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Contemplating specific aspects of karma

Contemplating specific aspects of karma

Having generated the motivation for a good rebirth, the text turns to creating the causes for that goal. Part of a series of teachings on the Gomchen Lamrim by Gomchen Ngawang Drakpa. Visit Gomchen Lamrim Study Guide for a full list of contemplation points for the series.

Gomchen Lamrim 35: Contemplating specific aspects of karma (download)

Contemplation points

  1. What is the difference between naturally non-virtuous and proscribed actions? Go through the four points and give examples of each (naturally negative and proscribed, naturally negative but not proscribed, not naturally negative but is proscribed, and neither naturally negative nor proscribed). How do we purify naturally negative actions? How do we purify proscribed actions (offenses)?
  2. Venerable Chodron specifically indicated that she prefers the use of the term “precept” to “vow,” a precept being something in which we are training our mind. Do you find a different flavor in your own mind when you use the term “precept” instead of “vow?” Does it help you to think of precepts in this way?
  3. Review definite and indefinite karma from last week. What are examples of actions you did in the last week that were definite (done intentionally and accumulated) and indefinite (actions without intention like the 10 examples given)? How does thinking of karma in this way help you to act virtuously and refrain from negativity?
  4. Consider each of the eight conditions that enhance a precious human life: long life, having an attractive and healthy body, coming from a reputable family, wealth and reputation, credibility, strong influence on others, having willpower and being intrepid, and having a strong body and mind. These are said to give us an especially good opportunity to do very strong Dharma practice and benefit many beings. Which of these conditions do you have? How can you enhance your practice and your ability to benefit others through these conditions?
  5. Venerable Chodron said that it’s not so much that we HAVE these conditions that is so important, but HOW we use them. Make examples of ways in which these conditions are used for non-virtue in our world. Determine to avoid wasting these precious conditions on negativity and resolve to use them to grow in your spiritual practice and benefit others.
  6. Consider the three factors that make these favorable conditions ever greater: pure attitude, pure practice, and pure field. Why is it so important to have these three if we are to make good use of our opportunities?
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.