This is the third of the four mind-turning reflections, which have taken these from Madhyamavini’s blog. Karma explains how our past actions affect us, either positively or negatively, and that our present actions will affect us in the future. Buddhism uses an agricultural metaphor to explain how sowing skillful or unskillful deeds will result in good or bad fruit ( karma vipāka, meaning ‘ripening’).
Everywhere I look in the universe I see things arising and passing away in dependence upon conditions.
From galaxies and stars to micro-organisms, this pattern holds true.
Things aren’t random — they have causes and effects.
This is also true of my life.
What I am today is the product of many influences: my family, culture, education and relationships.
It’s also the product of choices I’ve made, of how I’ve acted, of my mental states and habits.
There are many things I cannot alter, and these I must accept.
But I can change those conditions that spring from my mind.
I can change how I think, I can affect how I feel.
Meditation and Dharma practice give me ways to do so.
I know that skilful actions have brought me happiness and fulfilment and have benefited others.
When I’ve been kind or generous I’ve seen others benefit, and it has given me happiness.
I know that my unskilful actions have harmed others, and harmed me too.
When I have been unkind I have seen the pain I have caused.
Those actions have reinforced negative states of mind that make me unhappy, and I’ve felt remorse and regret.
Therefore I should cultivate positive states, practice skilful actions and avoid unskilful ones.
This means practising the Dharma, which offers a sure path to establishing positive conditions.
To this path I commit myself.