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October 20, 2022


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“No such thing as fate.” Yes, there is the idea that fate is a power that some people believe controls and decides everything that happens, in a way that cannot be prevented or changed, reflects a supernatural thinking or belief. The law of cause and effect adequately explains life's' happenings (a sensible Karma).

“Buddhism is mistaken.” Here, Setiya is referring to the simplistic religious aspect of Buddhism. He mentions Karma, emptiness, detachment and “ . . the puzzling proposition that there is no self.” Karma in the generally accepted religious sense is viewed as past and present actions deciding ones fate in future existences. Karma originally meant 'action' and has nothing to do with destiny or fate. As I understand Karma, ones actions, whether in thought or deed, being often confused and disharmonious can cause an imbalanced and unhealthy view of life causing dissonance, pain, suffering and confusion – which is self-perpetuating – in this life.

Emptiness is simply the doctrine that nothing, no object (or thought) possesses any inherent essence. 'Tree' for example is just a dualistic concept, a word convenient for communication and attempts to describe a living, integrated aspect of life. A 'tree' is leaves, branches, bark, air, rain, sap, earth etc.; there is no inherent thing called tree.

Similar to Setiya's: - “ . . the puzzling proposition that there is no self.” Again, there is no Ron, no 'me' or 'self'; there is (like the tree) just a functioning organism that is interrelated with its environment. A search for 'me' reveals a body/brain organism but no trace, no essence – apart from the idea, the concept of something convention calls 'me', my 'self'.

And detachment; more understood as non-attachment; a non-attachment toward wishing something or someone to be different from the reality of what it or they are at that moment. Nothing to do with being emotionally or mentally 'detached', more to do with seeing what is at that moment – not 'desiring' to change it but to work with what is being presented. It is normal and natural to be attached – to love and cherish – and it is normal and natural to wish them well and mourn their passing.

It’s such a human tendency to want to “demonize” things. We do this as a way of protecting ourselves, which is understandable yet dangerous in itself.

It’s good to say lightning storms are potentially lethal so I’m not going to go play outside during a lightning storm. But humans don’t demonize the weather. We don’t say that lightning or hurricanes or tornadoes or forest fires are “evil”.

Religion falls into the same boat. It can be a useful tool. We don’t have to demonize it but we don’t have to accept all of it either. We can choose to accept certain religious teachings because they have proven to be helpful. And we reject certain teachings that are clearly unhealthy.

Buddhism is interesting. I am really drawn to the idea of living in a peaceful and blissful “now”. That’s all I can say. I agree there is a lot of suffering in this world, but I don’t think life has to be full of suffering and I certainly don’t think everything is predetermined.

Regardless, I’m learning to say “that thing, or place, or person is dangerous” without demonizing it. Why should I give it that power over me? And, even more importantly, why should I condemn it?

Discernment and condemnation are two separate things.


Oleander can kill you if you ingest it, but humans don’t “hate” oleander, we just don’t eat it.

To hate something is to give it power over you. And by doing this you have contradicted the necessity of caution.

It’s critical to learn to distinguish between hate and caution.

Whether you’re a fundamentalist atheist, fundamentalist Buddhist, or fundamentalist Christian or fundamentalist what-have-you—your fundamentalist beliefs are quite often driven by fear. The side effects of these beliefs can be close-mindedness, hatred and paranoia. That said, it’s understandable to want to protect yourself. And you should! However, not to the extent that you close yourself off from useful and healing concepts.

We have to learn balance in this life, which means being able to distinguish between caution and hatred.

Everyone should live a cautious life. No one should live in fear. And fear is the same as hatred.

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