Lesson Nine: More Lives Than One

(bhcheah) #1

Suicide is morally wrong as killing is to be
avoided in the first vow every Buddhist takes.
Besides, it is a foolish action. Our sufferings are
the consequences of our own error and guilt. So
long as a person has not learned how to reduce
evil and to increase his virtues, he will be reborn
in unfavorable states until such time he learns
from them and develops the will to be good and

Taking one's own life out of frustration or
disappointment only causes more suffering. A
person cannot commit suicide if his mind is
calm and pure. If a person leaves this world
with a confused mind, it is most unlikely that he
will be reborn in a condition better than what
he has been experiencing.

5.Men Are Born Unequal

Kamma and rebirth explain the inequality
among mankind: why is one man rich,
healthy, intelligent and successful, while
another is poor, sickly, mentally retarded and
a failure. They explain the differences
of characters, tendencies and talents among
members of the same family. They explain
why some people possess special powers,
and why do we sometimes instinctively
like or dislike certain things and people at
first sight.
Rebirth in this life is conditioned by the good
and evil Kamma we have acquired in previous
lives. The Buddha taught that we are the
owners and heirs of our Kamma which
conditions our birth into high or low states.

Sometimes we see the injustices that good men
suffer, while the bad are living in splendor and
happiness. When the good suffer, the causes of
suffering are not only found in the actions of
the present life but are also based on guilt in a
former birth. The bad prosper because of merits
accumulated in former births or in the past
actions of the present birth.

But after the bad have enjoyed the fruit of their
merit, they willalso have to taste the bitter fruit
of their misdeeds in this or subsequent births.

So long his evil deed has not ripened, A fool
thinks it is sweet as honey;
But when it ripens, he is stricken with grief.

[Dhammapada 69]

Kamma and rebirth accounts for the arising of
geniuses and infant prodigies. Mozart wrote a
sonata when he was four and anopera when he
was seven, Marcel Lavallard had a picture
accepted by the Paris Salon when he was twelve.
A boy called Zerah Colburn, in his eight year
could solve difficult mathematical problems. On
being asked how many minutes there are in
forty-eight years, he gave the correct answer
without making a mark on paper.
Even more amazing is Christian Heinecken who
was born at Lubeck in 1721. He could talk
within a few hours of his birth, repeat passages
from the Bible at the age of one, answer any
question on Geography at two, speak French
and Latin at three, and be a student of
philosophy at four. He died at four just after
learning how to write. If not for rebirth, how
else do we account for an infant prodigy like

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