The Law of Causality (Cause and Effect)

Gyalwai Nyugu’s Instructions to Two Devotees from Nanjing, China, Part I
Place: Yachen Gar
Date: September 21, 2009
shangshi-2All of you are going to leave Yachen Gar tomorrow. You’ve all came from so far away. I know you have spent several hours on a plane before beginning the long trek over the mountains. It is a journey that takes a couple of days. A great deal of energy, time and money was required to get you here. I appreciate it.

As spiritual practitioners, it is very important for you to understand the importance of the Law of Causality. Believe it or not, all of our suffering comes from karma. That is a fact, not a regulation set by Buddha! If we cannot control our karma, we cannot be released from suffering. As long as blood and energy circulate, and the human body continues to live. Likewise, as long as we keep creating karmic causes and effects, our suffering will remain. To seek happiness without respecting the Law of Causality is foolishness. All suffering and happiness is determined by this principle. Today we exist in the human realm because of our past actions. The spiritual practice we performed in the past created a cause, the effect of which was a human birth. By performing actions, with respect for karma, we created the merit necessary for a human birth. If our attitude lacks respect toward karmic law, in our next life we will not be able to find Buddhism or the bodhisattva path. This is a frightening prospect. One who practices Dzogchen must be keenly aware and highly respectful of the Law of Causality. A Dzogchen practitioner uses wisdom to analyse and understand cause and effect, and thereby frees himself from the causes of suffering.

The fact that you’ve come all the way from Nanjing to see your teacher here is very auspicious. However, what is most important is that you etch the words of your teacher in your heart and mind. Remember them all the time and use them as a tool to change your ways of thinking and acting. As you already know, our negative emotions come from one or a few of our Five Poisons (desire, anger, delusion or ignorance, pride, and jealousy). If we let our Five Poisons induce a pattern of negative emotions, we will have no end of suffering. If you want to be liberated, you must go inside of your own mind and break your internal patterns. Use wisdom to change your habits of desire, anger, ignorance, and pride. To transform those habits is to walk the path of liberation. If you come to the Tibetan lands only to meet a lot of lamas but don’t rid yourself of your internal programming, it is like letting a life-threatening illness go without treatment. If you don’t attend to your desire and anger, they will torment you forever. If you understand and agree with this argument, then the next step is to take action. Do your sadhana.

Both of you are from the beautiful city Nanjing. Have you ever thought about why you live there? Did someone invite you? No, it was your karmic destiny that brought you there. Karma is the wind that filled the sails of your habits and drove you into this realm. Your karma took you to Nanjing and caused you to live a life without real freedom and without true happiness, a life filled with both internal and external suffering. No one did it to you. Your programming and negative emotions would be responsible for that.

Over the course of history, many spiritual practitioners have succeeded in their quest for liberation. They did so because they used their wisdom twenty-four hours a day to transform their ingrained habits. But today many so-called practitioners practice a few times a year, see their teacher once or twice, do a little meditation, and spend the rest of their time immersed in so called samsara business.

ycg-2No outward action, no matter how generous or sacred, can enable us to achieve liberation in this life or in the bardos. We must depend upon a teacher to guide us through the process of transforming our internal state into one of purity. We must go through the process of emptying our mind of negativity and filling it with wisdom. You may think that, generally speaking, your mind is not at all that complicated or confused. But observe what happens when you are suddenly confronted with a difficult situation. The latent negativity in your mind is pushed to the forefront. It’s always there, it’s just not visible. We are physical and spiritual beings. Why is it that we can be warm, well fed and well off in every way, but still feel the stress and frustration? This is because we are feeling, spiritual beings. To achieve true happiness, humans require a clean, comfortable inner environment.

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