Beyond Karma

Jonathan Bricklin brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET
Wed Mar 18 13:36:45 CST 1998

On March 17th, Swami Visparupananda wrote:

>If there was no free will, there would also be no karma associated with

Not necessarily.  Karma can attach itself to thoughts and desires and the
results of those thoughts and desires--actions--without those thoughts and
desires having been, as they are not, *generated*  by the jeeva/self.

>Freewill exists relative to the individual. I.e. it is as real/illusionary
>as the individual, its actions and the responsibility as well as the
>effect of its actions

One might say that free will is the chief illusion that props up a sense of
individuated self, along with the ancillary senses of guilt and pride.

>What I mean to say is, as long as we experience ourselves as individuals
>we have a free will

Or, as long as we have a belief in free will we experience ourselves as

>and we reap the results of the actions this individual is
>performing. Of course from the paramartika level the individual as well as
>its free will, its actions and the results, all are illusionary. So are
>the heaven or hell we create for ourselves

or, rather, that are created

>by the illusionary karma we earn

or, rather, the relatively real karma that attends the absolutely
illusionary sense of an individuated self


>Though duality is an illusion, the illusionary individual does have the
>freedom of deciding his albeit illusionary karma by his also illusionary
>actions. That is the law of the vyavaharika level. Non existence of free
>will applies only to the 'realm' of nonduality where no action, no karma,
>no thoughts, no feelings, no happiness and no pain exist either.

The non-existence of free will applies to every level of reality including
the one members of this list server are on.  Thoughts arise.  You cannot
make a thought.  Free will is not some state you exist on at the
vyavaharika level, it is a misinterpretation--communicated through such
emotions as pride, guilt, anxiety--of  the feeling of choice.  A thought to
act has an immediate connection to our motor responses unless a competing
thought robs it of its energy.  What seems like the surge of assertion that
goes into a feeling of a willed response is the release of the energy from
the thought that loses out.   What makes one thought linger more than
another and thus dominate a particular outcome is not knowable.  Any
analogy with making something--which a belief in free will demands--does
not apply, since making something implies knowledge of the thing being
made, how it is brought about.


Jonathan Bricklin
Brickmar at

"Nor ever [it] was, nor will [it] be, since now [it] is all together, one,

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