Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The will to will

This is one of them routine backup routines where i dump data from my head into google servers ;) A couple of days back during a "hectic" combined study session at a friend's place we ended up discussing heaven and hell. His point was that during the final "judgment" we are judged on the basis of our "thoughts" and not on our actions. To put that quite simply, it doesn't matter if you are buddha to the rest of the world, a couple of dirty thoughts and your gone. I'd like to play the "unfair" card here. On that spot I didn't argue with his point. But later that day I came across a quote that spawned the thought process which resulted in this blog entry.

Man can do what he wills but he cannot will what he wills. - Arthur Schopenhauer

This quote was listed by Albert Einstein as one of the greatest inspirations in his life. I'd like to approach the whole heaven and hell thingy around this quote. I don't think we have any voluntary control over the exact nature of various thoughts that arise inside our head. What we CAN do is choose whether or not to act on a thought. For eg: If a person gets chucked out of the class for no apparent reason his immediate reaction(inside his head) would be to smack the teacher. But as long as he doesnt act on that thought I think hes the same good person he was before that particular thought spawned. Expand these examples to most of the so called "bad thoughts" and I believe a person can still be the same old good guy. Theres a concept in Zen buddhism which says that the mind is like a river. Rocks may appear in the path of the river and there is nothing the river can do to "avoid" the rock "being there". What the river can do is to acknowledge the rock and flow around it. The rock here is the "bad" thought. I think the actual reason behind the "concept" of heaven and hell now misses the point. It has made people more worried about the consequences of their actions than the act itself.

To action alone hast thou a right and never at all to its fruits; let not the fruits of action be thy motive; neither let there be in thee any attachment to inaction - Bhagavad Gita


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