I know i haven’t been writing here on this blog for a long time. The last post was like in May? Well, I have been doing lots of things and when i look back over the last few months, i feel quite satisfied. When we receive a precious human life, one of the greatest value we have is our time, we need to constantly evaluate and make sure that we are using that in a really positive way either to benefit others, or to progress spiritually so as to be of greater benefit to others in the future… There is no other purpose really for life. It is THAT simple, although many people want it to be flashy and dramatic.
Our human lives pass in a whirl and we don’t really even know what’s hit us in that so many years because we are always caught up in the cycle of activities but seldom step back, slow down and reflect deeply. Our plans, ambitions and dreams are so important and pressing as if we are little Godlings who have a long time to go and the world’s like a huge playground of possibilities… but actually are we or our plans or our lives really such a big deal in the whole scheme of things or in the universe? Even the greatest people in history fade in the passage of time whether they are Buddhas, great scientists, kings or magnates… To be sure, in our little worlds, we seem a big deal. But really, think clearly and you can realize alot and perhaps wake up to the impermanence of life and make good use of it to benefit others… instead of pursuing short-term self-oriented goals.
This is not just a pessimistic life-denying view, it is just to make us deflate our egoistic ideals and be realistic and then, from there, work on what really matters in an organic, solid and healthy way that will bring true lasting joy and satisfaction. Anyway, life passes quickly, time is always running out, today will not come again and we are growing older and nearer to our death second by second and i hope everyone will be taking many opportunities to reevaluate and reflect on their own lives and see if it is going in the direction that will really bring lasting positive effects on both yourself and others… this is quite important!
Back to main topic, I came across another Buddha Epithet or name that is for purifying the negative karma of killing. If one has done things like businesses involving the killing / rendering great suffering to animals(/humans?), abortions, killed alot of insects while gardening, destroyed pests, bee-hives, snakes, hunted, done fishing, eaten sea-food or meat, ordered animals killed at the market, etc etc etc. even if one has participated indirectly in it, rejoiced in it, caused others to do it etc, you will also have this killing karma! I would like to caution you that any such harm done to others is going to (1) create killing karma which is one of the most heavy/ severe karma of the 10 non-virtues as the main thing any living being values above all is its own life; (2) create karmic debts with that animal which you will have to repay in the future probably in a more suffering circumstance. The moon can drop out of the sky and fire can become cold but karma will never fail (remember this!).
Of course people who are habituated to doing such acts are hardly going to listen to some ‘fool on the internet’ raving about karmic effects. In the future, if i have time, i will share some stories about karma that i have read or heard or experienced. Nowadays many people intellectualise karma away, preferring to concentrate on higher Dharma practices like emptiness, mindfulness and Mahamudra or the like, actually karma is extremely straight-forward and merciless. Even if you are seeking the ultimate liberation, it is important to clean up your karma. Especially killing karma which creates many obstacles to one who is trying to attain liberation. And just in case you do not get liberated in this life, it is also wonderful if you are able to purify your negative karma. That is called ‘learning to walk before running.’
All the illnesses, surgeries, cancer, comas, deathbed sufferings, accidents, tsunamis, natural disasters, sudden deaths are manifestations of collective or personal karma. And it is usually due to heavy killing karma. There are many cases in the Buddhist community where people get serious incurable illnesses and they resolve it through releasing lives or methods of purification. This tells you alot about the real causes of sicknesses and such sufferings. Therefore if one has done alot of killing karma in this life, it is very important to really confess and purify. This Buddha name (stated below) is one way of doing so, and one can also do Vajrasattva. In another post, i posted a text of a collection of about 30 Buddha Epithets, among them, Number 6 Buddha Epithet is also for killing karma. One can do these and really from the bottom of your heart repent. I think it is very crucial to do this.
We are seeing a rise of sicknesses and all kinds of suffering in this world and western medicine (although for the best intention?) is compounding the suffering through its methods quite frequently. It has been said that such developments in western medicine is also due to the collective karma of beings in this time. In the past, people could die quite peacefully at home, now people have to go through intubations, surgical incisions, electric-shock resuscitation, life-support machine, drugs and all kinds of methods in an environment that increases their suffering and fear at the point of death. According to one great master, this is all related to killing karma. So the effects of our spiritual practice or therelackof will also show up quite evidently and physically in our last days… (benefits of spiritual practice is not just all in the mind or for the future lives).
(Note: Some people will argue here that some great spiritual masters die with cancer or whatnot… firstly, i cannot speak for these spiritually advanced beings as they may have been taking on the negative karma of their students like the case of the 16th Karmapa who manifested several different unrelated illnesses consecutively on his deathbed by taking on the karma of sentient beings. Secondly, their karma ripening may be the remnants of all their karma before they attain full enlightenment. Thirdly, even though they have sicknesses, due to their advanced state, they are free from suffering and have full mastery of their death, that cannot be said for ordinary people like most of us…)
Also, when we are nearing death, our merit is ebbing and it is at that point when many karmic creditors will manifest and seek their debts. (Note: I have heard of such cases so frequently that it has become quite commonplace.) At such points, if one has not purified sufficiently, it may not be easy to recourse to whatever spiritual practice one has done in one’s life or seek spiritual assistance from others as you may have obstacles from your creditors and one’s mind will be completely disoriented, can one then maintain the awareness necessary for a good rebirth and give up all attachments then? It only requires careful thought to know the answer… So it is important now to watch our karma and do more purification. Eg. by going vegetarian often or full-time and by doing purification through the many methods available. If you want a good transition, it is all UP TO YOU! If you only focused on the philosophy of Dharma, meditation, Mahamudra and Dzogchen and so forth but neglect the karma aspect, you may find all your efforts frustrated at one fell blow at the point of death because of the karmic situation ripening (unless of course you are one of those with stablised liberating realisations 🙂 )…
Also, for those people who have not done any obvious killing in this life. It does not mean that you do not need to purify killing karma. We take medicine to kill the worms in our body, we walk around and step on little insects without knowing. We boil water, eat foodstuff that contain substances obtained at the price of some animals’ lives. We wear animal skins, use animal products… may have rejoiced when someone (eg Osama) was killed, we may have unknowingly made some remark that caused or encouraged others to kill etc etc etc. Do you think you need to purify? I do quite think so… a wise person would not overlook the smallest karma but make all efforts to purify any possible negative karma. And I’m only talking about this life. What about your past lives?
I did not write all of this to put a scare in anyone but the situation is in my opinion like that. Many people are not aware of the severity of killing karma nowadays, even with the many natural disasters, people are just pointing fingers at environmental factors but not really acknowledging the root causes in terms of karma. Many teachers have given warnings on the need to curb the killing and purify killing karma. I feel that this is quite an URGENT issue. It is also my responsibility to help point out what i feel will be very helpful to readers even if you may not like what i’m saying.
Buddha Name for Purifying Karma from Taking Lives
By reciting this Buddha name frequently, one can purify the negative karma of killing.
CHOM DAN DAY DE ZHIN SHEG PA DRA CHOM PA YANG DAG PAR DZOG PAY SANG GYE GANG GA’I LUNG GI JE MA NYED KYI JE WA THRAG GYA’I DRANG DANG NYAM PAR NGE PA LA CHAG TSHAL LO
(You do not need transmission for reciting the names of Buddhas. So you can go ahead and recite immediately)
p/s : Through practices like Vajrasattva, chanting Buddha names, prostrations and fasting practices based on Chenrezig etc. one can purify the negative karma and obscurations related to killing. However, that is not to say definitely that the karmic debt with the particular victim is resolved. It varies with different situations and can be quite complicated. In particular, for cases of abortions, it is still important to find a qualified master who can help the soul of the deceased apart from one’s own efforts in purification. In short, it is better to abstain from creating killing karma than to resolve it. Resolution may not be a simple affair.