Karma, Cause and Result
Given by the 12th Kenting Tai Situpa at Palpung Sherabling, December 2004.
Transcribed by Chang Chin & Changchub Saldon
Teaching Chapter 4 & 5 and Practice Chapter 4 & 5
Now karma, cause and result. First, we have to contemplate on precious human life. Then we have to contemplate on death impermanent , because that precious human life we cannot take for granted , because anytime we can lose it. Now the third is karma, cause and result, because after death, there is nothing then no big deal . You know. Long time ago, long time ago, when I was just building the monastery, at the beginning, like 29 years ago, I used to talk to the workers. Because that time I am living on the ground floor, just few rooms, so the workers I see them all the time, so I talked to them and I learn something from them. Nowadays totally different, because I live way up there, and so many building, so I had to walk all the way to talk to them . And when I go down there, actually they will stop working. So they all doing something very normal, I just show up, everything interrupted, abnormal. There was one man he talks a lot. And I used to think that he is very old, but maybe he's much younger than now me. You know. That those days I am in my 20's, so anybody looks old. When you are in teens and twenties, everybody looks old. So, that not so old, old man, one day he is very upset. He had a problem at home, so he said, " I have so much problems ", he is smoking and said, "I have so much problems". He said, I think I better retire", "I better give myself holiday". So what he really meant is die, he wanted to die. So I realized he thinks after death , you are finished, nothing. It is not true.
We died and came here . Otherwise, where did we come from, y ou know. So you can never go for holiday. Not that kind of holiday, and not that kind of retirement. If he had good karma to be born as a human being again, you know, about 5-6 years it's a holiday, you know. You don't have anything complicated , everything that you can get hold of put in your mouth. And then slowly, slowly you learn, so no more holidays . Then fully employed, fully slaved actually, slaved. So if we don't have the understanding of karma, cause and result, then death impermanent understanding doesn't help. You will say, "Y ah, it is true everybody dies, I know that, so what? " So that is not true. Our mind can never die because our mind is never born. Only our body is born . Therefore, our body can die, mind continues. Therefore, the karma, cause and result is very important teaching to contemplate on . So each one of us slightly different from each other. Why? We have no other answer, except each one of us have different karma. Then each one of us, when we were before, and we are now, so many times we have changed. We have no other answer, but karma. You are going to school, and learning how to read A, B, C, D, that's also A, B, C, D karma. So that karma, the result will come and we can read, you know. And we study very well, then we get very good marks. That is karma. We don't study well, we get bad marks, that is also karma, right there. And sometimes even we study very hard, and we have feel to make a very good marks but we get a very bad paper, that is also karma, you know. Very strange karma. But it is true. And we call it corruption karma. Corruption karma. You have good mark but actually you get bad mark. That is corruption karma. Somebody has bad mark but get good mark, that is corruption karma. And in the future life, those professors or whoever decide those things, will have that kind of karma. Yes, of course. Of course. They will study very hard, they pass everything on paper, and then when the results come, they don't pass anything. Yes, of course. Karma would never cheat.
Quite few very intelligent people, even very intelligent people, I don't understand why they don't understand karma; but I believe that is their karma. I don't know past, I don't know future, I hardly know present, but I know everything is karma, it's very simple. Because everything has cause and condition, and past. Everything has. All of you are here in this room now listening to me teaching Maha Mudra . Right? So each one of you if you trace back, how did you get here? How did you come to know about Maha Mudra? How did you come across Dharma? If you trace back, you can trace back . You know. And after your birth, you can trace back . And then from there we don't know, because we don't have the ability. But if we have the ability, it cannot stop there . Impossible. There must be, there have to be forever tracing. And that is in the text mentioned - look at one feather of peacock , each hair has so many colors, so that it makes the one beautiful pattern. B ut each color is synchronized. The color is synchronized. And no body made it, but the karma of the peacock. Now by having very simple common sense that everything that happens now is the result of cause and conditions that took place in the past. With that common sense, we know karma.
Some people have migraine headache . Migraine means permanent, chronic headache. And they ask me, some of them asked me , "Is this my karma ?" I said, "Of course, you have a head". "And you have that kind of head. " Then " Can I do something to overcome this? " "Of course." " Whatever kind of head that you have which makes you have a headache all the time, you have to fix that. Then karma is over." Some karma, doctors can fix it, that is also karma. Some karma doctors cannot fix it, that is also karma. And then you have found another method. Maybe simple as: just take it easy and calm down. Don't laugh too much, don't talk too much, don't eat too much, then maybe okay.
Now, this way, everything is karma. Only one thing that is not karma that is the Buddha nature and the enlightenment. These two things are not related to karma, because that is above and beyond karma. You cannot do such a bad karma so that you lose your Buddha nature, that is impossible; And you do such a good karma so you become Buddha, that is impossible. You have to overcome all the karma in order to become Buddha. But bad karma is obstacle, very big obstacle for progress. Therefore we accumulate good karma to be progressive, to be able to smoothly progress. And then once you reach to the highest level of karma, good karma, then you have to overcome your good karma the same way you overcame your bad karma. Just by resting, resting in the nature of mind. What do you think Milarepa doing in the cave? You think he is learning Kung fu ? Or is he torturing himself? No. How can you make lots of good karma in a cave? There is nothing. So he let his ultimate primordial wisdom which is beyond karma to manifest. For that, he followed his master's teaching. At the beginning, with lots of rituals and lots of efforts . He sat many, many days with a lamp on his head. Because if you have a butter lamp on your head until the lamp is finishes you have to sit quite still, you know. And after doing all the visualizations, all the rituals, and everything, then he rested on his nature of mind for many , many years. Then finally he attained realization, ultimate realization. So two things that is Dumajepa. Dumajepa. Duche means relative cause and conditions. Many things, many causes, many conditions come together and it happen. So Buddha nature is Dumajepa. It is not a result of cause and condition. And enlightenment is Dumajepa. It is not result of cause and condition.
Therefore, for us, for all of us, it is extremely important to accumulate and conduct good karma and purify and overcome bad karma. Why did Marpa make Milarepa's life very difficult? Because Milarepa wanted to be enlightened in this life. If Milarepa thinks like me, i f I improve one percent in this life, then in one hundred lives I will be Buddha. Then it is not necessary for Marpa to put Milarepa through all of that. So Marpa, it took a long time for Marpa to accept Milarepa as a disciple. Not because Marpa is mean, because Milarepa wanted to attain enlightenment in this life. So therefore, he had to purify lots of things ; countless life times of karma have to purify in this life. So it is enormous , enormous expectation. Finally Marpa accepted Milarepa as a disciple, then first thing he told him to do was to build a house for his son. Not even for himself, but for his son. You know, if Marpa say, "You build the house for me ." It would be easier for Milarepa. But you built it for my son. That is a very odd design he gave. He told him that he cannot hire anybody , "Nobody can help you. You have to do it by yourself." So Milarepa built that odd house , not odd house, odd design house, that odd design house for Marpa's son by himself. Then one day, Marpa came and look around, walking around, then looking at Milarepa and told him, "What are you doing? " Then he said, "I am building a house for your son. " Then he said, "How dare you building this kind house for my son ?" And Marpa was so angry. And Milarepa told him "You told me to do it. " Then Marpa was very angry , and finally he said , "Maybe I was drunk that day. " "Now , you have to pull down everything, and put back all the stones, all the earth where they come from. " He sounded very an environmentalist, environmental friendly. Put back. After Milarepa have done that, then Marpa gave Milarepa another design. Same thing he did three times. So the fourth time, then it was a normal house, square, square shape. Nine stories. And it is still standing today, built by Milarepa himself with his own hands for Marpa's son. We call it Lhodrak Saykhar Gutok. Lhodrak is name of place where Marpa lives; Say means the son; khar means castle; Gutok means nine floors, nine stories . It's not a big nine stories. It's 9 stories, not big. Each one is shrine. I remember when I am about 6, 7 years old, my nanny lama carried me and walk up the top floor. I remember. And I had some turquoise, turquoise stone . It was very scary, very windy, and very little you have to hold, my nanny had to hold to go around, hold kind of iron chain. I drop that turquoise from the ninth floor. We cannot find it later. I remember very clearly.
So that way, when Milarepa got a lot done just by building up, pulling down, building up, pulling down, building up, pulling down and finally building a nine stories . That had done a lot. Then one very rich lama comes to Marpa to get some initiation , and Marpa's wife was so touched by Milarepa's devotion. So she quietly helps Milarepa to get in the initiation. Marpa immediately noticed, and she gave a very precious turquoise to Milarepa, turquoise, turquoise to gung-yang, no, to offer to Marpa as an offering. And Marpa noticed immediately. And Marpa had a walking stick made out of sandalwood, very hard wood . Red sandalwood. So Milarepa is in the room, Dhakmayma was peeping through the door closing. And then Marpa looked at the walking stick, looked at the Milarepa, looked at the peeping Dhakmayma . Again looked at the stick, looked at the Milarepa.... and then both of them ran away. Dhakmayma just ran into another room or maybe kitchen, but Milarepa really ran away . So Milarepa is missing. Then Marpa told Dhakmayma to find where he is . And she went after him looking for him, shouting, finally she found him on a cliff. Cliff, you know. Cliff. Milarepa crying and about jump off to kill himself. He told her , " I must have such a very bad karma; my guru would never teach me, now I better die . So next life maybe he will teach me. " So then Milarepa was brought back and then Marpa finally accepted him to as a disciple and gave him empowerment. And then he received the empowerment, and that time Marpa manifested the Hevajra Mandala in the space and gave him empowerment, not on the table. So after that then few other steps, then finally Milarepa received all the teachings and then he did many, many years of retreat in the caves. I think altogether 16 years, I think. In between he never went back home.
So now this way, the karma is very important thing for us to know. But we only should know karma as relative truth. Relative truth. Otherwise how can one purify countless life times of karma in one lifetime? So karma is not ultimate truth. Ultimately karma is emptiness too. So sometimes we think that karma is as if it is ultimate truth . But it is relative truth. So long as we call ourselves "I", and everything else we call " others" , then karma is ultimate truth. But soon as we overcome the duality, then karma is relative truth. So it took that much time and effort for Milarepa to overcome the dualism of Marpa as teacher and Milarepa as disciple, it took that many years and that much effort. Of course, these days, it would be very difficult to imagine having that kind of devotion. If our guru gave us that kind of hard time, we will call our lawyer. So I think it takes a lot of maturity from the disciple's side to have that kind of devotion which is also result of karma. And then to find that kind of master is also result of karma, and to have that kind of environment is also result of karma. For example, with myself, I will never think of that kind of way about anybody. But sometimes when people read so much about Milarepa and Marpa, then you know sometimes when I have some difficulties, then they think that I am giving them a test. I am not giving a test. I am not giving anybody test. I am straight black and white . That 's what I am. What I say is what I mean. Sometimes I make mistake, and I correct it if it is necessary. If it is not necessary, I'll leave it. So it depends on the situation, what is the best for everybody. But guru like Marpa, and disciple like Milarepa, they all have to be compatible. If guru is not like Marpa, then disciple will never be like Milarepa. If disciple is not like Milarepa, guru will never be like Marpa. Pretending is another thing. We also have many troupes in India . Troupes, you know troupes. Dance troupes like culture performers who perform Milarepa and Marpa and Guru Rinpoche and everything. And it is not Marpa. It is a drama. It is a show. It is something one half hour show. Cultural organization, cultural show, Cultural organization. So now this way, then you see the importance and definition of the karma.
And then the karma, cause and result is what Buddha taught as basic teaching for all Buddhist as ten virtue and ten non- virtue. Ten virtue to conduct, and Ten non- virtue to renounce. This summarizes all the good karma, bad karma. So, three involving body, four involving speech, and three involving mind. So Buddha tell us not to kill, not to steal, and not to conduct sexual misconduct. And then four of the speech ~ not to lie, not to slander, no harsh words, no gossips. O.K. So many people spend five hours every day. Then three involving the mind. First is greedy kind of envy. Envy but greedy kind of envy. Not envying somebody doing good and wish to become Buddha. Not that kind of envy. But envy, the greedy kind of envy. Somebody have something good and then you like to have that of thing. Nab-Seim, we call it Nab-Seim. English, the envy is for both positive and negative. Both, O.K. So that one, Nab-Seim first, covetousness. And second one is wish to harm others. Like people like to hunt, people like to hurt others, people like to take revenge, you know, all these things, wishing others pain, wishing others problems. So that is the mind negative karma. The third is the wrong view, wrong view, wrong perception. This means, if we said, "No karma, no good, no bad, no karma, no Buddha nature" like that. Then that is all wrong. That is wrong view. So these three are three mind negative karma. So Buddha tell us to conduct these; Buddha tell us to renounce these and conduct the opposite. Instead of killing, to save, etc. So that is the summary of all the karma.
So going through all of these one by one, like ten virtues, ten non-virtues one by one. Going through karma, cause and result very clearly. Now the text writes the whole things in a very simplified conclusion. If we have the full control over what we will be after our death, then everything is fine. But if not, then we have to do all the positive things, accumulate all the good karma. And we have to renounce negative things, renounce, renounce negative things. And avoid accumulating negative karma and try to purify the negative karma. Everything is summarized to that. So now it sounds very simple , "Oh, well, Maybe I can choose my next life." You know. But leave that alone. Can you choose exactly what you want to be in this life? Aftertoday, did you manage to be exactly what you wish to be ? Up to today, did you achieve that everything you wish to achieve? O.K.? I don't hear any answer, but I know. Because you are not different from me and I am not different from you. I want to be Buddha without doing any practice. Four hours of practice everyday, 2 hours in the morning, 2 hours in the evening. I want to become Buddha, didn't happen, it didn't happen. Therefore, it is absolutely obvious that we have no control over where we're going to be born next life. Even small things, can you dream exactly what you wish to dream tonight? Very difficult. So next life, where to be born is million times more difficult. Therefore, we have to do our best to follow the Lord Buddha's teaching about the karma. That is about the karma, cause and result.