Lately I have been feeling like a rat in a maze that has endless finite conditions which in turn have cycles, and even with daily practice, I can't quite ever have "enough clarity" to really make up for the amount of karma is heaped on.. and then feeling bad about having this karma as I awaken to the layers of bullshit in this whole identity construct I call me, and I'm torn between my habituated gut reaction to want to dismiss it as self-indulgent and sucking it up, or validating that it's merited because well, pain hurts. I'm trying to be patient and go for the latter.
I can look at my entire life as a result of my own decisions stretching back who knows when and where, and it's confusing whether I should just consider it a see-saw, some up some down, piled on its a lot of crap... Lifetimes I can't undo right now,no more than I can undo what I ate yesterday for lunch... Then I swing to just feeling ashamed of how poorly I must have handled things in the past to come into this containerized reality I call "my life," with these specific conditions in which I seem to not have learned from my mistakes and again have continued to do many things to overcome and I realize I have no idea how much more karma I set myself up for trying to set things right.
Honestly I don't really know what to feel, it's a storm of conditions colliding internal, external, and I'm filled with doubt that I can actually do this... I'm not filled with doubt about the method or the practice, I am living proof these work. I am filled with doubt that maybe I've horribly misgauged my capacity.
Any suggestions on how to verify one's karma, any tells that can help navigate what to consider, what to ignore??? What are the post signs along the road I should be paying attention to?
How do you know you're not just making things worse thinking you're making things better (good intentions and all that jazz)???
Is just practicing enough?
How does one gauge advancement on their own path based on the karma they must alone exhaust/purify? Here below quoted there's a clear indication of what karma results from fruits of specific actions. I'd like to know more about how to better gauge progress on the path...if anyone knows.
(Here some great definitions lent by Malcolm in the Collective Karma thread for consideration on what's gotten me feeling this out )
Malcolm wrote: ↑Thu Apr 19, 2018 5:09 pm The Buddha, Naḡārjuna, and Vasuabandhu in one voice proclaim, "Karma is volition (cetana) and what proceeds from volition."
Then there is karma vipaka, of which there are three kinds: 1) the ripened result, 2) the result that corresponds to the cause, and 3) the dominant result.
With respect to the first, the Ratnavali states:
One is born in hell through hatred;
one is born into the preta realm through desire;
and one is generally born as an animal through confusion.
As for the second:
Due to taking life, life is short.
Due to stealing, one is impoverished.
Due to sexual impropriety, one has enemies.
Due to lying, one is criticized.
Due to calumny, one is separated from friends.
Due to harsh words, one hears unpleasantness.
Due to gossip, one’s word has no value.
Due to greed, one’s hopes will be dashed.
Due to malice, one will have fear.
Due to wrong view, one’s view will be bad.
As for the third, the dominant result, Khenpo Ngalo states (and this is all very standard):
The dominant result is said to ripen as the container universe where one is born and lives. For instance, due to taking life, one must be born and live in a bleak region with ravines and so on that are harmful to life. Likewise, due to taking what has not been given, frost and hail will arise, fruit will not form on trees, and famines will arise. Due to improper desire, one must live in a place with thick dust and where there are many unpleasant things such as feces, urine, swamps and so on. Due to lying, one must live in a place that is polluted and foul-smelling, one’s wealth will not be stable, and the country will be frightening. Due to calumny, one is born in a region that is uneven, with ravines and gorges. Due to harsh words, one is born in an unhappy place that is salty and so on. Due to idle speech one is born in a place where rice does not grow; even if one farms, the seasons are not constant; and so on. Due to greed, one lives in a place where the harvest is damaged, the grain is small, and one is born during a bad time. Due to malice, one is always frightened, there are frequent injuries, and one is born in a place where the grains have a bitter taste. Due to wrong view, even though the grain is not small, [136/a] there is little wealth, and one is born without refuge and defenders.
The Ratnavali sums it up:
Though those engaged in nonvirtue desire happiness,
but where ever they go,
they are crushed by suffering
because of that nonvirtue then and there.
The Ratnavali states:
This Dharma liberates one from
hell realms, preta realms, and animal realms.
and one attains an increase of happiness, wealth, and political power
among devas and humans.
The Buddha said:
The correct mundane view
exists in one who is great;
that prevents going to lower realms
for a thousand eons.