Transforming Your Fate
Benefits of Meditation: Part II
Improved Health and
With gradual understanding of my teachings coupled with meditation practice, your health will start to improve. Sometimes ailments and diseases have causes that we’ll never know. Spending time on meditation is essential. The more we meditate, the healthier we can become. It is imperative to weigh the importance of your health against striving to make money. It’s just like car maintenance: If you know that there are issues but ignore them and keep driving, your car might run for a while before finally dying, leaving you stranded without assistance.
Likewise, you need to have regular physical checkups. Don’t use the excuse of working to provide for your family to avoid consulting with your doctor. Stress comes from you. If you can let go, there’ll be no stress. Sometimes I admire the simpleminded. They may be living in a modest place, but they’re contented and happy with no mortgage or loans. Happiness has nothing to do with how much money you have. It’s about how you view the Universe and manage your mental world.
Accept Relative Perfection
In cases where unbalanced energy causes illnesses, as meditation-practice time accumulates it can restore the energy to a balanced level and health is improved. There are people whose ailments linger for years; their illnesses never seem to improve. In other words, enlightened people such as Crippled Li in the Chinese folktale The Eight Immortals might still have imperfections. The explanation I have is this: There’s no absolutely perfect human, only relative perfection. Perhaps someone is a great philosopher, but he’s physically challenged. I knew a scientist with incredible mathematical abilities, a world-class master. However, when he entertained his guests, he’d get drunk to the extent that he became a fool; the waiters couldn’t tell he was a famous scientist. Yet once he sobered up, he put on a suit and tie and went back to being a scientist. There are no perfect humans. Nevertheless, improvement is possible. Gain greater understanding of the world and accept it wholeheartedly.
Face Negative Karma With
You can’t escape from karma. Karma manifests when the time is right. For example, someone suddenly becomes deaf at age 40. Many people face extreme challenges. Some are born with mental or physical challenges which require great care from their loved ones. How do you explain such great suffering? Karma.
Karma is the effect of an action. There is positive karma, neutral karma, as well as negative karma. Besides action that protects others from harm, action that causes no harm does not generate negative karma. I’m going to focus on negative karma now.
Acquisition of wealth through cheating may not inflict physical harm, but it may cause others to fall into bankruptcy and endure the pain of living in poverty. This creates a lot of negative karma. The one who activates negative karma shoulders the effect. There may be nobody seeing you steal, but the moment you commit the act, it is recorded by Nature through the air that surrounds you on this living Earth. The Earth itself is alive and is able to record the act. Thus, the effect is already underway.
Some are born with congenital issues while others fall ill at some later point in the journey. I have met all kinds of people with all kinds of fate. Some were once millionaires or billionaires. A couple of decades later, they were penniless, swindled by others because they had cheated others too. That’s how their wealth disappeared. Some never cheated in this lifetime and worked diligently at their trade, but still wound up impoverished. Perhaps their bad deeds in past lives or the negative karma of their ancestors had ripened in this lifetime.
The founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni Buddha, dealt well with negative karma. While Buddha preached “true” dharma, his cousin, Devadatta, preached “false” dharma with the evil hope of negatively influencing others. Both were articulate and of royal blood, and it was difficult to differentiate their teachings. Devadatta’s preaching of false dharma angered Sakyamuni at first, but only for a while. Eventually Sakyamuni told his disciples, “My cousin should be considered a manifestation of Buddha.”
If there were no real competition, even Buddha may take it easy as meditating alone is nice; with no enemies, there is an abundance
of tranquility and freedom. As the ancient Chinese poets said, “Beyond three realms and five elements, free like wild cranes soaring in the sky.”This is the liberated state Chinese intellectuals yearn for on the spiritual journey, just like meditators.
Sakyamuni Buddha would have liked to stay in that meditative state after attaining enlightenment. But Fate sent Devadatta to spread false dharma so that Sakyamuni would be lured out into the world to spread the true dharma. To Devadatta’s teaching of false dharma, Buddha responded with right mindfulness, right thoughts and right actions in preaching the true dharma. This is true cultivation and the only way to face karmic troubles. In the face of negative karma, Buddha did not say, “Devadatta’s evil is due to me hurting him in another life, so I’ll just surrender.” Instead, Buddha made up for his past sins through spreading true dharma.
When facing an awful situation or negative karma, only continued self-cultivation can bring transformation — your mental elevation and expansiveness determine your perception of things.
Alleviate Negative Karma
During meditation, especially when in a compassionate state, past experiences are being compressed. If you dedicate yourself to cultivation and chant for Buddha and bodhisattvas, negative karma is clearing. In the process, you are also gaining immeasurable merit. You will experience different sensations — bitterness, numbness, pain and swelling, even a feeling of something ticking within, scolding or cursing you. Try not to touch your face when you sense imaginary ants or insects crawling on you. Such discomfort is a good thing during meditation, as Buddha is resolving your negative karma. When I practiced as a young man, the soreness and pain were intense; sometimes the pain was so bad that I felt like giving up on life. Later, it became clear to me that because negative karma is compressed through time, the soreness and pain, as well as other discomforts, are the consequences of injuries inflicted on other sentient beings. In this time warp, you can alleviate an entire lifetime of negative karma.
You’ve come here to improve your life — to be healthier, happier, luckier. But you need to know you can’t escape karma: The harm you have perpetrated on others has circled back to manifest in your current life. Transform your fate by doing fewer bad deeds and more good deeds. The benefits of meditation are built on a foundation of repaying and clearing your karmic debts.