Inescapable Connections: Thoughts about how the connections we make in this life continue to another life.
A student writes:
“Reading in course book 4 of ‘Discovering the Heart of Buddhism’, I was at first shocked to think anyone could state, apparently categorically, that all connections made in this life persist and repeat.
This is how I understood it at first, and I thought the last thing I want is certain people again and again (not necessarily because they treated me badly – I have done that to others, cannot put everything right, so feel bad when I think of them).
Then there is the idea of my being a self to recognise all this, and thirdly, how did anyone prove it anyway?”
You are right! It is a bit cheeky to just categorically state it. I suppose I take it as understood that you have to treat it as a working hypothesis.
This is actually pointing to something extremely profound that one can only come to understand gradually as one comes to understand the full implications of emptiness or openness. What it means is that you cannot separate things off from each other and so there is no way we can ever escape our connections.
But ‘connections’ here is meant in a very mysterious sense. They are connections outside of time and space; connections that are more fundamental than time and space.
Traditionally in Buddhist teachings this is referred to loosely in terms of karma and karmic connections but that doesn’t bear much investigation since when you analyse karma in the normal way one has to think of it, it doesn’t hold water. That is because we think of the past as gone and the future as not come and as this world and other worlds as distinct and separated by time and space.
So how could karma move from this life to another life? But if we move into the space or emptiness of inescapable connections – why not? We go into this more in the ‘Trusting the Heart of Buddhism’ course.
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