Miracle Day

TorchwoodI’ve been watching the new series of Torchwood, Miracle Day in which the human race suddenly becomes immortal, receiving the ‘gift’ of eternal life. Now, of course this is only the latest outpouring from the fertile mind of Russell T Davies, but it does give us food for thought from a Buddhist perspective.

For millennia, Buddhists have believed in reincarnation, a form of eternal life albeit from the viewpoint of our karma. We believe that every thought, word and deed, from each lifetime, creates causes for the effects we may experience in this lifetime.

Eternal life is a pretty scary thought, growing ever older, our bodies and minds slowly deteriorating, but without the prospect of the release of death. It would be the same as having a day that goes on and on, without a night, or the chance to refresh our bodies and minds with sleep.

Death in Buddhism is the equivalent of that refreshing sleep, except that instead of being between days, it is between lifetimes. Not that Buddhists look forward to death, they simply accept it as a part of the Wheel of Life, and necessary in the process of reincarnation.

There is a sobering thought however. As karma follows us from one lifetime to the next, creating effects as we go through our lives, it leaves us with the realisation that we have an eternal responsibility. Every thought, word and deed has been, and will be, forever stored in our karmic bank balance, to be cashed in at some point, when the circumstances are right.

So if you want to know what causes you made in the past, look at the effects you are seeing now. And if you want to see the effects the future holds, look at the causes you are making now.

Eternal responsibility is both a gift and a burden. Think about how your actions today, will affect your life tomorrow, or the next day, or at some time in the future, and use your wisdom, courage and compassion to make the right causes for the effects you would wish to see.

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