November 08, 2005

Is it karma?...
A co-worker once told me while on a business trip, why he's a Buddhist. I wouldn't have figured him to be a particularly religious fellow. But after having dinner with him, I realized I had been changed.

I learned that his faith, might provide a lot more comfort than the promises, and reassurances of of my own faith. The word often rings hollow.
   I ask, but nothing is given.
   I seek, but nothing is found.
   I knock, but nothing is opened.

From his stories, I put together that his family once lived a somewhat comfortable life, but after the fall of Saigon, they lost just about everything, amidst the suffering, he chose to flee as a boat person. During his escape he saw pirates board his boat, and kill one of the passengers, randomly, senselessly and without cause that he could see, simply because they found that the man had a hundred dollars.

Huddled up, a refugee, he could do nothing, perhaps he was going to die as well.

      How do you reconcile God's justice in that?
      Would you have stood up in the boat and said "This is wrong!" What good would it have done?
      How does your heart not cry out, why does it not scream because of your own powerlessness?
      With that image seared into your consciousness;
         How do you put something like that behind you to start a new life?

The Buddhist answer is that ... it's karma.

Karma is as much as knowing that there's justice for the things you've done in this life as much as knowing that it's justice for the things that you've done in a previous life, and justice for things you've done in a future life. Knowing that it might not be possible to seek out justice when you are powerless. The cycle of death and rebirth, provides reassurance that there is justice.

Karma carries over from a previous life, and it carries forward into lives to live, it may be frightening to know that you've got to face justice for all the wickedness of past and future lives which you've got no control over; but it's also reassuring, because there is a reason for everything, as much as there is suffering and wickedness; there is a way out. Buddhism is challenging, that there is call to do good in the world, to live humbly, knowing that desire, and suffering are inexplicably intertwined.

   I ask, but nothing is given.
   I seek, but do not find.
   I knock, but no doors are opened.
The words ring hollow.

Anyhow, I was surprised that this movie was showing on the main screen on my flight to Japan last month. I looked up a few minutes into it, and somehow was captivated by it. I didn't catch all this movie, and since I had watched the edited airline version, I probably missed a lot of the intensity of it.

But I liked the movie, because it was so emotionally disturbing. And brought up a lot of questions, and issues that made me look inward at myself. But I liked it for a different, yet similar reasons than Hyphenate.
I liked it because it asked the questions,
but then left them open, without answering them.
I liked it because it had so many disparate plot twists
but somehow linked them together with a common theme.
I liked it because it showed that nobody was completely innocent
all the characters carried with them their fears and prejudices.
I liked it because it makes you cry for justice to be done,
for the bad people to be punished for their wickedness.
But it's not our place to demand justice, we don't know the whole story.

I liked it because it reflects the sufferings of own life.
Uncertain, unsatisfying, and seemingly unconnected at times.

Posted by justin at 07:12 PM