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Lojong 1.c.) First, learn the preliminaries (3 of 4 parts)

1. Preliminaries (1a - d)

1) First, learn the preliminaries. (a. Appreciate life & hearing the Buddhadharma, b. Know the reality of death, c. Accept Karma, d. Accept the inevitability of pain)

This is the third of four admonitions defining the preliminaries:

c. Accept Karma

Karma is different than cause and effect.  It is also different from behavioral (contextual) psychology.  I support that the scientific principles of physics and behavioral psychology provide the mechanism that explains the phenomena of Karma, but the meaning of Karma is slightly different.  

The correct understanding of Karma is that each of our actions "plants a seed" for the likelihood of different future outcomes, to set the occasion for either more or less suffering.   Most of the time we do not see the immediate result as a manifestation of Karma.  If we see the immediate result, that is probably better described using the terms of physics.  If you touch the hot stove; it burns.  Karma is in operation when each of my acts of compassion (that did not seem to make a difference) eventually add up to less suffering in the world. And sadly, Karma is operating when each of the mean things I do, thoughts I have, etc. (that I thought no one saw) contribute to more suffering in the world.  Each of us is walking the path of the Bodhicitta (or the anti-Bodhicitta) whether we intend it or not.  

Why do we need to posit the operation of Karma, when the underlying laws of physics and behavioral psychology explain all of the variance?  Karma is a shorthand, just like words such as self, I, ego, etc. Buddhism often uses words this way to explain complex concepts.  (One of my favorites is using the phrase, "The Lords of Form" to explain reification - but back to Karma before I completely loose the "thread".) We use the word Karma because we would have great trouble communicating the actual process and events if we demanded that the explanation be precisely scientific and correct.

I hope many more will learn the third part of the preliminaries to start on the path of the Bodhicitta.

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