I have ups and downs in my practice (time doing formal mediation - time being mindful in daily life - doing good stuff avoiding bad stuff etc)

and also ups and downs in completely mundane issues as well being lazy not doing anything for days to do stuff for my own benefit than doing lots of stuff (washing the house - exercise etc) than back to nothing )

I had times in the past where i mediated every day (in retreat but also at home) and times i did stuff like exercise study stuff etc

now im in a slump for a few months doing almost nothing - i wonder how is it explained kamma wise .... bad kamma from the past ? lazy kamma ? is there no way to prevent this ?

again asking from a kamma point of view - how to make a steady practice and steady good mundane stuff can be great (do i need some tipping point of good vs bad kamma done in this specific lifetime) but more than that WHY it happens

also : how effective is current life kamma compared to past live kamma ? and recent kamma (1-3 months) in comparison to kamma made before (3months -99 years)

3 Answers 3


Firstly, if you keep wallowing in self-pity over your assumed past kamma, then this will not help you move forward. It's considered unwholesome. So, forget about it. Similar to the Buddha's Parable of the Poisoned Arrow, you should think about how you can get the arrow out and heal yourself, rather than examining the origins of the arrow.

Secondly, it sounds like you are afflicted with one of The Five Hindrances called Sloth and Torpor.

Here's some advice by Ajahn Brahm on this:

Sloth and torpor is overcome by rousing energy. Energy is always available but few know how to turn on the switch, as it were. Setting a goal, a reasonable goal, is a wise and effective way to generate energy, as is deliberately developing interest in the task at hand. A young child has a natural interest, and consequent energy, because its world is so new. Thus, if one can learn to look at one's life, or one's meditation, with a 'beginner's mind' one can see ever new angles and fresh possibilities which keep one distant from sloth and torpor, alive and energetic. Similarly, one can develop delight in whatever one is doing by training one's perception to see the beautiful in the ordinary, thereby generating the interest which avoids the half-death that is sloth and torpor.

More advice by Gil Fronsdal here. I quote some parts of it below:

The presence of sloth and torpor does not mean that energy is not available. It means we are not accessing it. With a change in conditions, energy may reappear in a moment. This can be seen clearly in young children who switch from being “tired” (while shopping, for instance) to being energetic (about an offer of ice cream, for instance) in a matter of seconds. The energy level depends on whether they evaluate the situation as boring or exciting.

Chronic sloth and torpor may represent a lack of meaning or purpose in life. In this case, the antidote might involve taking time for deep inner reflection or thoughtful conversations with wise friends.

When sloth and torpor are present and energy is weak, we do the best we can. When they are absent, energy will naturally be stronger. Rather than berating yourself when you are tired or praising yourself when you are alert, just keep practicing. Certainly it will help reveal the precious beauty of your own mind.

  • In case of porpuse i have a purpose to advance in the path - but since i never manage to get a persistent practice no matter what i try its hard to get motivation - trying no formal meditation trying retreats doing meditation all day trying 1 minute meditation a day etc - all dont seem to help and i get to periods of 3-5 months without any meditation and little mindfulness after this tries fail
    – breath
    Jan 4, 2018 at 22:35

I suppose practice is a kind of methodical karma.

If practice seems wonderful all the time and feels great, it might be that something is wrong with the practice.

On the other hand...

Practice can seem to unfold in an erratic way that might involve the following issues:

-a distracted practice or no practice at all engulfed by defiled distractions that might happen for days before a more focused practice arises for some time only to cycle back to a more distracted practice again. This might happen over and over changing as we learn and unlearn good habits and bad habits. Our habits are the engine of our karma.

-vaguely feeling like something is missing.

-feeling like it should be an easy thing to control the practice but somehow it isn't.

-experiencing a lot of tension and stress and usually not knowing exactly why.

-seeing that things just keep cycling around and around.

If practice contains any of the above then chances are you are practicing better than you might think.

(I should note that the above advice is for people who are practicing some kind of vipassana mindfulness outside an intensive retreat. It's not intended for a samatha or concentration practice)

I always wondered why we don't go into greater detail about how we practice in this forum. This greater detail would give a bit of an indication of your karma at least for others to give you their advice about it.

Maybe your karma doesn't have enough encouragement behind it.

I found myself needing advice on how to get myself practicing. I found many useful and free dana ebooks written by various teachers online. Also, I found books on how to stop procrastination very helpful(there are a lot out there just for free on the internet!)

Here is just one book I found useful and I hope you would too. It's easy to read and gets right to the point (IMHO) by Bhante Bodhidhamma entitled ENCOURAGEMENTS TOWARDS AWAKENING:


If so desired, I can give out more titles by obscure but wise teachers that might not be so well known by practitioners here. I like reading all these teachers because they each come at the practice and the Dharma from many different unique angles.

I hope you find good answers to what your looking for and you keep on practicing :) -Metta

  • thanks - from where is the second quote ?
    – breath
    Jan 3, 2018 at 20:46
  • I'm sorry, I'm not totally sure what part you mean. What are the first 3 words of the quote?
    – Lowbrow
    Jan 4, 2018 at 2:44
  • "Practice can seem"
    – breath
    Jan 4, 2018 at 10:05

It sounds to me that you are just looking for a scriptural justification for not practicing. What I think you want is some answer that make it seem OK that you are unwilling to muster the effort required for practice. Right now, work on cutting off that karmic path. You can start that process by sitting everyday. Begin with one second. Add a second each day. It may not seem like much, but it is more than you are doing now. It will also help get your karma moving in the right direction.

Koan 17 of the Hekiganroku


Cutting through nails and breaking steel for the first time, one could be called a Master of the First Principle. If you run away from arrows and evade swords you will be a failure in Zen. The place where even a needle cannot enter I’ll leave aside for a while, but when the foaming billows wash the sky, what will you do with yourself then?


A monk asked Kyorin, “What is the meaning of Bodhidharma’s coming from the west?” “Sitting long and getting tired.”

The only karma that has any true bearing on your practice are the actions you engage in now. Pondering your own karmic roots - roots that suttas tell us are only knowable to a Buddha - is futile, but even knowing them will have no impact. Intellectualism like this is nothing more than a strategy to avoid the arrows and swords of practice.

  • you are wrong about the first part - about the one second technique - tried that many times and didnt work usually lasts 2 days sometimes it did last and build to 2 hours a day but breaks shortly after that time - even attempts at doing just 5 minutes a day without adding time fail and after each try like that comes a few months of nothing - that is why im more trying to understand the why than the how - how it works exactly kamma wise "but more than that WHY it happens "
    – breath
    Jan 3, 2018 at 15:51
  • 1
    in the original intetion i didnt even to plan to asy about my personal practice but on kamma but couldnt think o f a way to write this question
    – breath
    Jan 3, 2018 at 16:12
  • 2
    It's not different. In both cases, karma is unknowable and not something to be fretted over. Only your current actions are fully in your control. Regarding effort, it's not a "sometimes" thing. It's to be undertaken all the time. Keep your practice so close that no air can escape.
    – user698
    Jan 3, 2018 at 18:15
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    I just told you how it works. :-P Act now, reap the fruit later. All that matters is now.
    – user698
    Jan 3, 2018 at 18:29
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    This is the last I'm going to say on the subject - "how to make a steady practice and steady good mundane stuff can be great" - by exerting effort now. Karma is best understood as a kind of moral momentum. Every time the wheel comes by, you push it again. That push is what matters. "how effective is current life kamma compared to past live kamma ? [etc.]" None of these are as important as "now" karma.
    – user698
    Jan 3, 2018 at 19:03

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