Teachings on Karma (Audio and Unedited Transcripts)

By Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Maitreya Instituut, Emst, Netherlands (Archive #144)

Teachings on karma, excerpted from a lam-rim course led by Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche at Maitreya Instituut, Emst, in August 1990.

Click on the audio links to listen to each section and read along with the unedited transcript.

Karma in Everyday Life

[Shakyamuni Buddha prayer]

Do not commit any unwholesome actions,
Enjoy accumulating the perfect virtue,
Subdue one's own mind:
This is the teaching of the Buddha.

Look at oneself and the action, object, enemy, friend, stranger, one's own body, possessions, all these causative phenomena are transitory, changing within every second by cause and conditions. These things even do not last within a second, they change and that these causative phenomena can be stopped at any time. Therefore, there is no basis for the dissatisfied mind of desire on these objects and anger and wrong conception of permanence [long pause]. Not knowing, not seeing, the reality and apprehending the appearance of permanence that is true, so it's a type of ignorance.

And subject, action, all these objects in reality they are completely empty, their very nature is completely empty, emptiness only, tong pa nyi. Not having true existence, their nature do not have true existence as it appears. So, it is contradictory, what appears and what it is in reality, the way things appear to us and the way it exists, how things are, their nature, it is contradictory.

So, therefore, for our mind all these things are false, why? That is not the way things exist, that is not the way how things are. What our minds thinks is false, their existence is false. All these things are empty, so therefore again there is no basis, there's no worth, valid, to rise anger and to have dissatisfied mind, desire, there is no meaning in that, there is no meaning for that. Therefore, when we think of the reality, when our mind is aware of the reality of things, when we live our life with a mind that is aware of reality, down on the ground or down on the earth, putting it this way, that down on the earth, living the life with the mind that is aware of the reality of things, so there is joy, there is peace in the heart. Confusion is released, oneself is released from confusion, relieved from the confusion, during that time, while one is aware of the reality of things. When the mind is distracted by the hallucination, when the mind is caught up with the hallucination, truly existent appearance, permanence, at that time, life is not on the earth, not on the ground, it is spaced out, it is in hallucination. So that time life is suffering. [pause]

So there is no purpose at all to have this ignorance, to have this concept of true existence, there is no purpose at all, there is no use, there is no benefit to keep this, to follow this. It's only the door for the whole entire sufferings of samsara, the root of the whole entire sufferings of samsara. No benefit, only harm one receives from this ignorance, from this hallucinated mind. In other words, when the life is hallucinated by following the ignorance of true existence, being caught with the hallucination of true existence, at that time, during those times of life it is not dealing with reality, you are not living the life according to reality. So, with this awareness of emptiness, self, action, object, everything then, with that awareness meditate on the Essence of Wisdom.

[Recitation of the Heart Sutra etc.]

[Tape change]

[Preliminary prayers cont'd]

At any rate I must achieve the state of omniscient mind for the same of all the kind mother sentient beings who have been kind to me, therefore, I am going to listen to the Dharma, the graduated path to enlightenment, so please listen to the teaching well by generating, clarifying the motivation of bodhicitta and also the righteous conduct of listening to the teachings according to the traditional practice of the lineage lamas. [pause]

The listening subject that is the teaching of the graduated path to enlightenment, the Jampel She Lung. So, in order to first of all, happiness and suffering come from the mind, so even that, all one's own happiness and suffering came from one's own mind, not somebody's mind, not somebody whose mental continuum is separate from your, from one's own mental continuum, not that way, not some other being who is separate from you. It comes from one's own mind.Therefore, in order to eliminate sufferings, to obtain happiness life to life, temporary and especially ultimate happiness in order to obtain these, either for self or for other sentient beings, to be able to do this, to have complete change, that dependent on understanding how all these things come from one's own mind.

Therefore it is very important to meditate on karma in everyday life, to remember and to practice awareness, so usually life, to live the life on the basis of this awareness, so that is extremely important thing. That itself is fundamental solution for the daily life problems, being aware of this, thinking inside and not, mind, one's own mental continuum not facing outside, facing inside. Not turning outside but turning inside. This is the most important practice of Dharma and only in this way can we make the life better, have less problems and more happiness in life. Only in this way are there opportunities to eliminate completely, to cease completely, to end completely all the sufferings and to have everlasting happiness, ultimate happiness, only this way there is opportunity, only this way it happens. If the mind is only facing outside, only turning outside, only looking outside, only seeking from outside, then it doesn't happen. In that way there is no opportunity, it is the wrong way, because the evolution is not that way, it's not coming from outside, it is coming from the mind.

So, even though the karma is nothing new to hear, nothing new words to hear but it is extremely important for the mind to become familiar, to reflect, to meditate, to think of this deeply, so that one feels the karma, when one talks about karma in the mouth, one feel the karma in the heart, the action and result. So it does not become just words. And then in this way, the mind becomes mixed with Dharma, mind becomes the Dharma, one's own mental continuum become Dharma by reflecting on the karma it makes the mind, the heart become the Dharma [pause] rather the Dharma what one studied, understood, it stays only in the brain or intellect, only in the heard. So then in this way one can bring that Dharma in the heart and that way then the definite faith can rise in the karma and then that becomes the foundation, that is the inspiration, the couragement, strength, everything, so that gives couragement, capacity, to be able to abandon, not only the heavy negative karmas, but also even the subtle ones, small ones, even one can abandon. There is inspiration or couragement to abandon even the small ones, like the heavy ones. And one is able to practice, in regards virtue one is able to practice the extensive virtues, even the small ones one is able to practice, so small or great, whatever, one is able to practice. So in this way, then there's development in the life, in the mind. And in this way one does not create obstacles, so that is how there's development of one's own mind, there is achievement, accomplishment.

So the next, the action of the telling lie, so that which is completed with the base and the attitude, action, goal, that it has four suffering results. So the ripening aspect result in the lower realms, then after some time, even one is born in the human realm then one experiences the three types of sufferings, experiencing the result similar to the cause, then many people criticize you, many people put you down, many people cheat you, they tell lies to you, so many people criticizing and cheating. So again, when somebody cheats us, the reality, according to the evolution from where this person is cheating oneself, from where this came? It came from one's own mind, one's own karma, the negative karma told lie in the past, told lies other sentient beings. So, if one didn't do that, there is no reason at all, there's no cause at all, the other person having attitude to cheat you, that is not the cause, that is the condition, other person's mind to cheat is not the cause that you are being cheated, it is not the cause of your own experience of being cheated that is condition. So, without, if one hasn't created that karma in the past, there is no reason at all why this person think to cheat you, why this sentient beings cheats you, there's no reason at all. Something has to make that person to think that way, something makes the person to think to do.

So, what makes to think, what makes the person, even that is done out of intention, what makes the person to think that way is by, the reason is why this particular sentient being is cheating you? Why this? Among all these, why this? Because there is some relation in the past with you, there has been contact in the past, so contact one cheated that sentient being.

So, this karma in the past of cheating others, this has left an imprint on the mind, on the mental continuum, and now this imprint projects that, this imprint left on the mental continuum in the past by cheating others now this what you see now in our life what we see, somebody cheating you is creation of this imprint, it's the production of this imprint. This appearance so now even this, now here in this case, even this is more important to relate to view of your mind, because somebody cheating you is view of your own mind, it is an appearance, appearance is to do with the mind, it has to relate to somebody's mind, so it's your mind; your appearance is a production of your own mind. As I mentioned yesterday, the appearance, what kind of appearance, pure or impure dependent on how the mind, you the perceiver's mind, whether it is pure or impure. So therefore is a commentary of your own mind, is a description of the quality of one's own mind. So the imprint was left on the consciousness in the past, by telling lie, so here in this case, somebody cheating you, criticizing you, so the imprint that is left on the mental continuum consciousness, now nothing was done, no workshop was done from that no purification is done, it is not purified, that imprint that was left, so that negative karma, not purified, nothing is done with this imprint, it is not cleaned away by generating the remedy path through the methods of purification, nothing is done, nothing touched to that, so, in this life, the imprint projected this appearance. So it is important even more to relate to your own appearance, so this way you can see, this way is much clearer in the sense of karma, in the sense of how things work, how karma produces the result, happiness or suffering the evolution.

So, then appearance, so due to what type of appearance, what type of object that is projected, beautiful or ugly, by meeting these objects, by seeing these appearance, pleasant feeling, unpleasant feeling rises so that which is called suffering and happiness. So now if all the karmas are related, anybody who gives harm to you, that has to do with the past contact, some contact, but harm, negative contact or having given harm to that person however creates negative karma in the relationship with that sentient being. So this life, that person, that sentient being is giving harm to you.

[Tape change]

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