How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

General discussion, particularly exploring the Dharma in the modern world.
[N.B. This is the forum that was called ‘Exploring Buddhism’. The new name simply describes it better.]
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Wayfarer
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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Wayfarer » Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:17 am

The answer to the question in the OP is given in the first two verses of the Dharmapada.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Ogyen » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:22 pm

Quotes compiled from collective karma thread
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:01 pm
But dependent origination, when reduced to its essential components, simply means: where there is affliction, there is a cause for action; where there is action there is a cause for suffering; and where there is suffering, there is a condition for further affliction. Without affliction, there is no cause for action; without action, there is no result, suffering.
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:16 pm
A Buddhas deeds are not based on afflcition (desire, hatred, and ignorance); they are based on wisdom. Hence, they do not result in suffering.
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:10 pm
A buddha's mind stream is conditioned and relative; it is however free of affliction and endowed with omniscience.
From this thread
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:46 am
Dzogchen mainly describes how samsara begins (with an aim to reverse it), but the “mechanics” of samsara are the same: affliction—> action —> suffering —>affliction as infinitum unless one breaks the chain at affliction.

An action always has a result. An affliction does not need to have a result.


Two definition questions:

What is the definition (in the context of Dharma) of an affliction?
What is the definition (in the context for Dharma) of an action?

Per the mechanism illustrated in the sequence above, WHY is it that affliction does not need to have a result?

Is it because:
A. As we remain in a state of Vidya we discern what "action" to take from wisdom on how to act (free of affliction?)

B. The "action" is performed without cetana, so its source is wisdom and not ignorance

C. Neither A o B (and if that is the case how do Buddhas act in such ways that seem "negative" to the casual onlooker but which have no karmic consequence, and in fact provide benefit?)
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The Heart Drive - nosce te ipsum

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Malcolm » Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:32 pm

Ogyen wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 4:22 pm
Quotes compiled from collective karma thread
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 7:01 pm
But dependent origination, when reduced to its essential components, simply means: where there is affliction, there is a cause for action; where there is action there is a cause for suffering; and where there is suffering, there is a condition for further affliction. Without affliction, there is no cause for action; without action, there is no result, suffering.
Malcolm wrote:
Thu Apr 19, 2018 8:16 pm
A Buddhas deeds are not based on afflcition (desire, hatred, and ignorance); they are based on wisdom. Hence, they do not result in suffering.
Malcolm wrote:
Sat Apr 21, 2018 10:10 pm
A buddha's mind stream is conditioned and relative; it is however free of affliction and endowed with omniscience.
From this thread
Malcolm wrote:
Mon Apr 23, 2018 3:46 am
Dzogchen mainly describes how samsara begins (with an aim to reverse it), but the “mechanics” of samsara are the same: affliction—> action —> suffering —>affliction as infinitum unless one breaks the chain at affliction.

An action always has a result. An affliction does not need to have a result.


Two definition questions:

What is the definition (in the context of Dharma) of an affliction?
A painful mental state, i.e., desire, hatred, and ignorance, or anything that is conducive to a painful mental state, i.e., impure conditioned phenomena.

What is the definition (in the context for Dharma) of an action?
Volition is action, this produces verbal and physical acts.
Per the mechanism illustrated in the sequence above, WHY is it that affliction does not need to have a result?

Is it because:
A. As we remain in a state of Vidya we discern what "action" to take from wisdom on how to act (free of affliction?)

B. The "action" is performed without cetana, so its source is wisdom and not ignorance
Afflictions do not necessarily produce volitions. When we are aware of our afflictive state, we can disengage our minds from actions related towards afflictive objects. This is why we practice śamatha, actually, so that we are aware of our mind's afflictive state. Being aware of our mind's afflictive state is called mindfulness and attention. Being unaware of our mind's afflictive stated is called being mindless and inattentive.
Buddhahood in This Life
འ༔ ཨ༔ ཧ༔ ཤ༔ ས༔ མ༔


[A]nything at all that is well spoken is the word of the Buddha.

-- Ārya-adhyāśaya-sañcodana-nāma-mahāyāna-sūtra

The different sūtras in accord with the emptiness
taught by the Sugata are definitive in meaning;
One can understand that all of those Dharmas in
which a sentient being, individual, or person are taught are provisional in meaning.

-- Samadhirāja Sūtra

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Ogyen » Wed Apr 25, 2018 5:41 pm

Wayfarer wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 10:17 am
The answer to the question in the OP is given in the first two verses of the Dharmapada.
Verse 1. Suffering Follows The Evil-Doer

Mind precedes all knowables,
mind's their chief, mind-made are they.
If with a corrupted mind
one should either speak or act
dukkha follows caused by that,
as does the wheel the ox's hoof.

Explanation: All that we experience begins with thought. Our words and deeds spring from thought. If we speak or act with evil thoughts, unpleasant circumstances and experiences inevitably result. Wherever we go, we create bad circumstances because we carry bad thoughts. This is very much like the wheel of a cart following the hoofs of the ox yoked to the cart. The cart-wheel, along with the heavy load of the cart, keeps following the draught oxen. The animal is bound to this heavy load and cannot leave it.

Verse 2. Happiness Follows The Doer of Good

Mind precedes all knowables,
mind's their chief, mind-made are they.
If with a clear, and confident mind
one should speak and act
as one's shadow ne'er departing.

Explanation: All that man experiences springs out of his thoughts. If his thoughts are good, the words and the deeds will also be good. The result of good thoughts , words and deeds will be happiness. This happiness will never leave the person whose thoughts are good. Happiness will always follow him like his shadow that never leaves him.


.... While this is terrific in words and we can all understand it intellectually, this does not answer my question which is more about checking and verifying experientially, and knowing in real-time by successfully cultivating wisdom rather than waiting until I'm reborn to find out if I screwed it up worse (which I wouldn't know anyway exactly the same way I can't verify my immediate past lives due to inadequate capacities on my part)
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The Heart Drive - nosce te ipsum

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Wayfarer » Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:31 pm

Actually the Penguin Classics translation by Juan Mascaro is considerably more poetic than the one you quoted (or any of the others that speak in terms of 'mind-states' and the like):
What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build the life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.

If one speaks or acts with an impure mind, suffering follows as the wheel of the cart follows the beast that draws the cart.

What we are today comes from our thoughts of yesterday, and our present thoughts build the life of tomorrow: our life is the creation of our mind.

If a person speaks or acts with a pure mind, joy follows as her own shadow.
Ogyen wrote: rather than waiting until I'm reborn...
No need to wait - we're being reborn at every moment. One moment gives rise to the next moment, whether that is another day or another lifetime. (This is not only my idea!)

I think this is where faith enters the picture, is it not? "How can I be sure I'm acting from pure motives?" The answer is: you can only do your best. That's where trust of your true nature and in the dharma comes into play. We can't understand all the depths and complexities in our current state, hence, the need for the teaching in the first place! That is why it is compared to a raft. And we need to have faith in it.
Only practice with no gaining idea ~ Suzuki Roshi

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Sennin » Wed Apr 25, 2018 11:38 pm

Very informative thread.
:coffee:
Thus, there is not a single one who has entered into this teaching who fails to attain buddhahood.

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by muni » Tue Jul 03, 2018 10:35 am

Kunga Lhadzom wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 7:08 pm
Ogyen wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:28 am
What are the post signs along the road I should be paying attention to?
I think when you have more love in your heart rather than hatred
More peace in your life
Less wanting & desires
Less questioning
Ability to really help others
Less afflictive emotions...(attachment's, greed, jealousy, hatred, lust, partiality)

:shrug:

I read something recently about this but i can't recall exactly the wording ...


Go down to # 10 (Pg.401 ) : (They appear to be footnotes)

https://books.google.com/books?id=s6L2k ... sm&f=false
Good intention is so important but perhaps not enough and sometimes even triggering. Even someone wishes so very much to help, the help can be seen as an attack. Just like a wolf painfully entangled in a trap, will bite when a hand is sticking out to help him out of that desperate situation. He would bite, as we would, to each other and perhaps even to Enlightened help.

Trapped in duality, I think your advice is a great recommendation to be less a slave of the dividing mind.
As long as dualism is present, there is continuation of karma.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by weitsicht » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:42 am

Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:31 pm
Ogyen wrote: rather than waiting until I'm reborn...
No need to wait - we're being reborn at every moment. One moment gives rise to the next moment, whether that is another day or another lifetime. (This is not only my idea!)
can confirm that.
Core dzogchen view.
Wayfarer wrote:
Wed Apr 25, 2018 10:31 pm

I think this is where faith enters the picture, is it not? "How can I be sure I'm acting from pure motives?" The answer is: you can only do your best. That's where trust of your true nature and in the dharma comes into play. We can't understand all the depths and complexities in our current state, hence, the need for the teaching in the first place! That is why it is compared to a raft. And we need to have faith in it.
:good:
That's why the relation to the teacher is so important. Because you need that faith until you see for yourself.
I am fully accepting that I don't see into the functionalities of cause and condition.
The more I practise the more firm beliefs transform into mere possibilities.

@Ogyen: be invited to stop grasping
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by weitsicht » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:55 am

Ogyen wrote:
Tue Apr 24, 2018 12:52 am
We talk about karma in principle, and I am fixed (determined) on understanding it in its correct view. But not to just understand and talk about it. I want this to be done already. I'm fed up with being ignorant. It is very clear to me once I entered this practice how incredibly multifaceted every relative situation is even in ONE family for each individual.. and grasping just how many conditions contribute to stimulate habituated patterns that manifest like from "many a fiction story for every episode of one's life," yet seeing them line up, tracking the trends, hindsight helps in defining and illustrating very clearly what is priority and what isn't... I fully trust the self-perfecting process precisely because the connection proves I prioritized my connection to the teachings before, in this being inhabited by a conventional me, and wh knows how many other Me's before. It sometimes feel like the anchor was to be born where my teacher was in the years he was there (not many Tibetans in Naples) but I had a specific situation which was quite awful for many years. It was slaking off debts one by one to get to a position where the practice can really begin, one insanity after the other and many of those afflictions did exhaust themselves and no longer bind my current conditions... But some DO! Yet somehow I'm not that attached to their story anymore, I see them for their worth and only feel a kind of gratitude my conditions provided me with the correct medicine to feel the transparency of things... As if becoming more relative in my understanding in which even more precision is called for!

Ogyen, you haven't responded to a question on the first page: which vehicle does your post refer to?

The only thing I can offer is the dzogchen view. And I am not sure whether I am crossing here a line by trying to help, but alas...


I read so much pondering in the long posts you write. I see your longing for logic, precision which you think to attain through determination. And I think (and that is the dzogchen view) that this is not how it is going to work. Let go and rest in what is there right now. Now remembering, no expectation.

Make the seeing of the true nature of your mind your one and only goal.

Trying to verify your karma is just another play of the ego's mind. Of course it may be fun going down that road, but stay in awareness of its inherent emptiness.

Go where there is no trail and leave no path
recommends Ken McLeod http://unfetteredmind.org/a-trackless-path-ii/
This is where the true journey starts.
All the rest is just illusion
Ho! All the possible appearances and existences of samsara and nirvana have the same source, yet two paths and two results arise as the magical display of awareness and unawareness.
HO NANG SRI KHOR DAE THAMCHE KUN ZHI CHIG LAM NYI DRAE BU NYI RIG DANG MA RIG CHOM THRUL TE

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Grigoris » Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:24 pm

Karma is a difficult one to figure out.

For example: My brother died earlier this year and left a heap of debts that my family and I have to pay for.

This lead me to wondering: How can I know if this is due to old debts which were accrued by me towards him that I now have to pay for, OR are these new debts being accrued by him towards me?

Only a Buddha can know.
"My religion is not deceiving myself."
Jetsun Milarepa 1052-1135 CE

"Butchers, prostitutes, those guilty of the five most heinous crimes, outcasts, the underprivileged: all are utterly the substance of existence and nothing other than total bliss."
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The Fundamental Tantra of Dzogchen Semde

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Berry » Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:27 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:24 pm
Karma is a difficult one to figure out.

For example: My brother died earlier this year and left a heap of debts that my family and I have to pay for.

This lead me to wondering: How can I know if this is due to old debts which were accrued by me towards him that I now have to pay for, OR are these new debts being accrued by him towards me?

Only a Buddha can know.

I'm sorry about your brother Grigoris. There's something that the Buddha said about karma in this little sutta :
"There are these four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them. Which four?

"The Buddha-range of the Buddhas is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"The jhana-range of a person in jhana...

"The [precise working out of the] results of kamma...

"Conjecture about [the origin, etc., of] the world is an unconjecturable that is not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about it.

"These are the four unconjecturables that are not to be conjectured about, that would bring madness & vexation to anyone who conjectured about them."

(AN 4.77)

https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html
Leave the polluted water of conceptual thoughts in its natural clarity. Without affirming or denying appearances, leave them as they are. When there is neither acceptance nor rejection, mind is liberated into mahāmudra.

~ Tilopa

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Ignorant_Fool » Thu Jul 05, 2018 2:17 am

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:24 pm
Karma is a difficult one to figure out.

For example: My brother died earlier this year and left a heap of debts that my family and I have to pay for.

This lead me to wondering: How can I know if this is due to old debts which were accrued by me towards him that I now have to pay for, OR are these new debts being accrued by him towards me?

Only a Buddha can know.
Sorry to hear about your brother, Grigoris.

Your post got me thinking about collective karma though. What role does it play, if any, in a situation like this? Is that even how collective karma works? How much of our suffering is due to our own karmic debts? At what point can we say that suffering is not just the result of individual karmic debts? Is it when an entire country is devastated by some natural disaster or when an entire group of people is persecuted and killed? Does collective karma operate on a smaller scale - like between a group of co-workers or a family unit?

I understand that there is a danger with this line of thinking, especially for someone like me, where collective karma can be a means to externalising all of my suffering and causes of suffering. But can this be notion be totally ignored when looking at suffering in its entirety?

I'm probably not articulating this well due to incompetence. Apologies for the noob post. :?

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by muni » Thu Jul 05, 2018 10:33 am

At what point can we say that suffering is not just the result of individual karmic debts?
This is a very interesting question, which is going beyond my poor limitations. Instead of being able to provide an answer, other questions are popping up only: if all karmic debts would be purely individual, would there than not be a subtle belief in an "individual, a person, a one on itself"? Is not all dependent, even so subtle what our intellect cannot get?
I do not reject when we are acting unwholesome or wholesome, from these, our own harvest will be coloured. Would that only be, without any influence on all around us? Then how would it be called wholesome and unwholesome? Personal only?

I do not reject we must awaken ourselves, none can do it for us, (even we are temporary dependent on 'some navigation medicines' to help) But if it is solely individual ' karmic harvest', we must be energies on our own. Perhaps with a stony separating wall around body-speech and mind.

ps My warm support to Greece, for the whole family.
“ Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us the tranquility and happiness we all seek. ”
H H Dalai Lama

"Relax." nirvana-samsara do not stray from spaciousness.

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Ogyen » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:46 pm

weitsicht wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:55 am


Ogyen, you haven't responded to a question on the first page: which vehicle does your post refer to?

The only thing I can offer is the dzogchen view. And I am not sure whether I am crossing here a line by trying to help, but alas...
Hi, apologies.. life ate up a lot of time lately. Just seeing this. :focus: Karma applies to all vehicles. It is not even philosophy specific. It is a principle which encompasses all vehicles and beings that stumbled into Samsara.
weitsicht wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 11:55 am
I read so much pondering in the long posts you write. I see your longing for logic, precision which you think to attain through determination. And I think (and that is the dzogchen view) that this is not how it is going to work. Let go and rest in what is there right now. Now remembering, no expectation.

Make the seeing of the true nature of your mind your one and only goal.

Trying to verify your karma is just another play of the ego's mind. Of course it may be fun going down that road, but stay in awareness of its inherent emptiness.

Go where there is no trail and leave no path
recommends Ken McLeod http://unfetteredmind.org/a-trackless-path-ii/
This is where the true journey starts.
All the rest is just illusion
It's nicely thought out thank you for taking the time to write. I may go on and on in my posts... I guarantee I'm not a terribly lengthy thinker off the boards, I just have general existential angst I'm working out overall, as I find myself in that awkward phase between birth and death. :rolling:

I had a wonderful retreat recently which opened my eyes a great deal, and I have a strong confidence in the method of Dharma. I study all aspects of buddhadharma but due to karmic conditions and previous aspirations, I really resonate most with the Dzogchen vehicle.

Verifying karma is a fundamental part of understanding the true nature of your actual condition, I don't think it's an ego game. To see the true nature of your mind there's a lot of layers to get thru... I mean we are caked in conditioning that prevents us from really integrating our own true nature, so much of this is a very useful exercise.

The question mostly pertained to finding markers and knowing that you are going the right way (for you). We think a lot of things. That doesn't mean we see or understand what the conditions are which are producing that thinking/feeling and acting. I have now learned how to verify that and apply it.

All of a sudden... Karmic conditions are maturing rather quickly manifesting in the form of obstacles and changes which I sometimes can mitigate somewhat thru the effect of secondary causes generated by the protection of practice. The rest I deal with as I can.

:meditate:
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The Heart Drive - nosce te ipsum

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by Ogyen » Tue Jul 10, 2018 9:53 pm

Grigoris wrote:
Wed Jul 04, 2018 12:24 pm
Karma is a difficult one to figure out.

For example: My brother died earlier this year and left a heap of debts that my family and I have to pay for.

This lead me to wondering: How can I know if this is due to old debts which were accrued by me towards him that I now have to pay for, OR are these new debts being accrued by him towards me?

Only a Buddha can know.
:hug:

I've also had that question pop up in some situations and I've come to think that maybe not even a personal thing between you and your brother... More like a series of conditions you both had accumulated at some point that now matured this way, you with having a kind of load to carry that is debt related, and he to leaving your family in this specific secanrio.. and now you're where this karma will run its course... The trick is to either just exhaust that karma trying to have better clarity of the nature of these relative (but very annoyingly felt) consequences, and to not generate new karma in body speech and mind. Of course it's much easier said than done... But I have been taking to welcoming exhausting karma as needed, and I've started to become sensitive to how every action and thought produces it's own kind of karma.

Many good hugs and vibes to you.
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The Heart Drive - nosce te ipsum

"To love. To be loved. To never forget your own insignificance. To never get used to the unspeakable violence and the vulgar disparity of life around you. To seek joy in the saddest places. To pursue beauty to its lair. To never simplify what is complicated or complicate what is simple. To respect strength, never power. Above all, to watch. To try and understand. To never look away. And never, never, to forget." –Arundhati Roy

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Re: How do you know you're not just making karma worse??

Post by kausalya » Mon Jul 23, 2018 5:21 am

Ogyen wrote:
Sun Apr 22, 2018 1:28 am
Some stuff is happening that I know with utmost certainty is the culminating of Karma ripening...

How do you know you're not just making things worse thinking you're making things better (good intentions and all that jazz)???

Is just practicing enough?
The solution is always to practice what you've been given until your mind becomes clear, meaning unhelpful states of mind have subsided & you can act based on wisdom. If you're unsure, practice more.

If practicing doesn't seem like enough, you have two options... one is to accumulate more karma and wait for it to burn itself out through your experiences, and the other is to practice anyway. Mechanically they are identical, but functionally they are opposed. Blindly creating karma through mundane activity is the risky one. Practice necessarily protects you from that, always, every single time, because it's not connected to your ordinary mind, but to your wisdom mind, which is the very mind of the Buddha.

More to the point, in which direction is your fear (i.e., of worsening karma) pushing you?

Is it constructive or not?

How much time do you spend with this fear by itself, vs. letting it spur you to action? The state of your mind, which is capable of indulging the fear in unproductive/harmful ways, is what creates the karma producing the fear you mean to escape.

If the fear is there and you can't get rid of it at this time (because you can't change the conditions causing it to arise), employ practice. Let go of the mind that judges & tries to ascertain what will happen, because this is based on the Eight Worldly Attitudes; seize the mind that is committed to making your life meaningful through practice.

It already exists within you, ready to be activated through conscious contemplation. Remember that the practice you've done in the past & that you choose to do currently is helping you right now, as opposed to in the future. :thumbsup:
"Open sky does not abide, nor do sentient beings."

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