Here is a 20-min recorded audio-only Dhamma Talk, from an in-person event at TIMS, to an audience. (23MB .mp3).
- “soul mates”, setting a strong intention towards a particular kind of future rebirth, wisdom, kamma, vipaka, Buddhist cosmology, “gaming the system”, anatta, simile of the stick, simile of the leaning tree, simile of cows escaping a barn, difference in Theravada and Mahayana views about kamma
AN 4.55 - The Same in Living. This is the closest thing in the EBTs to a “love story”, and has a concept similar to what the Christians would call “soul mates” (although in Buddhism, there is no “soul”, owing to anatta - the characteristic of not-self. Note that the next sutta, AN 4.56 also, has the same “soul mates” theme, but summarized.
Sivaka - on how not all unpleasant vipaka (kammic resultants) are due to to previous kamma (intentions) we made. There is an element of randomness, because other possible causes could be things like disease, negligence, assault, or incliment weather.
The Stick - on the random element in how rebirth works - it’s not always 100% deterministic based on one’s (perhaps somewhat fickle) kamma:
“No first point is found of sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, shrouded by ignorance and fettered by craving. Suppose a stick was tossed up in the air. Sometimes it’d fall on its bottom, sometimes the middle, and sometimes the end. It’s the same for sentient beings roaming and transmigrating, shrouded by ignorance and fettered by craving. Sometimes they go from this world to the other world, and sometimes they come from the other world to this world.”
SN 45.152 - on how a long-conditioned life of developing the eightfold noble path leads to a Nibanna, predictably:
‘“Mendicants, suppose a tree slants, slopes, and inclines to the east. If it was cut off at the root, where would it fall?”
“Sir, it would fall in the direction that it slants, slopes, and inclines.”
“In the same way, a mendicant who develops and cultivates the noble eightfold path slants, slopes, and inclines to extinguishment.’
(Note: also see SN 55.22, where the same simile gets used)
Note: I erroneously mentioned a non-EBT sutta (Ayya Khema mentions it here) misattributed to the Buddha, on a rebirth-related simile of cows escaping a barn through an open gate; which one will get out the gate first?
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Digital Signing and Checksum (of the .mp3 audio file above):