The essential path of all these limitless Dharma vehicles, some of which have just been briefly described, is to develop renunciation of the sufferings of Samsara. The basis for such renunciation is to follow the code of conduct set forth in any one of the seven sets of Self-Liberation (Skt: Pratimoksa) Vows.
|Meditate on the difficulties of receiving a precious human rebirth and on whether this excellent condition of free time will continue. Think about how difficult it will be to obtain another human form, endowed with such leisure, in the future. Right now, we have it and our rebirth has such great meaning that it is as precious as a Wish-granting Gem. But this life will not last. Death approaches quickly. It is uncertain whether we will die when we are old, young or middle-aged. The circumstances and conditions for death are many, but the|
|conditions maintaining life are few.
Days, months and the four seasons, friends, relatives and enemies etc. all
change and pass away. By thinking again and again of
all these changes, please remember impermanence.
You should not think that after death you will just dissolve into the middle of space. Nor should you think that humans are necessarily reborn as humans, or horses as horses. All sentient beings are thrown by their actions (Skt: karma) into the many different places and forms in which one can take rebirth in cyclic existence: in high or low realms; with great or small enjoyments; property and power; with a good or bad body. In this Samsara there are a lot of different karmas and results. All these various appearances and aspects of existence arise due to different deeds of virtue, non-virtue or some combination of the two. These deeds can be condensed into the ten virtuous or non-virtuous actions. The result of virtuous and non-virtuous actions ripens in four different ways:
Virtuous and non-virtuous actions ripen only in their own specific results. If you have not done the action (karma) you cannot meet with its result, but the results of all the actions that you have done throughout time, will not vanish of their own accord. It is certain that the result will come, and that it will come to the one who created the karma.
All the phenomena seen in your experience are the result of karma. You can experience the result of your karmic actions during the same life, the next life or any life after that. There are karmic results which are certain to ripen and ones which are uncertain. Please refer to the Sutras and their Commentaries for more detailed explanations of all the various aspects of action (karma) and their results.
The practice of adopting and abandoning (the appropriate) causes and their results is the heart of the Buddha's Dharma, and the Four Noble Truths and the Law of Interdependent Origination are the Dharma's profound and essential points.
Thrown by the force of karma, the six classes of sentient beings wander, lost through the three lower and the three upper realms. In the Three Spheres of Existence, there is nothing, not even one atom, which is not conditioned, and, as a result, the suffering of suffering, the suffering of change and the pervasive suffering of conditioned existence torment the beings reborn there. In particular, each realm is afflicted with its own specific sufferings.
Non-virtuous actions result in sufferings, while defiled virtuous actions, cause rebirth in the upper realms, and especially unwavering Worldly Concentration which throws one into the highest realms, the Formless Realms. But even these beings, who are in such high -- CONTINUE --