Lamrim: the Gradual Path to Enlightenment

Why Do Things Happen the Way They Do?
Teachings on Karma

Venerable Thubten Chodron
Emaho Center, Scottsdale, Arizona USA
13-14 April 2005

The following is from two talks given at Emaho Center in Scottsdale, Arizona (

Part 1 [28 min] Download mp3 file

  • We all lead busy lives, but are we satisfied with our lives? Do we think about what is missing? How will we think of our life at the time of death?
  • "I have to" vs. "I choose to."
  • Setting our motivation when we go to work, etc.
  • How karma leaves traces on our mindstream.

Part 2 [15 min] Download mp3 file

  • How karma works. The 4 general characteristics of karma.

Part 3 [15 min] Download mp3 file

  • Ten destructive actions; ten constructive actions.
  • The value of taking precepts.
  • The five lay precepts.
  • Factors that make karma heavy or light.

Part 4 Q&A [29 min] Download mp3 file

  1. How does being forgiving to other people play into karma?
  2. Guilt and forgiving yourself.
  3. Is wanting a good rebirth a good motivation?
  4. Can we purify someone else's karma?
  5. If I'm generous because that will make me wealthy in a future life, then that will impede my naturally acting generous?
  6. What if we do something good for a bad motivation?
  7. What if you try and help somebody and you do it wrong?
  8. Can young children create karma?
  9. If you didn't create the cause to be in the building [on 9/11], what happens?
  10. If a Christian does something good in the hopes of getting into heaven, does that create good karma?
  11. What is the role of enlightenment in creating the experience of a Buddha?

Part 5 [25 min] Download mp3 file

  • We often ask if it is possible to achieve enlightenment. Yes, because the fundamental nature of our mind is clear. We are trying to remove the obstructions.
  • We have been the recipients of much kindness. Much of what we have is dependent on others. It is helpful to meditate on the kindness of others.

Part 6 [12 min] Download mp3 file

  • Our past actions as the causes of our present experiences.
  • Avoiding the "poor me" syndrome.
  • How we are interconnected with other living beings.

Part 7 [12 min] Download mp3 file

  • The 4 opponent powers.

Part 8 Q&A [8 min] Download mp3 file

  1. How do we deal with people who aren't so open to reconciliation?
  2. Why is regret called an opponent power?
  3. Could you ruminate, i.e., get stuck on, regretting?
  4. What if you try and help but end up getting taken advantage of?


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