Streamlining: Lessons Learnt!
In sorting through accumulated notes, books, journals, magazines, personal items, letters and cards, as well as CD’s – stored in boxes (from several moves), drawers, and cupboards – the following notes reflect insights I have gained:
1. Time, energy, space are wasted in hoarding items. Why keep items, if really not being used?!
2, GIVE while I have the opportunity!
3. I can’t take anything material with me when I die.
The Preciousness of This Life!
1. “Alas! It is difficult to bring together the freedoms and favourable conditions conducive to the realisation of enlightenment.”
2. “The life of beings rushes by like a waterfall!”
3. “Do not waste the favourable conditions and freedoms that you have been granted; do not let your life be spent in vain!”
Source: On the Path to Enlightenment: Heart Advice from the Great Tibetan Masters by Matthieu Ricard.
1. I don’t know how much time I have left in this life — therefore, don’t waste it on trivial activities (e.g. hoarding useless household items — get rid of them quickly!)
2. Let my tidying take place SWIFTLY — to get onto far, far more important pursuits (such as Dharma reading or listening; reflection; meditation).
3. Remember that I only have so much time in life — time is life! Don’t waste my life!
4. Work QUICKLY!!!
5. Don’t be FEARFUL in throwing junk out!
Integrity and Discipline
1. There is discipline, integrity, character, and ethics involved in getting the areas I’m responsible for back into order.
2. “Any accumulation of wisdom is based on a solid accumulation of good actions. It’s unavoidable.” (Lama Ole Nydahl)
3. Act swiftly, but responsibly! Don’t waste time.
Incentives for Streamlining
1. Imagine that I am about to move to a new home.
2. Why not imagine creating a Pure Land?!
3. Remember: discipline, integrity, character, ethics! These are part of the Buddhist path!
4. “Any accumulation of wisdom is based on a solid accumulation of good actions. It’s unavoidable.” (Lama Ole Nydahl)
5. Prepare for LEAVING! — in an x (unknown) amount of time, I will simply not be here!
6. Therefore, ask: What is essential today, right now in fact??
7. Rest in my true nature.
8. Be ready to go — at a moment’s notice — like my mother.
9. THINK: You never know what can happen tomorrow!
10. THINK: You never know what a day may bring forth!
11. This is a remarkable window of time — use it to the best of my ability.
12. THINK of the causes and conditions to make my present life possible! Make the most of my opportunity!!
13. Remember the slogans (“lojong” practice). They are like the Proverbs in the Bible.
Karma – The Law of Causality
1. Karma – simply put as cause and effect – is an infallible law in the universe. Four aspects of karma are:
a. There is no effect without a cause.
b. The effect is always similar to the cause, and it is certain!
c. There is never a loss of an effect.
d. An effect expands!
5. Neglect, laziness, and “allowing things go to pot” have consequences!
6. One simply cannot circumvent karma! A harvest will come.
7. Sometimes, we simply have to let karma work itself out in a person’s life — and one can’t do anything about it! No use trying, in a sense. However, one should certainly show compassion, and help if possible. For the person: they have to make the most of the situation.
8. Karma is actually a powerful law or force! Respect it! Diligently watch my thoughts, words, and actions!!!
9. Remember, it’s not about crime and punishment! It is about cause and effect.
10. Keep asking WHY? For example: Why does one person have a very long life in good health — and another has a short life, full of illness?
11. One cannot get around cause and effect, in this life and in future lives!!! Respect this deeply!
12. How foolishly I have sometimes acted in the past — by not giving heed to my thoughts, words, and actions!!!
13. Remember that effects are certain!
14. Again, it is not punishment; perhaps penalties would be a better alternate word.
Karma — Further Thoughts about Cause and Effect
1. Karma governs reaching Enlightenment or Awakening (in the Buddhist tradition this is seen as Buddhahood)! It also governs past lives, affecting a person today!
2. Karma – cause and effect – governs every day life. For example:
a. Distrust is a cause for non-sharing and non-disclosure.
b. Disrespect is also a cause for non-sharing and non-disclosure.
c. When private information is disclosed and confidentiality broken, it causes distrust and non-sharing.
d. Bible: A person offended is a cause for the loss of trust. “A brother offended is harder to win than a strong city, And contentions are like the bars of a castle” (Proverbs 18:19 NKJV).
3. It’s all cause and effect: NOT that I’m a bad person or there is a problem with me!
4. The problem may well be mine — NOT the other person.
5. Cause and effect: INTEGRITY is a definite key! It is a cause for WISDOM.
6. Bible: A good understanding have those who DO the commands.
7. The PATH is the CAUSE for Buddhahood, the cessation from suffering (Nirvana)!
8. We don’t like the effects (consequences) we have caused! Then we blame some other person, and think that the problem is with them!!!
9. You can’t go against karma in life!!! Accept myself; accept others.
10. Our problems are self-caused — there is no-one to blame!
11. This is a just, perfect universe!
12. Of course, we don’t like the consequences! But it’s no use wishing they didn’t exist — or blaming some other person.
13. How liberating this understanding about karma is!
14. Remember that causes and effects carry over from past lives! And, into future lives!
Some Essential “Rules for Life”
1. Bear no aversion toward anyone – there is no need to, because I am the cause of any problems and suffering that I have brought upon myself!!!
2. Be attached to no-one or anything.
3. Be open and free — toward everyone and everything.
4. Judge nobody!
Do Not Judge Others!
1. It is said that when the tendency to condemn others has fully matured, in this life you will lose what you cherish. In the next, you will either be born among the spirits or as an enslaved human being.
2. Since ordinary beings [like ourselves] lack the supersensible cognitions [of spiritually advanced beings], we do not know who may be an Arhat and who a Bodhisattva, how such beings may be teaching Dharma, or what special methods they may be using to help sentient beings. Being ignorant yourself, do not judge others!
3, [Again, being ignorant yourself, do not judge others!] Since it is said that one who despises a Bodhisattva will suffer the agonies of hell for many kalpas, do not discount the seriousness of even one unpleasant joke at another’s expense.
Source: The Torch of Certainty by Jamgon Kongtrul
Obstacles to Enlightenment
Recognise what four main obstacles are:
1. Karma — negative karma
2. Obscurations — intellectual obscurations
3. Poisons — mind’s poisons
4. Patterns — habitual patterns
Alexander Peck (October 29, 2019)
(Reviewed March 14, 2020)