Page 5... Karma explained

The happy life

Someone asked the Buddha whether he was happy in spite of the hardship he had to bear. The winter nights were cold. There was snow, the floor was hard, the saffron robes were thin and the wind cut like a knife.

The Buddha said: "I am one of those who live happily in the world."

He pointed out that a person who has a house with a gabled roof, well-fitting doors, a long-fleeced woollen rug, a soft bed and four beautiful wives, can have lust, malice and delusion. These defilements will cause torments of body and mind.

The Buddha had eradicated all defilements completely, and thus it was not important to him whether there were good or bad results or vipaka. He could live perfectly happy no matter what the circumstances were.

We can purify ourselves if we know the cause of all defilements. The cause of defilements is IGNORANCE. Out of ignorance we believe in a "self", and we cling to a "self". Ignorance is the cause of greed, anger and delusion. Ignorance can only be eliminated by wisdom. In vipassana (insight meditation), we develop wisdom which can eradicate the delusion of "self" little by little. Only when this delusion is completely eliminated can other defilements be wiped out, stage by stage.

Human life is like an oil lamp. If the oil and the wick come to an end, the lamp goes out. It is the same with human life. As long as there are defilements there will be fuel for rebirth. When the defilements are eradicated completely there will be no more fuel for rebirth left. The Sutra says this is "the knowledge of the complete destruction of anguish."

The Buddha said: "In this fathom-long body, equipped with sense organs and faculties, I declare to you is the world, the origin of the world, the cessation of the world and the path leading to the cessation thereof."

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