1. Welcome to Religious Forums, a friendly forum to discuss all religions in a friendly surrounding.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Our modern chat room. No add-ons or extensions required, just login and start chatting!
    • Access to private conversations with other members.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

relationship between Dharma, Karma and Moksha?

Discussion in 'Dharmic Religions DIR' started by Mike182, Dec 10, 2006.

  1. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    how would you define Dharma, Karma and Moksha, and how do these relate to each other? what are the origins of these beliefs and is a belief in reincarnation necessary?

    are their any reliable internet sources for reference?

    Edit: sorry, i should also have asked, are these three beliefs only part of the Hindu traditions, or are they also included in Buddhist, Jainist and Sikhist traditions as well? if so, are they defined/used differently? if so, how?

    thanks in advance :)
     
  2. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,044
    The Dharma is the Teaching, the body of Buddha's doctines and precepts especially as and when put into practice in everyday life: the Dharma for this reason is said to be a living thing.

    Karma is explicable as the Cause-and-Effect dynamic of a Deterministic Cosmos: it is the operating principal by which Events occur in the flow of illusory time. It's like you will reap what you sow: good and evil deeds are done within its context, but to achieve enlightenment one must first expunge and extinguish ALL Karmic energy from oneself. Which brings us to...

    Moshka is mostly a Hindu term, used only by some schools of Buddhism but common in Sikhism, and it means Liberation from the karmic cycle of Rebirth. Buddhist's distinguish karmic Rebirth from (Hindu) karmic Reincarnation because the two schools differ over whether the Self has a permanent abiding part which is transmitted from one life to the next.

    But yes, if you believe (as I do) in Karma you must accept reincarnation or rebirth in some form, and indeed end any false distintion between them: for the karmic laws are such that one can never end and nothing truly ends, so whether it be the Atman (immaterial soul) or the psyche (thought-forms, emotional imprints etc) some part of Me (YOU) survives death to take another form @ some point thereafter.

    Hope that helps, Mike. :)
     
  3. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    thanks for this, do you know much about Dharma in a Hindu sense? or is it the same as in the Budhist sense?
     
  4. Random

    Random Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    5,044
    Yeah, both Hinduism and Buddhism are Dharmic religions: that is they both adhere to the same (karmic) idea of Natural Law, and the underlying order in Nature.
     
  5. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,166
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    Karma derives from the sanskrit for action, and in Hinduism, it also refers to the results of action.
    The law of karma posits that one's actions lead to certain results, and that it is advantageous to perform those actions that lead to beneficial results, and disadvantageous to perform those actions that lead to harm, loss or spiritual retardation.

    Unlike in the Abrahamic traditions, this is seen less as a right-wrong, good-bad, divinely approved-disapproved choice, than as a conformation to natural law. Eg: hold a large rock directly above your foot, release it -- and your foot will be crushed. This is simple physics. Herd Jews into a gas chamber and your spiritual progress will be harmed -- again, simple, impersonal physics, and bad karma both.

    Right and wrong are not manifestations of divine approval or disapproval, but, rather, of physics; of celestial mechanics. Good = physically/spiritually beneficial. Bad = physically/spiritually harmful.

    Dharma, strictly translated, means something like "duty." It is the action or lifestyle proper (ie: most beneficial) to your station in life, ie: your varna and jati -- in Western terms your 'Caste'.

    Your dharma is your life's blueprint. You are born with it. It is the predetermined lifestyle, rulebook and outline of proper conduct -- dictated by your past actions (karma) -- that will result in the optimum benefit, (spiritual advancement), in this particular incarnation.

    The dharma of one person may be completely different from the dharma of another. The duty of a soldier is not the duty of a pacifist. The duty of a deer is not the duty of a tiger is not the duty of an oak tree. Their birth has dictated different lifestyles for them, and attempting to follow the other's dharma -- however well managed -- is likely to be physically and spiritually budensome.

    Moksha, in Hinduism, is usually described as release from the cycle of birth and rebirth.
    Analogy: When you sleep, you experience successive stages of dreaming (REM) and deep (dreamless) sleep. In the morming you wake up and the cycle ceases and you realize it was all an illusion.
    Hinduism believes that this life is, in fact, a dream, and that we cycle through successive dreams (lives), till we eventually 'wake up' ie: achieve nirvana/enlightenment, and realize that all our lives were, in fact, no less illusory than our dreams during sleep-state consciousness.
    This waking we call Nirvana or Samadhi. The cessation of sequential life-dreams we call Moksha.
     
    Aupmanyav and atanu like this.
  6. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    should all who adhere to Dharma aim for becoming a renouncer? as i understand it, the renouncer ashrama is the life of meditation and prayer aim at revealing the veil of illusion to reach Moksha... but please correct me if i am wrong :)

    or should each fulfill in their current life the Dharma (duty) given to them, so that their next incarnation will allow them a higher Ashrama-Dharma and a better Jita?

    or have i just made that up entirely?
     
  7. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,166
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    I'm not quite sure I'm following you correctly. " ...Aim for being a renouncer" -- sounds vaguely Buddhist, but I suspect Buddhists would be equally perplexed.

    You are a boat floating in a river. You can do your dharma, ie: go with the current, or you can fight the current in an attempt to go a different direction. One is hard. One is easy.
    Nature is benevolent. It usually patterns your life so that an easy paddle achieves good progress.
    Of course, there are those who choose to make their lives an olympic challenge; who sacrifice everything to achieve the ultimate goal in the shortest possible time. For some, this is their dharma; to become monks devoted entirely to spiritual progress.

    Moksha is not really a central theme in Hinduism. It is an add-on. Hindus seek enlightenment. Moksha is just one of the features of this awakening.
     
  8. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    so people in different castes aim in the same lifetime for the same goal?

    sorry, i'm getting myself confused :(
     
  9. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,166
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    No!
    If you are born with aardvark-dharma it is best and most spiritually beneficial to spend your life clawing open termite mounds and eating termites.

    All the casts/Varnas realize that Enlightenment is the ultimate goal of everyone, everything, everywhere, everywhen, but not all see it as an acheivement they can reasonably expect in their present incarnation.

    Most choose to do their dharma as best they can, knowing they'll eventually merge with God.
    Some seek to accelerate the process with various degrees of spirituality.
    A few even take vows of Sanyas and completely erase their dharmas to concentrate exclusively on union'yoga with God.
     
    Mike182 likes this.
  10. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    thankyou! that was what i was trying to get at, but i suck with words :D
     
  11. Seyorni

    Seyorni Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    12,166
    Religion:
    Vedanta (reform)
    Interesting.
    I'm good with words, but often don't really know what I'm trying to get at! :shrug:

    Could we be describing two sides of the same coin? :confused:
     
  12. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    i'm probably describing the left side of the pound, while you're talking about the right side of the dollar :cool:

    it makes sense in my head now, i had forgotten about Jita, must keep that in mind lol.
     
  13. Hema

    Hema Sweet n Spicy

    Messages:
    4,542
    Hi Mike, I’ve copied and pasted stuff from some of my previous posts. Ain’t I a genius? :p

    To start with, I’ve included one of my previous posts about the caste system. I saw that you mentioned caste and I know that there are certain misconceptions about the caste system.

    Hinduism and Caste system - In my country, Hindus do not have this caste system where some are lower caste and untouchable. I think the caste system is more practised in India. However, there are also many Indians living in India who do not advocate the caste system either. Hinduism does not promote one being as being higher than the other. The Bhagvad Gita says that God is manifested in all of creation. Therefore, he is equally present in people of all races, religions and social standings. I think the caste is totally misunderstood and blown out of proportion. Caste is really what people do in their daily lives. For eg. there are labourers, business dealers, warriors etc. It simply means that we have different roles in society. It doesn't mean that one is more important. If the garbage collectors went on strike, it would be a huge inconvenience for many people. Furthermore, when the Lord came in his Avatar of Shri Ram, he ate food which was previously bitten by his devotee - an old woman named Sevari. For people who believe in the untouchable castes, eating food from such people would be forbidden. Shri Ram blessed his devotee. Many were not as fortunate as she was. So, if the Lord openly accepts a low caste woman, why should any ordinary mortal look down on his/her brothers and sisters?

    Well, that’s that. Here is some stuff on Karma, Dharma and Moksha from a Hindu perspective.

    Karma – for every action there is a reaction. When we hurt others, we must suffer for it in this life or the next. For this reason, we (Hindus) are not supposed to eat meat because it will be like attaining joy out of an innocent creature’s suffering and death. The law of karma brings me to reincarnation. We believe in reincarnation because God is forgiving so he will not send us to an eternity of suffering for our bad deeds. He gives us numerous “second chances” to work off our negative karma. By doing good deeds we can offset out past bad karma and help to generate good karma for the future, so we are not predestined to suffer. From God we have come and to him we shall all return. When all karma is resolved and we are spiritual enough, we break free of the cycle of birth and death and we become one with God.

    Dharma – cannot be translated into English. Basically it is righteous living; it is a way of life. This is how we should be living at all times. When Dharma is on the decline, God manifests as an Avatar to reinforce Dharma – it does not mean that God becomes limited to this one form. It is sort of like how God is manifested within each of us – similarly God is manifested in the Avatar, but the Avatar is a powerful manifestation.


    Moksha – this signifies liberation. Moksha occurs when one becomes free of the cycle of birth and death and becomes one with God. Realized souls, such as the ancient Sages could have attained Moksha whilst still alive. For the majority of us, it comes after death.
     
  14. Mike182

    Mike182 Flaming Queer

    Messages:
    13,383
    thanks Hema!

    you said "The Bhagvad Gita says that God is manifested in all of creation. Therefore, he is equally present in people of all races, religions and social standings." and "Furthermore, when the Lord came in his Avatar of Shri Ram, he ate food which was previously bitten by his devotee - an old woman named Sevari. For people who believe in the untouchable castes, eating food from such people would be forbidden." - are these references to verses in the sanskrit texts? if so, do you know the verses? and is there an online translation of the texts?
     
  15. Hema

    Hema Sweet n Spicy

    Messages:
    4,542
    Hi again. The reference to Shri Ram is from the Holy Ramayan. I'm sorry but I don't know the exact verse. The Ramayan was originally written in Sanskrit by Valmiki and translated by Sant Tulsidas into a language that the common person could understand. I just did a little google search and I came across a site based on the Ramayan - http://www.valmikiramayan.net/ramayana.shtml
    However, there is a verse in the Ramayan that goes like this (My spelling may be wrong, God forgive me)..."Seeya Ram Mein Saba Jaga Jaani, Karahu Pranam Jori Jug Pani." This means something to the effect of - Recognizing Sita and Ram (two manifestations of the Divine depicted in the Holy Ramayan) as being present everywhere, I humbly offer my Pranam (offerings of love and devotion to the Lord).

    I also found the Bhagvad Gita online at -
    http://oaks.nvg.org/pv6bk5.html

    These are excerpts from the Bhagvad Gita taken from-
    http://reluctant-messenger.com/bhagavad-gita.htm
    "After knowing the transcendental science, O Arjuna, you shall not again become deluded like this. With this knowledge you shall see the entire creation within your own higher Self, and thus within Me. (See also 6.29, 6.30, 11.07, 11.13) (4.35)"

    "I am the beginning, the middle, and the end of all creation, O Arjuna. Among the knowledge I am knowledge of the supreme Self. I am logic of the logician. (10.32)"

    "Lord Krishna said: O Arjuna, behold My hundreds and thousands of multifarious divine forms of different colors and shapes. Behold all the celestial beings, and many wonders never seen before. Also behold the entire creation ¾ animate, inanimate, and whatever else you like to see ¾ all at one place in My body. (11.05-07)"

    "He is inside as well as outside all beings, animate and inanimate. He is incomprehensible because of His subtlety. And because of His omnipresence, He is very near ¾ residing in one’s inner psyche; as well as far away ¾ in the Supreme Abode. (13.15)"
     
  16. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Messages:
    6,327
    Religion:
    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist.
    Seyorni, I appreciate your post. Here is my take on it:

    Dharma: Your duties and responsibilities to family and society.
    Karma: Your actions. Heaven and hell are the karma-phala (results of action) for those who believe that.
    Moksha: You get out of the cycle of birth and death.

    A second meaning (as I take it) could also mean understanding life, so that you know there is no other birth and death. In that case, there is no cause-and-effect, no carry-over of karma. This is my 'advaita' position.

    We come from the primordial soup and return to it. Then it becomes a threat to the ignorant, act according to Dharma or else (you go to hell). The knowledgeable would understand that we must follow Dharma because without it family and society would not survive, thereby, endangering survival of even the individauls.

    The difference in hinduism and buddhism about Dharma as Random mentions is this: For buddhists it is teaching of Buddha, for hindus it is eternal, basically the law of the society, nobody enunciates it, though it is recorded as it was in their times by law-givers in their smritis, such as Yagnyawalkya Smriti, Manu Smriti, or even my grandfather's Vishweshwara Smriti (1945).
     
  17. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Messages:
    6,327
    Religion:
    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist.
    Dont worry. It is simply not understanding our position. There is a time for everything. During the first 25 years, a person studies (Brahmacharya stage/Ashram). 25 to 50, raises a family, supports society, serves elders (Grihasta Ashram). Next 25 years (50-75), stays with the family, does not involve too much in day-to-day affairs, advises if necessary, seeks better understanding of life (Vanaprastha Ashram). Last 25 years or whatever, leaves family, no responsibility, engages in worship, basically waits for the final call (Sanyas Ashram).

    Trying to leave responsibilities in the first three stages is direliction of duties and hinduism would not condone it in other than exceptional cases (Buddha, Mahavir, Sankaracharya, Nanak). Hindus believe that the veil of ignorance can be removed even while performing one's 'Dharma'. What is to be renounced is attachment and not Dharma or duties or family or society. It is fulfilling 'Dharma' that will entitle hindus to to born with better intelligence and understanding, money and status are unimportant. That is for those who believe in such a scheme. As I wrote, for me as an advaitin, there is no second birth.

    You have used the word which does not exist, 'jita'. It is actually 'punar-janma' or re-incarnation. Or perhaps you meant 'jeeva' (living beings).

    'So people in different castes aim in the same lifetime for the same goal?' No need to get confused. Yes, people in all castes or one without any caste (lowest) aim in the same lifetime for the same goal. As per believers, it may be easier for brahmins, 1. They have some good karmas to be born as brahmins, 2. They have better education and environment to reach the goal. But it is not out-of-reach for others. Thousands upon thousands of the less fortunate have been able to achieve that and hinduism remembers them as their most revered. VedaVyas - the compiler of Vedas, Brahmasutra, and Srimad BhagawadPurana, Vidur - the most knowledgeable person in Krishna's time, Valmiki - the writer of Ramayana, Sage Satyakama Jabali in Vedic times, Kabir, Ravidas, Dadu (you would not know about them), many azhawar (Vaishnava) and nayanar (Shaiva) saints of South India were shudras. Being a brahmin is a convenience but not a necessity. If a brahmin does not get enlightenment it tells very poorly of him (he got all the opportunities and failed), if a shudra (lower caste) gets enlightenment, it is doubly creditable (he did it in spite of all difficulties).
     
  18. ben d

    ben d Being

    Messages:
    2,180
    Religion:
    Yes
    Was just reading this old thread and was struck by the irony of the analogy used in this instance, for what the unenlightened recognizes as reality, ie. waking state awareness, the enlightened realizes as illusion. :)

    If I understand it correctly, as awareness 'rises' from the 'waking' (beta 14-40 hz) state of subject-object duality, it enters into 'dreamlike' (alpha 7-14 Hz and theta 4-7 Hz) state which still involves some knower-known dualistic experiences but much less so then the waking state.

    It then enters into a 'dreamless' (delta 0.5-4 Hz) state where there is no awareness of object or subjective experience, just pure awareness.

    It is said that from this third state of pure awareness, the actual goal of meditation/yoga/life practice is achieved in a fourth state called turiya, a reality of non-duality.

    It would seem therefore that one in a constant 'dreamless' state would attain the turiya state, and one in a constant state of turiya would obtain Moksha?
     
  19. Aupmanyav

    Aupmanyav Be your own guru

    Messages:
    6,327
    Religion:
    I am an advaitist Hindu and a strong atheist.
    I would not make it that difficult. One realizes at lower stages also. Turiya is when the difference between things, humans and Brahman, ceases.
     
  20. ben d

    ben d Being

    Messages:
    2,180
    Religion:
    Yes
    Yes Aupmanyav, please make allowance for the scientific pretensions in me.:)
     
Verification:
Draft saved Draft deleted