Angie Kane, a representative of the Teacher Training Program at Khandakapala Buddhist Center, in Los Angeles, emphasized the importance of moral discipline and karma in a lecture entitled “Transform Your Mind with Meditation” Tuesday.
Karma, meaning “your actions,” is the basis of moral discipline, according to Kane.
The mind is a mental continuum with no beginning and no end, said Kane. Karma starts with a mental intention.
The teacher drew a parallel between mental intention and a flower. When someone performs positive actions it is like planting flowers in their mental continuum, which in turn will result in a beautiful bouquet. However, when someone performs negative actions, it is like planting thorns, which will hurt later on.
Kane urged students to start looking at what makes them happy and unhappy and start recognizing patterns in their life
Negative patterns, Kane explained, seem to happen in groups because when the mind becomes negative you allow negative actions from the past to ripen. She said that in negative situations people should move on. Keeping a positive attitude allows positive potentials that are ready to ripen.
“If you can notice the patterns in your life, you can change them,” said Kane.
Kane also made reference to the “Joyful Path of Good Fortune,” by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. According to the book, there exist 10 negative actions: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying, divisive speech, hurtful speech, idle chatter, covetousness, malice and holding wrong views.
All of those negative actions can result in negative consequences, she said. For example, she explained that killing can result in a short life, divisive speech can result in isolation from loved ones, and idle chatter can result in ignorance.
According to Kane, since everyone makes mistakes, the best way to purify negative actions is by instantly having regret and then making promises to oneself about positively learning from the mistake. Then, later breaking those promises will result in instantly remembering what mistake it was that originally resulted in the negative consequence.
Kane explained a simple experiment to test the practicality of karma. She suggested putting aside a day to do everything positive, and then evaluate the emotions and feelings evoked from the experience. Kane went on to describe that next one should do the exact opposite, doing things negatively and once again evaluate the emotions and feelings evoked.
According to Kane, the difference between the two experiences represents “the reality of karma.”
“Happiness comes from our mind, not from external situations,” said Kane. “Negative actions cause a tight uncomfortable mind.”
According to Kane another part of Karma includes the moral discipline of benefiting others, which can be achieved by giving. Through giving love, time, resources or even protection, Kane explained that moral discipline is achieved.
“You must practice moral discipline to create happiness for you and for others,” said Kane. “Through moral discipline you will have control over your mind and will be able to avoid negative actions, which only creates pain for yourself and others.”