Here in the West, we have a lot of misconceptions around karma (which at its essence boils down to an understanding that our actions have consequences and that our actions rooted in greed, hatred, and delusion lead to different results than those rooted in generosity, loving-kindness, and wisdom) as a part of our practice and life. But the study and understanding of karma can inspire us, motivate us, and provide us energy both on and off the cushion. Joseph Goldstein tells us that reflecting on karma arises ardor in our practice and reminds us of the importance of karma to great Buddhist teachers throughout time, including:
– Padmasavbhava, who said “Though my view is as vast as the sky, my attention to the law of karma is as fine as a grain of barley flour;” and
– The Dalai Lama, who has said if he had to choose whether to emphasize emptiness or karma in his teaching, he would emphasize the teachings of karma. (Goldstein, Mindfulness, pp.8-9)
And this is because an understanding of karma leads us to practice a continuity of mindfulness, compassion, love, and wisdom throughout all the tasks, moments of interaction, and decisions in our lives, and to do so with a spirit of significance and joy. Using meditations drawn from the Tibetan tradition and Mindful Self-Compassion and the book Karma: What It Is, What It Isn’t, Why It Matters by Traleg Kyabgon (link to purchase book below), we will explore the importance of our thoughts and actions as foundations for an ethical and happy life and how the teachings on karma can bring us to the end to suffering. Inspirational, indeed!
[About the author: TRALEG KYABGON (1955-2012) was born in eastern Tibet and educated by many great masters of all four major lineages of Tibetan Buddhism. He is the founder of the Kagyu E-Vam Buddhist Institute, which is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, with a major practice center in New York City. He taught extensively at universities and Buddhist centers in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia beginning in 1980, and is the author of numerous books that present Buddhist teachings to Western readers, including The Essence of Buddhism and Mind at Ease.]
To buy the book from Amazon click here.