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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Episode 138 - How To Change

May 8, 2022

From two stories told by the Buddha referencing people who didn’t think their actions of harm were any big deal, we see that the results of karma can be powerful and that the practice of restraint is wise for our present and future happiness. In this episode, we look at both the law of karma and the practice of ethical discipline. In particular, we look at the power of restraint to change our behavior in our lives for the better! 


Better to eat a flaming red-hot iron ball 

Than to be an immoral and unrestrained person 

Feeding on the alms-food of the people. (308)* 


Four results come to the careless person 

Who consorts with the spouse of another: Demerit, Disturbed sleep, Disgrace, And hell. For the frightened pair Delight is brief

 [And then comes] Demerit, Rebirth in an evil state, 

And harsh punishment from the king. 

Therefore a person should not consort with another’s spouse. (309–310)* 

--Buddha, The Dhammapada


We try to practice restraint from the 10 non-virtuous actions: 

  1. killing
  2. stealing 
  3. sexual misconduct 
  4. lying 
  5. harsh speech 
  6. divisive speech 
  7. gossip or meaningless chatter 
  8. covetousness
  9. malice
  10. wrong views 


Karmic Effects Similar to the Cause

The Precious Garland says:


By taking life, we will be short-lived.

Violence will bring us lots of harm.

Through stealing, we will lack possessions.

Through adultery, we will face rivals.

Through speaking falsely, we’ll face slander.

Divisive talk will separate us from our friends.

Harsh speech will mean hearing unpleasant words.

Gossip will cause our speech to lack nobility.

Covetousness will destroy our hopes.

Malice will bring us many fears.

And wrong view will bring inferior beliefs.


References and Links


Buddha.The Dhammapada. Translated by Gil Fronsdale. (Kindle). Shambala, Boston and London, 2011, pp. 78 (Link)


Buddha (1986).The Dhammapada: Verses and Stories. Translated by Daw Mya Tin, M.A. (Website). Edited by Editorial Committee, Burma Tipitaka Association Rangoon. Courtesy .of For free distribution only, as a gift of dhamma.