Karma & Repentance

诸位好, 师父 tape recording (54B) on the varieties of karma explaining the weighty due to performance 加行 or 行为. He regretted his personal experience of failure to prevent others from hurting and burning the ants, and he cautioned us the following - 你們注意,所以這個業因、業果是一點逃不了的,這唯一的辦法就是懺悔。 深入思惟觀察. 那金鎗馬麥之報,佛自己親身遭到這樣的十種大難,這個業是萬萬不可以造。

Query: We understand that there is no escape of receiving one’s karmic fruition for the already planted karmic cause - the only solution is repentance 懺悔. What is repentance and how does repentance help for the already planted karmic causes?

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  1. What is repentance 懺悔?
    Firstly I have to be able to sensitively detect any of the 10 types of non-virtuous deeds already performed by my body, speech and mind. To achieve that sensitivity, I need to continuously educate myself of the non-virtuous deeds thru contemplating the teaching, and gradually cultivating a habit of mindfulness thru practising chanting and meditation.
    After able to detect, I must be absolutely convinced that the performed deeds are non-beneficial or destructive. Knowing that the karmic fruition will only bring about suffering if not - great suffering. Through the sense of great suffering, real fear instantly arises within me which lead to a complete sense of regret or remorse.
    Truthfully, I confess that my this sense of remorse does not last at all due to my ignorance to wanting to avoid the suffering sensation. To counteract this, I adopt the daily practice of repentant prostration chant to the 35 buddhas, and reflection of action at the end of the day.

  2. How does repentance help us for those already planted karmic causes?
    As I have growing faith in being able to truly cultivate more and more of the virtuous habits, and reducing the non-virtuous, pls bless me to be in the best mindset to meet the karmic fruition from all previously planted karmic causes till I stop all non-virtuous deeds and gain supreme enlightenment for all.

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Great insight Bro @Osel!
To summarise, the steps to repentance:

  1. Understand what is the 10 types of non-virtuous deeds
  2. Through daily contemplation, chanting, meditation, increase your awareness and sensitivity on actions to avoid the non-virtuous deeds
  3. Recap at the end of each day, what could be the non-virtuous deeds you did for the day
  4. Practice 35 Buddhas prostration chant to confess for those deeds you did that day (and previous lives)

If you practice this well, your sense of remorse will start to grow, together with the faith in our teacher.

For the layman, to repent is to admit one’s mistake. Everyone of us, from the past until the present, have committed countless wrong and evil deeds. We have left behind the karma that brings us sufferings and obstructs our progress towards enlightenment and freedom. In order to reduce and get rid of this karma that is obstructing and bringing suffering to us, we should repent in front of the Buddha or the Sangha and admit our mistakes, so that the past evil karma can be reduced.

This practice is very important for us to progress further along the path of Buddhahood. One must repent for oneself with great sincerity. Then this repentance can be beneficial and comply with the teaching of the Buddha.

People generally do not know how to repent. So, what should we do? The great masters in the past thus compiled some procedures and observances that one could follow if one wants to repent. They taught us to chant word by word, contemplate and understand the teaching behind it. The services of repentance teaches us how to pay respect to the Buddha, seeking for the Buddha and the Bodhisattvas, loving kindness and compassionate protection. We should admit our own mistakes, knowing that killing, stealing and adultery are evil deeds, sincerely repenting our past evil deeds and be determined to practice for a better future. These are the procedures of repentance taught by the great masters in the past. However, the most important aim of these services is to develop one’s mind to correcting oneself and repent sincerely for one’s past evil deeds.

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There is a new video series by 如得法师 on stories about Karma.
Using such stories, I think it can help me understand the topic better and remind myself that Karma is a central tenet in Buddhism.

Enjoy the first video here!

Venerable Ru Jun relates a story on Karma: