Continuing on the Four Reminders exercises (see my thoughts on impermance here), this week I have been reflecting on karma, or as Vajragupta puts it “actions have consequences”. As usual, I found it helpful to journal my thoughts:
Cause & Effect
All actions have consequences. No exceptions.
Every moment is a karma making moment. No exceptions.
The things that I do, say or even just think have consequences. No exceptions.
All my actions are significant because, at the very least, they affect the kind of person I become.
Knowing this, I can try to act in ways that are kind & loving.
Every single moment is a karma-making moment. That means every single moment is an opportunity to make a difference.
It all matters.
I am the owner of my karma.
I inherit my karma.
I am born of my karma.
I live supported by my karma.
Whatever karma I create, whether good or evil, that I shall inherit.
(The Buddha, Anguttara Nikaya V.57 – Upajjhatthana Sutta )
My karma is the only thing I truly own. I can take nothing else with me. Everything else is just borrowed.
The (extremely ropey) sketch of a starfish is to remind me of a story that Vajragupta mentions in his book about a man who is walking along a beach on which thousands of starfish had been washed up by a storm. He starts throwing the starfish back in the water, one by one. Someone came along and asked him why he was bothering when there were so many starfish stranded. “Well,” says the man, carrying on throwing the fish, “It makes a difference to this one…and this one…and this one…” A great story to remember when you start to feel that your individual actions make no difference. They do.
Ever since writing the last line in my journal about everything else just being borrowed, I can’t get this Streets song out of my head – check it out if you’ve never heard it:
I came to this world with nothing
and I leave with nothing but love
everything else is just borrowed
By the way, for a great article on karma, I recommend checking out Mike’s post “Karma for Dummies“.
Next reminder for contemplation: suffering. Watch this space.