Best Karma / way of life

Discuss your personal experience with the Dharma here. How has it enriched your life? What challenges does it present?

Best Karma / way of life

Postby SubtleShift » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:38 am

Given that I'm not in a position to become a monk and practice Dharma/meditation full-time, what is the "best possible karma" that I can be doing ?
In particular, I'm trying to figure out which of these scenarios is the best way to live my life:
(a) work part-time to make enough money for basic necessities in order to devote as much time as possible to my own meditation practice & Dharma study.
(b) work full-time and pursue a high-salary career in order to donate as much money as possible to supporting the Sangha and helping charities.

Which of these 2 options is more beneficial to myself & others / or leads to a larger accumulation of positive karma ?
I intend to strictly adhere to the 5-precepts under all circumstances, but within the precepts there's still plenty of options in terms of lay lifestyle.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby lobster » Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:52 am

(c) work full-time and pursue a high-salary career in order to donate as much money as possible to supporting the Sangha, helping charities, studying dharma and going on retreat

You can have it all :meditate:
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby smcj » Sun Sep 01, 2013 4:07 am

(a) work part-time to make enough money for basic necessities in order to devote as much time as possible to my own meditation practice & Dharma study.
(b) work full-time and pursue a high-salary career in order to donate as much money as possible to supporting the Sangha and helping charities.

I come from the hippie generation, where the pursuit of money was thought by many to be a sell-out. But these days seeing the same people in their 60s that have no retirement planned is not a pretty sight. There are no monasteries around to support old hippies.

Dharma practice takes free time. So does training for a marathon, or learning a musical instrument. Don't do anything irresponsible financially or personally that an amateur athlete or musician wouldn't do. You'll only end up resenting Dharma, and that's not good. A decent day job can be an asset to Dharma practice.

The flip side is don't think that money itself will bring happiness. Some of the most unhappy people I know are quite affluent. It can be easy to forget the Dharma when things go well.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby qwerty13 » Sun Sep 01, 2013 12:10 pm

I remember Chogyam Trungpa saying that we should see work and society as a spiritual practice. So doing ones best in benefitting society and participating in it is dharmapractice.
No need to withdraw in to a cave and meditate for years like Milarepa.
People love emotional confusion. Just look at the film posters in front of the cinema: nothing but emotional confusion on their faces. Buddha-dharma means not putting yourself at the mercy of emotional confusion. In the world, on the other hand, a big fuss is made over nothing.

-Kodo Sawaki
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby greentara » Mon Sep 02, 2013 4:50 am

I don't know if I agree with Trungpa on this one. As one sheds the feeling of flinty self interest and ego evaporates, the profound enlightenment possibly needs time to steady itself and 'frail' human needs to absorb the impact of the 'great' awakening. If that means sitting in a cave anchored for a few years then that is what's needed. Afterwards the yogi can mingle in the market place again.
I think the problem being some anchorites get a glimpse of reality and then prematurely rush out to teach before they ripe or ready to do so.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby Konchog1 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 5:41 am

a. Enlightenment is the greatest way to benefit others and oneself.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby qwerty13 » Mon Sep 02, 2013 8:34 pm

qwerty13 wrote:I remember Chogyam Trungpa saying that we should see work and society as a spiritual practice. So doing ones best in benefitting society and participating in it is dharmapractice.
No need to withdraw in to a cave and meditate for years like Milarepa.


I took some time to find the actual speech by Trungpa i was talking about , here is part of it (i cut off some parts to make it shorter, message is same though)
From Work, sex, money: the real path of mindfullness (page 28 -29):

In short, from the materialistic point of view, spirituality is
another dream of happiness.You have the idea that you won't
have to pay your electricity bills or your phone bills. You will be
able to take off into the mountains and live in a cave. Life will
be much simpler and more pleasurable.Living in a cave in the mountains amid the beauties of
nature and the fresh air, meditation will come naturally because
there will be no disturbances.You don't care who you
were, you think; you only care who you are now. Live in the
mountains, enjoy nature, fresh air, fantastic vibrations ... blah,
blah, blah.
There is something uncertain about this whole vision.
There may be some wisdom in it, but it has been said that it is
not only wisdom that is important but also compassion.
The spiritual approach without
spiritual materialism is based on compassion. Compassion tells
you that finally you have to return to the world. Not only just
finally, but the whole time you have to work with the world,
relate with the world, because enlightened mind contains wisdom
and compassion simultaneously
. You have an obligation to
the world you were brought up in. This is the world you belong
to; you can't give it up altogether. You can't dissociate yourself
from the past or whatever irritates you.

In fact, compassion brings us back to dealing with the world
as the only way. We have to work with people. We have to
work with our fathers, our mothers, our sisters and brothers,
our neighbors, and our friends. We have to do that because the
people with whom we are associated in our lives provide the
only situation that drives us to the spiritual search. Without
those people, we would not be able to look into such possibilities
at all.


Off course this is Trungpa`s vision and I am not trying to prove anything here. In the end practitioner has to make his/her own decisions.
And it is true that one also needs time alone so that one can focus on meditation.
But i personaly like Trungpa`s idea about working with the world and society at the same time you work with your meditations.
People love emotional confusion. Just look at the film posters in front of the cinema: nothing but emotional confusion on their faces. Buddha-dharma means not putting yourself at the mercy of emotional confusion. In the world, on the other hand, a big fuss is made over nothing.

-Kodo Sawaki
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby greentara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 1:50 am

Of course Trugpa's book 'Cutting through spiritual experience' is wonderful. All I'm saying is enlightenment is rare and when an anchorite truely awakens he needs time to steady himself/herself. Many teachers hurry to teach and then succumb almost unconsciously to the temptation which most human beings find irresistible – 'to shine and make an impression on their fellow man!'
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby Kim O'Hara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 3:21 am

qwerty13 wrote:But i personaly like Trungpa`s idea about working with the world and society at the same time you work with your meditations.

Me too.
It can actually be seen as another way of thinking about the bodhisattva ideal.

:namaste:
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby muni » Tue Sep 03, 2013 9:03 am

The expression "Engaged Buddhism" is a nice one in which Wisdoms' Compassionate lights are shining. There is no Wisdom other than such.
Meanwhile our mindfulness supports.
Sitting in a monastery or cave can be very charming and can be decorating my solid dream being (only for me). But not to say it is not to recommend, oh yes it is! Rather what we need on our path is often not what we are wishing.

:smile:
Write it all on water!
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby greentara » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:28 pm

muni, I must admit I've never lived in a cave. I can't imagine a cave could easily be described as charming. Cold and exposed in winter and possibly sweltering in summer. Visits from wild animals, scorpions and snakes. One could envisage the person in the cave is not on a holiday retreat.
The charming part is alive in our imagination only. I'm not talking eco tourism.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby muni » Tue Sep 03, 2013 2:49 pm

greentara wrote:muni, I must admit I've never lived in a cave. I can't imagine a cave could easily be described as charming. Cold and exposed in winter and possibly sweltering in summer. Visits from wild animals, scorpions and snakes. One could envisage the person in the cave is not on a holiday retreat.
The charming part is alive in our imagination only. I'm not talking eco tourism.


Actually it is the idea that we should be in a place where we have to be to able to practice truly authentic Dharma, which can kick my deluded bum even more.
At the other hand, it can be a blessing to can do. While the danger of confused mind can be everywhere.
Write it all on water!
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby PadmaVonSamba » Wed Sep 04, 2013 1:46 am

I once heard someone say that at first, a person starts study and practice dharma in order to improve their life. But after a while, they begin to live their life in a way that improves their dharma practice.

Life is always changing, and it seems that usually we have either a little extra money, or a little extra time. Rarely do we have both. So, I think that depending on what is happening in your life right now, either one has the potential of generating "good karma" because either one will, ultimately, benefit many beings. If your motivation for either one is to benefit beings, the merit will be great no matter which one you do. And, depending on the circumstances and the situation, you can always alternate. Eventually, as a result of practicing generosity without attachment, you will be able to do both.

Until then, if you work so hard that you stress yourself out, get angry or resentful, even if you can give a million dollars away as a result, the good karma (or more accurately, merit ) will not be as great because there will be a lot of attachment to that. Likewise, if you donate a lot more money than is practical, for example, starving yourself so that you can give away every last penny, again, tthere is too much baggage attached to this, and it is better to practice generosity without attachment.

At a sangha near where I live, members are encouraged to put 25 cents a day into a small bank in their meditation area. In a year, this adds up to a little more than $90 that they can donate to help support the meditation center. But the point is that it is such a small amount every day, it can be given without much worry or attachment.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Thu Sep 19, 2013 4:29 pm

i actually have heard in some teachings that only actions done with bodhicitta motivation create merit, otherwise its just white karma if its a positive action.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby LionelTeo » Fri Sep 27, 2013 3:04 pm

Good morning/afternoon/evening Subtle,

It is great to know that you are so interested in Karma and practising dharma and even think of giving a portion of your wealth away. That is generous of you. I can see so much compassion and kindness within you that I hope that you can keeping up in your way of life. :thumbsup:

I haven't came across such stuff as best karma, I hope you understand that Karma is not a cosmic system of rewards and punishment, but the results of one's actions, thoughts, attitude triggering the results of the others. Think of it as a ocean ripples, when it hits another object, it ripples back. You can start practising the positive karma everyday and make people feel good, and in return you will be rewarded with happiness and help along the way.

One example I like to use is manager A is always bad tempered, he enjoys scolding people. One day manager A scold employee B because employee B likes to be lazy and not working, as a result employee B is hits back manager A and landed manager A in the hospital. What society view is employee B deserves to be fired because manager A is his direct manager and have every right to scold him. However, in a karma view, if manager A is not always bad tempered and does not scold anyone, he will not emit any negative karma out in the first place. And through his constant practise of not emitting any negative karma, he would not have landed in hospital. Eventually he is going to be hit by someone and landed in hospital due to his bad temper, it may not be employee B, but someone else on the street. As you can see here, if you constantly practice emitting positive karma, making other people day, people will reward you back with happiness, loyalty and help you when you required. Employee B may even be driven to work hard.

Therefore, I hope you can see here is that best karma is not measure monetary, a simple word like yes sir and no sir is different from yes and no. The word sir conveys a form of respect and is able to make someone day happy. The same goes to good morning, have a nice day, thank you. Simple words like this makes someone day. Spend some money and treating food on the people around you, or offering a dollar or more as tips on a taxi ride, simply talking to a taxi driver as a companion during the journey, or greeting your parents to eat first during dinner, can emit positive karma and make someone day. Other actions such as agreeing with others, praising others, and offering victory and accepting defeat also emits positive karma. And natural happiness will follows you through your actions and intention in emitting personal karma.

If you are in a delima in devoting time to own meditation practice & Dharma study or pursue a high-salary career, find the middle way that suits you the most. You can still meditate, devote the dharma study, pursue a good salary career, donate a substantial amount and continue to emit positive karma to others in your life. Take the life that suits you the most. Remember Buddha never restrict or force anyone to follow an exact path, he leaves a lot of space to individual for self interpretation on his sermon, he simply helps to guide people along to have them attain enlightenment on their own.

Lastly, I hope for the best in your way of your life.
We are born with compassion, it is just that we had lost it.
Understand no matter what happens, you already had shelter and food, these are enough for you to find happiness.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby Nemo » Fri Sep 27, 2013 10:51 pm

If you are a serious practitioner be useless. If not get a job and lose yourself in worldly pursuits. You cannot do both. Dharma is not a hobby. Some practice is better than nothing. But enlightenment will be forever out of your grasp if you choose a worldly life.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby LionelTeo » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:26 am

Good Morning Nemo,

I agree with you whole heartily.

To seek enlighthenment, the best that is that we can avoid the wordly pursuits.

But what about us that when we learn of the dharma is that of already in a position that avoiding wordly pursuits and going for sangha hood will hurt our family members? Are we to simply hurt our family members and abandon them just for our englightenment purpose?

I admire Buddha who is able to do so for a greater purpose.

Some of us came to learn of the dharma after being in entangled affairs. Without knowing the dharma, without praticing the dharma, then we will never have the chance to give up on our wordly pursuits. :smile: But at the very least, we can learn about what we should not continue to pursuit aimlessly.

Maybe years ahead, silly people like me will really understand the higher standard of your wisdom.

Lastly, I wish that you will have a great weekend. :smile:
We are born with compassion, it is just that we had lost it.
Understand no matter what happens, you already had shelter and food, these are enough for you to find happiness.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby invisiblediamond » Sat Sep 28, 2013 1:18 pm

SubtleShift wrote:Given that I'm not in a position to become a monk and practice Dharma/meditation full-time, what is the "best possible karma" that I can be doing ?
In particular, I'm trying to figure out which of these scenarios is the best way to live my life:
(a) work part-time to make enough money for basic necessities in order to devote as much time as possible to my own meditation practice & Dharma study.
(b) work full-time and pursue a high-salary career in order to donate as much money as possible to supporting the Sangha and helping charities.

Which of these 2 options is more beneficial to myself & others / or leads to a larger accumulation of positive karma ?
I intend to strictly adhere to the 5-precepts under all circumstances, but within the precepts there's still plenty of options in terms of lay lifestyle.

Probably if you have a beautiful body you can become a Las Vegas dancing girl and rake in the dough.
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby KonchokZoepa » Sat Sep 28, 2013 7:56 pm

Nemo wrote:If you are a serious practitioner be useless. If not get a job and lose yourself in worldly pursuits. You cannot do both. Dharma is not a hobby. Some practice is better than nothing. But enlightenment will be forever out of your grasp if you choose a worldly life.


this is something i agree on completely.
If the thought of demons
Never rises in your mind,
You need not fear the demon hosts around you.
It is most important to tame your mind within....

In so far as the Ultimate, or the true nature of being is concerned,
there are neither buddhas or demons.
He who frees himself from fear and hope, evil and virtue,
will realize the insubstantial and groundless nature of confusion.
Samsara will then appear as the mahamudra itself….

-Milarepa

OMMANIPADMEHUNG

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ls6P9tOYmdo
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Re: Best Karma / way of life

Postby ReasonAndRhyme » Sun Sep 29, 2013 12:33 am

Nemo wrote:If you are a serious practitioner be useless.


Depends. If you can live on what people give you freely, that's great. Like doing the Milarepa thing and living on nettles. Or walking through the street with your begging bowl. Or maybe you're lucky and live in a society that provides an unconditional basic income to you. But in most countries, if you receive unemployment pay, this is given to you only under the condition that you're willing to work and doing everything you can to find a job. In my country for instance, when you fill out the forms with which you apply for unemployment pay, you have to check a box that you're going to do everything that is in your power to find work. If you cash in unemployment pay for years without having the slightest intention to work, you're basically a fraud. Or call it what you want, but at least you're not living in accordance with the five precepts anymore.
"Forget about being clever, and simply remain." Guru Rinpoche, Treasures from Juniper Ridge
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