Friday, July 11, 2008

My Question for the Dalai Lama

His Holiness took questions today before the afternoon's teachings. Some of them were to be answered in that afternoon's teachings, and so they were deferred. (One I thought was really inappropriate, and I'm trying to have some compassion for the person's confusion. His Holiness did, of course, and I think ducked the question very gracefully.) The procedure for asking a question was apparently to write it and put it in a basket somewhere. I don't know if they'll do this again tomorrow, but I know what my question is if they do.

His Holiness talked today about the 3 levels of capacity:
- initial capacity, persons who seek to have pleasureable lives and are motivated to take refuge and study dharma to learn how to avoid rebirth into the suffering in lower realms, for them the goal is to avoid the 10 negative actions and attain a precious human rebirth in the next life
- medium capacity, persons who recognize mundane suffering and seek enlightenment to escape samsara
- superior, persons who seek complete and precious perfect enlightenment in order to help all beings escape suffering, for them the goal is omniscience, HH said today

Wouldn't we all like to think we're of the superior kind? I know I would, but honestly, I'm probably still hanging out in the initial zone. But this led me to a question I wondered about after seeing the movie Hotel Rwanda about the Rwandan Genocide in 1994 (the year my daughter was born).

Karma is the consequences of action with intent, and there were conditions present that accumulated over time that led to the terrible things that happened. I get that. And somehow those unfortunate 800,000 people who were murdered and the people who murdered them and all the other survivors were involved in the horror by other conditions that put them in that place at that time.

So my question is, would someone of superior capacity seek an unfortunate human rebirth (like for example as one of the people in Rwanda) in order to spare another sentient being that horror? Or on the flip side, if you're just one of the initial capacity folks trying to avoid an unfortunate rebirth, does someone else get stuck with an unfortunate life when you get a good one, or are you taking someone else's place when you get a precious rebirth?

No comments: