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Before I practice Buddhism,I've made mistakes and hurt other. Sometimes I thought what happen to me now is the effect of what I did. I try to keep doing positive things but sometimes I could not stand this hard situation. Could anyone tell me please how to solve this situation in Buddhism way?

  • 3
    Not sure if it's any consolation, but every time I've said "I can't stand this", the moment passed regardless. – Dan Bryant Oct 2 '14 at 20:43
17

An understanding of what causes have contributed to the way we are right now is out of the realm of ordinary people; practically speaking, you are more likely to project a false impression of why you are the way you are that is wholly disproportionate in terms of cause and actual effect.

Much of what we are today has already been predetermined from the moment of our conception, including the nature of our body and our brain, our social status and community, and even our life choices and experiences to a certain extent.

That being said, karma performed in this life will certainly have an affect on our minds and influence our choices as well as our mental and physical well-being. Much of this is also out of our control, at least in terms of direct intervention.

What we can do is two things:

  1. We can, as the Buddha taught Angulimala, "bear with" the unpleasant experiences. This has the effect of both neutralizing the mental suffering that comes from unpleasant experiences as well as nullifying any further bad karma we might create in reaction to the experience (thus potentially ending the cycle that caused the experience in the first place).

  2. We can perform wholesome deeds like giving charity or help to others, abstaining from unethical deeds and speech, and practising meditation to calm and clarify our minds. This has the effect of acting as a buffer to our unwholesome deeds, in effect (potentially) counteracting them. As the Buddha taught to Angulimala:

He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done,
illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

-- Dhp. 173 (Buddharakkhita,trans)

11

Regretting about your past is only going to make your Karma worse. Best way to deal with past bad memories is to do Vipassana on them. When a past memory comes to your mind, simply note it as a thought about the past. Don't react to it or take it as something that belongs to you. If that memory truly belongs to you, you should be able to stop it from appearing in the mind. But you can't! Because it appears due to causes. So wishing for such thoughts to go away will only create a need in the mind for it to not be present. But that's only going to make you suffer, which is what you are going through right now. The need for such thoughts to go away doesn't stop them from appearing in the mind again. But if you are able to note it as it is, i.e. just a past thought, and not react to it, you can notice that it fades away immediately.

If you want peace of mind, you must train your mind to note 3 natures of everything that troubles you:

  1. Anicca (impermanence)
  2. Dukka (unsatisfactoriness)
  3. Anatta (non-self)
10

According to the "Lonaphala Sutta: The Salt Crystal", the Buddha said:

"Monks, for anyone who says, 'In whatever way a person makes kamma, that is how it is experienced,' there is no living of the holy life, there is no opportunity for the right ending of stress.

"There is the case where a trifling evil deed done by a certain individual takes him to hell. There is the case where the very same sort of trifling deed done by another individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

"Now, a trifling evil deed done by what sort of individual takes him to hell? There is the case where a certain individual is undeveloped in [contemplating] the body, undeveloped in virtue, undeveloped in mind, undeveloped in discernment: restricted, small-hearted, dwelling with suffering. A trifling evil deed done by this sort of individual takes him to hell.

"Now, a trifling evil deed done by what sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment? There is the case where a certain individual is developed in [contemplating] the body, developed in virtue, developed in mind, developed in discernment: unrestricted, large-hearted, dwelling with the immeasurable. A trifling evil deed done by this sort of individual is experienced in the here & now, and for the most part barely appears for a moment.

"Suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into a small amount of water in a cup. What do you think? Would the water in the cup become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"Yes, lord. Why is that? There being only a small amount of water in the cup, it would become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink."

"Now suppose that a man were to drop a salt crystal into the River Ganges. What do you think? Would the water in the River Ganges become salty because of the salt crystal, and unfit to drink?"

"No, lord. Why is that? There being a great mass of water in the River Ganges, it would not become salty because of the salt crystal or unfit to drink."

The amount of water corresponds to the degree that the mind is developed. From this sutta we can understand that the fruits of kamma can be minimized through the right development of the mind. A developed mind is like the river Ganges, and an unskilful action, like a salt crystal in the river, will only produce a fruit which will be barely felt.

5

You must've already possessed great wholesome kamma to be able to know about Buddhism, to learn and practice it. All the other bad kammas would be trivial compared to what you already had. Learn more about Buddhism and practice diligently and you will transcend them. See the inspiring story of Venerable Angulimala ( http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.086.than.html ):

"Then Ven. Angulimala, early in the morning, having put on his robes and carrying his outer robe & bowl, went into Savatthi for alms. Now at that time a clod thrown by one person hit Ven. Angulimala on the body, a stone thrown by another person hit him on the body, and a potsherd thrown by still another person hit him on the body. So Ven. Angulimala — his head broken open and dripping with blood, his bowl broken, and his outer robe ripped to shreds — went to the Blessed One. The Blessed One saw him coming from afar and on seeing him said to him: "Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now!"

4

You can't do anything with past karma. You can only change future. Future depends on how you act now. Do your best, and eventually you will be alright.

4

Your past fabrication / conditioning manifests as sensations in your body. But looking at the arising and passing away of sensations equanimously realising their impermanence you are effectively reducing the potency of the past Karma to take effect. More you do this, the past Karma gets weaker and weaker.

My being equanimous and aware of the 3 marks of existence of sensations you stop adding fuel to the process of conditioning or the wheel of dependent origination turning. By adding not fue the existing fuel will burn and the fire will die out.

Also keep in mind that large portion of the result of Karma is our reaction to the effects and sensation of it which, creates a lot more problems and misery, and further fabrication which prolongs the suffering. The result of new fabrication and knock on problems we create for ourselves, (snowballing / avalanche effect) are much more than the effects coming from the past.

2

The Wheel of Knives is a lojung text in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition.

The pdf contains other content. The Wheel of Knives begins on Page 45 you will have to scroll down.

An audio class on it can be found here.

Typed notes of this audio lecture can be found here Ctrl + F Wheel of Knives to jump to the specific section

A useful chart can be found here. It is in the reading as well, but in a less readable format.

The Tibetans believed that the purification of karma was possible. The Karmic Purification process has 4 steps. There is a class on that too on the same site. (acidharma.org) I will provide a brief summary of the process.

The first step is to take refuge in the 3 jewels, in your knowledge of karma and emptiness. I will not go to into depth on this step.

The second step is called "Destruction Force"

To rip out the roots of something (with power). This is regret, not guilt. It is an intelligent, educated understanding that you just screwed up, based upon knowledge of karma and emptiness and how bakchaks work and are reaped. You know that you will suffer from what you did and why, karmically. You know you just caused yourself future suffering and regret it. You feel ill/bad.

You take the cause of the karma you are working with, remember all the times you did it, realize that it is going to cause you suffering. Regret that you commited the deeds in question.

The 3rd step is called "Restraint force" Here you take the cause of the karma you are working with, and you restrain yourself from doing it again. The longer you can restrain yourself the better.

Restraint force. You don't do it again. Since we can't just stop cold for the rest of our lives, we need a plan. So we set a time restraint force limit to stop for awhile - not to do the deed for an hour, a day, a week, etc. and build up the time length to get used to the new habit of not doing the deed. For chronic habits, set a short time limit, say five minutes, and concentrate hard on not doing it. The mind can't concentrate tightly for longer periods to avoid the habit. If you break a vow of restraint, you are lying, and collect more bad karma, so keep the time realistic.

The last step is called "Applying the Antidote" Using the chart, or in some cases logical reasoning, you determine the antidote to the karma you are working with. Stealing would have an antidote of generosity for example. In this step you will have to think about your individual conditions.

If you think of karma like seeds, the idea is this, you stop watering the "bad" karmic seeds. You plant "good" seeds that are related to the "bad" seeds you wish to uproot.

In the case of killing, the antidote of protecting life should be applied. Getting and taking care of pets. Donating to disaster relief charities. Get creative, anything that prevents sickness and harm. Apply plenty of antidote, and try to keep the application up until the period you decided on in step 3 has passed.

Go through these steps multiple times if necessary.

One important thing to note: Karma does not simply disappear, this purification process just speeds up the queue.

The karmic seeds you have are in a queue to ripen. The most powerful ones go to the front of the queue and are experienced first. They delay the other seeds from ripening until the powerful ones are done. ... ...The result of purification is that the intention part of the karmic path is ripped out and dramatically lessens the ripening impact. Karma ripens into a lesser result. It's very important after purification to believe that you're clean - you're pure.

While working with these energies you will experience a period where the karma you are working with ripens quickly, the purification process is not easy, and you will experience suffering directly related to the karma you are working with.

To wrap this up a quick quote from the Diamond Cutter Sutra and one from Tai Situ Rinpoche.

O Subhuti, any son or daughter of noble family who takes up a sutra like this, or who holds it, or reads it, or comprehends it, will suffer. They will suffer intensely. Why is it so? Because, o Subhuti, such beings are purifying non-virtuous karma from the entire string of their previous lives, karma that would have taken them to the three lower realms. As they purify this karma, it causes them to suffer here in this life. As such they will succeed in cleaning away the karma of these non-virtuous deeds of their previous lifetimes, and they will as well achieve the enlightenment of a Buddha.

Tai Situ Rinpoche : Sometimes we do suffer intensely, when we are sick and so on. When we are sick we should resort to medicines and when we get into trouble with people we should try to get out of that trouble. Definitely. However, our attitude to the suffering and the trouble should not be one that defines them as solely negative. Suffering is like a broom that sweeps away the causes of suffering and when we understand this then the suffering is reduced to its true stature. Without the understanding it tends to become amplified to twice, ten or a hundred times its true size. The way we develop our understanding is to think, “The suffering that I am now experiencing is the result of previous karmic causes. Just as I do not want to suffer, neither does any being. Thus may this present suffering be of true benefit in removing the sufferings of all beings.”

  • This is an exact duplicate of this answer. – ChrisW Jul 24 '15 at 22:58
  • @ChrisW yes, I was not sure if cross posting was allowed. This question was linked in the other question and I thought that the answer worked well for both questions. If I need to remove it let me know. – hellyale Jul 24 '15 at 23:02

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