Are there antidotes to future negative consequences?

(Prologue: A deep understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. My life is proof of that! I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)

In Tibet we say: “Negative action has one good quality: it can be purified.” So there is always hope. Even murderers and the most hardened criminals can change and overcome the conditioning that led them to their crimes. Our present condition, if we use it skillfully and with wisdom, can be an inspriation to free ourselves from the bondage of suffering. <source:  Sogyal Rinpoche from Glimpse of the Day>

You’ve just done something you wish you hadn’t. Perhaps it caused suffering to someone. We know that the seed we’ve just planted will ripen at some point in the future.

Is there anything we can do to lessen the future, negative karmic impact on us?

Fortunately, yes.

The antidotes to future negative consequences are at the heart-level — nurturing of compassion and purification….. an appropriate topic for a Mother’s Day
post.

There are probably many antidotes. Here are a few:

  • The Four Powers of Purification – In the Autumn of 1967 I first met His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama at Brock University, St. Catharines, Ontario, Canada. His Holiness described these powers in his lecture to us, which was published in 1969:

    “If his past (evil) Karma has not as yet borne fruit, it will still be possible for him to obliterate this unripe Karma by utilizing the strength of the four powers, namely: 1. Determination to attain the status of Buddhahood; 2. Determination to eschew demeritorious deeds, even at the cost of one’s life; 3. Ther performance of meritorious deeds; and 4. Repentance.  Such is the way to attain immediate happiness, to pave the way for attaining liberation in future, and to help avoid the accumulation of further demerits.
    <source: The Tibet Society, Occasional Paper No. 1: Happiness, Karma, and Mind, December 1969>

    Click here for fuller explanation.

  • tonglen practice as taught by Pema Chodron;
  • Ho’oponopono – scroll down til you see the section entitled This is an excerpt from the forthcoming book “Zero Limits” by Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len. Due out July 2007; and
  • Lovingkindness (Metta) and Compassion (Karuna) Meditation that I received from Namgyal Rinpoche in February 1970

(This post is based with appreciation on materials gathered at a seminar on karma with teacher Jay Lippman.)

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