On Karma: Types and Remedies

Four Types of Karma

Positive Karma

  1. results in positive effects within samsara
  2. liberates from suffering by the power of cessation

Negative Karma

  1. results in negative effects within samsara
  2. perpetuates and increases suffering

Throwing Karma

  1. directly causes rebirth into a specific realm or state
  2. causes rebirth as a human with either great fortune or vast suffering

Completing Karma

  1. produces effects similar to the action
    1.  repetition of similar actions in the future
    2.  becoming the object of similar actions by others
  2. produces environmental effects
    1.  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. 

Four Protections

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


Loving kindness



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

5 Precepts 

  1. Compassion
  2. Honesty
  3. Purity
  4. Truthfulness
  5. Mindfulness


6 Excellent Virtues 

  1. Generosity
  2. Ethical discipline
  3. Perseverance
  4. Patience
  5. Concentration
  6. Wisdom

Maintaining: cultivating the Three Harvests  

  1. Personal Benefit: reduction or cessation of individual suffering
  2. Proximate Benefit: reduction of suffering among proximate beings
  3. 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.

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About Tashi Nyima

I am a Dharma student, and aspire to be a companion on the path. I trust that these texts can offer a general approach and basic tools for practicing the Buddha's way to enlightenment. ||| Soy un estudiante del Dharma, y aspiro a ser un compañero en el sendero. Espero que estos textos ofrezcan a algunos un mapa general y herramientas básicas para la práctica del sendero a la iluminación que nos ofrece el Buda.
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