- Making realistic determinations
- Remedial actions
We’ve been talking about the four opponent powers to purify negative karma. We’ve talked about regret, restoring the relationship, making a determination not to do it again. I have one more thing to say about that one and that is if there’s something that you can’t really truthfully say you’ll never do again then, it’s better for that third branch to give yourself a time period and say “For the next two days, for the next week, I will make a very concerted effort not to do this again.” In that way you have, you’ve pledged to do something that you’re actually capable of doing. If we say “I will never idle talk again,” that would almost be a lie, wouldn’t it? We can say “In the next week I going to be extremely attentive” or “The next month I’m going to be very attentive and not do that”. Then when we accomplish that, that gives us some kind of self confidence, and then we can bite off another piece to kind of prolong it so that we can keep going.
The fourth part of the four opponent powers is to do some kind of remedial action. There are some specific ones listed in the text, such as reciting mantras or reciting the Buddha’s name, making offerings, making prostrations, the Vajrasattva practice of course, 35 Buddhas, but it also can be something like studying the Dharma or meditating in general. Meditation on emptiness is probably the best remedial action, but even meditating on bodhichitta or other things like that, very good to do, or doing volunteer work, I think out in the community, at a hospice, at a hospital, at a homeless shelter, or when we’re making offerings not only to the Buddha Dharma Sangha and our teachers, but also to the poor and needy, to the ill, to other people who can use this. Basically any kind of virtuous action and just putting our energy consciously in a positive direction is something that is very good for purification.