Posted by Shane (220.127.116.11) on August 18, 2000 at 07:28:25:
In Reply to: Prayer of compassion posted by Paul on August 17, 2000 at 05:47:48:
You ask some good questions. I would answer them as follows:
1.) The only way to escape suffering is by liberation from the human condition, so the answer is yes, liberation means no longer being born into samsara (wheel of life), as a human or any other life form. Siddharta Gautama, the Buddha contemplated over how old age, disease and death are inevitable and provide inherant suffering in the human condition. Only by escaping embodiment do we escape the suffering it is saturated with. As for the possibility of all beings escaping the wheel of life this is essentially if not, as it probably is, literally impossible. Most people have enough trouble being reborn into a good human life, let alone liberation. Most of us struggle in the between state (the realm between rebirths) as much as we do in life. Nirvana is a very distant road and it takes aeons for any soul to reach it. Attachment to the senses and passions is an extremeley difficult tie to break.
2.) The condition of one's reality in this life is due to innumerable past deeds, committed during nearly an infinity of past lives. One who is mentally retarded though, would equally (over all) possess an opportunity for enlightenment as the rest of us possess. This doesn't speak for how long, or how far away they are from being enlightened, but certainly the chance is there for all living souls to free themselves, at least over a great period of time, if nothing else. This is also why all living beings are worthy of and require our compassion, as they participate in the same trial as do we.
Hope this helps you out my friend.
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