Saturday, February 10, 2007


What kind of karma, I wonder, was the unfortunate Anna Nicole Smith working out in her short life? Talk about hungry ghosts! She was, it seemed--I know her only through media accounts, and therefore not at all--a glutton for attention, ready to use anything, not least her body, to attract it. Viewed from the outside, through the filter of rumor, gossip and media distortions, her life seemed to be an unmitigated disaster, a skein of scandals, lawsuits, personal entanglements and tragedies that plagued her every footstep. Could it be that this woman was required to use the life she only recently lost to atone for some awful karma acquired in a previous one? Can she hope for a better one to come?

This is one aspect of Buddhism that frankly leaves me skeptical and puzzled. There's a kind of logic to it, certainly--that we're doomed to keep coming back until we get it right. That our actions have consequences seems like no more than common sense: I have not the slightest difficulty in believing that harmful and unskillful acts bring undesirable results, and that mindful, decent behavior brings rewards. It's the transmigration part that bothers me. But then, since prior lives and subsequent lives are unknowable, at least to one still as distant as myself from enlightenment, perhaps it's simply unnecessary to concern myself with them. This present life is enough, and certainly as much as I can cope with.

As for poor Anna Nicole, well, the best I can do is send her loving-kindness in whatever state she may currently exist, and hope that she'll have earned the chance, through her suffering, to have a better shot at happiness next time around.


carly said...

P: Enjoyed you entry on Hockney and Constable. Enjoyed bouncing ideas at the show, too. I knew you would be taken back.

The synchronisity of tasteful red! Jung also concerned himself with 'collective consciousness'.

I doubted Karma, too. But I doubt less, past lives. Only because of two gifted psychics I once knew. Insights of such uncanny readings have to be experienced first hand or one won't believe.

carly said...

P: Interesting.The photograph has replaced and diminished that part of painting which craves verisimilitude, and left only the role of verisimilitude of feeling. Constable's had both parts.

Therefore painting, today, is less true if it is photographic, because the criteria has become more restricted, limited to the verisimilitude of feeling.

Constable, however, was also beyond photographic in the sense of the eye as a camera of imagination. new definition: eye - a camera of imagination. Hence, the magic of his surface reality, is, in a sense, a bonus. And contemporaries may have lost something in all this.

carly said...

P: Sunday evening: re-read your entry on a summons from my intuition, as if I had missed something.

That middle paragraph is really quite remarkable. Very deep thinking, man.

PK said...

Hi Peter, she undoubtedly was. My curiosity is in this. If we live a shorter time does this mean we are getting closer to not having to ever come back? Or is it in the long life, the one that we reach into our 80's and 90's, some even in the 100's? Because we won't be back we are allowed to stay for an extended period of time, till we are almost sick and tired of this existence and want to move on to the next... to stay forever. That we won't miss this existence after being here so long, learning so much, ready for the next step. Sleep well my friend...