Someone asked me recently
I would like to ask, do in Buddhist believe in Destiny?
Do our life are destined or planned?
Maybe for example are you destined to be a Monk?
Or some people are destined to be a great man, or certain people are destined to just suffer for his whole life?
Buddhist do not believe in Destiny / Fate, at least not in a fixed one, nor do we believe that our life is totally random, nor determined by some divine being or power.
Our life is a combination of past actions and present conditions, and how we think, speak and act now affects our life moving forward.
Am I destined to be a monk? Hmmm … conditions led to me becoming a monk, but it is in a way not fixed. But the inclinations were stronger than most people I guess.
No one is destined to suffer, but we do sometimes get stuck in mindsets or wallow in our own misery, refusing to snap out of it. If that duration is long enough, it may last several days, weeks or even years.
From the view point of a stranger looking at such a person in a year, it may seem like he is ‘destined’ to suffer for that one year. But one can change. How easy it is depends on how willing we are to give up mindsets, cravings and attachments that are hurting or harming us.
So for some, it may seem to be ‘destined’ while for others not so.
But there are also external conditions, such as when a person is born in a war torn country. The external situation is not necessarily due to him, but affects him directly, sometimes fatally. In such a case, the general suffering or happiness level is somewhat ‘fixed’, unless something drastic happen in a large scale.
But even then, a person with a positive and wholesome mindset can be relatively ‘happier’ than one who is negative or pessimistic.
As Buddhists, we should try to help improve those factors for others and try not to make it worse.