Buddhism ~ What is Karma

Discussion in 'Spirituality/Worship' started by Rafiki, Jan 27, 2009.

  1. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    In simple terms, what does karma mean? It means that whatever we do, with our body, speech, or mind, 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.

    ~ Sogyal Rinpoche, The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying
  2. Debra49659

    Debra49659 New Member

    my prayers will be with your family. I'm not sure what to say...other that I hope that a peaceful calm is able to envelop your family to help you all feel safe and protected. Please know my thoughts are with you.

    Rafiki thank you for you post. It enlightens me with new avenues to explore with my puppy..lol! I've always run from the negative aspects of my life. Ignored the hurt, pain and sadness. I absorb it all, pretend its ok....ignored those that hurt me or treated them just like nothing bad ever happened. I realize I am so unhealthy and all these conflicts are not helping the CFS or FM or the host of other related illness. I have a long way to go, eh?

    Deb
  3. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    I know they are making people think....

    We have a daily programme here on a Hinduchannel..and in it a Brahmakumari..(Shivani) comes on and daily gives insights into the art of living...

    i watch when i can and in one of the episodes i caught this.....she said "every postive thought you think in your mind, you send out into the universe and affect it postively. Every negative thought you have to yourself, similarly that thought goes out into the universe and affects those around you, in negative manner."

    This has taught me to be aware of my thoughts at all times. What am i thinking? Am i thinking a bitter thought about my past? Am i staying angry longer than i necessarily need to? (To get angry is human). Am i perusing a useless thought, which leads me nowhere?

    I do have an issue with karma..in that when a little baby suffers due to its past karma, others around also get upset and suffer sadness just knowing about the little baby and its suffering. But to me, the idea of karma is what most explains satisfactorily the suffering even innocents endure. It explains why a bill gates would be born to a wealthy banking family, have brains and health, and become the riches man in the world and have a lovely wife and kids. And why a baby girl would be born in rurual india just to be poisoned to death and die in thoes of agony for the simple reason she is a girl. This phenomenon to me is best explained by the theory of karma. I do not find satsifaction in being told , "some things we are meant to understand only when we meet our Creator after death." Or the aetheists..."it just is..accept it."

    God Bless
  4. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    There is a real sense of peace about these discussions. I'm so enjoying them and grateful to everyone for creating them.

    I agree, Springwater!

    Awareness of one's thoughts, in just the way you describe, is a wonderful thing to cultivate. It changes everything, doesn't it.

    Yes, Karma and reincarnation is the only system that allows for something we might consider justice in the Universe. It is eminently logical. It makes more sense to me than anything else.

    Thank you for being Springwater!

    Namaste
  5. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Yeah, we "meet" the energy later. I think we get a number of chances to work it out in this life - I think, for me anyway, that my central lessons come back over and over and over again until I make some progress. Making progress feels pretty good; I can't, and don't have to, get it perfect. Thank goodness!

    Karma isn't punishment. Karma is dependent arising - cause and effect.

    Namaste

    [This Message was Edited on 02/01/2009]
  6. TwoCatDoctors

    TwoCatDoctors New Member

    Thanks again for a very interesting thread.
  7. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    Nirvana....sigh....me too...how i crave for that state of being...I feel so tired sometimes...and scared too..i guess its natural, scared for what will come along, scared of leaving behind loved ones...

    Cate, the good thing is there is always time for redemption, no matter what happened in the past, that is the past and you are in the now...and also in the meantime, skills to be learnt on how to live with oneself and what one has created and work towards creating peace within.

    God Bless
  8. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Yeah, no bad karma, no good karma, no punishment, no reward... just what you create with what happens.

    I also like the fact that existence is designed to be screwed up. There seems to be a reliable system in place which will very predictably bring back exactly what one needs to transcend in order to free oneself from the pain of it. Mistakes, repeat mistakes, are built into the system. We always get another shot.

    For me, it is enough that I can improve. If I can be a little better when I leave than I was when I got here, I'll consider it an accomplishment.

    ~Peace~
  9. Gingareeree

    Gingareeree New Member

    There's a saying "No one can make you feel guilty,but YOU!" Also,I get the impression that thou dost protest too much. You seem pretty angry to me ....
    [This Message was Edited on 02/04/2009]
  10. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    i never got the sense that you are an ANGRY person; rather i found youre the kind who will not take kindly to getting trampled on and are unafraid to make your position clear. I have never seen you wilfully hurt anyone here. Also you are very proactive. The type to up and get things going rather than sit back and withdraw. Those qualities are so necessary in order to ward off feelings of being overwhelmed when life starts throwing its brickbats at you.

    I too have huge issues with frustration. Feelings of helplessness and resentment which come up because of it.

    God Bless

  11. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Seen the water photography featured in the movie, "What BLEEP Do We Know?" A scientist exposed water to various emotions--love, anger, fear, etc. He then photographed the water crystal molecules. The results are amazing. Water exposed to positive emotions produced very beautiful and ordered crystals where the water exposed to negative emotions produced chaotic patterns. If our emotions can affect simple water in such ways, how do they affect us and others? There is a book with the photos of the water.

    In order to survive, we must make judgements but this can lead us to feel insecure unless we judge everything we see, feel, or hear. When we become too judgemental, we become prisoners of our own judgemental nature. When we can become observers of ourselves, others, and situations without judging, it makes it easier to try to understand. We absolutely must make judgements about our own safety but do we need to assign motives to others? We usually don't have all the info to do that; therefore, we needn't take offense at what others say or do. I may think something someone does is offensive but I have no right to BE offended. I can only control my own reactions and sometimes, that is very hard to do. We have been conditioned through our rearing, schooling, and religious teachings to be judgemental and find offense everywhere. It isn't easy to overcome.

    I love the idea of positive Karma which begets more positive Karma. That is why I love the idea of "paying it forward." Deepak Chopra has said we can be blessings to each other. Even if we have nothing material to give, we can silently ask God to bless another. I pray and ask God for things but I also pray to ask that I might help at least one other person each day. It needn't be anything big. When I am kind and thoughtful to the elderly customers at our store, they are thrilled. How nice to be able to make someone's day by the simplest of acts.

    Great thread! Thanks.

    Love, Mikie
  12. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Taking a necessary break from computing but could not resist replying to Mikie's post.

    What you say about being kind to the customers is so enormous. I agree with you that if we simply take kindness out into the world, we change it. And, it's such a win/win situation! Everyone feels so good, so connected, seen, acknowledged, recognized, appreciated, head up, smiling, ready to pass it on in the most natural way. Those who cannot pass it on need it even more!

    It is huge that we can do this! It amazes me that we have this power. Mikie, I'm so glad you posted and I'm so happy for you that you are an agent of kindness!

    I also think that it doesn't matter very much whether you are the one giving or receiving kindness. Just being in an occasion of kindness is all that matters.

    Ok, back to being good.

    with metta (loving kindness) to all,
    Rafiki
  13. Mikie

    Mikie Moderator

    Thanks for responding. It's so nice to know there are people here trying to change the world in positive ways. It is true that this type of kindness is very powerful.

    There was a study done where people did little kindnesses for strangers. Later, their emotional states were studied scientifically. Those who did the kind acts, those who received them, and even observers were left feeling blissful and at peace. What an amazing thing kindness can be. Most of us with these illnesses have very little money to give to worthy causes and our physical limitations may prevent our being able to give of ourselves. Perhaps the most powerful thing we have to give costs us nothing and actually makes us feel better and not exhausted.

    Again, thank you for this amazing thread. If nothing else good happens to me today, reading this thread is more than enough to bring me happiness. Bless you all for your kindness.

    Love, Mikie
  14. Doznclan3

    Doznclan3 New Member


    No way..someone has actually said that to you?? "What are you smiling at?" Well, I'm like you, always smiling in the stores. In fact, I pray that a smile from me can somehow make someone feel better. I've always thought there was something to..."what goes around, comes around." I usually get a smile right back at me.... :)))
    Love, Cynthia
  15. Doznclan3

    Doznclan3 New Member

    Ahh, love that story. Sounds like me when I used to go camping. I knew everyone in the campground by the time we left. My husband is used to me by now.
    Just the other day my son asked who that lady was that I was talking to in line. I told him that I didn't know, we were just talking. He started laughing, not because I had struck up the conversation, but she had! I told him, see..I'm not the only one.... We talked like we were best friends. We were for that moment in time. It was great.
    Keep smiling! :) Love, Cynthia
  16. gapsych

    gapsych New Member


    I am somewhere between Cate and Rafiki and really going to reflect on this.

    Absolutely fascinating.

    Not to get sidetracked, well maybe it isn't, but Jammin realizing that your ex son in law is sad is very insightful. Once we recognize that people who seem awful are human too, is so positive.

    This is not the same as acceptance of his behavior or being passive and not drawing the line when we see negative actions. But acceptance that human beings are fallible, seeing people in this light, especially in a situation like yours, helps us to move on. It's a step in a positive direction.

    He may never change and that is sad.

    I am not sure I am making sense as the words are not coming out just right.

    This is a very good thread. I have been gone for a few days from the board. Glad to be back.

    Makes one think.

    gap
    [This Message was Edited on 02/09/2009]
  17. Waynesrhythm

    Waynesrhythm Member

    Hi All,

    I read through most of this thread this morning and enjoyed it a lot. Unfortunately, I didn't respond right away and can't remember a number of things I wanted to comment on. I do remember the following part in one of Mikie's paragraphs however:

    *** "Most of us with these illnesses have very little money to give to worthy causes and our physical limitations may prevent our being able to give of ourselves. Perhaps the most powerful thing we have to give costs us nothing and actually makes us feel better and not exhausted." ***

    It reminds me of a story I read once that seems appropriate here. I'll try to relate it the best I can remember. A young man in Africa was down on his luck. Very down. He had lost his job, his wife left him, and he had lost his home as well. And he was broke.

    He was meandering down a road one night, feeling the blues (understandable). Before long, he came across a young woman with three children who seemed to be on their own and in somewhat desperate straights themselves. I can't remember if they asked him for assistance, but in his desolation, he didn't feel that he had anything to offer them anyway.

    As he started to walk away, he got a strong sense he needed to at least check on them to see what their situation might be. Turns out, the woman's husband had gone to America to look for work and had not been in touch since leaving (a number of weeks had gone by).

    So the young man asked the woman if she had any kind of information that might be helpful in being able to locate her husband. She managed to come up with a telephone number, but she had not been able to try to use it because of her own difficult circumstances. So the young man took the family and the telephone number and went to a nearby house to see if he might be able to somehow contact the woman's husband in America.

    A man at the house had a cell phone, and offered to let them use it to see if they could make contact. Miraculously, they were able to get through and almost by accident managed to contact the husband at that very moment. The woman was able to talk with her husband who had indeed gotten work, had some money, and had been trying desperately to get hold of his family. Arrangements were made to bring the family together again.

    As they were saying their goodbyes, one of the children came up to the young man with the brightest smile and told him a very interesting thing. He knew when he first saw the young man go by that he would come back, because that was exactly what he had seen in his dreams the night before!

    I think about this story often when I am feeling quite ill and unable to do very much for others. What I have learned from that story and from my own experience, is that no matter what our circumstances may be, there is ALWAYS something we have to offer. It may be the most important lesson I learned from all my health challenges.

    Thanks again everybody for this thread. It's been a real treat!

    Wayne
  18. springwater

    springwater Active Member

    the whole of this thread.

    Also

    rainbow said " gapsych.... talk about getting sidetracked, I had to go re-read this whole thread, as somehow it went from karma to fried chicken..." hahahahahahaha!

    and waynesrhythm...." As they were saying their goodbyes, one of the children came up to the young man with the brightest smile and told him a very interesting thing. He knew when he first saw the young man go by that he would come back, because that was exactly what he had seen in his dreams the night before! "....yes, this made me tingle all over..a feeling of awe...obviously someone out there was in charge..and making this happen. Very reassuring. Very.

    Thanks all.

    God Bless
  19. Doznclan3

    Doznclan3 New Member


    Thought I would read this thread again...really liked this Rafiki...
    I've often told my children, that life happens, let's see what you do with it. You can see the good in it, or the bad. I tried to teach them that they would be a much happier person if they could find the good, even through the hard times.
    Love, love, your thought on leaving here better. I believe in that also. Try, and try again, to make every day a better day. That's all we can do, is to try and live a better day each day, because we tend to learn more, or something new every day. So, the accomplishment of living better what you have learned.
    Great! Thank you, love your posts...
    Love, Cynthia
  20. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    You know, your user name reminds me, somehow, of a Tibetan name. Well, except for the 3 :eek:)

    Sounds like you are preparing your children so well. If only we could all be mothered the way you are mothering. If only we all felt that our lives were creations that would contain pain but could also contain great beauty and that we had a measure of control over that.

    I think it's crippling to think that life is going to be easy, you know. If we are raised to believe it will be easy, we feel it is unfair when it is just the way it is. I really hope I am not about to be too presumptuous but, in a way, your illness deepens your ability to parent well. It's like the expression: Be the change you want to see in the world. You can be the person you want to raise your child to be - a person who faces life with gladness and courage.

    I don't think there is anything more important than preparing people to live their lives well. To do it consciously and mindfully is a really wonderful thing.

    Thank you so very much for your kind words. It is good, isn't it, to find that we are all concerned with kindness and with evolving into better people if we can. You make me feel hopeful.

    Peace to you and yours,
    Rafiki