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There Is No Such Thing in This Universe as Genuine Randomness

“From the Buddhist teachings’ point of view, nothing happens by chance. Every effect has its causes. This is the law of karma. Sometimes the relationship between cause and effect is immediate and obvious. You drop a glass and it breaks. You don’t sleep enough and you feel lousy. Sometimes karma is a little more subtle but still observable. We may need someone to point out the cause and effect so we can study it in our own experience until we are convinced. A good example here is tsewa. When our heart is open, we feel joy. When it’s closed, we feel pain. This is how karma works.



In the majority of cases, however, karma is too intricate and far-reaching for ordinary beings like ourselves to be able to comprehend it fully. To use some classic Buddhist examples, we don’t know why peas are round or why peacocks’ tails have iridescent eyes. But just because our vision is too limited to trace back a vast array of causes doesn’t mean things happen at random. If they did, then why would farmers plant seeds and expect crops to grow? Why would we do anything and expect a result? A mixture of karma and randomness is also illogical. For how would it make sense for some things to happen due to cause and effect and other things to happen by pure chance? Chance is just an illusion. We say that a roll of the dice is “random” because there is no way for anyone to predict the outcome. But is it truly random? No, there are clearly causes leading to a result. There is no such thing in this universe as genuine randomness.”

Excerpt from
Training in Tenderness
Dzigar Kongtrul

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