Within the Yundrung Bön religious tradition, part of building a solid foundation for spiritual growth is to spend time intensely reflecting upon “the four thoughts that turn the mind.” One of these four thoughts is “the truth of positive and negative actions and the certainty of their result. The practitioner reflects upon the certain result of both good and bad actions. Actions based upon self-grasping and ignorance bring suffering and misery while actions based upon compassion and loving kindness bring joy and positive results. (For more information about “the four thoughts that turn the mind,” see previous post: https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/01/09/the-four-realizations-that-reverse-the-mind/)
The following poetic verse was written by the modern-day saint Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche upon a request from the female practitioner Khandro Wangi Dronma. In the poem, he reminds the practitioner that our actions arise as a similar result in our future lives, and he gives a remedy for this situation as the purification of negative actions through the recitation of the mantra of purification, known as the DU TRI SU mantra. If negative karma is not purified, then it will arise as an experience of suffering and misery in the future. Additionally, seeing the emptiness of this suffering as well as the one who is suffering allows the negative result to be exhausted through the experience without creating further karma.
“A KAR A MÉ DU TRI SU NAKPO ZHI ZHI MAL MAL
May the negative karmic debts of sentient beings within the three realms of cyclic existence be purified!
Furthermore, as for a method to repay karmic debts, here is some profound insight.
Sentient beings within the three realms, wander throughout the places of cyclic existence for many lifetimes and their arrogant mind-streams are like a demon of self-grasping that perform acts of harm towards others.
The karmic repayment for that arises as various undesirable things such as illness, fevers, boils, poverty, devastation, and hunger; as well as the arising of harm from negative spirits, slander, and other misfortune.
Not understanding the karmic power of past actions, again and again having generated a mind of hate, we have been involved in the ruthless karma of shouting things from our own mouth and damaging the life force of many other sentient beings, oppressing others, driving them away, and killing them.
Because of that, engaging in harm towards others again and again, the negative karma accumulates. Later on during our future lives, we are tormented because of those actions. Always experiencing suffering and misery because of our actions towards others, there is never a time of happiness.
Thus, if you want to purify negative karma, generate a mind of limitless compassion and recite the essence mantra that shakes the depths through mantra!
Whatever unwanted thing that descends upon you, look upon everything as karma.
Now, if there is fever, it is because of previously buying the karma of cutting the life force. For that, protect the life force of others. Repay that karmic debt with loving kindness and compassion.
If you have been cast out or are impoverished, it is because of previously buying the karma of stealing. For that, distribute gifts of food and wealth, and generate a mind of altruism and generosity.
In general, whatever happiness or suffering is experienced, everything is according to previous actions. For example, when a plant emerges from the ground, the fruit will ripen into whatever was planted in the autumn. Whatever actions you have done previously, will ripen into the correct result. Whatever wrongdoing that has been done, will arise as a ripened future result. Suffering and misery from unpurified karma will arise even though it is unwanted.
From beginning-less lifetimes, there is the karmic debt of killing the life force, the karmic debt of stealing wealth, the karmic debt of looting and destroying, the karmic debt of beating and weakening, the karmic debt of scolding and condemning, the karmic debt of eating food and drinking because of thirst, the karmic debt of wearing clothing, the karmic debt of a pretentious mansion, the karmic debt of having male and female slaves or servants, the karmic debt of worldly friendships, the karmic debt of eating meat and drinking blood, the karmic debt of wearing skins and destroying bones, the karmic debt of milking and ploughing, the karmic debt of loading pack animals and riding horses, the karmic debt of using food and wealth donated for the deceased, the karmic debt of acting as an obstacles to virtue, and the karmic debt of taking away others’ happiness, etc.
Recite the mantra that shakes the depths of cyclic existence. Afterwards, even if you are thrust into a significant illness, even the source of suffering and misery is purified. Even if the experience arises from very strong actions, the negative karma is diffused and exhausted.
From the root tantra Subduer of Demons: “This purifies many karmic actions and exhausts wrongdoing.”
From the words of the chang chub sempa:* “Understand affliction and torment, and the exhaustion of affliction and torment.”
It is necessary to view as supreme, and master the remedy which is emptiness; and to proceed with the important practice of virtue. As for emptiness, Meditate! Accomplish the roots of virtue! if you practice those things, suffering and misery are purified and will not arise.”
— Excerpt of untitled poem composed by Shardza Tashi Gyaltsen Rinpoche and included in his volume of works entitled Advice and Hagiographies of the A Tri LIneage Lamas
* (Sanskrit: bodhisattvas)
Tibetan translations by Raven Cypress Wood
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