moment of death, if we do not change. This is why it is so

absolutely important to use this lifetime to purify our mindstream,

and so our basic being and character, while we can.


How is it that we come to be alive as human beings? All

beings who have similar karma will have a common vision of

the world around them, and this set of perceptions they share

is called "a karmic vision." That close correspondence between

our karma and the kind of realm in which we find ourselves

also explains how different forms arise: You and I, for example,

are human beings because of the basic common karma

that we share.

Yet even within the human realm, all of us have our own

individual karma. We are bom in different countries, cities, or

families; we each have different upbringings, education, influences

and beliefs, and all this conditioning comprises that

karma. Each one of us is a complex summation of habits and

past actions, and so we cannot but see things in our own

uniquely personal way. Human beings look much the same, but

perceive things utterly differently, and we each live in our own

unique and separate individual worlds. As Kalu Rinpoche says:

If a hundred people sleep and dream, each of them will experience

a different world in his dream. Everyone's dream might be said to

be true, but it would be meaningless to ascertain that only one person's

dream was the true world and all others were fallacies. There

is truth for each perceiver according to the karmic patterns conditioning

his perceptions. 2


Our human existence is not the only kind of karmic vision.

Six realms of existence are identified in Buddhism: gods,

demigods, humans, animals, hungry ghosts, and hells. They

are each the result of one of the six main negative emotions:

pride, jealousy, desire, ignorance, greed, and anger.

Do these realms actually exist externally? They may, in

fact, exist beyond the range of the perception of our karmic

vision. Let's never forget: What we see is what our karmic vision

allows us to see, and no more. Just as we, in the present, unpurified,

and unevolved state of our perception, can only be aware

of this universe, an insect might see one of our fingers as a

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