Chapter 12: Vipassana Meditation Expiates Karma
May 4, 1989
Bless the group from Dhonburi Teachers’ College and all meditators. May you be happy and prosperous, for you have come here to practice Dhamma.
Today I am going to teach Dhamma regarding the Law of Karma and how vipassana meditation can help you expiate karma. Please listen carefully.
What is the meaning of “Law of Karma”? This law means pushing. Karma means intended deed or doing. The deed is different in each case of for each person. Pushing towards a good direction is for good deed. Vice versa, pushing towards a bad direction is for bad things we have done.
This Law of Karma is the law of nature. When you press something down, it will push back up. If we receive good training and are moral, the good deed will push towards wholesomeness and wisdom.
On the other hand, if we do not behave properly because of an ill-trained mind, it will push towards a bad side and press down until you cannot come back to the surface.
I have many examples of what has happened according to this law. Some people do not pay attention to merit and demerit. They want to have a long life, a fair complexion, good health and a successful business. However, they have never performed good deeds to deserve a long life. Instead, they behave badly. They kill animals and make them suffer. They are full of jealousy, revengefulness and malice. I am sure they will die at a young age.
Monks teach us that it is very difficult to be born as a human, and more difficult to be born beautiful. You must have “nana”, wisdom and knowledge that were accumulated from past births. You must have the virtues of man, that is, morality and the Five Precepts in order to be born with good looks.
Some did not maintain all Five Precepts, they were born ugly and handicapped or blind or deaf or retarded. Some become paralyzed when they get old.
Some were generous and made a lot of donations in their past birth. In this birth, they were born in a wealthy family. However, they also killed animals in their past birth. Their health is bad and they have to go to hospital very often. Money cannot help much. Some did not build up the base of wisdom. Even though they were born rich, they are not smart. They could not finish a graduate degree. This is because they did not accumulate enough merit in their past birth.
We have a story in Thai literature, “Phra Sangh Thong”. You should know that this story contains a Dhamma riddle. A king had six foolish sons-in-law. I regard them as foolish according to the Twelve Bases. Their eyes were foolish because they did not acknowledge “seeing” when they saw objects. They foolishly saw things, but did not see inside others’ habits. They can not distinguish good from bad people.
Ancient Thais said, “To know people, you have to look at their face; to know fabric, you have to look at the construction; to know a mat, you have to look at the weave pattern; to know man, you have to look at this father, then you will not be disappointed.”
For you, new meditators who have just started practicing vipassana meditation, you may not be able to see through another’s habit by looking at their face.
My teacher is not just about merit and demerit, in the sense that merit is for heaven, and demerit is for hell. We teach and guide you to vipassana meditation principle, and it can help you in expiating you karma. Whoever utilizes and practices it regularly can expiate his karma. If you do not really use it, it is useless. I compare this to chinaware on display in a cupboard. It has never been used to serve its function.
Our body is very useful, but we cannot make full use of it. We use our body in an unintelligent way, that is not to our advantage. This is a waste of our birth because we do not get the best benefits from it. We all have to die, so we must take merit with us for the next birth and leave noble things behind. Whoever can practice vipassana meditation and thoroughly understand it, well realize the reason for life. They can successfully apply it to their everyday life and solve their problem.
Many people like to visit fortunetellers. A fortuneteller may tell someone that they will be first in their examination. But they fail in the examination. The fortuneteller may tell someone that they will fail the examination. It turns out that they place first because they had been diligent and studied hard for the examination. We must make merit for ourselves. Do not wait for your horoscope to bring good fortune. We cannot be lucky from doing nothing. Everything comes from our actions. This is the Law of Karma.
To build up goodness, you should keep the precepts, have concentration and develop wisdom. Make it arise in your mind. You will be fortunate and successful. Good and concentrated people are diligent and have wisdom. A wise person has a very sharp and effective mind. The sharpness consists of these three characteristics:
First is the sharpness inside the mind. It does not show, but it can be revealed when there is a real need. Second is continuous improvement. We go on correcting our flaws.
Third is the need for emphasis. To make sure everything is in its proper place. We have the three complete characteristics, that is, sila, samadhi and panna (morality, concentration and wisdom)
A person who observes the precepts (or sila) can be compared to an architect who designs the foundation and concept of a building so that people will like it.
A person who has concentration can be compared to an engineer who knows how to weigh and measure. In this case, it helps us know the status of people’s mind. We know how to deal with people who have different kinds of mind statuss. We know the right timing and moment to behave properly. We know the difference between merit and demerit, good and bad, advantages and disadvantages. Engineers know the properties of things and can make a proper choice.
Wisdom can be compared to a constructor who starts building at once.
Therefore, whoever has the quality of an architect, an engineer and a constructor all in one person can survive safely.
Some people behaved well and had wisdom in their past birth. For this birth, they can be prosperous, even though they were born poor. Eventually, they will be successful, or be a minister even, because they have wisdom.
There are many kinds of humans: cheap and expensive, good and bad, real and unreal. For example, there is real gold and galvanized gold plate. There are many deceptive people, but hardly any good people.
It is difficult to find very good and moral people, whom we can obviously see. Therefore, we must be patient and practice very hard.
Dear fellows, we can train our mind either ways: to work hard or to be lazy. Practicing vipassana meditation can help you recall your past and realize the Law of Karma. You can use it to solve you daily problems.
If you regularly practice vipassana meditation, make merit, well behave, and treat the right person at the right place and time, you will certainly receive good results. But you need to do these things continuously and regularly. You will be good and successful in this birth without having to wait for the next birth.
It is also important that we should not make merit at the wrong place, to the wrong kind of people and at the wrong time. For example, doing something when the time is not proper. It is not the proper time to speak, but you do it. This is damaging.
When we sit down, take a deep breath and meditate, we have already rested. For example, we normally breathe 18 times a minutes, and 15 times a minutes when we sleep. We also breathe 15 times a minutes during meditation. Therefore, we can get the same rest. You will not be tired, but have strong power of mind. You can fight with difficulties and problems.
Therefore, the meaning of vipassana meditation is action that makes the body the base of mindfulness. When you practice hard enough until you gain Insight Dhamma and your mind is established in morality and concentration, you can have purity of mind.
You will recall your birth and your parents’ kindness and feel grateful for your father, your mother, your grandparents, your teachers and others who have been kind to you.
The wise teach us that we do not have to keep a record when we give something to others, but we have to remember when others give us something. We must remember even it is just one glass of water and be grateful for it. This feeling happens to meditators who effectively practice vipassana meditation.
When we make merit and do not want anything in return, it will eventually come back to us. Wealth, success and prosperity will come to you. Whatever we want to do, we will be successful. We will have good and happy surroundings. There will be no quarrel among us.
This may be difficult for some to do because it is against their habits. They look good physically but not their habits.
Some understand or believe that people are alike. That is not true. We are different from each other because of the Law of Karma.
We dress differently because we have different taste. It is unpleasant to use things that are not of our taste. If we get used to doing something, and then we have to do something else, we will not be able to do it. This is normal because the Law of Karma differentiates all beings.
Where does the Law of Karma come from? I have reviewed it and want to explain it to you. We can understand this from acknowledging, such as “perceiving”, “knowing”, “thinking”, “understanding”, and realizing our defilements. Whether you are clever and foolish, you can realize this fact because it is up to the six sense-fields, that is, the eyes, the ears, the nose, the tongue, the body and the mind.
Cleverness and wisdom depends on eyes and ears. Can you acknowledge continuously? No, you cannot if you do not know what you are acknowledging and do not have real understanding.
You learn how to practice vipassana meditation here so that you have a foundation and it becomes your habit. You can continue doing it in the future. Later, you can solve you problems by acknowledging. You should set your mind at your eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body and mind respectively. Cleveness or foolishness is up to these sense-fields. The Five Aggregates, the corporeality and the mentality are also the base here.
Therefore, we know our actions by looking at ourselves. We make merit and practice vipassana meditation very hard until we accumulate enough credits. We know that we used to violate the first precept in the past, that is we had a habit of killing, we definitely have to pay the debt in this birth.
What kind of debt do we have to pay? It means that we may be hit by a car or killed or framed for something we did not do. It will be told to us in advance. I have had the experience myself. For example, we used to violate the first precept in the past, and had a habit of killing, we will realize when and how we are going to die. It may be a car accident or a shooting. It may be suffering or losing limbs or becoming paralyzed. We will know the event ahead of time.
If it can tell us, then it can also tell about others. For example, if we learn English from a school, we can read and understand it. Therefore, we can read and understand English anywhere else.
We are able to know the Law of Karma that happens to others from acknowledging “perceiving”. This man is sinful by killing. From the Law of Karma, he will later be paralyzed. He will have an accident. That man will be hit by a car and die.
This is very useful for anybody who can successfully practice vipassana meditation.
If we practice vipassana meditation, we will know the Law of Karma when we have vedana. If a person can deal with vedana and acknowledge it until the vedana passes, he will know the reason for his vedana. What kind of karma he accumulated. It will become clear. There are several examples of which I have known.
The second precept prohibites us from stealing or taking others’ belongings. Some people commit killing and stealing. They steal money and take everything they can. They accumulate bad habits. One example is a rich man who picked up everything he could from the houses of others when he visited them. Even though he had a lot of money, he stole from others who were poor.
Like a computer, the Law of Karma will tell us that this person will be robbed whenever he has money or his house will be burnt down. I have warned some people, and I have never been wrong about it.
“Have you ever boon robbed?”
“No, Luang Poh”, she answered.
Therefore, she should be careful and prepared for fire. Later, it came true, that her house burnt down are she was also bankrupt.
This is why you should heartily practice vipassana meditation and you can see the truth. If you do not practice earnestly, how can you see the truth? You must see it from inside yourself, then you can see the outside. When we know our sins or karma that we committed in the past, we will accept the penalty and willingly pay the debt. The mind can forgive and can accept the penalty. There is no problem about this.
The third precept prohibits us from sexual misconduct. If we meditate and know what that in a past birth we had ever been bad by committing adultery, when there are several thoughts for this kind of event.
In the birth we suffer because of an unhappy family life. Our husbands change and become someone else. Wives commit adultery. The family breaks apart because of fighting. Your sprouse becomes your rival. You have to divorce even though you have children. You will be separated. This happens because of our past actions.
In several past births, a certain man was very bad. He raped women and made their lives miserable. In this birth, he was born as a female and become a prositute and died from venereal disease. There are some true cases that I have noted.
The fourth precept prohibits us from telling lies. This precept includes improper speech, such as talking non-sense and using bad words. All this bad speech clings to the consciousness to the next birth. It is sure that someone will cheat you out of your money or property. Who did this thing to you? They are your relatives or friends who will do the work according to the Law of Karma. You must not try to recover those things that are taken from you. You have cheated others in the past.
The fifth precept prohibits us from drinking alcohol and using addicting substances. If you meditate, you can recall whether you took those substances in your pass birth. If you use to violate this percept in the past, and did it on a regular basis, I guarantee that you do not have to study anything because you are not able to. You will be retarted or will not be able to finish even secondary school. This is true.
We have to expiate our karma. We have the sin of killing that is attached to us from a past birth. We will have to pay the debt in the future, even though now we are healthy and not paralyzed. We can help ourselves by making merit and practicing vipassana meditation.
We make donations, maintain the five precepts and meditate. We always chant and regularly purify our mind. Ask that karma be defunct and radiate loving-kindness and virtue from our moral conduct to all beings that we had treated badly in the past. We may or may not recall our bad actions. In case we cannot recall them, we ask for forgiveness or ask that karma be defunct. These actions can relieve the debt. I myself, am one example of this.
I knew six months in advance that I would have a fatat accident. I asked that karma be defunct every day. I broke the necks of several birds when I was a kid. I said, “Dear birds, I was young and did not know what was proper. Please forgive me and decrease the penalty.” It is like confessing to the court.
The court will be kind to us because we make their work easier. So, they decrease the penalty by 60%. We may not die. However, I got ready and went on the trip that day and had a near-fatal car accident. My neck was broken. I survived. I vowed that I would finish paying all my debts within this birth. I came back to pay the debts. I did not deny the charge, but its severity was less. This is how vipassana meditation expiates karma. We have to know it by ourselves.
Dear fellow meditators, if you have vedana, you must fight it and be able to acknowledge it. For a stomachche, leg pain, or any pain, acknowledge “pain”. You must face it even if it is so painful that you feel like you are going to die. Soon you will recall the karma that you did in the past to cause it. You will feel relief and glad that you can expiate that karma by radiating loving-kindness and asking that karma be dufunct. I did not deny any charge. This is how vipassana meditation expiates karma.
If you quit after having vedana, you cannot correct your karma. Here is an example. An instructor from Khon Kaen learned to practice vipassana meditation at this temple when she was a student at Ayudhya Teachers’ College. The vipassana meditation instructor taught her how to acknowledge “pain”. She did it when she had terrible leg pain. It did not disappear. So she told her instructor, Mrs. Yupin, who was my student. Mrs. Yupin suggested her to keep on acknowledging the pain. On the third day, she could recall that she had broken the legs of the frogs when she was in second grade. She did it to living frogs and also put salt on them. She acknowledged the pain and asked that karma be defunct. She radiated loving-kindness and the merit from her good deeds to those beings. Her leg pain became less and eventually disappeared. This is how vipassana meditation expiates karma.
She said that she broke the right leg of the frog and her right legs was in pain. She accepted the cruelty she inflicted that the frogs must have had the same pain. She had to pay the debt by having the same pain. She kept on acknowledging that pain and suffered from the pain until the meditation time was up she radiates loving-kindness and asked that karma be defunct. She did not experience the leg pain anymore. This is how vipassana meditation expiates karma.
Another example concerns a seventy-year old man who lived beside this temple. He practiced vipassana meditation here and had terrible pain in his eyes. He said that it was like a sharp stick piercing pain in his eyes. He had terrible pain. I told him to acknowledge the pain, that there was really nobody stabbing him in the eyes.
“Think of the virtues of the Buddha, the virtues of the Dhamma and the virtues of the Sangha,” I told him.
Later he had a mental image. When he was a healthy young man, he stole bamboo shoots from this temple, and smashing the shoots that he could not take with him. Those shoots became rotten. This was why he had so much pain in his eyes. When he recalled his karma, he asked that kamra be defunct. The monks heard his pleas and forgive him. His pain disappeared. This is how vipassana meditaiton expiates karma.
Some people do not realize the important of this practice. They quit when they feel pain. They love comfort. I guarantee that they will not know the Law of Karma. You cannot fault me, that I have not told you the truth. I have had experience myself. Therefore, I remind meditators about this important practice.
Are you working earnestly? If you practice earnestly, you will get as a good result as the student from Ayudhya Teachers’ College. She is now making good progress in her career.
Talking about the Teachers’ College, it is not necessary that you be a teacher after you graduate from the Teachers’ College. You can work at some other job, apply your knowledge and experience progress in your career. The courses you take at the Teachers’ College are very important because they are core courses that you should study.
There was a sergeant who learned vipassana meditation here and practice earnestly. Later he received a Bachelor’s degree in education and was promoted to a lieutenant. I had a chance to talk to the Director of the Directorate of Military Education and Training about him. He is now a captain.
Vipassana meditation is very useful to you, soldiers, no matter in what division you are. If you do not practice earnestly, you will not realize its advantages. Then, I cannot help you. Vipassana meditation can reveal the Law of Karma. It helps you expiate your karma.
A person who owes something to others and cannot repay all the debt will not be successful. Some earn a lot of money, but cannot save some. No matter how hard they work, they do not have savings. They do not know how the money leaks away.
I looked at such a man and suggested to him to practice vipassana meditation, we knew that he had done so many cruel deeds and karma and still owed for it. He recalled his debts, asked that karma be defunct and radiated loving-kindness and the merit of his good deeds to his enemies. After that he could begin to save money and became rich. This is what I want to tell you. You cannot be success if you still owe someone and do not pay all the debt.
“What kind of karma do I have?”, someone asked me.
“You should practice vipassana meditation and you will know for yourself.”
“Oh! I don’t have time. I am very busy.”
But she could visit her friends and gossip. She had time to do bad things, but no time to do good things. I agree that everybody cannot be equally good. It is up to the virtue that one has accumulated. It is difficult for a person who is not endowed with the merits of past deeds to practice vipassana meditation. I feel sympathy for them.
It is very difficult to persuade someone to make merit. I think the reason is because the person does not have virtue and is not endowed with the merits of past deeds. Do not blame them because they do not have virtue. You cannot ask them to practice vipassana meditation and they cannot meditate.
I want to give one more example of how vipassana meditation helped a second lieutenant expiate his karma. He was married and had two daugthers, but he was womanizer who cheated and took advantage of many women. In 1957, he was ordained as a monk at this temple.
“Lieutenant, I want to ask you to stop being a womanizer after you leave the monkhood”, I said to him.
“Oh! Luang Poh, there is no way I will do that because I do not believe in karma. I just have fun with them. There is nothing after we die. There is no next birth. I do not have faith in this kind of story. I ordained here only because of my mother. She wanted me to ordain after I graduate from the Army Academy. However, I was married before I could ordain,” he answered.
“Well! It is all right if you do not believe me. Listen carefully. It is all right if you do not have any daughters,” I said.
“Oh! I have two daughters,” he answered.
“Note it down, in case you have more daughters.”
When his time as a monk was over, he left the monkhood. I did not see him for many decades. One day,, he and his wife, who was a lecturer at Chulalongkorn University, visited me. He was a colonel. They had two sons and three daughters. Please listen carefully and think about his story.
What happened to his daughters. They all finished high school, but did not go to college. They were lost because of the Law of Karma, because of their father. When they had problems and came to their father, he mistreated them. They turned to their mother, but she taught them harshly and scolded them.
They left home and earned a living by singing at hotels and doing other things that were very shameful for the family, though the two sons were all right. This is the Law of Karma.
The situation was so bad that the couple could not bear it, so they came to this temple full of tears. The reason that they came here was he had recalled what I had said in 1957. He notes that it was up to him to believe in Luang Poh’s warning that he should stop being a womanizer, otherwise his daughters would be deflowered.
The paid respect to me by making five-point prostration, and told me their problem.
“Do you want to solve this problem? If you want to, both of you should take leave from work and practice vipassana meditation for seven days. Radiate the lovingkindness to your daugthers and request that karma be defunct. Do it every day. Never scold them anymore,” I told them.
“When your daughters came back, do not talk about the past. Do forget the past and start the new. Have them continue studying at university,” I asked.
Later I heard that their daughters come back one after the other. The parents did not blame them. They all continued their education at Ramkumhaeng University and graduated with Bachelor’s degree. Now they have good jobs. They also learned to practice vipassana meditation here.
Some make a lot of money but cannot save any. There is always some cuase for spending their money. This is because they have not paid their karmic debt. They constantly have to pay a debt and so can save nothing. Do not be sorry.
There is no need to visit a fortuneteller. We can take charge of our lives by maintaining mindfulness. Even though the mind is as quick as a monkey, we have Dhamma in our hearts. We are sincere, good, friendly and respectable. This is the effect of the virtue that makes our hearts at peace and in serenity. It comes form our good deeds. People who do not have virtue cannot do this because it takes a lot of effort to do good deeds. To be good, you must be able to withstand hardship and be self-control. If you cannot be self-control, you cannot be successful no matter where you are. Even though you are ordained, you cannot be a good monk or nun.
You cannot be good if you cannot be self-control. You let yourself float along with the wind and the tide. You have done everything that satisfies yourself for a long time. Therefore, you cannot get good results. This is what I mean.
There are many stories, but the time is up. I suggest that all meditators work hard and be patient. Practice walking meditation and continue with sitting meditation.
One final example is that of Mr. Jalor, a physician who practiced vipassana meditation here at the same time as Mrs, yai, who was my student. He could recalled his past birth before he reached his eighty-four hour meditative attainment. He was born at a village in Ratchaburi. The villagers were a minority tribe called Mon. In that life, he killed someone at Erawan Water Fall. After he recalled his past birth, he went into the meditative attainment and forgot about this. I noted everything down and knew that he would later die at that same place.
Do not forget the Law of Karma. In his past birth, Mr. Jalor killed someone at a hut in Tambon Tahpudsa, Amphur Srisawat, Changwat Karnchanaburi. Later, we heard that he had been killed at the same place.
Please remember the Law of Karma. Whatever you do, please do it earnestly. You will get real and fruitful results according to the Law of Karma that I have explained to you today.
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