It is important to understand the essential meaning of karma.
The teachings (Dharma) refer to karma and the ending of karma. Karma means a problematic influence of the past over the present and future.
The literal meaning of karma is action or deed referring to wholesome/unwholesome, healthy/unhealthy actions of body, speech and mind with dependency on results/fruits/consequences. Without clarity, insight and wisdom, both kinds of action can lead to problematic consequences, great or small. This is called fruits of karma.
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A person may engage in wholesome/unhealthy actions (good karma) producing wholesome results (a good fruit). The same action can also have no obvious benefit for oneself or others or unwholesome/unhealthy outcome, such as stress, burnout, self-other blame.
Gross generalisations about individuals or groups, such as it’s their karma shows ignorance about karma. Such a judgemental mind lacks clarity, compassion and wisdom. It is not a word used to put down oneself or others.
For example, the karma (action, deed) of buying and lighting a cigarette to smoke can lead to cancer and long periods of painful suffering until death, even if the incubation period last decades. The fruit of the karma can also lead to anguish for loved ones. The end of karma means the end of such a harmful action.
Our actions require the support of wisdom in the intention, the action and the relationship to the outcome.
We need the wisdom to know when to stop. New Zealand’s much respected Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern, resigned this week. She said she “no longer had enough in the tank” to do the job. “It’s time,” she added. That’s wisdom.
Is it time for you stop an action even if it means a great deal to you?
Seven Kinds of Karma
Two-thousand-year-old Buddhist commentaries have detailed certain classifications for karma. All seven kinds of karma may require wise counsel of others. Desires, cravings and demands reveal a lack of harmony and wellbeing. The mind is in a state of disorder, of chaos and needs the skill of others to renew order and harmony in the suffering mind. That might include medication.
1. Heavy karma. These are acts of body, speech and mind that cause immense suffering to others or oneself or both. Heavy karma often requires the wise counsel of others to resolve.
2. Obstructive karma. It is karma that gets in the way of a creative, spiritual and committed way of life that serves the welfare of one and all.
3. Habitual karma. Habits, patterns and addictions that dominate consciousness at the expense of peace of mind, happiness and love.
4. Destructive karma. There is a pattern to ruin everything that one starts – a relationship, a friendship, a job or an initiative. There are destructive ways to others to get one’s own way.
5. Past based karma. Unresolved problems and issues in the past requiring mindfulness, enquiry and insight to end any repetition or shadows in the present.
6. Present based karma. Starting an action with body, speech or mind that is unhealthy and unwise.
7. Future based karma. The sowing of seeds in the past or present that will have future consequences, unwelcome and unwanted.
The wise show no interest to launch into a judgmental voice about the karma of others, nor have any interest to leave others to their karma. The wise know the power of love and find the skilful means to support others to find the way out of karma from heavy karma to future based karma. The wise explore the causes and conditions for karma, rather than take the moral high throne that says more about the judgemental view than the judged.
Liberation or waking up ends the problematic influence, ends the karma. Freedom from such confirms our capacity to engage in wise action without fear of consequences. Wise action moves freely, not bound to karma.
MAY ALL BEINGS EMERGE OUT OF THE SHADOWS OF KARMA