Karma: The Third of the Four Reminders
Though I may not be able to see all the impacts of my actions, I know that acts do have consequences. Everything I think, say, and do has consequences, large or small, immediate or distant. Karma is the evolution of action and result. Each action’s intended and unintended consequences become new seeds, setting up conditions that influence my future actions.
Every action I do becomes easier to repeat. Repeated actions become habits, and habits become character. My actions inevitably ripen into my experience of happiness and suffering. Ignoring the effects of my actions does not relieve me of the consequences. I alone am responsible for my actions and my experience of life.
We have about as much room to move as a violin in a violin case. And that’s enough.
~ Michael Conklin
Everyone has the potential to wake up, to see how things are, to stop creating suffering, to help others. But not everyone does. This brief, precious life can be used for good or ill. Is my life my own, or is it being directed and consumed by habitual patterns I do not choose?
When you really know yourself, you will realize how important it is to practice zazen. Before you know what you are doing, you don’t know why we practice. You think you are quite free, that whatever you do is your choice, but actually you are creating karma for yourself and others. You don’t know what you’re doing, so you don’t think there is any need to practice... But we have to pay our own debts; no one else can pay our debts. That is why we practice. To fulfill our responsibility we practice. We have to.
~ Suzuki Roshi