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Buddhism for Everyone with JoAnn Fox

Jun 29, 2019

The word “karma” literally means action. Fundamentally, Buddha explained that karma is the law of cause and effect; from actions of our body, speech and mind come results. Yet it is not as simple as saying that from an action of giving comes the result that others will give to us in the future. That will happen, but that action of generosity also changes us. Our actions condition us, shape us, and create our future personality, body, and the environment we will live in. Actions not only affect others, they affect the agent. Modern science reiterates this truth through research revealing the brain's neuroplasticity, or ability to change. We have a dynamic brain, physically changed by both external

and internal factors, like thoughts. Meditation is widely studied and proven to allow practitioners to change their brain for the better. Actions, however, are also working on a more subtle level, planting seeds that ripen in all our experiences. This is so wonderful and empowering if we harness this wisdom, for we can become anything we choose. We only need to identify the actions that will lead to the person we want to function as, and then perform enough of those actions. Our ideally functioning, ultimate version of our self is possible. Practical instructions are detailed in the meditation and daily mindfulness practice in this episode. 


Think not lightly of good, saying, “It will not come to me.” Drop by drop is the water pot filled. Likewise, the wise man, gathering it little by little, fills himself with good.

Just as a trader with a small escort and great wealth would avoid a perilous route, or just as one desiring to live avoids poison, even so should one shun evil.

If on the hand there is no wound, one may carry even poison in it. Poison does not affect one who is free from wounds. For him who does no evil, there is no ill.

Like fine dust thrown against the wind, evil falls back upon that fool who offends an inoffensive, pure and guiltless man.

Some are born in the womb; the wicked are born in hell; the devout go to heaven; the stainless pass into Nibbana.

Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by enter- ing into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one may escape from the re- sults of evil deeds.

Neither in the sky nor in mid-ocean, nor by enter- ing into mountain clefts, nowhere in the world is there a place where one may will not be over- come by death.

—Buddha, The Dhammapada



Buddha. The Dhammapada: The Buddha’s Path of Wisdom. Translated by Acharya Buddharakkhita. Buddhist Publication Society Kandy, 1985. pp. 41.


Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, by Je Tsongkhapa, Volume 1. Pages 209-245. Translated by the Lamrim Chenmo Translation Committee. Joshua Cutler, Editor-in-Chief, and Guy Newlan, Editor.