Re: Veggie karma
Jun 13, 1998 09:25 AM
by Einar Adalsteinsson
Good morning to the assembly.
After having read what seems an endless succession of rather interesting
communication on ethics (vegetarian, genetic etc.) and karma, I feel like
participating with some thoughts of my own.
When speaking about ethics, we often seem to take for granted that there
must exist some universal 'Ethic Code' a set of impeccable rules that we can
abide to, and thereby becoming some sort of 'moral Adepts'.
My late friend and teacher used to state that: "there does not exist a
single 'vice' among humans that has not at some time in some culture been
considered a 'good deed' or 'right conduct' - and vise versa
This does not mean that there is no 'right conduct' or that we can't live an
ethically pure life. What it does say is that we should go very carefully
about when we throw moral judgment on the deeds of others or human conduct
in general. Furthermore, in my mind, there exists no moral judgment at all
that we can use on the 'nature' i.e. the life other than the human species.
The life of the animals is simply 'Natural' and therefore not ethical in its
I hold dearly a thought that I borrowed somewhere which says that: 'Whatever
action you do, it is the motive that counts. Whatever you do with absolute
loving kindness in your heart, will result in a beneficent outcome in the
end, no matter how wrong it may seem to a witness at the moment."
So, let's look at vegetarianism in this light. Then 'what' we eat might be
of little consequence compared to the motive or rather the attitude we hold
when eating. If f.ex. greed is our motive for eating in general, that is
what determines our future karma rather than whether we eat a fruit or a
In general it seems to me that we should take our 'attitude' towards life in
general to a profound consideration, with basic 'spiritual laws' as our
I suppose most of us have read the famous letter of Chief Seattle to the
President. There we find some example of a holistic attitude that is worth
We need to stop looking at life and nature as a collection of 'separate
things' and start seeing it - yes actually PERCEIVING it - as a undivided
web of life. We need to stop blame other humans for our misery and start
PERCEIVING every single person we meet as a brother or sister - or better -
as an expression of what I am myself. Let me give an example in a simplistic
exposition on karma.
I read in the Bible that humanity fell into sin when it ate the fruit
knowledge - of knowing wrong from right, i.e. knowledge makes personal as
well as common human karma of another dimension come into being. Today I can
still agree to the words of St. Paul in: "The evil that I donīt want to do -
I do, and the good that I want to do - I don't do" (please excuse my
translation from memory)
In other words, there is an abyss within myself, even between my still
imperfect knowledge of 'good and evil' and my actual actions in life.
Furthermore I am painfully aware of my very imperfect understanding.
In this bizarre condition I find myself constantly refusing to look my
actions in the face, thus consciously and unconsciously sweeping my guilt
under that enormous cover of the unconscious. Then from time to time they
come up as memories or urges which have to be dealt with, usually by showing
them back to that convenient forgetfulness again.
This is my daily observation, but I also have a theory - well it isn't mine
really nor is it a theory, more like an observation now.
Being All One in the inner realms (Atman) we are really never in conflict
with anyone. When I hurt someone, then the one I really hurt is myself, the
'hurt' is actually located within my own psyche, my unconscious self or
individuality. This is where all the consequences of my actions go, and from
there I encounter their 'karmic results' every single moment of my life.
These are the human conditions that almost totally conduct the life of an
ordinary human. We call it instincts, tendencies, longings, etc. They can be
emotional or mental, and even what we usually call our will, is nothing but
mere conditionings from our unconscious.
But the expressions of our unconscious do not come to us only from within.
Everything we encounter in the outside world is in fact only an expression
from within - within being of course everything there is, or the Unity of
All. So whenever I encounter a karmic debt, be it from the hands of a fellow
being or what may seem a mere 'incident' in the nature, it is all an
expression from my unconscious self/Self. There is no one to blame, not even
myself. This means of course that every moment we are in contact with our
real inner 'Guru', our conscience, willing to guide us if we only heed the
And the instructions: - Forgive your neighbor for he is never to blame -
Return hatred with love for only in this way you will heal yourself - Accept
everything that happens to you as a valuable message, and thank the
messenger in your heart for the inconvenience of bringing the message -
Remember that unconditional loving kindness is the only state of mind that
does not create havoc in your psyche and thereby in the world - Know that
love and understanding (insight or seeing) are two sides of the same thing,
one its expression, the other its perception.
There are no 'karmic Lords' out there, punishing us with karmic wands. We
are our own redeemers, and at the same time redeemers of the world. We are
not alone IN the world - we ARE the World. When we have got this figured
out, then we will know the real meaning of the word BROTHERHOOD (without any
reference to gender at all).
Love and light,
Einar (from Iceland)
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