02.11.09

Counting on Karma

Posted in Buddhism, HH Dalai Lama, Life in general at 11:06 am by Marion

This week I’ve had some close encounters with karma and faith.

So what is karma?

Karma introduced itself to me with a swift kick in the pants. The year was 1993 or 1994. I went to a sandwich shop with those bins of bulk raisins and malt balls. I got a bag of raisins and forgot to pay for it … just outside the door, I discovered my mistake, and instead of returning to pay, congratulated myself for getting away with it!

That night, my car was broken into. Wallet, purse, gym bag all stolen.

Lesson!

Now I’m not saying there’s a big mean deed-o-meter out there waiting to punish us … but it showed me that the rules I choose to live by are also the rules that will choose me.

It’s not a punishment. It is, however, a registration. An action will generate a certain effect … that’s a basic law of physics, but I believe it also applies to choices, morals and values.

So went my first lesson with karma.

Today, I have a greater understanding of karma. I see that the more I extend goodwill to others, the more I will experience.

Now that’s not why I do it … I find it invigorating to extend good wishes to people who wish to do me harm. The first few times it’s frightening as I thought, If I wish them well, will it somehow empower them to harm me?

Guided by teachings of our great prophets — Jesus, Buddha, Gandhi, Martin King, His Holiness the Dalai Lama — I began taking risks that way. I first tried it when I would say a Serenity Prayer for people who wronged me … I heard that if you said it twice a day for two weeks it would dispel a resentment for wrongdoing. It works generally in less than a day.

I read a book by Emmet Fox, “Sermon on the Mount,” and it was transformational. I started praying for people who wished me ill.

These days, there are people who threaten everything I believe in or value. At first, I only offered quiet, restrained prayers, moderately sincere. I meet them and realize they’re mere human beings, with fears of their own. It becomes easier, then,, to wish them happiness without suffering. Perhaps if they have less suffering in their lives and hearts, they will not go after me.

More about karma next week.

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