Friday, September 9, 2011

9/11: Did we have it coming? Karma, cause and effect.

Yesterday's post recalled my reaction to 9/11.  One of the comments came from a thoughtful, compassionate man, "MJ", who devotes his days providing in-home care for adults with mental and emotional problems. He reminded me that there are other points of view about the 2001 attacks and why they happened.

M.J. wrote:
I remember my response: my first thought was, "Well, hello, I wonder why it took you [meaning all the victims of U.S. imperialism, economic and political oppression, and war crimes] so long..." I wasn't shocked at all (nor "freaking out"). What I find the most disturbing was all the shock and outrage and jingoism. Hello?! Anyone paying attention out there?! My letter to the editor of our local daily a few days letter saying as much was in the minority, you can be sure. (And please don't be stupid and confuse my reaction/position with a lack of compassion for the victims.) 

What's surprising is how few times we've been attacked "on our own soil."

I remember starting an in-home session when our freeway bridge fell in 2007. I had just passed over it. We watched it on TV and we were in shock. We didn't proceed with the session.
September 8, 2011 9:44 PM

The Practical Buddhist Responds

Yes, you are in the minority. You say: After generations of U.S. imperialism and oppression, it’s surprising that we were not attacked before. Perhaps you believe that if rich nations followed Buddhist ideals in relationships with other lands, there would be no triggers for terrorism.
Of course, the Practical Buddhist would think in terms of Karma. Karma, for both Hindus and Buddhists, lies at the center of ethical teaching. The law of karma says that for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first and this second event will be positive or negative depending on whether its cause was skillful or unskillful. A skillfully-caused event is one that is not accompanied by craving, resistance or delusions; an unskillful event carries that baggage. 

The law of Karma teaches that responsibility for unskillful actions is born by the person who commits them.  Certainly the terrorist attacks of 9/11 were unskillful in the extreme, and set off another series of unskillful events which are with us even today.  

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