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Author Topic: Karma  (Read 1130 times)
WayBackHome83
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« on: January 04, 2011, 06:38:39 PM »

It has been interesting for me to read up on karma, as it is presented by Pabongka Rinpoche in “Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand”. Most people don’t have a proper understanding of karma. In fact, I’d say perhaps that only a few have a full understanding of it, since the rest of us continue to cultivate heaps of the bad kind and probably feel no real sense of urgency to look at our actions and make a genuine effort to stop.

Karma – it would seem – is a fairly basic concept. Through body, speech and mind, in this life and in all our previous lives, we have carried out and continue to carry out actions that produce and end result which adds to our piles of positive, neutral or negative karma. Essentially, virtuous actions lead ultimately to happiness through the accumulation of positive karma, and non-virtuous actions lead ultimately to suffering through the accumulation of negative karma. Neutral karma, I’m rather unsure of: it would appear that neutral karma has us sitting around for periods of time at a kind of spiritual bus stop, waiting for something to come along.

Rather than get bogged down in the theory of karma, I have been thinking about the seriousness of one’s Dharma practice with karma in mind. No doubt we will all be in agreement at least that to make any real spiritual progress, to obtain a higher rebirth and avoid the lower realms, a practitioner must strive to accumulate much positive karma. When you couple this idea with the fact that we really don’t have much time at all to practice Dharma in this lifetime, you can’t help but wonder why – even in recognition of our weak minds and human nature – we aren’t terrified into putting more of our time and commitment to the Dharma, and much less time into the inessential aspects of living.

I believe that the law of cause and effect might just be one of the most, if not the most important topics for meditation. The reason for this is that, everything we do has a consequence, and as Buddhists, the idea that karma rules over all (ordinary) beings should compel us to seek as much insight and understanding as we possibly can in the hope that we come to receive a complete realisation of karma. As with all things, there is a huge difference between intellectually knowing something and having a realisation of that same thing. For example, a person who has never burned their hand on a gas stove might intellectually know that to do so would be unwise, but a person who has actually had their hand burned on a gas stove with know completely and take greater care to avoid repeating the same careless mistake.

Therefore, it is essential for spiritual practitioners to put sincere and serious effort and commitment into their practice because otherwise, to carry on with any half-hearted commitment would be as ludicrous – in spiritual terms – as playing Russian roulette with half of the gun barrel loaded.

Kind regards,
Sandy  Smiley
« Last Edit: January 04, 2011, 06:48:30 PM by WayBackHome83 » Logged
Zenji
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« Reply #1 on: January 05, 2011, 02:18:29 PM »

I find the complaint from the western world is time, but if you make a little time, more will follow.

Admittedly, I have been slacking.  But, new year, new habits.  There is no other time but now.
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WayBackHome83
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« Reply #2 on: January 05, 2011, 03:24:41 PM »

Hey Zenji,

I'm not so sure it's exclusively a "Western" complaint; I think it's more an aspect of general human nature in the modern world. Centuries ago, it took days and months to travel somewhere when now, we can fly to the same destimation inside mere hours and yet, we complain about 40 minute delays Cheesy
With regards to practice and a lot of other things, it's very much the same: we expect results NOW and, in a lot of cases, with the least amount of effort required.

You are spot on - there is no other time but now. As Rinpoche says: "If not now - when?" Huh

Best wishes for you in 2011 and beyond, sir.

Kind regards,
Sandy Smiley
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unofficialsamurai
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« Reply #3 on: January 27, 2011, 09:18:45 PM »

I always thought of Karma as not something that comes back to us at a certain time, but I think of Karma as this:
In every moment we are the complete manifestation of all of our previous Karma.  which is why one must practice wholeheartedly in the present moment otherwise we will bring ourselves, with our Karmic baggage with us to the next moment. 

When we see that this very moment contains all of the teachings of the Buddha, and that this very moment is the only time period that actually exist, we can be freed from our Karma and become a Buddha at the very instance. 

I think positive, negative, neutral Karma are just words and cannot be understood intellectually but they can be experienced.

I think about Karma a lot so these are just some of my thoughts....

*Endless Bow*
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WayBackHome83
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« Reply #4 on: January 28, 2011, 09:18:43 AM »

Hey Samurai,

Ajahn Brahm has a great thought on karma. (Paraphrase): "Karma shouldn't be looked upon as 'what goes around comes around'. We can't change what we've done in the past. Rather, we should look on karma as 'OK, I am here in these circumstances - how am I moving forward?'"

I'd say karma can be intellectualised - we could probably discuss it for days, but what would be the point? I know more about karma than you, or you know more about karma than me - so what? Knowing something is useless without the ability and willingness to apply the knowledge to one's practice and every day living.
Meditation and contemplation on karma, in my opinion, is vital in order to realise karma because if we don't contemplate the law of cause and effect, how can we hope to break our negative actions? As you say, "one must practice wholeheartedly in the present moment." In order to practice in the present moment, it's beneficial to understand why we should do this, hence meditation and contemplation.

Thank you for your posts - it's enjoyable to read them; they are very thought-provoking.

Kind regards,
Sandy Smiley
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unofficialsamurai
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« Reply #5 on: January 28, 2011, 02:40:12 PM »

I bow to your wisdom  Thank you for your reply and I agree with it 100%

We can have  some understanding but in the end that understanding means nothing unless it can be applied to our practice.  I feel some people tend to blame karma for what happens to them and they use that as an excuse.

Thank you again.  Hope to have more exchanges with you in the future.

Deep Bow,
Rafael
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D.Ogyen
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« Reply #6 on: January 28, 2011, 04:26:28 PM »

Rather than get bogged down in the theory of karma, I have been thinking about the seriousness of one’s Dharma practice with karma in mind. No doubt we will all be in agreement at least that to make any real spiritual progress, to obtain a higher rebirth and avoid the lower realms, a practitioner must strive to accumulate much positive karma. When you couple this idea with the fact that we really don’t have much time at all to practice Dharma in this lifetime, you can’t help but wonder why – even in recognition of our weak minds and human nature – we aren’t terrified into putting more of our time and commitment to the Dharma, and much less time into the inessential aspects of living.

I believe that the law of cause and effect might just be one of the most, if not the most important topics for meditation. The reason for this is that, everything we do has a consequence, and as Buddhists, the idea that karma rules over all (ordinary) beings should compel us to seek as much insight and understanding as we possibly can in the hope that we come to receive a complete realisation of karma. As with all things, there is a huge difference between intellectually knowing something and having a realisation of that same thing. For example, a person who has never burned their hand on a gas stove might intellectually know that to do so would be unwise, but a person who has actually had their hand burned on a gas stove with know completely and take greater care to avoid repeating the same careless mistake.

Therefore, it is essential for spiritual practitioners to put sincere and serious effort and commitment into their practice because otherwise, to carry on with any half-hearted commitment would be as ludicrous – in spiritual terms – as playing Russian roulette with half of the gun barrel loaded.

Kind regards,
Sandy  Smiley

Sandy I COMPLETELY agree with this from direct experience.    I think there is a difference between thinking of karma and experiencing karma. 

Why aren't we terrified into straightening up?  I'm sure some are.  But the key is ignorance.  It struck me when my puppy kept chewing on electric cords, "Hey that must be what I look like to a Buddha when I'm doing things ignorantly that will cause me major heartache"...

It's important to keep a beat on the reality of these concepts and not leave them concepts.  I am not much of a Buddhist in many ways because I'm very ignorant of dharma.  But I can try to be the best human I can be because I'm quite familiar with this suffering heartache.  If I left karma as a concept to think about "later" I would probably be ok, just with more junk in my trunk. 

But when I look at every moment and remember I'm also the puppy chewing on the electric cord completely ignorant of such realities as alternating currents and voltage, I suddenly trust that I know I'm ignorant and that I can discover what that is.  This precious human birth is precious because we CAN have agency if we continue to forge a bond with our own "humanity" that quality of compassion and selflessness coupled with intelligent discerning. 

However, if you're not there yet, no amount of ritual will give you the understanding.  There has to be a point when the light goes on in your head, and I think looking at it not so much as present past and future, but just present.  The present moment is agency for others on behalf of self.  Carpe diem.  You can't get much more "Western" than the Romans.  And Horace was a great poet with strong dharmic tendencies, I feel.   This line has lasted thousands of years.  So I'm sure the concept of causality is actually built into Western thinking, it just took a different bent with Plato's (imo) erroneous conception of emotionality and intellect.  He really was the father of that schism culturally.

I have nothing terribly wise to say on the matter, those were just my two cents and what it made me think of.   I could not see a Buddhist practice without the essential contemplation of the 12 links and therefore a practice that doesn't account for karma. 

I think if anything karma is like a compass.  If life is really bad but you feel ok, you have decent karma, the reason is your mind is calm.  It took a long time to develop that tranquility, and the beauty of causality is that nothing begun is lost.  Ever. 

Interesting topic!! 
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« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2012, 08:15:21 PM »

Experience of Karma : face it, deal with it, go through it, and no matter whatever the outcome is, let it go!
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ethanhoo
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« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2012, 10:26:40 PM »

I find the complaint from the western world is time, but if you make a little time, more will follow.

Admittedly, I have been slacking.  But, new year, new habits.  There is no other time but now.

I'd say time is just an excuse. Decades ago, people would wash their clothes by hands, need to plow the field for food, traveling takes up a lot more time than present days. etc.

These days people would just put their clothes into the washing machine, buy their food from grocers and cook (some don't even cook, just take out or dine somewhere), and with cars we are traveling a lot faster than before.

So why do people complain about lack of time? It's just an excuse 'cause we're all caught up and attached to other attachments in other forms in these days, be it Internet, TV, movies, etc.
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