Thursday, 21 August 2014

Karma and Its Results

"The Subduer said all the unbearable suffering of bad rebirths is the fruit of wrongdoing.  Therefore, even at the cost of your life, Never do wrong - This is the practice of bodhisattvas."

Don’t Create the Cause of Suffering - This verse speaks about the importance of observing the law of karma and its effects.  The Subduer — that is, the Buddha — said that all the suffering of unfortunate rebirths such as those in the hells, as hungry ghosts and as animals are the result of our own destructive actions or karma.  In other words, we are responsible for what happens to us in our lives. We are the ones who create the causes for our experiences.

Certain actions are considered negative karma because they result in pain and suffering.  These actions are not inherently bad or sinful.  They aren’t negative because the Buddha said not to do them.  Rather they are considered negative because they lead to suffering.  Similarly, positive or constructive karma is so called because it leads to the long-term result of happiness.  These actions are not inherently good; they become constructive due to bringing about desirable results. 

The verse is saying, “If you don’t like lower rebirths, then don’t create the cause for them; that is, abandon destructive actions.”  These include physical actions such as killing, stealing and unwise or unkind sexual behaviour; verbal actions such as lying, speech that creates disharmony, harsh speech and idle talk; and mental non-virtues, such as covetousness, ill-will or maliciousness and wrong views. 

When we get tangled up in these unwholesome actions of body, speech and mind, they leave negative seeds and latencies on our mindstream. Complete destructive actions — that is, we recognised the object, had a motivation influenced by mental afflictions, did the action, and completion of the action — become potent karmic seeds that bring about unfortunate rebirths. Instead of creating actions that project unfortunate rebirths, let’s engage in actions of generosity, ethical conduct, and patience motivated by love and compassion which propel fortunate rebirths. 

In short, if we don’t like unpleasant experiences, don’t create the causes for them by doing the ten nonvirtues. Here, too, the Bodhisattva Togmay Zangpo emphasizes that we are the ones who are responsible for our lives.  Feeling sorry for ourselves or blaming others for our problems doesn’t make much sense. 

Extracts from the book "The 37 Practices of Bodhisattvas"

Copyrighted & Published by:
Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery

Gratefully acknowledges the permission kindly given by the publisher, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery to share the above on this blog