2021-09-21-Karma/Dharma (2 of 5) Constructing vs. Allowing
3:16PM Sep 21, 2021
So continuing now with this second talk on the karmic stream and the dharmic stream, these two major ways in which our lives could unfold and move what moves through us there with these words, karma and Dharma kind of built into the word, you get a very different feeling for it. Karma as the meaning of action, that's a literal meaning for, for, for karma, action with the connotations of making something like constructing something. And Dharma, in its root in its etymological root comes from in the meat of the meaning of to support. So karma implies that we're doing and and Dharma suggests that there's support. And the dharmic stream can provide a tremendous support for us. The karma stream, the value of that has a lot to do with the nature of the actions we do. And so one of the ways of understanding this karma stream, the karmic stream is that it has a lot to do with constructing that, when we act in certain kind of way, we're building, creating, constructing our response, our reactions, our character, our personality, our habit, habits, our dispositions, all these ways are being kind of, we're contributing, we're making something happen. And it takes work. The karmic St. karmic stream requires effort on our part, we have to be engaged in creating it. And sometimes we bill are weary and tired from all the constant doing and doing and doing that they do. Living this karmic stream of actions and reacting, acting and reacting. The Dharma stream it because it's a comes with a more of a support, it, it, it doesn't require the same kind of action. There might be things we do in a sense movements, we make things we say, but it doesn't come from this impetus this forcefulness of, of making something, it maybe comes more from something as being expressed. Rather than holding something up, we're being held up. And, and so the A, so that the karma stream is, tends to be much more volitional, intentional, like this is where we're just kind of disposed to do something to make something happen. And, and we can see that in our thinking. And maybe an easier way to kind of see it is if you use the principle that if you're thinking about anything that's not in the present moment, your mind is, is constructing the memory, the fantasy, the future. And in that construction, there is an impetus there's a, maybe even a compulsion to have something happen to want something to not want something to like something not like something. And, and that that impetus, that creation and that force behind it sets creates the nature of that action. And the nature of the action creates what impact it has in the future. So if we act with greed, and that's kind of you know, that what goes behind the thinking and then the acting, that has a very different creates a very different momentum in our lives, than if we act at our generosity. If we chronically act out of aversion, it creates a very different momentum in our lives, than if we act out of love. And so, to think of karmic stream is something that's being consumed, always being constructed, built. And sometimes in English, we think of karma as the results of our actions. And the in Pali it's a different word be pokka or that means the results.
The emphasis on karma, the Buddhist emphasis on karma is on the act of constructing. And so we see in the teachings of the Buddha I'm less interested in understanding why something happens. You know, something happened. And now come this must be my karma in the past, the Swiss people say, That's not very interesting for the practitioner of the Dharma. Rather, what's interesting is, given what's happening no matter what it's whatever is happening, what is the action, reaction with which we're meeting that responding to that the focus is on what we're doing in the present, not the reason why the present is happening. that's valuable at times to look at the reasons in the background. But for the really get to the heart of this, the karma teaching is to learn how to act differently in the present moment, where that where the choice is, to construct things a little differently. And, and so the, what's useful is that, if you're interested in the Dharma, the dharmic stream, if you're interested in freedom, if you're interested in this phenomenal inner goodness, that comes with a Dharma stream, that you want to act accordingly, you want to act and do things that support that possibility of lead in that direction. And so, generosity, ethics, kindness, compassion, equanimity, letting go, these are all actions that are constructing kind of a better self a better disposition, a better kind of stream of momentum in us that is supportive of the dharmic stream. And so to some degree, if we're living in the karmic world, where we're choosing the particular actions that we want to live by, that those we have a sense of are wholesome, beneficial, useful. And we're learning to let go of those which are not useful. It turns out that all the unusable ones, the ones that are creating a negative impact on us. They all come with tension of some kind or other. And that tension has an ongoing momentum, that compulsion has an ongoing momentum in our lives. When we do beneficial karma, it might have tension and might not that might have a compulsion, it might not. And that's a very important distinction, because if doing good things is done with tension, the results are mixed. If we do good things, without compulsion, without tension, the results tend to be better. And the results here we're talking about not necessarily the results out in the world, but the impact it has in us inside the impact in the ongoing momentum disposition. That through which we act and respond to the world. The Dharma stream is mostly something that we allow, we don't to construct it. It's mostly getting out of the way. It's clearing this blockage in the stream. And the karma stream we're learning to turn off the firehose in the Dharma stream, we're removing the obstacle obstacles, that keeps the stream from flowing. And, and the and, and then this because we're not acting with tension, then Dharma stream has to learn to relax deeply. And we're letting go. And if we're not acting out a compulsion or attention of, we're not really going to be creating this negative karma. Instead, we'll create anxiety will allow for the native goodness inside of us. The love the generosity, the carrying this, the kindness, there's all this wonderful good qualities we have, including wisdom, including kind of strong wisdom and strong compassion and strong adherence and dedication to the stretch the truth, a strength that is stable and strong, partly because it's not agitated or fragile at the way that tension can cause.
And so and so, what's interesting is that when we do the cut of dharmic, Li positive activity, actions that are a part of the country struction process conditioning process that, that it aligns itself with this goodness, it's inside. And they're starting to becomes a time when there's a transition from what we're doing to what we're allowing what we have to contribute to what we are. And so this inner goodness, as, as we do good in the world do good for ourselves, it tends to support the awakening, or the freedom or the explosivity, of the Dharma stream inside of us. And the Dharma stream is manifested in many ways. But it's manifested with tremendous confidence and trust, in joy, enjoy tranquility and happiness, and ability to be settled and focused in equanimity, and ultimately in freedom. And so one of the things we learn, but this is a very important distinction between this dharmic stream and the karmic stream, because it helps us to see that we don't have to always be constructing our world, constructing our responses to the world, we're not the work of reacting and acting and doing and thinking. And one of the primary constructive activities people are doing is through their thinking, to a lot of work and thinking. And it's constructing its manufacturing, ideas, fantasies, stories, interpretations of what's there. And it's a tremendous burden, if it's just done incessantly and compulsively. And it's not necessary to do as much as most people think the authority behind our thinking can be questioned. And it's a little bit like someone, you've maybe you live in your I know, someone lives in a home for years. And they've accumulated a lot of things and furniture and stuff, and they live in this home. And it turns out that there's a wall down the middle of the home, and half the home, they didn't know was there. And then someday someone takes down the wall, and they realize, wait a minute, there's a whole second half of the home. So that, to understand this distinction between the karmic stream and the dharmic stream is gonna be a kind of like, aha, oh, there's a whole second half of how to live. You'll still live in the karma stream to some degree. But hopefully you live in it with wisdom and clarity, and you'll understand how it works. And there's this whole other room to live in that gives you breathing room and space and freedom. And that's the other half that's often missing for people who live only in the karmic world, which is most people. And so discover the Dharma world, a Dharma stream is a great gift and a great was just a wonderful thing. So so we will continue over these next days when this theme and hopefully as we continue, you'll get a better sense of this distinction and how to practice and work with it. Thank you very much.