The benefit of vows

  We don’t like the sound of vows: we feel as if someone is forcing us into a corner, or that vows squash us down, or that we’ll get punished when we’re naughty and break them.   But if we think about it, when we learn to do anything,...

Karma has got nothing to do with punishment and reward

When we hear about the law of karma we immediately assume it’s another variation of punishment and reward that we know about in our creator religions. It’s also the view deep in our bones even if we’re not religious: instinctively we feel guilty if we do something bad...

Karma ripens in four ways

  For the Buddha, the law of karma runs the universe, or, if you like, it’s the natural law of cause and effect within which the universe runs. No one runs it. He didn’t make it up; like any good scientist he observed that this is how things are, and then he...

Understand conventional things first, then emptiness

  As far as Buddha is concerned we’re living in la-la land in relation to how things exist. And this, very simply, is why we suffer. Therefore his method for stopping suffering, achieving liberation from suffering, is to get in touch with reality.   The...

The view of karma loosens the grip of ego-grasping

  The very first level of practice for a Buddhist is to abide by the laws of karma: don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t jump on someone’s else’s partner—in other words, behave nicely. And why does Buddha exhort us to do this? Because my doing a negative action—harming...