RE:WHAT IS THE SELF?
Ilike how you used other sources to understand the concept of Atmanand Brahman. For me, these concepts were very complicated at thebeginning (I am still not sure whether or not I fullyunderstand the Idea behind them). In your discussion youdescribedthe self and its connection to the ego as the Hindu religion sees it-something negative that conflicted with the notion of the Atman andBrahman. My question to you is if you believe that the ego has onlynegative impacts on who we are. One ofyour first quotes states that the self is different from ego becauseself is our uniqueness and ego only tries to strength our selfin other words it creates the conflicts within ourselves. I know itcontradicts what Dass writesin his book, but I sincerely believe that without the ego itwould be very hard to strive and improve. As an athlete I see twosides to ego, the one hand completely agrees with the Hindurelation with Jiva,and the other genuinely believes that to be acompetitive athlete, it takes some amount of ego.
RE:WHAT IS THE SELF?
Iam glad my research helped you understand the concept of Atman andBrahman. On your question concerning ego having only negative impactson our being, I will respond by saying that people mainly use ego tomake themselves feel above others. Even if someone is performing wellin their lives, they should not use that chance to intimidate othersthrough ego. It might be hard to survive, but people should acceptand go slow with the way life takes them and not necessarily threatenothers so as to feel at the top through egoism.
RE:WHAT IS THE SELF?
Atmanis defined simply as the self or the soul of a person. Knowing this,one could more easily explainthe exact definition of"self" without havingto relate to one`s personality or ego.Deeper than that is the souls unconscious being thatcreates oneselfspecifically.Atman is definedas self in the Brahman,which isthe absolute reality. Self is a concept similar toreligion, whereit is so grand is the size thatit is problematic for the mortal mind tocomprehend justhow vast and profound the actual definition is.
Iam really impressed with your response and specifically, I amimpressed with your simple definition of Atman. Your response isimpressive, as your description can help someone to define ‘self’without linking it to one’s ego or personality. Moreover,concerning the self, you correctly said that the concept of self issimilar to religion, in that, it cannot be exhaustively comprehended.
RE:Karma and ReincarnationTopof Form
Theway you explained Karma and Reincarnations made much more sense tome. You raised one interesting point aboutthe Christian religion: "Duringthe time of Christ Ram Das puts it that reincarnation was acommon belief, but it was realized later that it would not helpmaintain the church properly". In the past year I got to learn alot about Christianity and I would like to add on this notethat Christ`s sacrifice to pay for our sins would be uselessbecause according to Hinduism and Karma, in particular, we payfor our sins (or being rewarded for the good deeds) with our owneffort and actions, therefore by doing that there is no longer needfor Christ, God, or salvation.
Iappreciate your response. The Christian religion is indeed vital toeveryone. Your quote concerning Ram Dass concerning Christ is great.It is true that reincarnation was a common belief during the time ofJesus. I am also glad to know that you learned about Christianity,and moreover, you contribution to compare Christ and Karma isimpeccable.
RE:Karma and Reincarnation
I`mreally glad you brought up the thought of Christ`s sacrifice to atoneour wrongdoings being worthless in regards to Hinduism`sreincarnation and karma beliefs. I had not thought of it that way atall, even though Christianity is the religion I am most familiarwith. I find it quite intriguing how opposites the different beliefsystems can, yet they also share some similarities in ideas.
Onpage 38 of the text, Dass wrote:"The Wisdom of Soloman says,`To be born in wide-ranging body with sound limbs is a reward of thevirtues of past lives.` The disciples ask Christ, `Was this man bornblind because of something he did previously, or because of hisparents, or what?` Without reincarnation, how could the man have donesomething before hisbirth to cause his blindness?"
Thisportion of the understanding caught my attention because one of thedisciples questioned whether his blindness was a result of somethinghe or his parents had done in a prior life—thus rackingup bad karma. What really piqued my interest was the part about theman`s parents being the cause of his handicap. I had thought Iunderstood that in Hinduism, an individual is responsible for his orher own soul`s life waves from the past or for the future. I had notbeen under the impression that a person`s karma could carry on andaffect a different being`s. Or perhaps this was just an archaic ideafrom Biblical times?
Iam impressed by the fact that you identified the quote of Dassconcerning the wisdom of Solomon being born in a sound body with thesound limbs as the reward of the virtues of the past lives. More so,I am glad you mentioned the blind man and his blindness. It isevident that without reincarnation, there is no way a man could havedone something before hisbirth to cause his blindness.
RE:Karma and Reincarnation
Ireally connect with the introductory section of your discussionsince I also think that karma and reincarnation bringlong-term awareness to society. On page 52, I found afascinating part that I believe connects to the whole idea ofknowledge I think we are both referring to. The section on thatpage states that " we are merely a part of a process,"thus connecting to the idea of being aware that this life is not onlyone "short" but a continuation that is connected with"cause- and – effect" pg 53.  Although, I am not sureabout the section in your discussion that you describe reincarnationas another chance through eternal life. From what Ihave understood from the readings, reincarnation isnot only another chance, but it is tied to Karma since it is theeffect -or results- that comes from previous life. Per say, one willhave a better reincarnation, or one had good karma and good actionsin another life.
Thanksa lot for your connection with my introductory section of mydiscussion. More so, you have agreed to the fact that karma andreincarnation can bring long-term awareness to the society. It isalso paramount to admit to the fact that connecting to the idea ofbeing aware that life is not just short, but a continuation of bothcause and effect.
StuartHorn INSTRUCTOR MANAGER
Whatwe can change
Thisis a magnificent exploration of the subject of karma, rebirth, and"free will" or choice.  The purpose of karma in thelives of people and future lives has different interpretations.  Sohere are some different ways to think about these topics.
Karmais a system of cause and result based on actions with intentions. Ifyour intentions while we act are non-virtuous, we produce negativekarma, if our intentions are virtuous, we generate positive karma. The results of karma do not have to wait until the next lifethey can manifest in the next moment, in the next week, year, fiveyears, ten years later or two lifetimes from now. What does karmaproduce, or what do the results look like. This was difficult torespond as karmic causes are manifold and, therefore, the results arenumerous. But to try and simplify this all, the results of karma iswhat appears to you at this moment: the body and patterns of mindthat you possess, the environment in which you find yourself, thedifferent situations that take place moment to moment.  Wecannot change what will appear as a result of previous karma, but wecan change how you respond to what appears and thus what will appearnext (moment-lives ahead). We are born into another body as a resultof karma that we have not completed. That body along with thepatterns of mind established over many, many, lifetimes, are borninto a set of conditions the result of our past intentions acted out.
Inthis sense, we cannot change what we have set in motion, but we canchange the habitual patterns of our responses.  The differentYogas that the Gita andRam Dass exploreare the tools for this process.
Yourresponse is great. It is true that there is a connection between freewill, rebirth, and karma. More so, I greatly agree with youconcerning the role of karma. You have really given us great tipsabout thinking about these topics. Your insight on karma isincredible. Additionally, you gave us an excellent conclusionconcerning Ram Dass and Gita, and how they explore the tools for theprocesses of karma.
RE:Karma and Reincarnation
Ithink the way you described thinking in the long term perception wasan excellent way to explain easily such an abstract concept. Bothkarma and reincarnation have such significant impacts on one anotherand thinking in the long term could easily describe what couldbe happening. Although one will not necessarily think aboutevery single move they make and every decision they make just to baseit on what will occur in the long term, essentially thesechoices are already predetermined, you just have to do the act andaccept what will come. I also believe you tied the ideas of karma andreincarnation together very well because, without the belief ofkarma, the soul will not, as you mentioned, prevail throughreincarnation. So make our decisions in life today affect our longterm or afterlife? Or are our decisions already predetermined fromour past life? Although these may seem like the same question, I feelas if they are completely different to which life youare referring to.From the past, present, or future life. Nonetheless,these questions provethat it is all connected in one way or another.
Thankyou for your incredible response. It is true that both karma andreincarnation have huge implications on each other. As such, thinkingin the long term could easily elaborate what could be going on.Additionally, it is right to say that the choices of people areusually predetermined, and we just need to act and then accept whatwill come. Furthermore, it is correct that the soul will neverprevail through reincarnation.Bottomof Form