Reply To: What are the similarities between the Law of Attraction and Buddha Dhamma?


Upekkha brings out a key misconception (for a lack of a better word) about Buddha Dhamma. The Buddha described many phenomena that are being “re-discovered” now. He used a different language (Pali) and it is a “deeper language” than English or any other language.

The key issue is that we need to understand some key Pali words like sankhara, vinnana in order to describe phenomena in a better way. I have been trying to explain such words throughout the website.

upekkha wrote: “I’m not knowledgeable about the Law of Attraction(LoA), but I know that the main component of it is the idea of positive/negative thoughts impacting one’s reality. For example, if one constantly thinks about getting a raise, then the chance of that happening increases.”

What I have highlighted in upekkha’s statement is what Paticca Samuppada explains. It is just that the Buddha used words like sankhara and vinnana. Furthermore, he was focused on explaining how immoral deeds leads to bad consequences.
– Still, if one understands the basic Paticca Samuppada process (that means first understanding what is meant by sankhara, vinnana, etc), then one can easily explain mundane applications like the one upekkha used above.

So, let us take upekkha’s example and discuss it: “For example, if one constantly thinks about getting a raise, then the chance of that happening increases.” Let us see how this can be explained with Paticca Samuppada.

If one is constantly thinking about getting a raise, that means one is generating a lot of vaci sankhara (conscious thoughts.) He/she will also (hopefully) be DOING THINGS that will help to get a raise. Such bodily actions (say, being more productive at work) involves more thinking with kaya sankhara.

Now, the hope for a raise is an expectation. It is a vinnana.
– The more sankhara that one generates towards that goal, the stronger that vinnana will become. That is “sankhara paccaya vinnana.”

That leads to “vinnana paccaya namarupa.” Such “namarupa” are the associated visualizations that he/she makes in the mind. For example, if one is thinking about coming up with a better product, for example, one would be visualizing that improved process.

I will leave you to try to figure out the rest of the process and will suggest some posts below. But eventually, one is likely to be rewarded with the raise (that is bhava and jati.)

But, this particular process will not lead to “dukkha, domanassa…” unless one did an immoral thing along the way.

Sankhāra – What It Really Means
Viññāna – What It Really Means

Then one should read the posts in this series:
Paticca Samuppada in Plain English
– The first three posts are not needed for this particular example.

Please feel free to ask questions. But I hope you will spend some time reading the suggested posts and thinking about this.
– In fact, such examples may help clarify the basic ideas behind Paticca Samuppada for many. So, I encourage everyone to spend time doing this analysis. Hopefully, there will be further questions that can help clarify relevant issues.

The following post is an overview of Paticca Samuppada, and can direct one to relevant posts on various steps involved:
Paticca Samuppāda – Overview

It would require spending time but it will be very much worthwhile.