Karma and the September 11 attacks

A question-and-answer session held at Amitabha Buddhist Centre in Singapore on October 27, 2001.

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  • Responding to the September 11 tragedy

    • Staying actively engaged with tangible support
    • Transforming the mind through tonglen and Chenrezig practice
    • Taking refuge to generate compassion for the terrorists


    Views on the United States invasion of Afghanistan

    • Questioning political decisions and their consequences
    • Recognizing the difficulties politicians face


    The role of karma

    • Experiencing group and personal karma
    • Thinking about what type of karma led people to harm others
    • Karma as mental intention and our own contribution that brings harms to others


    Rebirths of the victims of tragedy

    • Conditions that determine our future lives
    • Dying with a kind heart
    • Benefits of the Dharma practice


    Explaining the September 11 attacks to children

    • Supporting children to express their feelings
    • Generating compassion for everyone involved in the tragedy
    • Questioning how we treat violence as entertainment


    Karma and our environmental conditions

    • The environment as a result of our past actions and current thoughts
    • How the mind mistakenly views violence as happiness
    • Responding as Buddhists to prevent violence


    Counteracting vengeance

    • Strengthening Jewish/Muslim dialogue in the US
    • Benefits of interreligious faith services
    • Volunteering and promoting educational forums to reduce prejudice


    Discomfort with parodies of September 11

    • Recognizing how violent cartoons aren’t funny
    • The need for humor and sensitivity
    • Using humor to reduce fear and anxiety


    Destruction of the Bamiyan Buddhas

    • Destruction as loss for all
    • Buddhists as examples in resolving conflicts


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