March 15 : Conditionality

Have you ever thought about conditionality and how nothing arises on its own? In our ordinary condition, we know so little about the specific conditions that cause things to happen. Some things that seem like a very big deal turn out not to have too many ramifications, while other things that seem minor go on to have huge ramifications. Everything exists in relation to other things, and we cannot always see the full picture of all the factors at play. 

When our afflictions are causing the mind to react very strongly to something, it is helpful to think, “It’s only this life. There are thousands of causes and conditions throughout samsara, so why am I latching onto this one thing and creating a lot of negative karma about it?” However, all our personal actions are very important due to our precious human life, where even small positive actions can have profound long-term effects. This is because karma multiplies, and a small seed can produce many, many fruits in the long term.

Sometimes I think about the person who put the flyer in Bodhi Tree Bookstore in 1975. It was not the only thing that got me involved in the Dharma, but I would not be sitting here today if someone had not done that one small action. Likewise, some things I thought would have a tremendous impact on my life never did. The causal energy we create through our actions is very important, but we should not necessarily make a big deal about experiences that cause a lot of our afflictions to arise. On the other hand, it is good to let virtuous mental states arise during whatever positive experiences we have. 

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