alan wrote:...Is how to explain the loss of innocent life.
Wondering how you would answer that question if presented by a friend who was not Buddhist.
Have to admit, I can't. Any ideas on this?
It depends on how the life was lost... I think there are many different possible ways to answer this, or maybe even a few better ways to re-frame the question.
If the person was murdered by someone, for example, I would also try to think about why that someone killed... just to widen the perspective a bit.
If the person died of cancer, I would think about why there's cancer, and why would that cause the death. Or even think about why we're fixated on the cancer.
I think that to fixate on just one point (as if there's such a thing, in anicca), like a specific person, or a specific thing, would be to miss a lot of things.
Of course... I wouldn't say that in this specific way to someone who wasn't even familiar with it... we just need to learn how to discuss it without relying on the Dhamma.
I practice quite a bit with people who practice Thich Nhat Hanh's teachings... we have a "dharma sharing," and one of the guidelines for it is that we shouldn't speak theoretically about something... we're just supposed to share from our experiences, and also we're just supposed to listen to other person's share without comments. I think that this helps quite a lot with learning how to apply the dharma in a real way.
If the person brought up the kamma, you can always just listen to what he/she thinks about it, be a support, and then if we can, help him/her out with adjusting his/her own views of it towards something which is more beneficial.
We don't need to remain attached with our own ideas, which I think could be a cause for that kind of choking.