Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Is life crazy, or is it karma? (video)

Dharma talk by Ajahn Suwat Suvaco, translated by Ven. Thanissaro as A Fistful of Sand: Karma edited by Dhr. Seven, Pat Macpherson, Wisdom Quarterly; Best of Wins/Fails; Dr. Zwig, "Raising People"
I wonder what they talk about inside Buddhist temples. Maybe they'll explain karma.
(Despiadado13x) VIRAL VIDEOS: Best Wins and Fails of the Year, 2015 Part 4, Aug. 16, 2016

Hey, can someone tell me what "karma" is?
In the summer of 1989, Larry Rosenberg -- one of the guiding teachers at the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts -- invited Ajahn Suwat Suvaco to lead a two-week retreat the following spring. Ajahn Suwat had been living in the U.S. for several years, founding monasteries for Thai communities in Seattle and Los Angeles, and this was his first opportunity to teach large numbers of Western Buddhists. The retreat was in May, 1990, with approximately 100 attending. Ven. Thanissaro was brought from Thailand to serve as interpreter....

Karma, karma, what is karma?
Question: You've spoken of the five topics that should be contemplated every day:
  1. that we're subject to aging,
  2. subject to illness,
  3. subject to death,
  4. subject to separation from the things and people we love, and
  5. that we're the owners of our karma [past actions of body, speech, mind].
This fifth topic is the most difficult of the five to understand. I was wondering if you could explain karma -- and in particular the role of mindfulness at the moment of death.

Ajahn Suwat's answer: Listen carefully. I'm going to explain karma in line with the principles of the Buddha's awakening/enlightenment.

When the Buddha explained karma, he did so in line with one of the [super-] knowledges he attained on the night of his awakening: the recollection of past lives.

In becoming a buddha [a fully awakened teacher], it was not the case that he had been born only once and had practiced only one lifetime before attaining awakening. He had been developing his goodness, his [ten] perfections, for many lifetimes.

That was how he had been able to build up his wisdom/discernment continually over the course of time to the point where he could awaken to the subtle Dharma so hard for anyone to recollect, so hard for anyone to awaken to.

He had been developing his mindfulness until it was fully powerful, his wisdom/discernment until it was fully powerful, so that he could come to know the truth.

For this reason, our understanding of karma has to depend both on our study and on our practice, training our own minds as the Buddha did so as to gain wisdom/discernment step by step. 

When the Buddha spoke about karma after his awakening to the truth, he was referring to action. There's physical karma, that is to say, the actions of the body and verbal karma, the actions of speech, and there's mental karma, the actions of the mind.

All human beings, all living beings, experience good things and bad things, pleasure and pain, as a result of their karma -- their own actions.
  • What was the Buddha originally saying?
    [NOTE: Most of these actions bearing fruit now and ripening were performed long in the past -- in addition to what is being done now -- when "they" were not "themselves" but someone else, in a conventional sense. Of course, in an ultimate sense, they were not anyone, and all that has been going on is an impersonal process, but it gets personalized, and an "eternal self" is imagined as going through all of this endless samsara, the playing of karma in inconceivable complexity].
Karma is something very subtle. When you ask about rebirth and how you'll experience pleasure and pain in future lives, you should first study karma in your present life, your actions in your present life.

Understand your actions in the present life clearly. Once you understand them, once you know the truth of action in the present, then when you train the mind/heart further, you'll gradually come to the end of your doubts.

There's no one who has ever resolved doubts about rebirth simply through reading or hearing the spoken word.

Even among those who've practiced a long time, if their insight/discernment isn't up to the task, they'll still have their same old doubts.

The texts tell us that doubt is ended only with the attainment of the first of the noble paths, the first stage of enlightenment called stream-entry.

Stream-enterers have cut away three defilements: self-identity views [the strong belief that all of this is personal], doubt [about the path to full enlightenment], and attachment to precepts and practices [as a means of attaining enlightenment and final liberation].

When the insight/discernment of the noble [enlightenment] path arises, knowledge of birth and death, rebirth and redeath, arises together with it.

As for our current level of insight/discernment, if we want to know about these things, we need to do the preliminary work [actually practicing the path, not just talking about it, learning it, studying it, or reflecting on it].

We need to study the nature of action [our karma] in the present. So today I won't speak of future lifetimes. I'll teach about the three kinds of action -- physical action, verbal action, and mental action -- in the present.

What's "good"?
“Raising People“ official music video by Dr. Zwig. From his album, Live at the Wiltern Theatre, recorded and produced by Grammy winner David Bianco. Directed by Laban.

These three kinds of action are divided into two sorts, good and bad [skillful and unskillful, pleasant and unpleasant, wished for and unwished for].

Bad actions give rise to suffering [disappointment, unsatisfactoriness, discontent, unfulfillment]. Good actions give rise to good results: happiness, prosperity, mindfulness, and insight/discernment, both in the present and on into future days, future months, future years.

Bad actions are called unskillful karma. The Buddha taught that it is wise to abandon this kind of karma [as it leads to unwelcome, unwished for, unpleasant results when it finally matures].

In the area of physical action, this includes tormenting and killing living beings, whether large or small. This kind of action is unskillful because it lacks goodwill and compassion.

All living beings love their lives. If we kill them it's unskillful because we without compassion, without pity, without regard for their lives.

This is why the Buddha said it is wise not to do it. If we kill other human beings, we get punished now by civil law and [impersonally in the future] by the [mysterious workings of] Dharma [universal or cosmic order, Nature, the lawfulness/impersonal orderliness of things like actions bringing about appropriate results, as like attracts like]. More

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