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    Modern version of the Eternal Knot by Charles Huttner
A View on Buddhism
Teksty w jezyku polskim     Deutsche Seiten

Quotations on:
Karma, cause and result

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Once you know the nature of anger and joy is empty and you let them go, you free yourself from karma.
Still others commit all sorts of evil deeds, claiming karma doesn't exist.
They erroneously maintain that since everything is empty, committing evil isn't wrong.
Such persons fall into a hell of endless darkness with no hope of release.
Those who are wise hold no such conception.
Bodhidharma

The Buddha

Mind precedes all mental states.
Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. 
If with an impure mind a person speaks or acts, 
suffering follows him like the wheel that follows the foot of the ox.

Mind precedes all mental states. 
Mind is their chief; they are all mind-wrought. 
If with a pure mind a person speaks or acts, 
happiness follows him like his never-departing shadow. 
Dhammapada verse 1 and 2

It is intention [or volition; instead of just an action], monks, that I call kamma [karma],
for having willed, one performs an action through body, speech and mind.

I am the owner of my karma .
I inherit my karma.
I am born of my karma.
I am related to my karma.
I live supported by my karma.
Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit.
Anguttara Nikaya v.57 - Upajjhatthana Sutta

Verily, an evil deed committed does not immediately bear fruit, just as milk curdles not at once;
smouldering, it follows the fool like fire covered with ashes.
To his ruin, indeed, the fool gains knowledge and fame;
they destroy his bright lot and cleave his head.
Dhammapada v. 72 and 73

Do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small;
however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain.

 

His Holiness the Dalai Lama

If you try to subdue your selfish motives—anger and so forth—and develop more kindness and compassion for others, ultimately you yourself will benefit more than you would otherwise. So sometimes I say that the wise selfish person should practice this way. Foolish selfish people are always thinking of themselves, and the result is negative. Wise selfish people think of others, help others as much as they can, and the result is that they too receive benefit.

The universe that we inhabit and our shared perception of it are the results of a common karma. Likewise, the places that we will experience in future rebirths will be the outcome of the karma that we share with the other beings living there. The actions of each of us, human or nonhuman, have contributed to the world in which we live. We all have a common responsibility for our world and are connected with everything in it.

We have the ability and the responsibility to choose to direct our actions on a virtuous path.
When we weigh a particular act, to determine whether it is moral or spiritual, our criterion should be the quality of our motivation. When someone deliberately makes a resolution not to steal, if he or she is simply motivated by the fear of getting caught and being punished by the law, it is doubtful whether engaging in that resolution is a moral act, since moral considerations have not dictated his or her choice.
In another instance, the resolution not to steal may be motivated by fear of public opinion: "What would my friends and neighbors think? All would scorn me. I would become an outcast." Though the act of making a resolution may be positive, whether it is a moral act is again doubtful.
Now, the same resolution may be taken with the thought "If I steal, I am acting against the divine law of God." Someone else may think, "Stealing is nonvirtuous; it causes others to suffer." When such considerations motivate one, the resolution is moral or ethical; it is also spiritual. In the practice of Buddha's doctrine, if your underlying consideration in avoiding a nonvirtuous act is that it would thwart your attainment of a state transcending sorrow, such restraint is a moral act.
An Open Heart: Practicing Compassion in Everyday Life

Sometimes we face certain situations where, although we have done something good for others, we may not be able to reap the consequences within this lifetime. When we are talking about the law of causality, we are not limiting its operation to the confines of this life alone, but rather are taking into account both this lifetime and the future. Occasionally people who do not have a proper knowledge of karmic law say that such and such a person is very kind and religious and so forth, but he always has problems, whereas so and so is very deceptive and negative, frequently indulging in negative actions, but always seems very successful. Such people may think that there is no karmic law at all. There are others who go to the other extreme and become superstitious, thinking that when someone experiences illness, it is all due to harmful spirits.... It is also possible for very negative people to experience their positive karma ripening immaturely due to the very strong force of negative actions, and thus to exhaust the potentials of their virtuous actions. They experience a relative success in this life, while others who are very serious practitioners, as a result of the force of their practices, bring upon this lifetime the consequences of karmic actions which might have otherwise thrown them into rebirth in lower realms of existence in the future. As a result, they experience more problems and illnesses in this life.
Just resolving not to indulge in a negative action is not enough. It should be accompanied by the understanding that it is for your own benefit and sake that you must live with awareness of the law of karma: if you have accumulated the causes, you will have to face the consequences; if you desire a particular effect, you can work to produce its causes; and if you do not desire a certain consequence, you can avoid engaging in actions that will bring it about. You should reflect upon the law of causality as follows: that there is a definite relation between causes and effects; that actions not committed will never produce an effect; and that once committed, actions will never lose their potentiality simply through the passage of time. So, if you wish to enjoy desirable fruits, you should work for the accumulation of the appropriate causes, and if you want to avoid undesirable consequences, you should not accumulate their causes.... [Karma] is a natural law like any other natural law.
Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation

Some people misunderstand the concept of karma. They take the Buddha's doctrine of the law of causality to mean that all is predetermined, that there is nothing the individual can do.
This is a total misunderstanding.
The very term karma or action is a term of active force, which indicates that future events are within your hands. Since action is a phenomenon that is committed by a person, a living being, it is within your own hands whether or not you engage in actions.
Path to Bliss: A Practical Guide to Stages of Meditation

Sometimes, you may encounter situations that require strong countermeasures. I believe, however, that you can take a strong stand and even take strong countermeasures out of a feeling of compassion, or a sense of concern for the other, rather than out of anger. One of the reasons why there is a need to adopt a very strong countermeasure against someone is that if you let it pass--whatever the harm or the crime that is being perpetrated against you--then there is a danger of that person's habituating in a very negative way, which, in reality, will cause that individual's own downfall and is very destructive in the long run for the individual himself or herself. Therefore a strong countermeasure is necessary, but with this thought in mind, you can do it out of compassion and concern for that individual.
The Art of Happiness: A Handbook

Though my view is as spacious as the sky,
My actions and respect for cause and effect are as fine as grains of flour.
Padmasambhava

Do not take lightly small misdeeds
Believing they can do no harm
Even a tiny spark of fire
Can set alight a mountain of hay.

Do not take lightly small good deeds
Believing they can hardly help
For drops of water one by one
In time can fill a giant pot.

Patrul Rinpoche

A conventional enemy may harm us, but patience and a refusal to retaliate can bring us benefit both in this life and in the future. However, tolerance towards [our own] hostile disturbing emotions and attempts at peaceful coexistence with them will never bring us any reward. They will do us nothing but harm if we don't take steps to drive them out. No conventional enemy can do us such harm. The most an ordinary enemy can do is to defeat us for a short space of time or destroy us in this life, but the disturbing emotions will insure our misery for many lifetimes to come.
Geshe Sonam Rinchen from 'Eight Verses for Training the Mind: An Oral Teaching'

Sogyal Rinpoche, from Glimpse of the Day

Whatever we have done with our lives makes us what we are when we die. And everything, absolutely everything, counts.

Karma means that whatever we do, with our bodies, speech, or minds, will have a corresponding result. Each action, even the smallest, is pregnant with its consequences. It is said by the masters that even a little poison can cause death, and even a tiny seed can become a huge tree. And as Buddha said: “Do not overlook negative actions merely because they are small; however small a spark may be, it can burn down a haystack as big as a mountain.”
Similarly he said: “Do not overlook tiny good actions, thinking they are of no benefit even tiny drops of water in the end will fill a huge vessel.”
Karma does not decay like external things, or ever become inoperative. It cannot be destroyed “by time, fire, or water.” Its power will never disappear, until it is ripened.

Is karma really so hard to see in operation? Don’t we only have to look back at our own lives to see clearly the consequences of some of our actions? When we upset or hurt someone, didn’t it rebound on us? Were we not left with a bitter and dark memory, and the shadows of self-disgust? That memory and those shadows are karma. Our habits and our fears too are also due to karma, the results of our past actions, words, and thoughts. If we examine our actions, and become really mindful of them, we will see that there is a pattern that repeats itself. Whenever we act negatively, it leads to pain and suffering; whenever we act positively, it eventually results in happiness.

Whatever is happening to us now mirrors our past karma. If we know that, and know it truly, whenever suffering and difficulties befall us, we do not view them particularly as failures or catastrophes, or see suffering as a punishment in any way. Nor do we blame ourselves or indulge in self-hatred.
We see the pain we are going through as the completion of the effects, the fruition, of a past karma. Tibetans say that suffering is “a broom that sweeps away all our negative karma.” We can even be grateful that one karma is coming to an end. We know that “good fortune,” a fruit of good karma, may soon pass if we do not use it well, and that “misfortune,” the result of negative karma, may in fact be giving us a marvelous opportunity to evolve.

There is a danger, called in the tradition “losing the Action in the View.” A teaching as high and powerful as Dzogchen entails an extreme risk. Deluding yourself that you are liberating your thoughts and emotions, when in fact you are nowhere near able to do so, and thinking that you are acting with the spontaneity of a true Dzogchen yogi, all you are doing is simply accumulating vast amounts of negative karma. As Padmasambhava says, and this is the attitude we all should have:
Though my View is as spacious as the sky,
My actions and respect for cause and effect are as fine as grains of flour.

Although the results of our actions may not have matured yet, they will inevitably ripen, given the right conditions. Usually we forget what we do, and it is only long afterward that the results catch up with us. By then we are unable to connect them with their causes. “Imagine an eagle,” says Jikmé Lingpa.” It is flying, high in the sky. It casts no shadow. Nothing shows that it is there. Then suddenly it spies its prey, dives, and swoops to the ground. And as it drops, its menacing shadow appears.”

Karma is not fatalistic or predetermined. Karma means our ability to create and to change. It is creative because we can determine how and why we act. We can change. The future is in our hands, and in the hands of our heart.
Buddha said:
"Karma creates all, like an artist,
Karma composes, like a dancer."

As Buddha said: “What you are is what you have been, what you will be is what you do now.” Padmasambhava went further: “If you want to know your past life, look into your present condition; if you want to know your future life, look at your present actions.”

...everything is at risk in how we live now at this very moment: How we live now can cost us our entire future.


If you see that other people are suffering, and you're in a position to help, you focus not on their karmic past but your karmic opportunity in the present: Someday you may find yourself in the same predicament that they're in now, so here's your opportunity to act in the way you'd like them to act toward you when that day comes.
Thanissaro Bhikkhu

Even in one hundred eons, karma does not perish.
When the circumstances and the time arrive, beings surely feel its effects.
TsongKhaPa in Lam Rim Chen Mo: The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment

If you understand the intimate relationship between actions and their consequences for yourself and others, you will automatically be careful and conscientious. This is what it means to have self-awareness.
Lama Yeshe - Wisdom Energy

The best solution to purify the karma of having depression is to do the purification practice of Vajrasattva. As long as the karma isn't purified, you'll continue to suffer from depression again in future lives.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche

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Last updated: November 21, 2009