Week Seven:

  1. Presentation: (Concepts)
    1. Karma.
  1. (Pali Kamma)
  2. (Merit, Light, Dark etc.)  3. "Student, beings are owners of kammas, heirs of kammas, they have kammas as their progenitor, kammas as their kin, kammas as their homing-place. It is kammas that differentiate beings according to inferiority and superiority." Mn135
  3. 8. "Punna, there are four kinds of kamma proclaimed by me after realization myself with direct knowledge. What are the four? There is dark kamma with dark ripening, there is bright kamma with bright ripening, there is dark-and-bright kamma with dark-and-bright ripening, and there is kamma that is not dark and not bright with neither-dark-nor-bright ripening that conduces to the exhaustion of kamma. Mn57
  4. See the Handouts and Resources: The Buddha's Words on Kamma Four Discourses of the Buddha from the Majjhima Nikaya.
  5. Merit (Sanskrit puya, Pāli puñña) is a concept in Buddhism/Hinduism. It is that which accumulates as a result of good deeds, acts, or thoughts and which carries over to throughout the Life or the subsequent incarnations. Such merit contributes to a person's growth towards spiritual liberation. Merit can be gained in a number of ways. In addition, according to the Mahayana Sutra of The Great Vows of Ksitigarbha Bodhisattva, one can "transfer" 1/7 merit of an act they have performed to a deceased loved one such as in the Shitro practice in order to diminish the deceased's Suffering in their new existence. Pariāmanā (Sanskrit) may be rendered as 'transfer of merit' or 'dedication' and involves the transfer of merit as a cause to bring about an effect. The idea of transfer of the merit from one’s religious practice to another person or for the good of other beings is generally regarded as non-canonical in Theravada Buddhism although it is quite common in practice. In Mahayana Buddhism the dedication of merit for the good of other beings is an essential part of all ritual practice. Excerpt from http://www.chinabuddhismencyclopedia.com/en/index.php/Merit.
  6. Any discussion of the way the Buddha used the term nibbāna must begin with the distinction that there are two levels of nibbāna (or, to use the original terminology, two nibbāna properties). The first is the nibbāna experienced by a person who has attained the goal and is still alive. This is described metaphorically as the extinguishing of passion, aversion, & delusion. The second is the nibbāna after death. The simile for these two states is the distinction between a fire that has gone out but whose embers are still warm, and one so totally out that its embers are cold. The Buddha used the views of fire current in his day in somewhat different ways when discussing these two levels of nibbāna, and so we must consider them separately.
  7. To understand the implications of nibbāna in the present life, it is necessary to know something of the way in which fire is described in the Pali Canon. There, fire is said to be caused by the excitation or agitation of the heat property. To continue burning, it must have sustenance (upādāna). Its relationship to its sustenance is one of clinging, dependence, & entrapment. When it goes out, the heat property is no longer agitated, and the fire is said to be freed. Thus the metaphor of nibbāna in this case would have implications of calming together with release from dependencies, attachments, & bondage. This in turn suggests that of all the attempts to describe the etymology of the word nibbāna, the closest is the one Buddhaghosa proposed in The Path of Purification: Un- (nir) + binding (vāna): Unbinding.
  8. To understand further what is meant by the unbinding of the mind, it is also important to know that the word upādāna — the sustenance for the fire — also means clinging, and that according to the Buddha the mind has four forms of clinging that keep it in bondage: clinging to sensuality, to views, to precepts & practices, and to doctrines of the self. In each case, the clinging is the passion & desire the mind feels for these things. To overcome this clinging, then, the mind must see not only the drawbacks of these four objects of clinging, but, more importantly, the drawbacks of the act of passion & desire itself. An Excerpt taken from: Mind Like Fire Unbound Abstract 'Released... with unrestricted awareness.' Fourth Edition by Thanissaro Bhikkhu (Geoffrey DeGraff)
  9. First, the teaching of rebirth makes sense in relation to ethics. For early Buddhism, the conception of rebirth is an essential plank of its ethical theory, providing an incentive for avoiding evil and doing good. In this context, the doctrine of rebirth is correlated with the principle of kamma, which asserts that all our morally determinate actions, our wholesome and unwholesome deeds, have an inherent power to bring forth fruits that correspond to the moral quality of those deeds. Read together, the twin teachings of rebirth and kamma show that a principle of moral equilibrium obtains between our actions and the felt quality of our lives, such that morally good deeds bring agreeable results, bad deeds disagreeable results.
  10. It is only too obvious that such moral equilibrium cannot be found within the limits of a single life. We can observe, often poignantly, that morally unscrupulous people might enjoy happiness, esteem, and success, while people who lead lives of the highest integrity are bowed down beneath pain and misery. For the principle of moral equilibrium to work, some type of survival beyond the present life is required, for kamma can bring its due retribution only if our individual stream of consciousness does not terminate with death. Two different forms of survival are possible: on the one hand, an eternal afterlife in heaven or hell, on the other a sequence of rebirths. Of these alternatives, the hypothesis of rebirth seems far more compatible with moral justice than an eternal afterlife; for any finite good action, it seems, must eventually exhaust its potency, and no finite bad action, no matter how bad, should warrant eternal damnation. Excerpt taken from: Does Rebirth Make Sense? By Bhikkhu Bodhi See resources and handouts.
  11. Bhikkhu Bodhi’s views stated above are very similar to mine with just one added point. I find that Kamma, Nibbāna, and Rebirth are for me and for the living Buddhist practitioner simply a theory that even if I knew for a scientific certainty were true that knowledge would almost certainly not change my life or my practice one bit and is therefore of very little value.
    1. Nirvana. (Connotations, Usage, Meaning)
    1. Rebirth.
  1. Group Discussion Question and answer session. Questions: (students are encouraged to ask any questions especially related to the class topic at this time). Some topics for discussion are also listed below.
  1. What do you think of Karma?
  2. What do you think about Merit?
  3. What do you think of Nirvana?
  4. What do you think of Rebirth?
  5. Do you think Rebirth and Reincarnation are the same thing?

Weekly Schedule

Sunday

8.00 am - 9.00 am: Public Services in English: Such as chanting, Meditation,  Dharma discussing

10:30 am – 12.30 pm: Public Services in Vietnamese: Such as chanting, Dharma discussing (with English translator), offering to the deceased ones 

Tuesday

English Dharma Class, open discussion.
@ Dharma Hall, Virginia Beach
1st, 2nd and 3rd  and 5thTuesdays, 7pm-8.30pm.

English Dharma Class, open discussion.
@ Pitts Center, Southern Shores, NC
4th Tuesday, 6.30pm - 8.30pm 

Wednesday

5:45 - 6:45 pm: One Hour Meditation. Public is welcome. English language introduction. Silent, seated meditation in the Dharma Hall.

7:00 pm – 8:30 pm: Public service in English: Chanting, meditating, Dharma discussing in English

Thursday

8:00 pm – 9:00 pm: Chanting 21 time Great Compassion Mantra (Vietnamese)

ĐÔNG HƯNG TEMPLE

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Virginia Beach, VA 23462

Phone: (757) 689 - 3408

Direct: 757 - 406 - 1726 (Mr. Mark P.)

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