Friday, December 02, 2011

Something For Something

Charity, good deeds, kindness, goodwill gestures ... these are "good" things on their own. I have the same debate in my mind for many years, what is "goodness of the heart".

That is also why I have problems with some religions that espouses the following:

"do good and good karma will follow you"
"you can earn your way to salvation, or lessen the time spent in purgatory on your way to heaven"
"what you sow, so you shall reap"
"do good deeds so you can accumulate good blessings (jik fook in Cantonese)"

We also have people who do charity for ego boosting or fame purposes. I would like to state that charity or good deeds have to be applauded regardless of the underlying motive, we will let their souls be dealt with by the higher powers to be or their own conscience.

Are we to say that if there is no good karma to befall you, that you would stop doing good deeds? If there was no God or heaven, would you immediately stop being nice?

Why are we still in a "stick and carrot mentality" even when we come to religions? Do the founders of those religions know innately how to tap the human condition?

To the really cynical, even if I do some good deeds without any hope for good karma, or being looked on better by my God, without a chance to reduce any time spent in purgatory, without anyone ever knowing it ... one can still say that I probably felt good doing that good deed, and that is compensation already ... something for something.

To me, I think to have to dangle a carrot in front of an act of kindness is pathetic and shallow. Hence I think there is a huge gap between normal good deeds and actual good deeds that are pure and from the heart. Whether there is a God or not, or any religion, humans are created or born with a thinking soul and conscience, and that in itself if properly brought up, will do good deeds out of the generosity of their hearts alone.

The Protestants come closer to that when they believe that Jesus allowed for us all to be in his presence unconditionally. It is an ideal no doubt, but rather than accepting and living life around shallow principles and logic, shouldn't we all at least strive for the ideal, even knowing full well we will probably not touch it. To not strive is a bigger crime against our very being and existence I feel.

The closest thing on earth to unconditional love is probably between a child and their parents. You will see many parents who will abide with their child even when they have been convicted as murderers or rapists. That is, no matter how you fucked up, I will still be there for you, but please try not to fuck up.

Some ideals are not just ideals for discussion or philosophers, some ideals are worth reaching out for because we know we should, ... even when we know in our lifetime we would never touch it, but to stretch and yearn for it makes for a better life having lived.


lai said...

what happen to you man??, eat wrong medicine today?? jk

Human being human, we are not perfect. End of the day, still need to balance the yin and yang.

We all shall participate in charity wholeheartedly. Having said that, if the good karma come back to enrich us, take it as a bonus and in return give more and more. Being able to give in itself is a bonus.

P/s: i was in Whisk today, you?

Assaji said...

Dali, you have a wrong understanding of karma...where did you get this notion form? Karma is very natural and is plain to see. If you do horrible things to people do you really expect to be loved and have good things happen to you? Obviously not! That's not the way the world works. Plant a mango seed and you get a mango tree, plant a lemon seed and you get a lemon plant.

I have problems with teachings that say no matter how horrible you are, as long as you join my team, all will be forgiven and you get to go to heaven. But no matter how good you are, if you do not join my side, you go to hell forever. Sorry, I don't think such people are very nice in the first place.

KM said...

We have a situation where someone comes up to you, sticks a knife in you and say "Hey, if you say I'm a nice guy, I'll pull out the knife and let you live in my house", but if you don't, I'll pour kerosene over you and set you alight"...that's what you say being in his presence uncinditionally?

SK Au Yong said...

There's no such thing as conditional has to be unconditional. Once conditions are attached, it's no longer love

pinot said...

Religious people are also God fearing people. Religion says you must do good deeds and you end up in heaven. I am an atheist. I don't kill, don't steal. So in the absence of God watching my every move, does that make me a person with higher morality than those God fearing people ?

pinot said...

Religios people are also God fearing people. They do good deeds so they can end up in heaven as a reward. Does that make them a better person than say an atheist, who in the absence of God watching over him or her continue to do good things in life ?

pj pilgrim said...

There is a teaching on unconditional love that is faultless and acceptable to all. This was chanted by the Burmese monks during the saffron revolution,...the Metta Sutta

MP said...

the carrot & the stick approach of most religions works not just because it is easy to understand but also because humans are greedy, selfish and egoistic creatures deep down.

spiritual materialism. spiritual greed.

that's what doing good in the hope of going to heaven is. though there's no heaven for buddhists, the carrot is being reborn in better lives or higher realms. same difference.

true charity is that which is done spontaneously