using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Winter 2014
winter 2 0 1 4 buddhadharma: the Practitioner’s quarterly 31 it meaning is citta-niyama. And the need to breathe and the feeling of the weight of the body on the chair are related to the laws of physics, chemistry, and biology. They all play into what we experience in any given moment. So if we ask who is pulling the strings, the Bud- dhist answer would be, “Wrong question.” It’s not a matter of who but of understanding how these vari- ous forces, these different laws that contribute to our experience, operate and function in relationship to each other. Karma, as expressed in our actions and personal choices, forms just a tiny proportion of the whole array. However, as the most varied and unpredictable force in our lives, karma gets most of our attention. And it does matter—it is important for us to see clearly how our actions and words have distinct and tangible effects within our own lifetimes. Even with- out looking to past lifetimes or concerning ourselves with other people, we can see in our own lives that if we act in an open and generous way, this has the effect of bringing brightness and enjoyment into our hearts. There’s joyfulness and a self-respect and delight when we act in an unselfish way. And if we act in a way that is cruel or selfish or deceitful and then look within ourselves, we feel burdened. A harmful action has an immediately discernible result, not delayed at all. If you tell a lie, you imme- diately feel anxious that others will find out what you said is not true. If you cheat someone or steal something, immediately there is tension. The results of good and bad action are not remote or far away. We don’t think of that effect as in any way mysteri- ous or magical. I’m reminded of a teaching that the Buddha gave about punna, blessings or merit. It was a response to someone saying, “Making good karma doesn’t really matter. What really matter are the teach- ings on wisdom and liberation. Doing good deeds is insignificant.” The Buddha said, “Don’t belittle what punna is, what blessings are, what merit is. Punna is another word for happiness. That bright- ness in the heart, the quality of blessings—these are the basis of happiness and freedom. Don’t belittle them or look down upon them in a dismissive way.” Punna is a powerful part of our lives. It’s easy to say, “It’s secondary” or “I’m not really concerned about that.” But when there is punna, there’s a quality of ease in the heart that helps support mental focus and the insight that arises from it. If there isn’t that basis of brightness and ease, of self- respect, it’s virtually impossible to develop any kind of mental focus or real wisdom. Furthermore, we can see that we are affected in complex and powerful ways by the choices of oth- ers, just as they are affected by us. Someone like the Buddha, who was extraordinarily wise, gener- ous, and kind, would create a very powerful field of punna, or merit, not unlike a gravitational field. When you draw close to the Buddha and participate in his teachings, you enter that field and feel the pull, just as you would feel the pull of gravity from a massive star. In Buddhist tradition we talk about paramita, the field of good deeds. During the Buddha’s many lives as a bodhisattva, he developed the ten paramitas: generosity, renunciation, virtue, wisdom, energy, truthfulness, patience, determination, loving-kind- ness, and equanimity. Those wholesome qualities helped him build up this field of merit. So when we draw close to such a person and participate in his field of merit, we are buoyed up and influenced to act in the same way; we become beneficiaries of that field. The world of our experience and the universe as a whole are intimately related. Not only are the forces of gravity and chemistry and physics involved, but so is the element of consciousness. So what we experience is also dependent on how it is being experienced; our mind is involved in exactly how the world appears. This is significant in seeing how we can usefully apply the Buddha’s teachings. The Buddha points to understanding the things MARIONNETTE/PHOTO | sota saKuma