- results in positive effects within samsara
- liberates from suffering by the power of cessation
- results in negative effects within samsara
- perpetuates and increases suffering
- directly causes rebirth into a specific realm or state
- causes rebirth as a human with either great fortune or vast suffering
- produces effects similar to the action
- repetition of similar actions in the future
- becoming the object of similar actions by others
- produces environmental effects
- rebirth in beneficial or hostile environments
Four Necessary Factors
§ strength of the motivation (positive or negative)
§ the more important the object, the stronger the karma
§ the method of action (skilful or unskillful)
§ type of harm or benefit inflicted (in descending order of harm: wrong views, malice, avarice, killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slandering, abusing, gossiping; in ascending order of benefit: good wishes, beneficial acts)
§ frequency: repetition increases power and effect
§ positive karma is strengthened by
- rejoicing in positive actions
- absence of regret
§ negative karma is strengthened by
- rejoicing in negative actions
- absence of scruples and shame
Four Remedies to Purify Negative Karma
Regret: admitting that negative actions are harmful, like drinking poison
Reliance: admitting that negative actions are the result of not heeding the instructions of the Three Jewels (Primordial Teacher, Teaching, the Community of Practitioners), and going to Them for refuge
Resolve: firm determination to avoid repeating negative actions
Reparation: (1) invoking Holy Beings; (2) reciting purification prayers or mantras; (3) reciting relevant scriptures; (4) meditating on Ultimate Reality; (5) making actual and imagined offerings to the Three Jewels; and (6) sponsoring or engaging in the construction, painting, or repair of representations of Perfected Beings or Sacred Objects.
Avoiding: guarding against the arising of new unwholesome thoughts
Overcoming: if unwholesome thoughts arise, striving for equanimity
Developing: cultivating wholesome thoughts and actions not yet arisen:
Aspiration: cultivating the 4 Immeasurables
|May all be free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May all embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.
May all abide in peace, free from self-grasping.
May all attain the union of wisdom and compassion.
Action: observing the 5 Precepts and practicing the 6 Excellent Virtues
|6 Excellent Virtues
Maintaining: cultivating the Three Harvests
- Personal Benefit: reduction or cessation of individual suffering
- Proximate Benefit: reduction of suffering among proximate beings
- Great Benefit: reduction or cessation of suffering for all beings
Exercise: Releasing the Three Poisons
Breathe in through the nose gently, fully, and slowly. Without holding the breath at any moment, establish a slow rhythm.
With each exhalation, directly perceive in your mind’s eye a mass of dark, thick smoke leaving your nostrils and dissipating immediately in front of you.
As you exhale, repeat silently to yourself, with strong conviction:
] I release all attachment. (Repeat three times.)
] I release all aversion. (Repeat three times.)
] I release all indifference. (Repeat three times.)
Repeat the Prayer of the Four Immeasurables.