Renewed existence

55 Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature

Part of an ongoing series of teachings (retreat and Friday) based on the book Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature, the third volume in The Library of Wisdom and Compassion series by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Venerable Thubten Chodron.

  • Mental factor of intention and karma
  • Formative action and renewed existence
  • Conditions for rebirth in form realm and formless realm
  • Four types of renewed existence
  • Birth, death, bardo, from birth to prior to death
  • Renewed existence in Pali tradition
  • Karmically active renewed existence and resultant rebirth renewed existence
  • Conditions for rebirth in different relams

Samsara, Nirvana, and Buddha Nature 55: Renewed Existence (download)

Contemplation points

  1. The mind of compassion does what it can to alleviate pain and misery, and when we can’t do anything directly, then we dedicate merit, say prayers, do the taking and giving meditation to keep our mind involved and caring about the situation of living beings. Consider situations from your own life or events in the world. What might you do to help when you think of the mind of compassion in this way?
  2. We often think of benefitting beings in the bardo through special practices, and yet the best time to help others is when they are alive, helping them to create virtue. Consider the relationships you have now. How often do your own afflictions inhibit your ability to benefit others? How might working with your own mind influence others, the karma they create, and the rebirth they take when they die?
  3. “Although our choices and decisions are influenced by our previous actions, they are not completely determined by them. We have the freedom to make responsible choices and to either nourish or counteract our tendencies toward various intentions.” Take some time with this. Make examples of choices you make as you go throughout your day that nourish negative and positive results. How does karma influence your choices and what freedom did you have in that moment to nourish or counteract the influence of your tendencies?
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.