Third reminder – Karma – DC Khandro Rinpoche study group – 4/7/11

The basic definition of karma from Patrul Rinpoche’s Words of My Perfect Teacher is that one’s present condition is the result of former actions.  Present actions lead to future conditions. Karma is the impulse that drives the action. Some people say the karma is the actual effect, but this is not so.

Karma is something that follows consciousness after death. Karma is never the action, it is the impulse that takes us to the action. Impulse is what draws us towards a specific action. The intention is the wish to do something with that action. Impulse and intention are always related.

Karma is the 10 virtuous actions and the 10 un-virtuous actions. Karma is never something that you leave. It’s almost like your body; it is a structure. This is a new structure.

The karmic fruition of virtuous and unvirtuous actions is never lost.
From this infallible path [truth] of cause and effect
Appears the phenomena of samsara and nirvana.
We understand that one’s actions ripen upon oneself.
Yet, we are unable to engage and disengage in the appropriate manner.
Guru, embodiment of the Three Jewels, look upon us with compassion.
Bestow your blessings so that we cultivate virtue and abandon unvirtuous deeds.

1)      Avoid taking life. We could talk about quite a bit. It is fun to read Patrul Rinpoche’s time, when people were killing goats to feed to the monks. Most of us don’t have monks out back. Killing of animals for food is removed several steps for us.  For us, this one is walking on the sidewalk instead of grass kills fewer bugs. Killing other beings isn’t as obvious, or aware. There is a level of obliviousness.   Action, even if unintentional, is bad.   There is the karma of an action, and the karma of intention.  If I push the table, the table slides. But if I push the table in anger, the table is moved, and I have damaged my mind.  Even if you have killed someone accidentally, there will be effects.   If you were killing to feed a monk, you don’t have the full karma of the killing.   Do you have the karma of the killing?    Acknowledge that the karma is intertwined.       I listened to Robert Thurman talks about the relative and absolute self.  On an absolute level, you can’t do an action on another person. On that level, on who is that imprinting occuring?   On the absolute level, enlightenment is all about freedom from karma.  Ruth said there is such an association between “freedom” and “rebellion”.   Jennifer  karma meaning ‘action” – we look at it as positive and negative- both tether you to samsara- yet – good deeds tether you.  Yet when you are enlightened, you are not creating Samsaric seeds.      Maybe you are doing things to benefit others.    There are footnotes – there is clarity – without it, your intention is good, but the effect is not what was intended. We don’t have the wisdom.  The freer you are, the bigger your vision.   You can see the effects.   Khandro Rinpoche said “meditation is more important than action – in the long run, it will make you kinder- steer the reins of your own karma – overcome your own karma, we are otherwise distracted. “   Doing good deeds in an ignorant way –    also, do you want to help people in this life, or much bigger.   Bob Thurman – people murder someone to get away from them, but will see them again and again in life after life, due to connection.

2)      Taking what is not given.   By force, seizing power – talking by stealth, or taking by trickery – like a business deal.  “Nothing could be more effective than trade and commerce for pilling up harmful actions and bringing yourself ruin. “ – Patrul Rinpoche also talks about also mental taking – taking candy from a baby and enjoying it.  Jennifer per-Buddhist – being nice to someone to try to get them to be nice to me.  Focusing on body-    stinginess also goes in this.

3)      Sexual misconduct.  Essentially – Dzigar Kongtrol said some things are more Tibetan cultural – sex outside, for example.  We westerners bring theistic attitudes- we want to treat it like the bible – we try to treat it – we need to learn from it, but it is his world.    A lot about honesty –

4)      Lying. – tricky- it can get really subtle. Typical pleasantries –“I’m fine” when you feel terrible.  Bring mindfulness to it.   Ex. How did you like so and so – “I really couldn’t say”. J  Come up with words that are kind and not a lie.  If you lie to protect someone from getting killed.  Plus, if you do a negative action, and can go to the hell realm – but you might experience it differently – if you experience it as a practitioner, it’s not such a big deal.  You either experience it like a little child, or you experience it as a practitioner without the attachment.   The “how are you” – you could give them the gift of authenticity.   It’s disarming when someone is honest – “I’ve got some stuff going on, but I’m sure it will work out somehow” – or “I under slept”.    As you evolve as a practitioner – more bad things will happen to you – karma ripens faster – you might experience more obstacles.    Toltec- we been filling ourselves with oil – oil and water mix, oil floats to the top.  Let it out and let it go.    Holistic medicine – first feel worse before you feel better.   – what can happen – obstacles- on the brink of long retreat- lot of obstacles can come up – some say it’s external forces – Maras stopping steps along path- like the daughters of Mara coming up –   also some people have experience of going on retreat and getting sick . The slowing down.   The speech thing is so big – an off-hand comment can be so hurtful.

5)      Divisive speech

6)      Harsh words

7)      Senseless talk

8)      Covetousness

9)      Wishing harm on others

10)   Wrong views  – These are views that actions create no karmic effects, and views of eternalism and nihilism. There used to be Tirthikas, who were said to 360 false views and 62 wrong views.  Eternalism can be subtle too. The Mind-only school is seen as eternalist in this view.   “Wrong view- right view” – very jargon – wrong view- thinking “I am separate from everything else”.  – Ruth – that is what works for me.  Right view- interdependent origination.   As Americans, we have a lot attached to “right and wrong” that was not part of India, dharma, etc.  It’s our puritan/ Victorian overlay.

Short story: don’t do it,

Why is it the third reminder? How does it relate to the first two?  We have to start with precious human birth; otherwise it’s all too depressing.  Not all humans have precious human life –we have so much to be grateful for – have interconnection of gratitude and humility.

How karma relates to impermanence – everything changes, and karma is why it changes.

So for us in our daily lives, what is the best way to do this?? Being gentle with ourselves, and kinder to ourselves.   Always have that – then mindfulness of body, speech and mind.   We are hard on ourselves- we beat ourselves up for something,

The story of the monk that picked a woman up and carried her over a stream.

Positive- the inverse of the negative.

Unconditional vow to not commit 10 non-virtuous actions.

1)      Renounce killing, protect beings ,

2)      Do not take what is not offered, Practice generosity – giving expecting something in return is not generosity. It is ordinary trade.

3)      Avoid sexual misconduct and follow rules of discipline.


1 Comment

Filed under DC Khandro Rinpoche study group, Dharma teachings

One response to “Third reminder – Karma – DC Khandro Rinpoche study group – 4/7/11

  1. Jeff Weege

    Thanks for posting these notes.
    They have been very useful for me .

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