Another interesting and heartfelt question from my blog on the public question board I thought I’d share:
Dear rinpoche, if i persevere diligently in my practices to purify negative karma and accumulate merit and yet i cannot eliminate one bit of suffering in this life what quantum leap of faith must i then muster to believe that i can save myself in future lives through continuing the same practices?if one cannot eliminate pain and suffering from illnesses poverty emotional trauma etc in this life how can one still cling to any hope in the dharma for the unknown unseen untold number of future lives ( posted by Irene)
Dear Irene, I understand your questions and thank you for it. Your fundamental perception of the purpose of practice must change. The more you practice, the more you should develop the mind to take on the sufferings of all sentient beings and not just yourself. The results of practice is not running away from sufferings or avoidance of it, but the acceptance of it and for the sake of all others. If you use practice or religion to gain happiness, or material gains or personal peace, then the fundamental motivation would be wrong and hence would not produce the desired results quickly. Read the Lam Rim… important.
- The more you practice purification and the more problems arise or the same problems arise IS A VERY GOOD SIGN..AN EXECELLENT SIGN INDEED. Why? Because the karma is coming out and you are experiencing it now. I give you an example. If you have to lose a handphone, is it better to lose it in the middle of the city during daylight or to lose it at midnight in a dark and lonely forest when you are alone? Losing the phone is the same, but the environmental situation can dramatically alter the situation and how much more sufferings it entails. It is much better to ‘suffer’ out the karma HERE AND NOW. Be grateful for that. The environment now is better to experience the karma. As Trijang Rinpoche says, we suffer nothing that the cause was not created by ourselves…
- Along with your practice is to read, watch teachings and learn up more on the very purpose of Buddhistic practice. Learn up more on dharma is very important…very important for you and everyone. Suffering is ever present in every sector of samsara and as long as you are here without control you have to expect it..feel lucky you can recognize it and have an opportunity to do something about it with perseverance patiently. The karmas can take more than one lifetime to purify because we’ve had thousands of hundreds of thousands of lifetimes for sure.
- Once you reach certain stages in meditation you can perceive former lives and what you did and the karma that was accummulated for what you are experiencing now.. Until then, the Buddha would never lie or be mistaken. The mountains may be destroyed, great trees die and the oceans may dry up, but the perfect Tathagata can never be wrong. All causes for His lack of perfect perception has been eliminated. So trust the Buddha and take refuge in Him by relying on the path He took.
- Meditate on the problems of ppl in poverty stricken countries or with horrible incurable diseases, or ppl who are born to be hurt, beaten, killed. Meditate on others’ problems and how immense it is and ask their problems come to you and you may suffer it for them. Develop that type of mind..that type of mind would be powerful to purify karma faster. The mind that practices for others is the correct mind of practice THAT WOULD GAIN RESULTS. Please read Milarepa’s biography.
- Whatever methods you have engaged in before dharma didn’t work, so if you do dharma and long term it will work.. Add Setrap to your practice. You will be fine in the end…you’ll see..I wish you well sincerely from my heart, from my soul, from my being…may your sufferings and wrong perceptions come to me please…may it be so.
I wish you well and continue without expectation of material or personal results, practice with results that you can do more for others. All sufferings of this life is just to be continued into future lives as they were carried to the present from the past if left UNPURIFIED AND UNCHECKED.
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