Helpful quotes

When I need a quick reminder, I find quotations helpful.

  • On the essential neutrality of life\karma:

The truth is that life is neither blessing nor punishing you. It’s simply working with you to awaken to the truth of who you are.  <source: Paul Ferrini>

People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further. <source: Pema Chodron>

  • On craving, one of the factors in the creation of karma:

Nothing was quite enough for her — she wanted more money, more property, and she was obsessed with becoming a famous Hollywood screenwriter. <source: Heart Full of Lies, Ann Rule, author of many true crime stories>

Go and listen to K. D. Lang’s song Constant Craving. She nails it, perfectly! <source: HH Dalai Lama XIV, Victoria, Canada, circa 1988>

  • On karma in general

We don’t so much ‘get’ karma as perpetuate it. It’s like driving over impressionable soft ground with a heavy vehicle over and over. It makes deeper and deeper ruts. Finally the ground dries up and gets hard and the only place you can drive is where the ruts are, they’re that deep. You might want to turn off that road and take another that appeared to have a better deal, but you couldn’t, because you’re stuck with your habitual tendencies. Practice lets us see that’s the case, and how projections arise out of that also. And devotion gets us out of the rut. <source: Jim Lindsey, poet; actor, Atlantic Talent Agency, Nova Scotia>

  • On intentions, one of the factors in the creation of karma:

Assessing intentions is not always easy because of a natural tendency to hide our actual motivations, not only from others but also from ourselves. Many times we convince ourselves that we are acting generously, only to discover later — perhaps through the feedback of others — that we were, once again, serving ourselves and ignoring others’ needs.

According to the basic laws of cause and effect, we must engage in virtuous activity to bring about true success—spiritual and worldly. If we help others—even think of helping others—we will quickly and effortlessly become successful. Virtue creates stability in our life—happiness we can depend on.

Of AA’s First Step, she writes: “When I deeply grasped the underlying effect of dependent origination and karma on my alcoholism, I understood powerlessness and unmanageability with an intensity I had not previously imagined. The comforting aspect of this understanding is the absolute lawfulness of dependent origination and karma.” Translation, please? The author herself supplies it: “If I don’t drink, I won’t get drunk, and I won’t screw up my life.”

  • On mistaken use of concept of “karma” to avoid compassion

As our technology becomes more sophisticated, we perhaps think that our emotional responses need to be more sophisticated as well. But what seems best is simple, direct feeling that is not padded with logic or twisted concepts, such as, “Maybe they deserved it,” or, “I’m glad it’s not me,” or, “They should have known better,” or even, “That’s their karma.” These contorted responses reflect poorly on our own state of mind. If compassion feels unnatural, it’s probably because we’re still thinking of ourselves. We want the suffering to go away because it scares us or it causes us personal pain.

  • On the role of language in creating and maintaining karma:

I, too, use concepts but am not fooled thereby. <source: Shakyamuni Buddha>

The basis of Buddhism is that appreciating certain truths about existence allows us to live our lives with joy, strength and dignity. For example, we know that happiness doesn’t come from thinking about ourselves, because through meditating we’ve seen that we don’t particularly exist — and neither do those people who are {gossiping} about us.

  • a perspective on addictions:

There is a very famous quote by Tilopa, who was talking to Naropa, saying something like, “…….It is not the world out there that is causing suffering. It’s our attachment, our holding on. It is the mind, the mind holding on.” It is not the ice cream {or drugs, or alcohol etc.} saying, “Come and get me,” it is the mind wanting it.  (Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche, Shambhala Day Address, Scotland, 2004)

  • On situations that do not produce karma:

We cannot avoid karma as long as we have continual thoughts and continual subconscious gossip. As long as we have a linking 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. 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.

The cause and effect mechanism of karma is very accurate and extremely precise. In fact, it’s much more precise than our bank account. Sometinmes tellers make mistakes, or even the bank manager; but karma always provides tit for tat, constantly, naturally. <source: Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche>

  • On meditation:

Meditation is giving a huge meadow to a restless cow. <Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche>

Waking up isn’t about getting somewhere, or becoming something that we are not. We are already awake — it’s just covered over with notions of who we are, who we should be, and how everything else should be. Meditation practice helps us observe, work with, and ultimately let go of delusions that block our experience of life. <Franca Leeson>

  • On relationship between belief and suffering:

A thought is harmless unless we believe it. It’s not our thoughts, but our attachment to our thoughts, that causes suffering. Attaching to a thought means believing that it’s true, without inquiring. A belief is a thought that we’ve been attaching to, often for years. <Byron Katie, Loving What Is>

  • On the seeds of karma:

People always think in a linear way when they think of karma: if we do something, something else in going to happen to us. In fact, maybe forty billion other somethings are going to happen, but we are not sure what they are. We are walking around not knowing what seeds we are ripening. We do not know what is going to happen in the future….it is not possible for people at our level of practice to identify which effects are results of which causes. <source: Talk Four, The Twelve Nidanas Continued, 1999 seminary transcripts, Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche>

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