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button2.jpg (7494 bytes) •On Preliminaries
•On Karma
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In the Lam-Rim teachings there are six methods given to purify karma:
  1. reading the profound sutra texts
  2. meditating on emptiness
  3. reciting powerful special mantras
  4. making holy objects such as statues, stupas, and scriptures
  5. making offerings to the Guru-Triple Gem
  6. reciting the powerful Buddhas - holy names

There are many methods one can use for purification. However, the practice of Vajrasattva and reciting The Sutra of the Bodhisattvas - Confession of Downfalls are extremely important to learn and apply in daily life. These two are unbelievable solutions. Just as one stone can chase away hundreds of birds that cover an entire field, in the same way even practicing either of these two methods just once can purify inconceivable numbers of negative karma.

Multiplying heaviness of bad karma and Purification practices

If one commits just one small negative karma today - for example, killing one tiny Insect - and does not purify that negative action by the end of the day with Vajrasattva practice, then the results of that action will multiply exponentially day by day. After 18 days the negative karma created has become 131,072 times heavier, and as each month and year goes by, the one tiny karma becomes like the size of this earth. By doing Vajrasattva practice, by even just reciting the one-hundred-syllable mantra at least 21 times or the four-syllable mantra at least 28 times, the negative karma is stopped from increasing day by day, month by month, and year by year. Not only does reciting this mantra purify today’s negative karma, but it also purifies the negative karma of past lives. Also by performing the Vajrasattva mantra and practice conjoined with meditating on the four opponent powers, they become perfect and powerful purification practices.

Reciting The Sutra of the Bodhisattvas - Confession of Downfalls is another extremely powerful purification practice in which one recites the names of the 35 Buddhas of Confession. By reciting the names of the different Buddhas, one purifies specific various negative karma. By reciting the name of just one Buddha, such as that of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, one purifies the negative karma of 80,000 eons. You can see that this is an extremely powerful practice, especially if you recite the names of the Buddhas while prostrating. Thus, through the practice of these purification practices, you can experience the positive results in this life.

If one is unable to do these purification practices, then the other most powerful practice that one can do is to generate compassion toward others. The more compassion one is able to generate toward others, the more one succeeds at achieving powerful purification. Generating compassion has incredible power to purify many eons of negative karma. Helping or serving even just one person with an attitude of strong compassion, giving one’s own life to others and serving even one sentient being or one animal, is the most powerful purification practice. And it is an especially quick way to collect extensive merit and achieve the peerless happiness of full enlightenment.

When we speak of purification, this also clearly includes stopping the causes to reincarnate and suffer in the hell and animal realms as well as creating the causes to receive a good rebirth in the next life.

If our daily life actions begin with a good heart, this prevents our daily life actions from becoming negative karma. When strong bodhicitta (the compassionate wish to attain enlightenment in order to benefit all sentient beings) is developed, then even the negative actions of killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, slander, and harsh speech can be transformed into virtue. These non-virtuous actions can become virtuous actions; they can become the quick cause to achieve enlightenment. Therefore, changing the mind and changing the action stops creating negative karma again and again. Otherwise we will continue to commit negativities with out end and to purify on and on with out end.

Even if you are not Buddhist now, even if you do not take refuge in the Triple Gem of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha and recite Buddhist prayers, if you generate compassion and spend your life serving others, it is the best way of achieving merit. Generating the thought of compassion will become a powerful purification practice, it is also the best cause for your own happiness and success in this life and future lives, especially it causes numberless happiness to other sentient beings. It is especially powerful to give your happiness to others and take the problems and difficulties of others onto yourself. Whether you are Buddhist or not, you can still can recite the mantras and the Buddha names, because these phenomena have the power to heal and to purify.

Living your daily life with strong compassion, serving others and sacrificing your life for their welfare - this is the way to truly enjoy your life. This is the advice given by the fully enlightened beings. I am offering this advice of Buddha to you. Please take care of your life. Thank you very much.

This teaching was sent to me by Rinpoche from Rinpoche’s retreat center in California in August 1997. I obtained permission from Rinpoche to include a summary of this teaching on karma in the book I wrote for Him (subsequently called BASIC FENG SHUI). 

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