(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
© The New Yorker Collection 2000 David Sipress from cartoonbank.com. All Rights Reserved.
Meditation is no longer a strange word. Scientists have done many studies recently to show the benefits of meditation on our health, both physical and mental. Stress reduction.
This post is, however, not directly about the health benefits. It is about the way meditation can help us to cut through our karmic cycle, to change the course of our karmic stream.
We cannot avoid karma as long as we have continual thoughts and continual subconscious gossip. As long as we have a liking and disliking state of mind happening all the time, we cannot avoid karma at all. I think it is quite straightforward. The idea is that virtuous karma, good karma, produces good situations. It’s sort of predetermined. And bad karma produces bad results, which are also predetermined. (Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche)
But at the same time we can prevent sowing further seeds of karma altogether by realizing that there is a level where karmic seeds are not sown, the nonthought level. That is why we meditate. It has been said that sleeping, dreaming, meditating, and developing awareness are the only states in which we do not sow further seeds of karma. <emphasis mine>(Chogyam Trungpa, Rinpoche)
√It is said that the mind that created our karma is the same mind that can change its course.
The point……is that we are creating future actions. We can change the course. We are not stuck in our karma. (Class Four, page 86 of the Sutrayana Transcripts)
What mind? Conceptual mind.
What is the problem with concepts? In themselves, nothing. The Buddha himself said “I too use concepts but am not fooled thereby?” But most of us are fooled. How? We mistake them for reality.
How can the conceptual mind change the course of our karma?
Mindfulness meditation practice.
What is mindfulness? It doesn’t mean being careful. It means that you notice what is arising in your mind every second. You connect with the NOW, rather than past, present and future.
How can training in mindfulness through meditation practice help us to change the course of our karma? In my experience, following the technique of mindfulness training softens and relaxes our fixation, our preoccupation on the thoughts and concepts that arise in our minds. We confuse out thoughts with reality! We believe that our thoughts are reality! We then impose (project) these thoughts on whatever is happening in our world. Mindfulness practice also ensures that I don’t keep strengthening my habitual patterns\tendencies by fixating on the thoughts that underlie the patterns (example: tendency to anger; gets weakened when I undercut angry thoughts).
Meditation…is just simply creating a space, a space in which we can unlearn and undo our subconcious gossip, our hidden fears and hidden hopes, and begin to bring them out. Meditation is simply providing space through the discipline of sitting down and doing nothing. Doing nothing is extremely difficult. – from a talk by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche entitled “The Tibetan Buddhist Teachings and Their Application,” published in Friends of the Buddhadharma, Bulletin Number One, Spring 1978.
So we use concepts (embodied in the technique of mindfulness) to relax the grip of that self-same conceptual mind that creates our karma! Remember, in terms of karma, thoughts and concepts come before action, the very action that creates our karmic stream.
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