Ten negative karmas to avoid
Killing – taking any form of life
Stealing – taking that which is not freely given
Sexual misconduct – sexual relationship with another’s partner
Lying – deliberately deceiving others
Harsh speech – any form of abuse
Divisive speech – disharmony, splitting people up
Gossip – malicious and pointless speech
Coveting – grasping for others’ possessions or qualities
Malice – harmful or hurtful intent
Wrong views – believing what is false to be true and vice versa
The dynamics of karma
Karma becomes stronger or weaker depending on the intensity of virtue or non-virtue. Killing motivated by strong hatred is a strong negative karma. The killing by a soldier whose motivation is to protect his country or family is weak by comparison. Giving motivated by strong love or compassion is a strong positive karma. If giving is just from a sense of obligation it is weak.
Karma becomes stronger with repetition. In this way gossip can become a very strong negative karma because it is so easy to repeat.
It is not possible to predict when karmic results will arise. Could be in this life or the those that follow. It is definite, though, that each action will bring its particular result. The cause and the effect are always congruent.
The result of killing is a short life in future. The result of healing and preserving life is a long, healthy life.
From stealing comes loss. In contrast, the result of material giving is plenty.
The result of sexual misconduct is unhappy and temporary relationships, whereas ethical relationship brings harmony.
Lying causes us to be deceived. The result of truthfulness is non- deception.
The result of abuse is that others abuse us, while from praise, others praise us.
From divisiveness comes loneliness, while from harmonious speech comes supportive friendship.
The result of gossip is confusion. From constructive speech we gain clarity of intent.
From coveting comes poverty, while non-attachment brings effortless resources.
The result of love is happiness, but from malice comes fear.
From wrong views come all the problems of samsara. In contrast from right views come all good conditions, happiness and enlightenment.
As you sow, so you reap
Thus in light of karma nothing is accidental. If we are experiencing a particular result, it is only because we have created the cause. Also what we experience is not someone else’s fault and nor is it inflicted upon us by a creator. In fact, what we experience, good or bad, is the result of our own actions.
This truth can be both good and bad news. It could be bad news because there is nobody else to blame anymore. The good news, though, is that our present experience is the result of our own karma. Our own karma is something we can change by ourselves. Meditation generates good karma and creates a great future. We can make our future the way we would like it to be. It is within our power to change anything.
So, if people abuse you, make a great and consistent effort to praise others. When unloved, make an effort to love others. If people deceive us, then we make greater effort at truthfulness. If we are too poor make a contribution, find a way to give. Any misfortune then can become the impetus to a positive action. That action can be aimed to overcome the misfortune.
Whatever we would wish to create, we should act to do so. Do not expect an immediate change of circumstances. But, by knowing which karma will produce the result, we have done all that we can. Karma is not a fixed unchanging destiny as some think. It is that actions have consequences. If we don’t like the consequences, then we change our karma, we act in a way conducive to the results we want