Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

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Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Inge » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:11 pm

In the foreword to "Becoming Vajrasattva - The Tantric Path of Purification", Thubten Zopa writes: "The great enlightened being Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo said that if you have killed even a tiny insect and have not purified that negativity by the end of the day with a practice such as the Vajrasattva purification, the weight of that karma will have doubled by the next day. On the thir day it will have doubled again, and by fifteen days will have become as heavy as the karma of killing a human being. By eighteen days it will have increased 131072 times. So you can see as the weeks and months and yars go by, one tiny little negative karma will have multiplied over and over until it has become like a mountain the size of this earth. When death arrives, the karma will have become increadibly heavy."

Do you think this is correct?

Also karma is often compared to the planting of a seed, and the ripening of the fruit. The fruit is always of the same kind as the seed.

If you for instance plant a seed of barley you might harvest maybe twenty or more seeds in the autumn. So if it is correct what Thubten Zopa claims then the image of seed and fruit is relevant also regarding the exponential growth.

If all actions sprung out of any of the mental poisons give rise to this kind of exponential accumulation of negative results, then certainly the negative result constantly grows immeasurably great.

I find this somewhat unreasonable. Should not the action and its result be of equal weight? Of course if Thubten Zopa is correct, if one managed to perform more good than negative deeds then one would fast ascend to he heavenly realms. Or if one managed to plant causes that leads to liberation and enlightenment, that too should be a swift journey.

If it takes 21 long Vajrasattva mantras each day to stop negative karma from accumulating, how many to completely purify all previously accumulated negative karma? I have read once that one million long Vajrasattva mantras would suffice to accomplish a complete purification. If this is correct then after accomplishing this one could start planting liberating and enlightening causes, recite 21 long Vajrasattva mantras each day, and then swiftly achieve Buddhahood. Do you think this is a proper path? It should be possible to recite one million mantras in a few years.

If it is correct that one million mantras purify all karma, is it enough to just recite it, or are there some other conditions that needs to be present?
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Josef » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:17 pm

I think its an analogy to illustrate the importance of purification by means of the four opponent powers or some other method.
The literal numbers etc. cant really be calculated like that.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Will » Wed Mar 09, 2011 4:40 pm

Karmic effects in depth, only a buddha can fathom, but this notion of Pabonka I have never heard of.

Perhaps he meant that if one was glad to squash that bug and one's mind kept returning to the deed and applauding oneself for it, those re-doings of the deed would multiply the negative effect.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Inge » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:05 pm

Nangwa wrote:I think its an analogy to illustrate the importance of purification by means of the four opponent powers or some other method.
The literal numbers etc. cant really be calculated like that.


If the numbers can't be calculated like that, then why mention those numbers? If numbers are to be used one should use correct numbers, or else leave numbers out alltogether. Using wrong numbers only leads to confusion.

If the numbers are incorrect, do you think the author is aware of this so that he is knowingly teaching something incorrect?
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Inge » Wed Mar 09, 2011 5:07 pm

Will wrote:Karmic effects in depth, only a buddha can fathom, but this notion of Pabonka I have never heard of.

Perhaps he meant that if one was glad to squash that bug and one's mind kept returning to the deed and applauding oneself for it, those re-doings of the deed would multiply the negative effect.


If that was what he meant then that is what he should have written.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Josef » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:11 pm

Inge wrote:
Nangwa wrote:I think its an analogy to illustrate the importance of purification by means of the four opponent powers or some other method.
The literal numbers etc. cant really be calculated like that.


If the numbers can't be calculated like that, then why mention those numbers? If numbers are to be used one should use correct numbers, or else leave numbers out alltogether. Using wrong numbers only leads to confusion.

If the numbers are incorrect, do you think the author is aware of this so that he is knowingly teaching something incorrect?


I dont think so. Large numbers are often used as an analogy for really big or large amounts in literature like this.
I dont think it is either literal or a willing propagation of misinformation.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby meindzai » Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:45 pm

Inge wrote:In the foreword to "Becoming Vajrasattva - The Tantric Path of Purification", Thubten Zopa writes: "The great enlightened being Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo said that if you have killed even a tiny insect and have not purified that negativity by the end of the day with a practice such as the Vajrasattva purification, the weight of that karma will have doubled by the next day. On the thir day it will have doubled again, and by fifteen days will have become as heavy as the karma of killing a human being. By eighteen days it will have increased 131072 times. So you can see as the weeks and months and yars go by, one tiny little negative karma will have multiplied over and over until it has become like a mountain the size of this earth. When death arrives, the karma will have become increadibly heavy."

Do you think this is correct?



Sorry if I sound grumpy(lack of sleep), but this sounds like a BS scare tactic.

-M
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Lazy_eye » Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:56 pm

Doesn't it say somewhere that earnestly reciting a single section from the Diamond Sutra can purify massive amounts of negative karma? So this large numbers stuff can go both ways...

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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Tilopa » Thu Mar 10, 2011 10:59 am

meindzai wrote:Sorry if I sound grumpy(lack of sleep), but this sounds like a BS scare tactic.


The idea that karma increases over time so that small actions can bring extremely heavy consequenses is a standard presentation in Tibetan buddhism. Likewise the idea that one action can produce multiple results. It's all there in the Lam Rim. Lama Zopa isn't making it up.

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... ml#25May92
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Astus » Thu Mar 10, 2011 1:47 pm

"There is the case where a trifling evil deed done by a certain individual takes him to hell. There is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by another individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment."
Lonaphala Sutta

This concept of purifying an unknown amount of past karma resembles the story of Buddha meeting a group of ascetic Jainas working for their purification. See: Devadaha Sutta.

"And what is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma? Just this noble eightfold path"
Kamma Sutta

On the complexity of karma: Sankha Sutta
"There is no such thing as the real mind. Ridding yourself of delusion: that's the real mind."
(Sheng-yen: Getting the Buddha Mind, p 73)

“Don’t rashly seek the true Buddha;
True Buddha can’t be found.
Does marvelous nature and spirit
Need tempering or refinement?
Mind is this mind carefree;
This face, the face at birth."

(Nanyue Mingzan: Enjoying the Way, tr. Jeff Shore; T51n2076, p461b24-26)
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby meindzai » Thu Mar 10, 2011 2:59 pm

Tilopa wrote:
meindzai wrote:Sorry if I sound grumpy(lack of sleep), but this sounds like a BS scare tactic.


The idea that karma increases over time so that small actions can bring extremely heavy consequenses is a standard presentation in Tibetan buddhism. Likewise the idea that one action can produce multiple results. It's all there in the Lam Rim. Lama Zopa isn't making it up.

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... ml#25May92


When you say "Standard presentation in Tibetan Buddhism" that implies that other teachers have said it, but are there any Sutras to back it up?

I admit that I could be missing something - is he saying that this applies to everybody or only to those who've entered into tantric practice?

As the Sutta Astus quoted, a trifling bad deed can take one to hell if they are not well cultivated, i.e. have lots of bad karma. That is like putting salt into a thimble full of water. It does not "multiply." It can be "counteracted" by producing good karma. i.e. adding more water. If such purification practices produce such good karma, then super, but there are other ways as well.

Saying that you have to do their OWN prescribed purification practices is akin to inventing an illness and telling someone you have the only medicine to cure it. It is also implying that anybody who doesn't follow their particular school of practice is doomed to hell if they've ever squashed a bug. This is all assuming this is a position even held by the Buddha (yes, I'm on the Mahayana forum so I mean those suttas as well. :smile: )

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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby meindzai » Thu Mar 10, 2011 3:03 pm

Lazy_eye wrote:Doesn't it say somewhere that earnestly reciting a single section from the Diamond Sutra can purify massive amounts of negative karma? So this large numbers stuff can go both ways...

LE


"Furthermore, Subhūti, if someone were to recite as much as a four line verse of this sūtra, that place would become like a shrine to the Buddha, where the celestials, humans, and titans in all the worlds would come and make offerings. How much more so in the case where one completely memorizes and recites the sūtra. Subhūti, you should know that such a person has accomplished the most subtle state of awareness. Wherever this sūtra is kept, the Buddha's most revered disciples are also present."


It does indeed, but I've always thought I was missing something when I came across that. I think I even tried it. lol. So far no celestials...

But it doesn't really talk about "multiplying" either.

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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Tilopa » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:30 am

When you say "Standard presentation in Tibetan Buddhism" that implies that other teachers have said it, but are there any Sutras to back it up?

The same thing is taught in all the lam rim texts of the four Tibetan traditions but off the top of my head I can't provide a direct sutra source for the teaching on karma. I'll try and find one and post it.

.. is he saying that this applies to everybody or only to those who've entered into tantric practice?

It's nothing to do with whether or not you have entered the Vajrayana. It applies to everyone.

Saying that you have to do their OWN prescribed purification practices is akin to inventing an illness and telling someone you have the only medicine to cure it.

They are not his 'own' purification practices. Once again standard Tibetan presentation. Google "purifying with the four opponent powers"

It is also implying that anybody who doesn't follow their particular school of practice is doomed to hell if they've ever squashed a bug.

No it isn't. There are many ways of purifying negative karma and different schools emphasize different methods.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby meindzai » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:39 am

Tilopa wrote: There are many ways of purifying negative karma and different schools emphasize different methods.


That isn't what Thubten Zopa said

"[If you] have not purified that negativity by the end of the day with a practice such as the Vajrasattva purification, the weight of that karma will have doubled by the next day."

That reads fairly exclusive to me.

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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Tilopa » Fri Mar 11, 2011 12:49 am

meindzai wrote:..with a practice such as the Vajrasattva purification... That reads fairly exclusive to me.

I guess it depends on interpretation. 'Such as' reads to me as 'like' or 'similar to' which would allow for the application of any of the remedial powers. Vajrasattva is frequently taught and alluded to because of it's efficacy, simplicity and power but it's not the only way to purify negative karma.
Last edited by Tilopa on Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:50 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby tamdrin » Fri Mar 11, 2011 3:59 am

I heard other stuff from Lama Zopa that I too found strange (in regards to guru devotion etc in particular).. I guess this stuff comes from Pabonkha.. I just dont trust it.

Plus if you realize selflesnnes//emptiness you get out of all your bad karma no matter how serious. It can't effect.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby plwk » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:15 am

If ....if... until then...
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Sherab » Fri Mar 11, 2011 6:53 am

Tilopa wrote:
meindzai wrote:Sorry if I sound grumpy(lack of sleep), but this sounds like a BS scare tactic.


The idea that karma increases over time so that small actions can bring extremely heavy consequenses is a standard presentation in Tibetan buddhism. Likewise the idea that one action can produce multiple results. It's all there in the Lam Rim. Lama Zopa isn't making it up.

http://www.thubtenchodron.org/GradualPa ... ml#25May92

Afaik the standard teaching is that (weight of) karma if left unpurified can increase. However, it is a bit of a stretch to go from this and say that the weight of karma can increase under its own power, ie. without causes and conditions. If everything is dependently arisen, the increase in the weight of karma should not be an exception.

I prefer to interpret the standard teaching of increase of karma as that when you create a karma, it either leaves a new imprint or strengthen an existing imprint. That imprint makes it easier for you to create the same karma in future, and in that way, the strength of that karma can increase. Also all these affects the condition of the mind. A mind that becomes less pure means that conditions have become that more conducive for negative karma to be created, and the cycle of creating negative karma becomes more vicious without purification.

The above argument also applies to virtuous karma.

This is how I see it.
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Will » Fri Mar 11, 2011 4:34 pm

Zopa Rinpoche is quoting Pabonka "as the weeks and months and years go by, one tiny little negative karma will have multiplied over and over until it has become like a mountain the size of this earth." This is the notion I have not heard of. I will look deeper into more Lamrim texts, Vasubandhu etc., but will be surprised to find it.

Here is Je Rinpoche (page 213 of vol. 1, Lamrim chenmo) quoting the Udanavarga:

Do not think that the commission
Of even a tiny sin will not pursue you.
Just as a large vessel is filled
By falling drops of water,
So too is a fool filled up with sins
Accumulated a little at a time.


Once an act is done, good or bad, there is no automatic, time-based multiplier of that specific act. It is repetition of the act or sins that multiplies the effects.

Another possible explanation of Pabonka's idea is if a tantric vow was taken to use the Vajrasattva practice during the same day of the negative act. Breaking or ignoring that vow will have negative consequences, but that vipaka-effect has nothing to do with the bug-killing act.
One should refrain from biased judgments and doubting in fathoming the Buddha and the Dharma of the Buddhas. Even though a dharma may be extremely difficult to believe, one should nonetheless maintain faith in it. Nagarjuna
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Re: Karma (vipaka) should be fair.

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:32 pm

When I received the oral instructions for the Vajrasattva practice (Karma Kagyu lama) she told me the same thing. What it is trying to say is that if one does not pruify even a trifling action of thought, body or speech then it becomes the basis on which similar actions can be executed thus developing into a habit that can then follow us through this life and into our next lives.

The other analogy used was using the four opposing powers to destroy negative actions before they become seeds, because after that, when they become sprouts, plants and finally trees, the effort required to uproot them becomes greater, exponentially.

Inge, do yourself a favour and find a good teacher, their explanations will help overcome negative reactions to statements like these.
:namaste:

PS Vajrasattva practice is not the only method to purify karma. There are also the 35 Confession Buddhas, Riwo Sang Cho, Heart Sutra practice, etc...
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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