Sunday, July 12, 2015

Dualism in Buddhism

There are many terms in Buddhism that have depth meaning in Buddhism such as Dharma, karma, Sunyata, Dualism, Non-dualism. One of the most repeated questions asked in Buddhism is:
“What is the meaning of Dualism?”
Dualism is a concept where one understands that everything can be concluded into two fundamental categories which include the reality itself too. In western philosophy, the term dualism represents the state of two parts. Basically speaking, Dualism is the way to perceives everything as a contrasting pair such as male and female, good and evil, light and dark etc.
Dualism in a simpler form, argues that all phenomena can be located within a duality since all these phenomena must be either mental or material and are reducible to others. It is the state of the mind where one becomes confuses on the mental states as well as physical states.
There are various philosophies on Dualism in Buddhism. According to one philosopher, the term Dualism doesn’t exist in Buddhism. Dualism claims that Consciousness exists independently, but this concept contradicts dependent origination. Buddhism is closer to materialism than that of Dualism since Buddhism teach us about conscious experience that happens in conjunction with sense organs.

Dualism in Theravada Buddhism

Buddhism In recent years, Theravada Buddhism has been facing one of the most challenging issues and that is the issues between the Classical Theravada Buddhism vipassana meditation and Non-dualistic tradition. According to Theravada Buddhist monks Bhikkhu Bodhi, Theravada Buddhism is neither Dualistic nor Non-dualistic. But in the world of Theravada Buddhism, dualism do exist. Some of the duality are good or bad, wisdom or ignorance, suffering and happiness and most significant duality that exists is between Samsara and Nirvana. Samsara represents the realm of suffering and Nirvana represents the liberation from the cycle or samsara of sufferings. Bhikkhu Bodhi states on this matter:
"There is not the least insinuation that this reality is metaphysically indistinguishable at some profound level from its manifest opposite, samsara,"

Dualism in Mahayana Buddhism

The teachings of Buddha are based on simple two truths such as Conventional truths and Ultimate truth. And those who don't understand the difference between these two truths is not suitable to achieve liberation. One who understands the true conventional truth cannot know the importance and significance of ultimate truth. Mahayana Buddhism mainly focuses on Non-Dualism rather than dualism. According to Mahayana, all phenomena inter exists dependently and all phenomena are the way it is and nothing is separate and independent.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Aside Dharma, there is another important term in Buddhism, Karma. Karma is the term that most of the Buddhist monks all around the globe knows and what it means. Karma can be simply described as the law of cause and effect. But there is much deeper meaning to Karma than it seems. Basically saying, Karma is the action or law of moral causation. Karma cannot simply be explained since it carries the weight of original Buddha’s teachings and whole teachings related to Karma haven’t been translated in The English language.
“I declare, O Bhikkhus, the volition is Karma. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.”- Lord Buddha 
In Buddhism, it is believed that Karma acts in loops with multiple feedbacks. The actions or karma of the past and present can influence the present and actions of the present can influence not only future but present also. But early Hindu schools of India believed that Karma acts on a linear path and operates in the straight lines. The actions of the past influence the present and the actions of present influence the futures. However, the early Buddhist Karma is non-linear and quite complex to be truly understood.
When one knowledge seeker asked Lord Buddha about the cause and reason of all the pain and suffering as well as death, old age, the reason for poverty and rich, good or bad, Lord Buddha reply was this:
“All living things have actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their kinsman, their refuge. It is karma that differentiates beings into low and high states. ”
Karma is the phenomena that connect one from all actions of present, past, and future. Buddha taught that one is totally the reason of what one is, one will not absolutely of who one is. In order to truly understand the meaning of how Karma works, one must have total faith and devotion to Lord Buddha and his teachings such as Noble Eightfold path, Noble Four Truths and other Buddhist doctrines.

Cause of Karma

Basically speaking, one action is the cause of one’s karma. If one have done a good deed then good karma will be bestowed upon him and if one have done bad deeds then bad karma will be bestowed upon him. Ignorance is considered as the chief cause of Karma. Not knowing things as they truly are, is the cause of all the karma one is bestowed upon. Another root cause of Karma is ally craving and it is considered as the cause that is associated with ignorance.
Who you are true, where is one from, these questions are not necessarily important when it comes to Karma. What truly matters is what one’s mind is doing at the present. If one is from low caste or poor, it doesn’t mean that he has bad karma and if one is from high caste or rich, it doesn’t mean that he has good karma.