equation of fortune that ‘makes it all too easy’ Subconsciously it is this ‘ease of knowing what an outcome is’ that perhaps draws many people to Buddhism. Western Religions are murkier on the outcome of an action because the ultimate decider of our fate is God, whose logic is beyond that of human reason (we for example cannot explain why infants die at such a young age but God must clearly know the reason). So we err on the side of simplicity and go with the easier explanation, not because it is necessary correct but because convenience and our loathing of uncertainty deems it so.

People once believed that the rules of mathematics and classical mechanics could be used to predict with complete certainty the future history of the universe. Modern Physics, the Uncertainty Principle and Quantum Mechanics through this ‘certainty’ on its head. Now it appears that the universe is more intricate and unpredictable than we could ever imagine. Is this indeed the case or have we been denying something for too long a time that the workings of the universe, just the logic of justice cannot be described by a simplicity (such as karma) as its source derives from a God power, whose reasoning is beyond our understanding.
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