By Nhat Quan
The path of self-cultivation to change karma is often considered the holy path, but it is also the most difficult and longest path. Cultivators who want to change karmas are those who have to wade against the river or go against the flow of life, the normal life of the world. The river flows downstream, it flows into the sea, to go back is to find the source of the river, where it came from. Those who know how to practice and want to transfer karma are the ones who find this source.
In the eyes of the world, this is unrealistic. Not being realistic is not as easy as ordinary people. Plowing the fields, hoeing, selling... or anything else in life is really not difficult to do, just need to be taught and worked hard to learn and follow. But thinking and finding out the origin and meaning of life, of human life, of people, of life and death is not an easy thing to do. The thinking was a difficult thing. Still have to live in poverty and frugality, and give up all enjoyment of sensual pleasures. So here, studying and transferring karma is really a difficult thing to do.
Talking about the road, the right path, following the flow of life will take you somewhere, the end of the road will be a place to stay, a place to rest, a temple, a house, a nest warm, a home, a village, a town, or just a forest, a hill...
But people who practice changing karma go against this path. That is, a cultivator does not go on the road to stop, even if you stop at a temple, let alone a house, a nest, or a family... Nor do you stop at a wish, any wish, any hope, let alone any ambition, any desire, even an ideal! And so is walking on a road that leads nowhere, with nothing to gain, with neither success nor satisfaction, no fulfillment at all! Even if you know that you are looking for the source, finding the truth, or walking on the path, a cultivator must also let go of everything, not holding on to anything, not being attached to anything! Walk on the path to liberation from the path. To launch yourself out of the way. This is the hard thing, too hard!
Thus, the matter of giving up living at home to practice and transfer karma is a decision that starts from understanding, from wisdom, and must have full predestined, favorable, predestined conditions, not only that, but one also has to rely on willpower. Having enough merit and predestined conditions is not certain without trying, patiently and persistently to overcome many arduous challenges. The celibacy must also be extremely strong, firm as a stone table, practicing non-stop, diligently every minute and every second. Because precepts are not easy to follow and karma is unpredictable. In addition, it is not easy to keep the mind unshaken before the Eight Winds of the World. Even if you turn your back on the world, you are still influenced and governed by the Eight Winds of Life. The Eight Winds of the world are:
- Gain and loss,
- Love and hate,
- Praise and criticize,
- Pleasure and suffering,
These eight winds often blow loudly in the stream of life, in the life of an ordinary person. There is no one who is not moved by the Eight Winds of this world, even those who have left home, are still shaken by the gain and loss of material things, benefits, offerings, enjoyment, food, and happiness. Living, clothing, medicine… Still agitated by feelings of loving this person, hating that person, liking this, this, not liking that, that. Or conversely, being loved by one person is hated by the other, being esteemed here, and despised by another... Still being moved by the praise and criticism for themselves as well as falling into the praise and criticism of the other person. , other things... Still agitated by situations that make you happy, comfortable, or painful, miserable. So, not when entering the monastic path, when wearing a monk's robe over the body, greed, hatred, and delusion, afflictions and obstacles will naturally fall off, disappearing into space!
There are people who often misunderstand like that, so once they see a monastic whose reactions or actions are still tinged with greed, hatred, and delusion, they are disrespectful, and no longer respect and trust the monastic again. Sometimes even worse, they also lose faith in the Sangha and the Buddha's teachings, no longer eager to visit temples, worship Buddha, visit or study. This is a big mistake and a very unfortunate loss of benefit. They do not know that the life of a monastic is twice as difficult as that of a layman. Every move of a monk is watched, scrutinized, and evaluated very quickly, very quickly, very heavily in the eyes of the worldly! They forget that monastics are just people walking on the path of practice, not saints yet!
Cultivators who want to change their true karma are no different from those who plow, plant and fertilize to harvest rice. Just like a farmer has to work in the field every year, if he neglects to take care of the crops every year, the farmer will be poor and hungry. Practitioners want to transfer karma if they don't have the days to live together, promote each other, not plow the field of mind, cultivate wisdom, and cultivate the way of karma, how can they have the conditions to create the blessed field for sentient beings? As a result, a person who cultivates karma is likened to a true plowman. Mind is the largest field of blessings, if anyone knows how to plow the garden of the mind, cultivate, nurture, and train properly, it will flower, bear Bodhi fruit, and achieve enlightenment and liberation.
When the mind is not yet cultivated, at first it is like a wasteland full of weeds, the mind is filled with the toxins of lust, anger, and delusion. and affliction. And especially always being dominated by the five hindrances:
- Lust, anger, drowsiness, agitation, and doubt.
If your mind has not yet been cultivated, then all kinds of afflictions and Fetters will multiply, and the mind will become polluted, bound, and polluted, so you will surely forever be in the sufferings of samsara.
Therefore, if a practitioner wants to transfer karma, he or she must first cultivate the mind and train the mind. Because the mind is the source of happiness and suffering. Therefore, the mind needs to be controlled and cultivated, like a field that needs to be plowed, weeded, and fertilized to make the rice paddy more and more lush. The mind that is cultivated according to the true dharmas will uproot all defilements and fetters, leading to the fruit of true happiness and peace. Therefore, a person who knows how to practice properly transfer karma is no different from a farmer who is diligently plowing his fields and gardens day and night. According to Samyutta Nikaya, the Farmer recorded:
- Once the Buddha was staying at Karanda-Venuvana in Rajagrha City. At that time, in the north of Rajagrha City, there lived a Brahmin who plowed the fields.
Once, early in the morning, the Buddha put on his robes, took his bowl, and went to a Brahmin for alms. At that time the Brahmin, seeing the Buddha approaching from afar, said to the Buddha:
- Dear Gotama! We have to work hard to get food to eat, we have never begged anyone before, and you don't plow, you don't do anything, you should cultivate like us. !
The Buddha very eloquently replied:
- I also cultivate! But, the field I plow is not an ordinary field, but I plow a field of great merit.
The peasant Brahmin immediately felt strange and said:
- Dear Gotama! If you say you plow the field, why have I never seen your field? Where is the seed sown? You also have no buffalo, no plow, no tools for plowing, harrowing, etc. Why do you say you are also plowing the field? If you say you have a plow, please tell me about the method of plowing.
The Blessed One then replied:
- Usually, farmers plow the field, and it is necessary to have seeds sown, And the field I plow is to use faith as a seed. Because faith is the birthplace of merit. Faith is the seed of all merit. The Buddhadharma is like a great ocean. If you have faith, you can enter, if you have wisdom, you will pass. Therefore, faith is the seed, I have such a seed.
Brahmin asked:
- So where should the seeds be planted?
Buddha replied:
- Of course, there must be a good field! In the Buddhadharma there is a good field, which is the good dharma, and the place where the good dharma is practiced is my good field.
Diligence is the buffalo. But only buffalo is not enough, if you want to know where the land needs to be plowed and harrowed, you need to guide the direction, and wisdom is the plow.
In addition, if you want to produce good crops, you must plow the field and make the soil fresh and spongy. Shameful Mind is my plowed land. With that shameful mind that you realize your mistake, need to sincerely repent, must not hide the sin inside, and need to expose it.
Therefore, plowing the field is shameful mind. Cultivators need to sincerely repent, so I also have a plow.
Not only have tools and buffaloes, but also need someone to plow the field well, that is to keep in a state of mindfulness. In addition to mindfulness, the body, mouth, and mind also need to be in harmony, using skillful means to protect the senses, so that the body, mouth, and mind are pure. Farmers use bridles to tame their horses, monastics take precepts as bridles so that the mind of the monkey, and the mind of the horse can be subdued, their body and speech pure, and also the purity of precepts. Cultivation also needs to weed. Pulling out weeds, in Buddhism, is to remove defilements.
Cultivation must also keep up with the rainy season and need to constantly water the field to absorb water. In the same way, the cultivator should not be treated with any kind of entertainment. They need to be constantly diligent in order to infiltrate the field of good dharma so that they can reap good harvests. In the same way, farmers who work hard to weed and cultivate can reap abundantly; And so are the cultivators, who strive to eliminate defilements, cultivate and study good dharmas, aim for peaceful liberation, and attain eternal peace.
You work diligently to plow, and the result can be harvested rice, but I plow, can reap the nectar liberated from birth and death. You can only resist the suffering of hunger and thirst, but I practice because I will eliminate suffering and forever be free from samsara in the three realms.
As soon as the Brahmin heard this, he greatly praised:
- Dear World Honored One! You are the best plowman, and that field is the best field.
Through this story, if you want to transfer karma, you must first sow pure faith, choose good fields, practice good Dharma everywhere, be diligent, have a balanced mind, and use wisdom to lead. And there is a shame for self and shame for others, making mistakes, repenting, and being mindful. Body, mind, mouth, and mind are all pure, with the elimination of afflictions, with unceasing continuity, without laziness to cultivate the good field of kusala. Only continuously without interruption in the practice of kusala, with the exception of defilements, can the nectar of liberation be attained.
Because the noble purpose of human life is the end of suffering, the attainment of peace, and the liberation of nirvana. Material possessions are part of life, but it's not everything. The wealth created there but not sure you fully enjoy it, because it can:
- Burned by fire,
- Being swept away by water or being robbed by washing...
Rice is a product that the farmer plows and harrows only to meet the problem of the fullness of the stomach. While human life depends on many other issues. The stomach is full, but the soul is hungry, it means nothing. The suffering of a donkey and a camel carrying a heavy load is not yet suffering, the greatest suffering in human life is not knowing how to choose the path, not knowing how to cultivate to change karma. So, knowing to choose for you the right path, that path must really lead you to true peace and liberation. To do so, you have to work day and night to plow the field of mind. Thereby practice:
- Do not indulge in sleep, nourish the body but forget the mission of liberation practice.
- Need to practice the Seven elements of bodhi and the Four immeasurables: loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity.
- Often pay attention to the Four kinds of mindfulness: body, feeling, mind, and dharma.
- Must sow the seeds of faith, use the plow of wisdom and the power of meditation to plow and cultivate the field of mind, then you will definitely get the result of liberation and enlightenment. There is no suffering equal to the suffering of samsara, and there is no greater joy than the joy of nirvana.
If a person creates more or less good karma, then their accumulated good karma will bring them the result of being reborn in the heavens, or the tranquil and happy realms. Others will be reborn as humans.
Nowadays, there are many people in the world who only run after their desires and spend their whole lives fulfilling their sensual desires for everything. Your habitual mind has created your actions and even conditioned attachments from past lives and in this life. So you just follow karma, and your karma is always controlling you, without you realizing it:
- I want it
- I want that
- I hate that person
- I love the other person ...
These habitual karmic forces are stored in the eighth consciousness. If you do not practice, do not change karma, after death your karma will attract you to rebirth in the lower realms of animals, hungry ghosts, or hell. If you sow a cause, you will reap the same fruit. That is the law of cause and effect in this world. It's not special. The Buddha did not invent the view of cause and effect, but he only taught this basic thing based on his realization of the world of existence. When the Buddha was enlightened, he clearly felt that the path by which sentient beings wandered from another kind of rebirth, sometimes human, sometimes animal, sometimes a hungry ghost, etc., was always attached. with what you want. So how do you keep your mind good right now, to create your whole new life? It also creates your next life. Therefore, practicing to change karma is a very important practice.
You come from your thoughts and desires. If you are thinking, you are creating karma then karma controls you. If you completely cut off all thought attachment then you are not creating any karma whether good or bad. So the most important way to avoid falling into samsara is to not create anything in your mind in this present moment. A disciple asked:
- Master, if I do good deeds all the time, I can change karma, isn't that right?
A famous Patriarch said:
- Karma is created by the mind, if the mind does not arise, the karma will not exist.
This is a very important question. You must understand that good deeds cannot change karma either. Good actions may give you some happiness, but happiness is also what people call good karma, but good karma is still karma, and karma is created by thoughts, they are always changing. So good karma also can eventually turn into bad karma.
In short, creating karma is also due to the mind that does not know how to let go, tolerate, and forgive. Once you are killed, betrayed, or cheated then just want revenge. And so, this mind keeps pursuing, finding the murderer, who has betrayed and deceived you to claim your life and debt. Resentment to borrow and pay, pay and borrow again, never finished. With this mind of relentless pursuit, of course, you have to plunge into samsara.
On the contrary, the loving, affectionate mind, too attached, too infatuated you can't leave the person you love, have been passionate about, used to be happy together. So you have to go to reincarnation to go back to find your old lover, but you can't find it! Again, there are people who have not finished a project in the present life, but still have regrets in their hearts, so they can't let go, and still wish for... reincarnation in order to continue the unfinished work!
After all, if reincarnation is to do good and good for people and for humanity, it should be, but this can only be done by bodhisattvas. Because these bodhisattvas no longer create karma and can go in and out freely in samsara, even though they still suffer the karma of many previous lives. And ordinary people like you or us can't be so free, because both receiving old karma and creating new karma, and just being swept away by karma. If you want to do so, then you should also practice becoming a Bodhisattva before you want to go in and out of birth and death freely, but while and when you are not strong enough to escape samsara, you should also listen to the Buddha's words, and first stop the rotation of the wheel life and death! There a new horizon will be opened for those who receive the message of compassion and wisdom of the Buddha. The road upstream of birth and death is still waiting for you to set out, embarking on the biggest revolution of all human lives.
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