The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

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The-Tibetan-Book-of-Living-and-Dying

102 THE TIBETAN BOOK OF LIVING AND DYINGingly responsible. I have noticed that many people feel menacedby the reality of karma, because they are beginning tounderstand they have no escape from its natural law. Thereare some who profess complete contempt for karma, but deepinside they have profound doubts about their own denial.During the daytime they may act with fearless contempt forall morality, an artificial, careless confidence, but alone at nighttheir minds are often dark and troubled.Both the East and the West have their characteristic waysof evading the responsibilities that come from understandingkarma. In the East people use karma as an excuse not to giveothers a helping hand, saying that, whatever they suffer, it is"their karma." In the "free-thinking" Western world, we do theopposite. Westerners who believe in karma can be exaggeratedly"sensitive" and "careful," and say that actually to helpothers would be to interfere with something they have to"work out for themselves." What an evasion and betrayal ofour humanity! Perhaps it is just as likely that it is our karmato find a way to help. I know several rich people: Theirwealth could be their destruction, in encouraging sloth andselfishness; or they could seize the chance that money offersreally to help others, and by doing so help themselves.We must never forget that it is through our actions, words,and thoughts that we have a choice. And if we choose we canput an end to suffering and the causes of suffering, and help ourtrue potential, our buddha nature, to awaken in us. Until thisbuddha nature is completely awakened, and we are freed fromour ignorance and merge with the deathless, enlightened mind,there can be no end to the round of life and death. So, theteachings tell us, if we do not assume the fullest possibleresponsibility for ourselves now in this life, our suffering will goon not only for a few lives but for thousands of lives.It is this sobering knowledge that makes Buddhists considerthat future lives are more important even than this one,because there are many more that await us in the future. Thislong-term vision governs how they live. They know if wewere to sacrifice the whole of eternity for this life, it would belike spending our entire life savings on one drink, madly ignoringthe consequences.But if we do observe the law of karma and awaken in ourselvesthe good heart of love and compassion, if we purify ourmindstream and gradually awaken the wisdom of the natureof our mind, then we can become a truly human being, andultimately become enlightened.

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