2021-09-20-Karma/Dharma (1 of 5) Introduction to Karmic and Dharmic Streams
3:37PM Sep 20, 2021
Hello and this we begin this series of talks on this Monday that the topic this week is to talk about two streams of our lives, the karmic stream and the dharmic stream and the dharmic stream for Buddhist language to talk about what unfolds, what can develop, when we free ourselves from the karmic stream. we free ourselves respectfully respectful of the karmic stream. And in particular, the way the stream of karma contributes to our own ongoing suffering. And that's one of the reasons why Buddhists focus on karma the karmic stream because of how much suffering it perpetuates, it's kind of like being caught in a perpetual renewal of suffering, pain, despair, challenges. And, but then there's this other whole stream that is not karmic, but it can be called dharmic, the dharmic stream. So to give a, and you know, language like karma, and dharmic, evoke all kinds of complicated ideas. And karma, people have a lot of associations already with what it means. And I'll talk about it in a particular way this week. And kind of, hopefully, in a way that normalize, it is something that we can see operating in the day to day, activity of our life, putting aside ideas of karma being, you know, something influencing us over the lifetimes. So, if a person went through life, with their fists clenched, that's never opened up. That would influence their life in all kinds of ways. That would be very different. If someone went through their life, their life, where their hands open, relax, soft, open, ready to operate in all kinds of ways and all the kind of ways that fingers can move and hold on to things. And a person who has a hand that's free to open and be used, their life will unfold very differently, the person whose life is always clenched. The fist is always clenched. You know, it's best not to stretch this analogy too far, but just in a simple way. And then, if someone is, similarly, if someone is their heart is clenched, their heart is closed, and it's closed. For decades, that life unfolds differently. Then if a heart is open, if the mind is closed, in some way, constricted, narrow, that life unfolds very differently, that person whose mind is open, open minded. So the way that we live, day by day in the present moment, can influence how we live in this life. If we live a life, that is with recurring kind of chronic hostility or aversion that puts together certain conditions that are very different than if we go through our life with generosity and love. If we go through our lives with greed and lust, and that's the predominant mind stream that we keep flowing and that life opens up or moves ahead or unfolds very differently than someone's life who is generous and kind and, and thinks about the welfare of others. So these very broad kind of strokes are pointing to different directions life can go.
And it's certainly different directions, that ways that we influence ourselves. We are not all these ways that we operate, consciously or unconsciously has an impact and influence on ourselves. So that if we are chronically aversive that the there's traces, there's lingering, there's feelings, there's ongoing impact on ourselves because of that, if we're loving did had a very different impact. If we, and one of the ways that we can do one of the powerful ways to see the operation of operation of karma, is in our thoughts, streams. And probably that's the single most effective way to understand karma to see its influences and how it operates longer by moment, day by day kind of in our lives, and not to kind of be involved in the more metaphysical ideas of karma. But to see that thinking, has a big influence on us. And it said that rumination is one of the leading causes of depression. If we're ruminating in such a way, thinking in such a way that the thoughts are deflating, the thoughts are discouraging that thoughts are critical and kind of frightening to listen to, or dis discouraging to listen to. And to have that discouragement and that fear kind of chronically kind of move through our system and move through our system, our whole body and mind and heart will be influenced by the ongoingness of those thoughts. And we can feel that the impact that has on us, and it's a kind of kind of rebirth, the constant renewal into this karmic stream, is that as we feel lousy, that's kind of a fuel to continue having these kinds of difficult thoughts, these undermining thoughts, that undermining thoughts make us feel worse. And so it prompts certain way of thinking. And so it's cyclical, and kind of gives birth to itself over and over and over again. And sometimes it's so chronic, that they become almost invisible to people is kind of like the, the, this, if it's true that the fish don't see the water they swim in, though we sometimes don't see the water, the mood in the attitude that we swim in, we move through, because it's being reinforced, and so sukha ongoing. And so sometimes there's all this karma stuff is described as the habits, ongoing habits. And some of the karmic habits are healthy, you can be great habits of love and generosity. And, and that creates a very different influence us and us ourselves. And that provide a very different conditioning influence in our body and mind. But there's a stream we enter into, and we participate in and, and, and part of that stream, there's momentum from the past that's continued into the present. And then there's ways in which we keep adding to the momentum in the present moment. And what Dharma practice is trying to do, is trying to free us from continuing to reinforce continuing to add momentum to the stream, to be respectful of how much it's flowing. But to step back on dry ground, and watch it go by the stream go by without adding to it. And as we step back, then it's kind of like when the hands been closed and cleansed fish for a clenched fist for a long time. And then it's opened, things begin to happen. There's an unfolding that has an influence on us and thoughts on the head influence us. It's an inspiration, it gives us ideas of what we can do.
It starts setting in motion, a goodness inside of us a movement towards freedom, we get a sense that Oh, the hand can be released. That's nice. I bet now my shoulders can relax. Maybe this clenched stomach has a possibility of relaxing. And, and some there's a path that begins opening up and some of that, that that path eyes is the natural unfolding of what could be called the Dharma, the Dharma stream. And it's the Dharma stream is that stream of releasing ourselves from our contractions or tightness or holdings, and then experiencing the goodness, the joy, the well being the tranquility, that comes flowing from that, and leads to deep insights, least a deep understanding to this world. And so every day we have we're in this every moment, we're kind of both streams are available. And a lot of what people spend their time with doing is living in the karmic stream. And a very easy way to see it, I believe, is that is to notice what you're thinking as you go about your day. And if you are thinking about something, which is not in the present moment, that's the karmic stream. And, and you might have you as you're sitting in that stream, thinking about the future, the past fantasy, anything like that, you might take time to see, what is it? What kind of influence is this kind of thinking, having on me? Is it a beneficial influence, it is not a beneficial influence? Is it neutral? What does that influence on it on it, and to stop and take that kind of look, is to is to beginning to stop also, from reinforcing that stream. But if we just let our minds kind of flow along, happily thinking about resentments in the past, or the desires we want in the future, then we're adding momentum to it, keeping it flowing, keeping it flowing. And some people like that they want to they justify it. And the cost of that of keeping it going, is that we don't allow this other whole stream to unfold the dharmic, the Dharma stream. So that's the topic for this week. And so this is the introduction to it, and it's kind of setting the stage. And it's considered to be a very important topic in Buddhism, and perhaps not talked about that much. And so we'll try to talk about it this week. So thank you, and look forward to being here with you tomorrow.