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Law of Attraction and Buddhism

Posted By: Shalini

Law of Attraction and Buddhism - 10/19/09 05:40 AM

The law of attraction is only perhaps a minute law among the many Universal laws of truth. The Dhammapada's first verse is "manopubbam gama dhamma, manosettha manomaya" : "Mind is the forerunner of all things, Mindmade are things" . Does this mean that I keep on stacking pleasure over pleasure in my life, by just creating that in my mind? Is this all that life means? Does the law of attraction figure in the "Four Noble Truths" of the Buddha, or "The EightFold Path" or the "Law of Dependent Origination"... yes it does!!!! The only difference is that it is not hyped about as THE law which brings about enlightenment, but is the law which can possibly bring about disaster and sufferring in life, according to me, if not used with wisdom. Why? Because everywhere the Buddha talks about cause and effect. If cause is attachment to pleasure, invariably what follows is sufferring, because the pleasure will not last forever and after the pleasure goes away you are bound to suffer because you got used to it and can no longer face the absense of it. By the law of attraction, say you apply a lot of intense emotion to say a desire of getting a lot of wealth. Now the wealth will come perhaps because of the law, but how long will it last... perhaps as long as the intensity of the intention. And that intensity CANNOT be infinite.... because that is also impermanent. Hence, one or the other time the wealth will diminish and when that happens, insurmountable sufferring follows. And if you keep on stacking another pleasure on this sufferring, then it is just like stacking healthy apples on rotten ones. One fine day, you need to come and remove the rotten apples...and you are delaying that time... and that is all it achieves. So if you are just desiring temporary enjoyment of pleasures, then yes law of attraction is for you... of course you will never realise that you are stacking more sufferring for yourself unbeknownst. However, if you are for permanent liberation from sufferring, then you will have to understand the three fundamental laws of the nature.. "Dukkha, Anicca, Anatta", which means "sufferring, impermanence, non-essence". So is the "law of attraction" NOT for me if I am for enlightenment? Thats like asking, till I get enlightenment, do I not want food, house, cars and the little pleasures of life? Well, as long as it is used with discretion and intelligence, for the betterment of conditions to allow me to slowly and gradually move towards enlightenment it is fine. For example, say I feel that the imperfections inside me is much too hard for me to handle, I want to handle it one by one in a slow pace. Perhaps I want conditions which do not multiply my imperfections...say anger. I do not want to be around people and conditions, who keep on triggerring my anger, while I work on it maybe by meditation. I want conditions that is going to support me to release my anger, rather than multiply it... well why not use the law of attraction for that? For a person who has a lot of anger inside her, it is best suitable to be in a place full of love and beauty and comfort... Because by nature people who are by nature "dosa" or anger based, they calm down and stay more focussed in such environments which is suitable for them to work on themselves. So, use the law of attraction with discretion, is my opinion. And use it always with a prayer to the universe to lead finally to wisdom and compassion, even if you ask for material benefits for whatever reason... so you are safe! In summary is law of attraction advocated by Buddhism... NO. But is it one of the laws stated by Buddhism... YES. They have stated it , but with a clause: "Manopubbam gama dhamma, manosettha manomaya, Manasa ce passannena, karoti va bhasati va, tatonam sukha manveti, chaya va anapayini" "Manopubbam gama dhamma, manosettha manomaya, Manasa ce padutthena, karoti va bhasati va, tatonam dukkha manveti, cakkam va vahato padam" The clause states that, when you create something with love and kindness as cause, then true happiness follows like your shadow. But if you create something with ill-desire, then sufferring will follow you like the wheel of a oxen cart. I have always interpreted that ... you create wholesome states and conditions by having wholesome states in your mind. While finally, you will have to release even this, if you really want "Enlightenment and liberation".
Posted By: Lisa - Buddhism

Re: Law of Attraction and Buddhism - 10/20/09 05:30 PM

Shalini - I agree with what you have said, this is my perspective also. There was a thread awhile back on this that you might want to check out here. Thanks for commenting.
Posted By: Shalini

Re: Law of Attraction and Buddhism - 10/26/09 01:44 PM

Thanks Lisa for giving the link to other threads on the topic. In fact I got a link to your article on the topic, when I had started to get serious doubts of the law of attraction and its role in my practice. For some reason, I couldnt get the threads in the forum, perhaps they were older. It made me think and meditate upon it for myself , and I just got my thoughts written in the post. It was in fact an answer to my own question, which you also had posed. Thanks for your article.
Posted By: Shalini

Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 10/26/09 02:57 PM

Lisa, has there been any older posts on this topic as well. The Law of Attraction would want us to attract nice things by thinking and feeling it out in our mind. But my doubts started to arise, when it occurred to me that it does not stop us from attracting something ill-intended. In a fit of greed, if I manifest more and more wealth coming to me, and I keep on feeding more of my greed by manifesting more wealth, then the law of attraction seems not to stop me from doing that. The Law of Karma wants us to understand that if we do something with ill-intent, it just comes back to us aligning with the adage of "As you sow, so shall you reap". Many traditions and religions including Buddhism, have emphasized the same thing with much intensity, albiet in different forms and words. But it seems to be very significant in our spiritual journey. This law would state that if I act with ill-intent, what follows will be an equal act against me. I will get back the same harm that I actually intended for the other. And if I accumulate a karma of greed, karma will have it that we are born in situations which will make it HARD for us to feed the greed... A simple example given in scriptures is that ... if a person is constantly gluttonous in one lifetime, he is then born poor next lifetime, where situation will not permit to satiate his intense greed for food, or in a world , where there is very less food, but he has a huge stomach and a very tiny mouth! Sounds naive.. but seems true all the same! But the law of attraction seems to manifest just exactly what I want.. despite what I have intended. So how do we co-relate the two laws then? Theoretically, Can someone in a fit of anger, intend to have revenge and cause harm and then intend with the same intensity, that no harm happen back?... then how can that manifest and will it manifest? Isnt this against the law of karma? So does the two laws conflict or align... I guess in some ways it resounds the previous post but not exactly. Evidently , most will NOT use the law of attraction for ill-intended desires, but then the fact remains that, in ignorance or just because we are not really perfect yet, our uncontrolled thoughts and feelings can manifest certain things.. which is not exactly desirable for our spiritual journey. Then can I just correct it by intending not to have the impact of karma .. well it got a little intellectual and argumentative than experiential here... but it seems to be a conflict in my mind yet. I would be grateful to have comments on this. Can I reverse all my karma just by my power of intention... "no I JUST DONT WANT TO HAVE THE IMPACT OF ALL MY PAST ILL ACTS...I VISUALIZE THE OPPOSITE OF MY KARMA... " thats it? assume that I know exatly all my past ill acts and the karma that is going to ensue... ( thats a big doubt though ). But got me thinking about this. This question also came to me once, when I wanted to visualize my life goal and suddenly got a doubt, what if my karma is not intended to support me?
Posted By: Lisa - Buddhism

Re: Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 10/26/09 06:13 PM

Shalini, wow, you have really gotten to the heart of the matter here. There hasn't been any prior threads that approach the issue from this perspective. I can only tell you how I myself think of it.
Personally, I think the Law of Attraction has been kind of misrepresented in a lot of contemporary teachings, and I know others feel the same way. The focus became on getting 'what we want' but that was not how it was originally taught, or is taught by some people now. There are books and teachers that teach it more along the lines of karma, and take all our subconscious thoughts into account, and the impact of our actions/manifestations on others. I think these offer a fuller view of LOA.
Personally, when I look around the world and my own life, the laws of karma seem to more fully describe what I see than the laws of attraction. Take your greed example - we have seen this in the economics of the US bigtime, many people manifested incredible wealth over the last decade. And what happened? For many of them it fell apart, they lost everything or at least a lot in the last couple of years. Is that karma? I don't think of karma as punitive personally, I think that simplifies it, but I do think that there was a boomerang effect to all that greed.
And many others who manifest what they think they want are left unhappy as a result. So I think life shows most people eventually (in this life or a future one) that simply having the ability to get what they want is not the key to happiness. And certainly I think the Buddha speaks to this in his Four Noble Truths - I don't think 'suffering' is just meant to include things we find painful, it is also meant to include the whole notion that pleasure, or getting what we want, is the key to true and lasting happiness. It isn't, because everything is transient - the truth of impermanence, right? Even when we get what we want, it won't last forever. At the very least, it will end when we die.
So personally I don't think of LOA as a universal 'law' in the sense of karma or impermanance. I think of LOA as a mind skill that is useful when we have a goal. I think all the techniques associated with it - affirmations, visualization, etc. - can help us manifest goals. And I personally don't think there is a problem with goals. We are living our life, right?
As for whether you can change your karma with your intention, well that is a biggie. I think many Vajrayana Buddhist practices in Tibetan Buddhism are actually focused on this to some extent - visualizing ourself as a Buddha etc. These are meant to connect our awareness to a force greater than our own karma, and to that extent, is a way of 'speeding' up the process of clearing our karma. But I think that is a big discussion.
Not sure if this helped, I think everyone has to sort through this on their own. In some ways I don't think you can philosophize it out, in terms of your own life. You just have to try it, and see what happens...
Posted By: Shalini

Re: Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 10/27/09 03:02 PM

Thanks Lisa for your comment. You are right, we need to keep experiencing in order to find the truth... little by little. These questions will be answered to its entirety, if I keep practicing patiently.. You are right LoA can still be a skillful tool for goals, and that LoA can just be another tool to get together the more mundane things of life. After all I am living my daily life in this material world and I am not living in a forest as ascetics. "The LoA is about seeing things the way you want them to be and believing them to be truth. Enlightenment is simply seeing things as they truly are without any added mentation in the first place." Nice article here.BellaOnline ALERT: Raw URLs are not allowed in these forums for security reasons. Please use UBB code. If you don't know how to do UBB code just post here for help - we will help out!
Posted By: Alexandra

Re: Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 12/26/09 01:56 PM

The Buddha's fundamental message was that he taught suffering and the end of suffering.
seems to me, having read both "The Secret" and "The Law of Attraction" that, whilst the focus of both books seems to be on the power of positive thinking, and fulfilling your heart's desire on the things which make you happy, it increases attachment to such material things, not decreases it.
The whole point to the cessation of Suffering is to eliminate Craving and Desire.
These books don't seem to factor that into the equasion.....
Posted By: Lisa - Buddhism

Re: Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 12/28/09 01:52 AM

Alexandra, I agree, and that was pretty much the thrust of the article Shalini and I were referring too in the thread...although in fairness, there are some who teach LOA differently - as more of a spiritual principle or tool for bringing about different states of awareness in mankind, instead of as a tool for fulfilling material desires, so those versions might be more compatible with some schools of Buddhism...The Secret was LOA applied more to the personal development sphere (which is why it sold a gazillion copies...)
Posted By: Alexandra

Re: Law of Attraction and Law of Karma. - 12/28/09 10:38 PM

I would say that the primary person to benefit from the LoA was the Author.... king
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