Karmic cause and effect and the 10 non-virtues

Dear friends,

After many weeks of teachings on karmic cause and effect and 10 non-virtues, Geshe la gave a test to see how much we have understood.  He was very pleased with the result as most of the students did very well. Below are the test answers for your review.

Geshe la also said that just recognizing and knowing the 10 non-virtues is not enough.  One must know how to practice them.  You will find the summary of this wonderful teaching below which concluded the teachings on this subject.  I reviewed my notes with Geshe la more than once and made necessary corrections. If there are still some mistakes, I apologize as it would solely be due to my lack of translation ability.

Test Questions and answers:

1. Why do some people live through life without too many obstacles and everything seem to go well for them?

Answer: In the past they created the causes for this to happen, such as abandoning the 10 non-virtues. Good cause will bear good fruit (happiness)

2. Why do some people have to through life facing one struggle after another – nothing seems to go well for them?

Answer:  In the past they indulged in many non-virtues, thus creating the cause that resulted in many struggles. Bad cause will bear bad fruit (suffering)

What are the 10 non-virtues མི་དགེ་བ་བཅུ་ནི། །:

3. From the body (3) ལུས་ཀྱི་སྒོར་ནས་མི་དགེ་བ་གསུམ་ནི། །:

  1. Killing (sog che pa སྲོག་བཅོད་པ)
  2. Stealing (ma-jin pa len-pa མ་བྱིན་པ་ལེན་པ)
  3. Sexual mis-conduct (log-yem ལོག་གཡེམ་)

4. From the Speech (4) ངག་གི་སྒོ་ནས་མི་དགེ་བ་བཞི་ནི:

  1. Lying, (zun བརྫུན་)
  2. Causing dissension (tra-ma ཕྲ་མ་)
  3. Idle chatter or gossip (nga-chel ངག་འཆལ)
  4. Harsh or abrasive words (tsig-tsub ཚིག་རྩུབ)

5. From the Mind (3) ཡིད་ཀྱི་སྒོར་ནས་གསུམ:

  1. Covetousness or wanting someone else’s possession etc. (narp-sim བརྣབ་སེམས)
  2. Ill-will or harmful intent (nue-sim གནོད་སེམས)
  3. Wrong view (log-ta ལོག་ལྟ)

6. What is negative or non-virtuous karma (dhigpa):


a. Dhigpa and non-virtuous action are same.  “Dhigpa” is the name given to any action that broke the law laid out by the Buddha.  Any action that became the cause of one’s suffering is called a non-virtuous action.

b. Every moment spent on non-virtuous action. i.e.  From the time of motivation (wishing to kill) + planning (how to kill) etc. + carrying out the action + rejoicing in having succeeded (killed) have all become “dhigpa”.

The reason why we call it “non-virtue” is because once we have created it (bad cause); it can only bear bad fruit, which is suffering.

However, the action of not indulging in 10 non-virtues alone will not become virtuous cause without the support of the right motivation.  For example, when we don’t kill, we naturally have not accumulated any “Dhigpa” But, just by this non-action of killing, we have also not accumulated any virtuous cause. Therefore, through this non-action of killing, one has neither accumulated bad karma nor good karma.

Here are instructions on how we can make sure that not indulging in 10 non-virtues become virtuous action/cause:

Every night when you are in bed, review your day. Check to see if you have indulged in any one of the 10 unwholesome deeds in the above order.  Start with killing.  No one has done this, and so has not created “dhigpa”.  But the act of not killing can only now become virtuous action/cause through the following practice:

  1. Ask yourself, if during the day, you have indulged in killing, acknowledge that you have not done it.
  2. Rejoice in the fact that you have not taken any life,
  3. Make a strong resolution that you will not take a life as long as you live
  4. Pray to Buddhas to give you the strength to be able to keep this resolution as long as you live. Then go on to the next item until you have gone through all the 10 non-virtues.

On the other hand, if you find that you have done one of the misdeeds, you must truly regret the deed. Make a strong resolution that you will not do that again and conclude with aspiration prayer.

If you do this practice every night without missing a night, this will eventually become a habit that will guide you to always live a virtuous life free of the 10 non-virtuous actions. When you are able to do this for the rest of your life, you can be 100% sure of obtaining, not only a human re-birth, but a very good and meaningful human re-birth in your next life.  This is said by the Buddha in many sutras.  So, this very easy practice has a great benefit.

Good night and have beautiful dreams creating your future good re-birth filled with happiness for yourself and others.

Ama la

October 7, 2017