Karma (Sanskrit: कर्म kárma , kárman- "act, action, performance"[1]; Pali: kamma) is the concept of "action" or "deed" in Indian religions understood as that which causes the entire cycle of cause and effect (i.e., the cycle called samsara) described in Hindu, Jain, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Do you believe in time?

Time is not real, we make time up. That's why 3 hours can seem like 5 minutes, and 5 minutes can seem like 3 hours.

Time is a measurement. What then, does time measure?

Time measures the ever changing flux and flow within the unchanging present moment.

Friday, April 4, 2008

The Power of Dharma

Ever since I moved back to my apartment, there has been an ant pile out next to the sidewalk right where my parking space is. I found it REALLY irritating. I'd notice it every time I was out there, and I'd kick it over sometimes, or drop water on it if I was adding water to my car, and I didn't bother watching where I walked unless there were a LOT of ants out, and only then to avoid getting bit myself.

Some days, it would set my mood for the drive, or for the next several hours.

Then I accepted the first precept: I will avoid taking life.

It was actually a few weeks ago that I started trying to practice the precepts. At first, the ants left my awareness all together - I was focusing on the bigger animals to start with. About a week went by, and insects and lizards and other small animals started to register more with me - usually right after I'd squashed a mosquito or fly. With the smaller animals, I'd find myself going out of my way to try not to scare them anymore than I had to - if you've ever seen one of our little anole lizards take a header off the second floor balcony, you know why. It looks like it hurts when they land!

The past few days, I've become aware again of the ants. It's a different awareness. I try to avoid killing any of them if possible (sometimes there are a lot, and they're moving fast, so when I start to put my foot down, the ground is clear, but when my foot gets there, an ant or 2 have run under it), and when that happens, I think a little thought wishing them well on their next rebirth. Rather than an annoyance, they are simply kindred living things, doing their best to make it through their day, as I am trying to make it through mine.

It is a very different way to live and look at the world than the way I've been living and looking. I find that I am happier, more peaceful, and have a better understanding of myself and my world.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Introduction to Buddhism

I have been both fortunate and challenged as I've started trying to learn about Buddhism. Challenged, because it seems the only meditation center in my area is associated with the New Kadampa Tradition. I went once, and I knew enough about Buddhism to know that what they were teaching there wasn't quite what I'd learned so far. After doing a bit of research, it turned out that it just wasn't something I wanted to get involved with. It seems they've gone to great lengths to ensure no mention was made of their origins, which seems to violate the precept about false speech. I wish them well, but what they do there is not what I am seeking.

Fortunate, because about a week into it, I came across the Urban Dharma website, and found these wonderful podcasts from Ven. Kusala Bhikshu.

Kusala does a great job of putting the concepts of Buddhism into a language I can easily understand. I'm intelligent enough to be able to understand what I read in other places, but there is a certain joy that comes with the almost effortless way understanding flows when I'm listening to one of his presentations, or reading an article he's written or recommended. If you want to know more about Buddhism, I'd recommend you start with him and his Dharma Talks Podcast. I downloaded them all into iTunes, and started with the "A Guide to Basic Buddhism" talks from back in 2005.