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.

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.

No comments: