Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

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Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby lucidaromulus » Wed Oct 31, 2012 8:08 pm

Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

If yes, at what stage of the karma?

when the karma is not ripe?
-eg. created the karma to be harmed but I'm still unharmed because it hasn't ripened.

when the karma is ripening?
-eg. I'm going to be harmed in a few moment due to the karma ripening.

if yes, how?
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:18 pm

Nope. Only you can intervene in your karma(actions) and the manner in which your actions will ripen.
:namaste:
"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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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Oct 31, 2012 10:45 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Nope. Only you can intervene in your karma(actions) and the manner in which your actions will ripen.
:namaste:

From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example. There are likely other practices as well that I am not familiar with.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby catmoon » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:10 pm

I know very little about Vajrasattva, but I have encountered teachings that one's karma is solely one's own. As I understand it, the closest any other being can come to helping out with karma is to suggest better conduct and purification practices. But if you don't take the advice, you are stuck.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Pero » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:32 pm

tomamundsen wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Nope. Only you can intervene in your karma(actions) and the manner in which your actions will ripen.
:namaste:

From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example.

It's really a kind of a two way street. I don't see at all what the 4th empowerment has to do with it though?
Although many individuals in this age appear to be merely indulging their worldly desires, one does not have the capacity to judge them, so it is best to train in pure vision.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:44 pm

Pero wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Nope. Only you can intervene in your karma(actions) and the manner in which your actions will ripen.
:namaste:

From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example.

It's really a kind of a two way street. I don't see at all what the 4th empowerment has to do with it though?

The recitation I use says "the karma of the underlying all-ground and obscurations to wisdom are purified" during the 4th empowerment section.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Pero » Wed Oct 31, 2012 11:50 pm

tomamundsen wrote:
Pero wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example.

It's really a kind of a two way street. I don't see at all what the 4th empowerment has to do with it though?

The recitation I use says "the karma of the underlying all-ground and obscurations to wisdom are purified" during the 4th empowerment section.

Oh I see, thanks.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:04 am

tomamundsen wrote:The recitation I use says "the karma of the underlying all-ground and obscurations to wisdom are purified" during the 4th empowerment section.

To be thorough, I'll post the relevant section from Vajrasattva practice. Another translation is available online at Lotsawa House, so I don't think there's any harm in sharing it.

After repeating the 100-syllable mantra many times, there are some prayers which include:

I confess all impairments of the root and branch samayas of enlightened body, speech and mind
I pray that all of my negative, actions, obscurations, wrong-doing, and downfalls, all my flaws, be completely cleansed and purified
By praying thus, Vajrasattva is pleased and smiling says "Noble child, all of your negative actions, obscurations, wrong-doing, and downfalls are purified."
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:10 am

Come to think of it, I think actually every practice in ngondro purifies karma. Afflictions and karma leave your body through 5 points of contact during prostrations, mandala offering has a part where you rub the bottom of the mandala to purify your karma, kusali accumulation involves paying back your karmic debtors, plus I've already mentioned Vajrasattva and guru yoga.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:45 am

If buddhas could change the karma of beings, then it follows that all beings would be enlightened, and there would be no need for personal effort of any kind, since the buddhas want to save everyone. However, when there is a teaching that says that some buddha or bodhisattva purifies one's karma, it is because one's own connection to the buddha that is generated through a specific practice. In the Lotus Sutra it is taught that Avalokitesvara can save one from practically anything starting with mundane troubles up to the root afflictions of the mind, but only if one correctly keeps in mind the bodhisattva. In the sutras about Amitabha buddha we learn that birth in his Land of Bliss is easily attainable even for one who committed the gravest crimes, if one remembers Amitabha with faith. In order to be purified by Vajrasattva there is a quite elaborate practice that includes visualisation, recitation and repentance. So it is not that buddhas just intervene in any being's karma. It is exactly because doing the proper practices (i.e. generating karma) that one can negate other karmic effects.
"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: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:53 am

Astus wrote:In order to be purified by Vajrasattva there is a quite elaborate practice that includes visualisation, recitation and repentance. So it is not that buddhas just intervene in any being's karma. It is exactly because doing the proper practices (i.e. generating karma) that one can negate other karmic effects.

Yup. There is an empowerment as well.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby lobster » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:52 am

Very good post from Astus :bow:

We practice to improve, polish, alleviate negativity and so on. The more we do - the closer to the elevated improved mindset. :woohoo:

Must be time to polish off a few mantras. Chant for the greater good etc. :thumbsup:
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Devotionary » Thu Nov 01, 2012 2:39 am

From the empowerment practices, various repentances both in Tibetan and Chinese traditions, etc... It seems like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, through dedicating their merits and wisdom to those who call upon them, help practitioners.

My Zen teacher once said that in the Jataka Tales, the Buddha-- AFTER getting ENlightenment from some time -- suffered a serious headache as a form of ripened karma for knocking a fish dead in his past life. Likewise, even the Arhats suffer the consequences of their karma. SO does this mean they are any less enlightened?

No; the laws of karma are immutable, but enlightened beings are already beyond the cycles of suffering. So, when karma ripens, they know immediately the infinite chain of causes and conditions that have arisen, and therefore, are no longer agitated; they experience karma, but do not suffer under it. And all of their manifestations and actions succeed, primarily because they know how to make karma work.

In the same way, "purification"/"elimination" of karma for normal practitioners may just be a metaphor for the removal of suffering and ignorance, through an increase of wisdom and detachment, which is an effect of different practices.

Thus have I been taught...
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby kirtu » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:22 am

tomamundsen wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:Nope. Only you can intervene in your karma(actions) and the manner in which your actions will ripen.
:namaste:

From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example. There are likely other practices as well that I am not familiar with.


Vajrasattva is not a Buddha intervening to purify our karma. It is an extraordinary practice to realize our inner purity focusing on Vajrasattva as a shrine combined with repentance and dedication to not repeat our negative actions. This is where the power in the practice comes from (there are five aspects to this in common with other repentance practices - the power of the shrine, the power of confession, the power of repentance, the power of the vow to not commit negativities in the future, and I forget the name of the fifth power but it is the power of a form of purifying action - in sutric repentance this involves bowing and in Vajrasattva it is primarily visualization).

The fourth empowerment is essentially resting in the realization, however slight of your Buddhanature. That is purifying but it is not an intervention from a Buddha or Bodhisattva.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:27 am

tomamundsen wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:The recitation I use says "the karma of the underlying all-ground and obscurations to wisdom are purified" during the 4th empowerment section.

To be thorough, I'll post the relevant section from Vajrasattva practice. Another translation is available online at Lotsawa House, so I don't think there's any harm in sharing it.

After repeating the 100-syllable mantra many times, there are some prayers which include:

I confess all impairments of the root and branch samayas of enlightened body, speech and mind
I pray that all of my negative, actions, obscurations, wrong-doing, and downfalls, all my flaws, be completely cleansed and purified
By praying thus, Vajrasattva is pleased and smiling says "Noble child, all of your negative actions, obscurations, wrong-doing, and downfalls are purified."
Let me put it to you this way: Who is purifying what?
If you can say: "Here is Vajrasattva, he dwells here and he purifies this (the alaya vijnana) with this (shows me some nectar), like this, by doing this..." then I will agree with you. Until then I will just have to say that Vajrasattva is nowhere and nothing else but my mind and that it is the practice I am engaging in which causes the purification.
Devotionary wrote:From the empowerment practices, various repentances both in Tibetan and Chinese traditions, etc... It seems like the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, through dedicating their merits and wisdom to those who call upon them, help practitioners.
I agree, the help though is to provide a stadard of comparison, an example of possibility, a goal to strive towards... Not the help that I can provide by bandaging your finger if you cut it.
In the same way, "purification"/"elimination" of karma for normal practitioners may just be a metaphor for the removal of suffering and ignorance, through an increase of wisdom and detachment, which is an effect of different practices.
This!!! :thumbsup:
:namaste:
"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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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby kirtu » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:28 am

tomamundsen wrote:
Pero wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:From what I understand, yes they can. This is why we have Vajrasattva practice and the 4th empowerment, for example.

It's really a kind of a two way street. I don't see at all what the 4th empowerment has to do with it though?

The recitation I use says "the karma of the underlying all-ground and obscurations to wisdom are purified" during the 4th empowerment section.


But that is to be realized in the future and is mostly a teaching for us now. Of course if you really manifested that, then that would be perfect. But that is not an intervention from a Buddha to purify our karma.

If Buddha's were able to intervene like that then they would already have transformed samsara into a Pure Land long ago. They can't intervene like that. Except via teaching and blessings. And Dharma Protectors of various kinds can help bring about auspicious conditions so the door is not totally closed to transforming circumstances and perceptions although this is almost always subtle. But only you can purify your karma.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby kirtu » Thu Nov 01, 2012 8:43 am

lucidaromulus wrote:Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

If yes, at what stage of the karma?

when the karma is not ripe?
-eg. created the karma to be harmed but I'm still unharmed because it hasn't ripened.

when the karma is ripening?
-eg. I'm going to be harmed in a few moment due to the karma ripening.

if yes, how?


These questions are explored all though Buddhism. The Southern School has the Anthill Sutta that touches on this obliquely. There is a monk who is visited by a dewa who happens to be a former friend of the monk's. The dewa gives a teaching that sounds like a riddle and involves an anthill and a knife. In reality it is a teaching on wisdom and the skandhas. The monk doesn't understand the teaching and goes to the Buddha who explains the "riddle" to the monk. It is a teaching meant specifically for the monk. The monk applies the instructions and then quickly attains Stream Entry or Arhatship.

So did the Buddha or the dewa purify the monk's karma? No. Did the dewa or the Buddha do anything at all? They acted as teachers to impart a method of liberation to the monk. But if the mink hadn't applied the teaching it would have had no effect.

This is the same for purification practices. If you have no faith in them they won't work. If you have faith but don't apply the teaching, then it will have little or no effect. You have to actually apply the teaching to have an effect.

There are several suttas from the Souther School that explore previous lives of the Buddha where he basically just focuses on cause and effect for that entire lifetime (BTW - the Southern School basically does not have actual purification practice although the suttas make clear that karma can in fact be purified).

This theme is expanded upon in the Northern School (the Mahayana) and becomes a major focus in the Vajrayana.

Kirt
Kirt's Tibetan Translation Notes

“All beings are Buddhas, but obscured by incidental stains. When those have been removed, there is Buddhahood.”
Hevajra Tantra
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby tomamundsen » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:05 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:Let me put it to you this way: Who is purifying what?
If you can say: "Here is Vajrasattva, he dwells here and he purifies this (the alaya vijnana) with this (shows me some nectar), like this, by doing this..." then I will agree with you. Until then I will just have to say that Vajrasattva is nowhere and nothing else but my mind and that it is the practice I am engaging in which causes the purification.


I agree that is the case from the absolute perspective. But I have been taught to consider Vajrasattva as a real external deity in the conventional sense, and that if we don't, the practice doesn't work.
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby lucidaromulus » Thu Nov 01, 2012 12:39 pm

I believe i have read somewhere. I think its the lam rim chen mo commentary by Pabongkha Rinpoche (liberation in the palm of your hands). (though i am not quite sure)

he told a story of a person once crossing a bridge that was plagued with a powerful harmful spirit.

as the person crossed the bridge the harmful spirit caused the person to fall off the bridge. however, the person mediated on his Guru for help. Immediately the person was put back on the bridge.

like wise there are many stories(though i don't know how true are they) about Buddhas and especially Kuan Yin( Arya Avalokitesvara) actively rescuing people in danger. (i'm chinese by the way, the chinese people somehow have extreme afinity with the Kuan Yin form of Arya Avalokitesvara

Is this an active sign of Buddhas interfering with our ripening karma?
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Re: Can a Buddha intervene with our karma?

Postby Astus » Thu Nov 01, 2012 1:21 pm

lucidaromulus,

In chapter 25 of the Lotus Sutra it is told how Guanyin helps anyone who thinks of her. But as I said before, there is the condition of remembrance, actually making it a form of practice. However, if Guanyin were able to help people of her own free will nobody would have any trouble in life.
"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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