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Monday, May 19, 2008

Karma Khameleon

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First and foremost, before Walski gets too sidetracked, to all Buddhists: Happy Vesak Day!

Image hosting by PhotobucketmyAsylum wishes all Buddhists a very happy Vesak Day
(image taken from Land of Medicine Buddha)

After watching the Thomas and Uber Cup Finals last night, plus how poorly Malaysia has been performing in sports, generally speaking - last place in the Sultan Azlan Cup.. sheesh - Walski was tempted to title this post We Suck Day. But that would've probably sounded very disrepectful, although what Walski means is that we truly suck at sports these days, and seems like we're getting worse over time.

But in any case, today most (but not all) Buddhists observe Vesak Day, which in Malaysia is a public holiday. It is generally regarded as the birthday of Gautama Buddha, the attributed founder of the Buddhism faith. There are many ways Buddhists observe Vesak - meditation, giving to charity, going vegetarian... Buddhism, like many other religions, is far from being monolithic, in that there are actually many different schools of thought, or sects.

One of the common traits that exists in all schools of thought, however, is the precept of karma. Walski is a firm believer of karma. Being that Walski is a Muslim, you'll probably find the statement very odd. Some might even go as far as saying sacriligious.

Well, allow him to explain.
(instant karma - just add water goodness, and more, in the full post)

Of course, Walski doesn't believe in reincarnation, which is frequently associated with karma. Reincarnation is problematic for two reasons. First off, it's a spiritual accountability issue - with reincarnation, one could blame his or her behavior in this life for behavior in a previous life, without making personal actions accountable. To Walski, that's not a very good thing. And not having a memory of your past lives is also problematic - if the purpose of reincarnation were to train the soul towards good, it would be helpful if you knew what you were or had done before.

The second reason is a mass balance issue. Reincarnation would mean that at any given point in history, there would have had to be approximately the same population as we do today, which we know from history to not be true. Of course, for Buddhists and Hindus, one can get reincarnated as non-humans, and vice versa, and there is this new soul generation thing which no one has managed to explain to Walsk convincingly enough.

But that's just Walski's personal belief, and he's not in any way putting down those who do believe in reincarnation.

Back to karma - and why Walski's a believer of karma. Karma, to Walski, is a concise way of describing consequential action - or how what you do today will come back and bite you. If you do good things, the bite will be more like a tasty love bite, and if you do bad things, it'll simply bite.

What goes around most definitely comes back around - and that, in a nutshell, is to Walski what karma is all about. We see this happening all the time, even if it's not all that obvious.

So, to quote the words of a fictitious Abraham Lincoln in Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure:

Be Excellent to each other... And,
Party On, Dudes!

Life is too short to not be good to one another, and to not enjoy yourself in the process. Regardless of how we may be different in how we see the world, or how we may spiritually believe. The life you touch positively today may just one day be the life that contributes positively to your own wellbeing, even if in the most indirect, not-so-obvious of ways.

You never know - life's strangely wonderful that way. And in a larger holistic sense, that's part of what Islam is all about - doing good for its own sake. If one believes, like Walski does, that all spirituality, at the end of the day, comes from one single source - God Almighty - it's not too difficult to imagine why Walski looks at karma the way he does.

On that note, have a happy day off, Malaysia, and whatever you do, be good to one another. And party on!