I was going to put this post under the catergory of Kamma and Rebirth, but as I’ve not formally registered (on account of uncertainty about being able to commit my time fully for all workshops) I thought it more polite to place it in this Q & A category.
I was going to call this topic ‘law of attraction’…as it relates to one of the myths busted in workshop 1. However, I’m not sure ‘law of…’ applies to how I’m seeing this. So, anyway…
I’m wondering if there is something going on here? I mean, I ditched ‘law of…’ because I felt like that seemed to imply that it was something that just happened…sort of magically… Well, not ‘magically’ but like it’s…‘how things are’…one of the working principles of the universe…a part of Dhamma or something. (We use that phrase for kamma itself often…‘the law of kamma’…Was this phrased used in EBT?) But perhaps it (the law of attraction) is not like that…perhaps it involves ‘work’ on our part - whether we’re aware of it or not. (And perhaps this ‘work’ is similar to kamma in the sense of ‘cetana’? Have I used ‘cetana’ in the wrong sense?)
So for instance:
In one of the readings of Workshop 3, I read that the Buddha stated that one could - if one had the supportive kamma - say ‘may I be reborn in the company of such and such people’ and that this would happen. Isn’t this sort of ‘attracting’ what you’re asking for? With the supportive kamma as the qualifier? And isn’t it possible for this kind of thing to happen within a lifetime? Is this sort of what the notion of adithana is alluding to (sorry, I’m sure I"ve mispelled that…but it’s translation is, I believe, ‘determination’?)
The iddipadas. Isn’t that desire and energy sort of like actively setting yourself to go in a particular direction. And then because of your hard work (keeping all 4 going) you end up achieving your goal…i.e…you end up ‘attracting’ that which you set out to attract. Okay, perhaps I’m stretching the meaning of ‘attracting’. What do you think?
Also what about the notion that we create our own world through how we perceive it. I mean, a constantly fearful being will see a world full of fear, even when there is safety present. Aren’t we attracting what we “put out” through our perceptions? And is it possible that this idea extends to future lives? And can this not extend, not just to perceptions, but also to thoughts and views?
I’m trying to figure out why this idea of the ‘law of attraction’ or ‘manifestation’ or ‘synchronicity’ is so popular in New Age. Yes, sometimes I believe it’s as simple as wishful, comforting thinking. But other times, the oddest coincidences seem to happen, and to some people (two I’m thinking of that I think have reasonably good virtue and aim to be very loving) they seem to happen rather frequently and I’m trying to put these into an EBT context and ask myself what could be going on here? Is it just coincidence?
I’m also reminded of the article Bhante Sujato posted a link to about telepathy and the telephone and so on… Could it be something like this going on? Some kind of low level psychic thing going on?
So is it possible that kamma is sometimes involved but that there are other factors, like how we view the world, what we want/the directions we set ourselves in and so on…?
Looking forward to hearing your thoughts on these particular confusions. Also, apologies if I’m going over old ground or anything that’s already been said elsewhere… I was getting so confused I thought it just best to ask in the end!
With metta and much gratitude for your time and for sharing your amazing knowledge.