As you all know, there are many different types of karma. What exactly is karma? Karma actually means “activities”. So obviously there are many different types of activities that we do physically, verbally and mentally. The positive ones will result in positive results and consequences and the negative ones will result in negative results and consequences. These include even those activities performed verbally and mentally.
But one thing that we are sure of is that karma doesn’t sleep, so long as samsara doesn’t end, there is almost no such thing as “Labour Day” for karma. When people think of karma and samsara, the first impression that comes into their minds are the negative activities. I don’t think that is fair. Samsara and nirvana, suffering and happiness, sadness and joyfulness are all relative. Without samsara or the sufferings that we are going through, we cannot be reminded of impermanence, renunciation, non-attachment and all these different reality that helps us to progress on our path.
In order for us to progress smoothly and swiftly on our spiritual path, we need the help of two things – merit and wisdom – they are like the 2 wings of a bird, lacking one will cripple our progress. We need to accumulate merit and wisdom with joyful effort and enthusiasm. Merit without wisdom or wisdom without merit will not help.
Take an example of a sick person, if he wants to be cured, he has to have the merit and wisdom to be cured. A lack of a combination of merit and wisdom will result in the patient not being to find a correct remedy or the right doctor to help him, or being in the wrong hospital, meeting the wrong doctor and understanding the dosage instructions wrongly.
In the spiritual practice context, a person failing to meet the authentic gurus, to have the understanding to tell what is genuine teaching and what is not is also considered to be lack of merit and wisdom. Even having met the authentic gurus, received genuine teachings and participated in assembly of great practitioners, he fails to appreciate these positive conditions and instead engages in criticism, complaints and gossips, this is also a lack of merit and wisdom.
We can often say that our own sufferings and all the catastrophes, unwanted situations, disasters, wars, failures and sicknesses that are happening in our world these days are a combination of different results of a lack of merit and wisdom. Therefore the practice of intensive and skillful purification is very urgently needed. Purification in the sense of cleaning our defilement and obscurations accumulated since beginningless time until today, which have come in the form of the ripening negative karmic results. Of course, besides spiritual practice, we all must be actively stopping all the negative actions, confessing about our negative activities by body, speech and mind and vowing never to do them again. Practically also we should be going out there to help all the beings, whenever we can when the circumstances arise. This goes without saying.
Since a few years ago, I have been looking high and low for a small piece of land in a holy place where blessings have not been affected by any bad circumstances, to build a big Vajra Wheel for 100-syllable mantra. With many disasters, fightings and unfortunate incidents happening around us, I lately think it’s better to be built earlier, the sooner the better.
Coincidently, as this thought of urgency came in my mind, a land enough for building one big Vajra Wheel was offered to me last week and this piece of land is located at the base of the Swayambhunath Stupa along the circumambulation route. I was overwhelmed with joy, because this makes me feel confident and encouraged that our karma is not so bad after all, there is still a chance. The only thing we have to do now is to come together to make this happen. I have daringly requested Drukpa Asia to coordinate and organise the fundraising of this project and whether it will happen or not, it depends on our merit and our wisdom. If we miss this, we are not sure whether there is a chance soon enough for us. Because there are so many fundraising projects that all of us are involved in, therefore I took the liberty to limit this opportunity to 108 sponsors. For those who genuinely cannot participate due to different reasons, do not feel sad, rejoice! In the future, when the project is completed, we will always have an annual gathering to practise together, recite the mantra and purify all our individual and collective negativities.
It is said in many holy texts that if a mantra can be recited with a mantra wheel containing many mantras, the results will multiply according to the number of mantras that are inserted in the wheel. This wheel will have 10 times a hundred million Vajrasattva 100-syllable mantra. Every spin will have the results of reciting 1billion 100-syllable. This is a great achievement for many of us. We all know how long it takes to even recite 100,000 times of 100-syllable mantra, all the Ngondro practitioners will understand this.
There are many ways to accumulate the merit and wisdom. One of the main skillful methods is through purification. Needless to say, we have so many things to purify, since we don’t know what we have accumulated in our past lives. We must have accumulated the good things and the bad things. But as we all don’t want any problems and we all are looking for happiness, aren’t we better of to purify all our negativities quickly? Vajrasattva is the king of purification, I would say. He vows that until one last negative karma of all the beings in the samsara is purified, he will not enter Buddhahood. This means that his vow to help us purify our negativities is so strong that if we practise his mantra, we will be purified in many ways.
Drukpa Asia has prepared a very informative website (www.vajrawheel.org) for this project and everything is very clearly written. I don’t have to be repeating over here. Even if karma doesn’t sleep, at least some of our negative karma can be purified while the Vajra Wheel is there, spinning and sending blessing to the entire world and the universe. Next time, I will write about the practice of purification and also the effects of 100-syllable mantra recitation.