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The beauty of creating the causes

The beauty of creating the causes

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Small waterdrops on the dandelion seeds.

I know that if I work hard to create the causes, I will get the fruit of my labor. (Photo by Steve Wall)

I know this isn’t a monumental revelation, but I’m glad I’m Buddhist (ignore the label please). I think it’s the awareness of karma and its effects that has made the difference. As a Buddhist I feel personally responsible for everything that happens to me, good or bad. If something bad happens, I shrug and know that I created the causes for it and remind myself to be more mindful in the future and not to create those causes again. If something good happens, I really appreciate it because that’s my hard work paying off. It’s almost like a cosmic thank-you note from myself.

In contrast, I meet many people who have a perpetually negative attitude. The worst kind is the helpless victim type. No matter what bad thing happens, there can be no personal responsibility for it. It can in no way be that individual’s fault. Even when something good happens, it was luck, just plain dumb luck—even when it was something that the individual obviously worked hard to achieve. For example, many times I’ve seen a muscular guy who spends all day every day in the gym working out, and people will say, “Wow, he’s got really good genes.” What?? That isn’t due to genes; it’s the fruit of dedication and hard work!

That’s why I love Buddhism. Nothing is left to chance. I know that if I work hard to create the causes, I will get the fruit of my labor. There is something so liberating and inspiring about that. Whether it’s writing, working out, or liberating all sentient beings, I know that if I create the causes I can achieve anything.

Venerable Thubten Chodron

Venerable Chodron emphasizes the practical application of Buddha’s teachings in our daily lives and is especially skilled at explaining them in ways easily understood and practiced by Westerners. She is well known for her warm, humorous, and lucid teachings. She was ordained as a Buddhist nun in 1977 by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche in Dharamsala, India, and in 1986 she received bhikshuni (full) ordination in Taiwan. Read her full bio.

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