Mind as the creator of Karma

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Mind as the creator of Karma

Post by BFS » Sun Aug 15, 2010 9:49 pm

Mind as the Creator of Karma


"In the Rice Seedling Sutra, the Buddha explained that our confused lives in cyclic existence are the results of our actions and that these actions originate from our minds. How does this occur? Ignorance, which is a wrong conception of the nature of reality, produces other afflictions—disturbing attitudes and negative emotions—such as anger, clinging attachment, jealousy, arrogance, and confusion.
Motivated by afflictions, we act.
These actions, or karma, leave imprints on the continuity of our minds (mindstreams). The karmic imprints, or potentials, are like residual energy remaining after we’ve finished an action. Intangible, they are carried along by our mindstreams. When the environment is conducive, certain karmic potentials mature and influence what we experience. This process is complex and generally takes time to understand fully. What follows is a brief description to give you a general idea.

From a Buddhist perspective, our minds are presently obscured by ignorance: we don’t understand who we are in the deepest sense or the way in which people and phenomena exist. Unaware of our ultimate nature, we misconceive ourselves to be solid and real and to be an independent self. This misconception of the self is apparent when we experience a strong emotion. For example, when we’re angry, we feel there’s a real "I" who is justifiably irate. But if we ask ourselves, “Who is angry?” we have a hard time pointing to exactly who or what this seemingly independent self is. In fact, our self or “I” exists but not in the way we think it does. We seek to protect and please this independent self, which is a creation of our misconceptions. Thus, we become attached to whatever gives us pleasure and have aversion toward the people and things that interfere with our happiness.
From this ignorant view of ourselves spring jealousy, pride, confusion, grudge-holding, laziness, and an assortment of other undesirable personality characteristics. These afflictions obscure our good qualities, preventing us from being the kind of people we would like to be. Motivated by these afflictions, we act. Karma refers to the intentional actions of our body, speech, and mind: what we think, say, and do. Our actions stem from our minds. First, a motivation arises in our minds, then we act. Sometimes, we’re unaware of our motivations and are surprised at what we do and say. But if we’re attentive, we’ll observe that all our actions are preceded by motivations. For example, before we criticize someone, the thought arises, “This person is making me unhappy. I want him to stop.” Then we speak angrily, telling another his defects.
The Buddha explained that this action leaves an imprint on our mindstream, and later, when the external situation in our lives is conducive, this karmic potential matures and determines our experience. Just as a small seed can grow into a tree with many fruits, this one action of criticizing someone can produce several results: others will criticize us, our environment will be inhospitable, we’ll habitually criticize others, and we’ll have an unfortunate rebirth. Similarly, when we have good motivations, ones that are unselfish and concerned with others’ benefit, we act constructively. Such actions leave positive imprints on our consciousness. These positive imprints likewise give rise to results: others will like us, our habitat will be pleasant, and we’ll have good personalities and a fortunate rebirth. Thus, at different times, we generate afflictions such an anger, attachment, and confusion, and positive emotions and attitudes such as love, self-respect, consideration for others, and wisdom.

The Buddhist path is one of eliminating afflictions and increasing positive mental states, in order to bring ourselves and those around us peace and happiness."

Venerable Thubten Chodron.

Sravasty Abbey eTeaching August 2010. Monthly eTeachings are drawn from books by Ven. Thubten Chodron. You can explore her books on snowlionpub.com. Go to thubtenchodron.org for audio and transcribed teachings. There's a directory of video teachings at sravastiabbey.org

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Re: Mind as the creator of Karma

Post by ronnewmexico » Sun Aug 15, 2010 10:11 pm

That is absolutely true to my opinion. The theme of such is followed even in theravadan opinion as I see it, though some specifics or depth of consideraton may or may not vary depending on individual interpretation.

We must be aware however others such as some HIndus and those of other religions, have equilivent envisionings of karma and have different conclusion. I am certainly no expert in Hinduism or others religions, but antedotal experience suggests this is fact.

I of course adhere to this view but others state other views on this thing. So we may find karma being refered to as a totally differing thing. We know mind as originator or karma but I suspect not all others do. Their opinions on mind, for one, differing from ours. A asian or tibetan conception of mind as per example differing from a western conception. The literal definition of some terms in Tibetan may be quite contrasting to our interpretations of such based in a english form of reference.

Like eskimos having 23 or 14 or some such terms for the word ice in english. So mind varies.
It is wonderful to read this as it is so clear.

As a aside of sorts...I find the examples given of karmic effect quite meek and mild almost like I could see in someone working in a office type environment and living in a suburb somewhere. Something such a person would worry about but as someone suggested once...these being breadcrumb sins.
HOw about you put it this way..you hack off someones arm with a ax....you will eventually having devolped such tendency and actions reaction to tendency....have your arm hacked off with a ax or be born without a arm...how about that?

The examples seems very mild perhaps aimed at a particular auidence.

How we think act and do are not always intentional or conscious, though, they constitute karmic effect and generate karmic result. Intent is to protect or furthur self not as intending a certain thing as we must do with a conscious intention. Protection of self and furthurance of self may be intended but not conscious. That perhaps bears comment upon. I may for instance feel a pain on my shoulder, hit forceably my hand upon that shoulder and inadveratantly kill a bug biting that shoulder. I may do that same thing with no bug upon my shoulder and kill nothing....the idea both are equal from a action and result perspective is untrue and very different result and consequence of result is obtained. So intenion may bear consideration as determineing result but lack of intention in that fashion does not necessarily result in equal karmic effect. The reaction to the pain itself the swat.... though not a intentional thought is a intention to protect self and thusly kamically bound is effect and result and habitual formation.

The intention to relieve pain though unintended in a conventional sense is directly related to self and is a intention to protect self and avert pain and seek equalness or pleasure.....so it generates karma though by western interpretation is not intended, nor by that thinking generate karma if negative effect is precipitated. The swat binds it thusly to karma without western conceptualized thought intention. If we could remove a action from self intention entirely, we then could state nonintention with intention so defined. I see a plane fly get hit by a bolt of lightening and crash....I have no karmic effect from such observation nor intention in any relationship to self. I roll over in bed to get more comfortable I am still acting in relation to self and thusly though minimal if I roll over and kill bug I have some slight karmic effect habitual inclination and all the rest.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.

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Re: Mind as the creator of Karma

Post by Ngawang Drolma » Mon Aug 16, 2010 12:05 am

Great post, thanks BFS :namaste:

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Re: Mind as the creator of Karma

Post by BFS » Mon Aug 16, 2010 11:58 pm


Nice to 'see' you, Drolma :)

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