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.

The Results of Karma

So if you are showing a movie, or something, TV or something ys if the film is not a good quality, worn, finished, old, something like that, then you don't see clear there. But if it is done very well, good quality, then good there also, on the screen or on the TV, so like that.

In this way one find nothing to blame outside, the whole thing tells, because you have done good, you generated positive attitude, good karma, so you are experiencing this, you having this positive appearance, good, healthy environment, enjoyment. Then one type of appearance tells, because you generated the impure mind, the negative thoughts, negative karma, so you are having this unhealthy environment, these problems. Everything around us, everything what we experience is telling us like this, describing the mind, describing our actions and mind.

Then, [pause] so this possessed result, or maybe not, [pause] result of the owner, however, it might be like this, that to do with the place, the environment now these things, whether it is a pleasant one, good one or whether it's a bad one, however, it is an appearance, quality of the appearance, when we talk about healthy, unhealthy environment, or object, this is bad and good, all these things, in the reality we are describing the quality of the appearance of your own mind. Now this appearance or this view is possessed by you. It is possessed by you. The creator of this or possessor of this is oneself. So maybe it might have meaning like that. Then, the negative karma, stealing, done out of the disturbing thoughts, self-cherishing, which become negative karma, and that is completed, so again this has four suffering results. So the ripened aspect result in the lower realms. Experiencing the result similar to the cause, that is poverty, having a lot of difficulty in the means of living, poverty, no possessions, no means of living, or shortage, then even one has possessions, but one has to share with others, you don't own completely, you do not have freedom to use completely by yourself. You have to share with others. Also, other people steal away your belongings, so those are the experiencing the result which is similar to the cause. Then, the other one, these things, other people steal away, even other people don't steal somehow even you get the material, the possession it is broken, somehow it does not last long. There is obstacle, unable to have it for a long time, unable to enjoy that.

Then other one is creating the result similar to the cause. Even after some time even one is born as human being, then, the, experiencing these three problems of negative karma of stealing. So, experiencing the result similar to the cause, then creating the result similar to the cause. Doing the action of stealing again and again, repeating again. Then, the other one is the environment, to do with the place, so hailstorms, famines, water flood, all these things, the crops, even you plant it they don't grow well, bad quality, grow very little, or they get eaten by worms, or by insects, the creatures, lot of obstacles in the means of living, the enjoyments, so that is the possessed result.

Usually you see, places where there is a lot of hail-storms or famine, these kind of problems, it is definite there is a lot of stealing. So it is like this [pause] so the past karma from past lives, that karma creates like this, then this life experiencing possessed result of stealing, then again one does the action creating the result similar to the cause, stealing again, also these things can become condition for that. First of all, there is the result from past karma, stealing, creating the result similar to the cause, doing it again. Then also possible that this possessed result becomes a condition for that, that also can happen. It goes on and on like this. The people create negative karma, stealing, then that produces the same problem. Again famine, water flood, hail-storms, all these things, drought, no rain even you plant it, not growing, so these things, again that happens so the problem goes on and on. Those places like South Africa for example, even though so many countries helping for years and years, sending a lot of food, helping, but it is so difficult to really improve the environment, to change, to stop all these obstacles, earthquake this and that, all this drought, all these things ys you need to stop these things, all the obstacles for growing things, enjoyment the crops, you know, growing well, receiving rain in the time, protein, healthy, all these things. Even the country has all the machines to do that, to work the fields, all the facilities, that does not necessarily mean that the environment, the enjoyment, the economics, will be rich all the time, will be always successful, it doesn't mean that.

So, therefore, still these do not become the answer for the success, so there is something else for the success, there is some other answer, there is some other solution. However, why it is so difficult, this environment, this famine, drought, these things happening again and again, all these problems, so continuing the problem, experiencing the problem again and again. That is because that their negative karma of stealing is not stopped so it is constantly done, more and more so therefore, the outside environment just continues the unhealthy, the bad conditions. It happens again and again, it continues.

So therefore as long as these people do not change their mind, if their mind doesn't get better from negative thoughts, like miserliness, dissatisfied mind, desire, hatred, the thought to harm others, steal, these things, as long as something is not done for their mind to generate virtuous thought, generous mind, if that work is not done, then action does not change; if the action doesn't change, carries on stealing and all these things, then the environment the same problem goes on and on, not only this life but future lives, life to life, thousands, millions, it goes on and on like that, even one is born as human being.

Therefore, giving food and clothing is very good, as they need it. External support is very needed, it is very good, but that alone does not become solution for the problems, that alone is not the real answer for the problems. The real answer for those problems is: need to teach good heart, need to teach positive attitude, how to live the life with the positive mind. That is the real answer for solution the endless life problems. From the sentient beings' side, by teaching that and showing that the example their mind change, becomes positive. Then, only then, the action changes, then their life get better, only then there is improvement, now and in the future. Then from this there is a change in the environment, economic success in the environment. So it has to come from their mind, the development of their country has to come from their mind.

So now, countries where their development, where there are comforts, the enjoyments, where there is not so many obstacles, where there is good economic, good living, no difficulties in the means of living. All these things is from past good karma, came from the past, their own positive attitude. Now we are living on the past merit, past good karma. But in this life while we are using these merits, if we don't accumulate more, if we don't practice again positive attitude, and accumulate merit, if we don't attempt that, then just living on the good result that is created by past good karma, we just live on the past merit, the good karma, produced by past life the positive attitude and then if we don't purify the past negative karmas, the cause of the problems, difficulty in economics, the unhealthy environment, all the unhappiness, all the problems, if we don't purify the negative karmas created in the past lives, and if we don't try to create again the merits, morality, charity, these things, if we don't do again, what happens is, nowadays we hear many world problems, so this is what happens.

So you ran out of merit, the merit from past lives, you have been living on that for some years, certain length of time, things happen successful. But now that finish, that karma is finished, run out of merit, and because did not do purification. So the past life karmas, individual negative karmas, collective negative karmas, collected with the many hundreds, thousands, millions of people together, so not purified so experiencing now. And on top of that, just lived on past merit but did not attempt to create again merit. Therefore you cannot have continual, it is a natural evolution, if you haven't create the cause, you cannot experience the result. So that is how we meet problems, individual problem or country problem how it happens is like that. So same, the description of recent problems is to do like that, it is explained in the lam-rim teachings, the recent problems, so here, as regards this karma, example, ten non-virtues.

Therefore, you see, again it becomes so essential that we practice meditation, that we develop mind, good heart, we practice. And teach others, with the example, to improve others' mind, to develop other sentient beings' minds. So only then, only this is the ultimate solution, if you really want to help, only then the problem is solved. Otherwise, giving help is unceasing food and clothing, the house, the medicine, is unceasing. As long as they don't change their mind, don't transform their mind and they don't change their action, then the problems just goes on and on, not only this life, but life to life. So like this, endless hospital, endless operations, endless medicine, like that.

Dharma is the only answer, Dharma is the ultimate answer. Meditation, transforming the mind, is the ultimate, the real answer, as long as that is not done, even receiving help doesn't happen, from others. Even that depends on good karma. However, for success in business, the real answer for success in business is only Dharma. The real answer is Dharma. Studying in university or college, studying how to do business, business college, anyway, one can do lot of study, how to do business, all these things, one can study various things. One can learn billions and billions of things, many things you can learn but that is not the real answer. That is the condition, secondary, that is not the real answer, that is not the first thing. The first thing is Dharma. Transformation of mind, action, morality, charity, for success, good heart, that is the real answer for success, Dharma is the real answer for the success of business. Dharma is the real answer for health. If one wants to have long life, Dharma is the only answer. If one wants to be healthy, Dharma is the answer. If one wants to be harmonious, Dharma is the answer. Dharma is the solution. For everything.

Without depending on Dharma, there is no way of having success in business. Without depending on good karma, no way to have success in business. One can speak all the languages that one speaks in the world, one can learn all that. Maybe also the language of the animal, dolphins, the animal that jumps, dolphin, so I heard that they also have a language among themselves. So one can learn also those languages - I am joking, anyway. Even if one speaks all the world language, and no matter how much education one has, that is not the real answer for successful life, that is secondary condition, that is not the real cause. The real cause is one's own mind, the positive attitude, the virtuous mind, good karma, that is the real answer, that is the real solution. The real cause of the success.

Purifying, so the whole answer, Dharma is the answer for everything, Dharma is the answer for all the problems, Dharma is the answer for all the happiness. What is that? Purification and accumulating merit. These two things. Purifying the past obstacle which you already created. And then accumulating merit. Without this, no matter how much education the person has, nothing can happen, no success. No matter how intelligent the person is, how smart is, if he knows everything what is happening in the world, every corner of the world what business is happening, what profit is there, even the person knows everything, even the other people becoming successful, this person even though trying to do that, won't succeed. Even intellectually, when you make plans, idealistically, it looks like he will be successful, but if you put into practice, when you really do it in the action won't get success, this is a common experience. Many times there is good planning, intellectually, not by knowing it, not by clairvoyance, not by really knowing it, but by intellectual, figuring out: If I do this, then this can happen. But that is not the ultimate answer. Why isn't it the ultimate answer? Because one can make very good plans, very smart plans, but it doesn't happen, doesn't work all the time, sometimes it can succeed, but that doesn't work all the time. So that proves that is not the real answer, not the main answer. The real answer is something else. So that's common experience in the world smart is not the first answer.

So then, the sexual misconduct, so done out of self-cherishing thought again, which makes it negative karma, then there is four suffering results, that complete action has four suffering results. The ripened result in the lower realms. Then when even one get born as a human being, then one experiences the three sufferings from that. The other one is the experiencing the result similar to the cause, that doesn't become harmonious in the family, in the relationship. So the husband cannot control the wife, the wife cannot control the husband, not listening, the other companion, the other person not listening to you not listening as one wishes. It get, one's own companion get possessed by others. So this is the experiencing the separation this is experiencing the result similar to the cause. It is very important when we experience these problems to remember the karma, to remember the cause.

[tape change]

If you remember the cause created by oneself, if you think of the karma, if we think of our own karma created by ourself then that helps so much to control the mind, while one is thinking of one's own karma, that which caused this problem during that time the anger, jealousy, doesn't arise, anger to the other person who took it away the friend or the companion and the companion to all this this makes to think, this makes to realize it is mistake, mistake is mine, it's my mistake it's not the mistake of other person, it's none of their mistake, it's my mistake. So by thinking of karma, makes to realize this. This helps so much to control many other negative karmas or negative minds, so it's very very good to be able to remember this as much as possible.

And then use this as a teaching, Now this situation is telling me that if I continue creating negative karma, sexual misconduct harming others, disturbing others, others' relationships, things like that that I will experience these problems continuously, endlessly, I will experience these problems endlessly. So if I stop, abandon this, stop this, then I will, won't experience all these problems and by living in the vow, especially not just doing it but living in the vow to not do it, especially by living in the vow, one gets the four happy results, good results rebirth in the deva, human being body of the happy migratory being and harmonious in the relationships, other people listens to what you say does what you wish and then also one doesn't do the creating the result similar to the cause again and the next lives one is born as a human being like this, one again lives in the vow abandoning the sexual misconduct, again practices the morality or good karma, again which brings these four happinesses, four good results the next life, other lives.

So like this, using the situation what happened, using it as teaching telling me like this what, advice, the experience of life, this life situation problem itself is advice, instruction, what should do, what shouldn't be done. However then the possessed result that is to do with the place, the filthy, dirty place lot of mud, unclean, dirty place. So times in our life, time to time when we are in such a place that time we were experiencing the possessed result of the sexual misconduct. Then in our life, like now here, time to time so now in this time during this time, such a clean place, beautiful place, so all this is the possessed result of the good karma from past life lived in the morality abandoning sexual misconduct, clean, beautiful place, nice, opposite to filthy, dirty muddy place. So we should relate, so we are experiencing different in our life from time to time good and bad, so should relate, it's very important to relate to one's own mind karma. [pause]

Yeah, then I stop here.


[tape change]