Author Topic: What is more influantial to our next rebirth? Karma or our last thoughts?  (Read 9411 times)

Tammy

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I always hear the following two conflicting (?) view points about what determines the form of our next rebirth, cam someone please enlighten me?

(1) what realms/forms we are going to be in our next rebirth depends on our karma and what we practice
(2) our next rebirth depends on our last thought (if we are attached to someone, we think of this person at the last moment of conciousness, we are most likely to be born as his/her dog!!)

Down with the BAN!!!

diamond girl

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Tammy, you have raised an interesting question. I will not dare to say that what I understand will "enlighten" anyone but I will share what I understand. And would appreciate more input to make this topic better understood to benefit many.

Karma, the principle of cause and effect, is the basis of everything in life. What we have, good and bad, and our experiences are a result of cause and effect. What we practise can "alleviate" (should this be the correct word) the effects of karma, especially the negative karma. For instance if we do not adopt a spiritual practise we may suffer negative karma in a level much worse than if we did adopt a practise. In my context here, I address the buddhist practise.

Let me share with you what happened to my friend, Adam, who had an accident but was left without any physical harm, but his car had to endure expensive repairs. On the night before he had the accident, he attended a pooja and received blessings from his Guru. It was by chance the Guru was giving blessing that pooja. In addition to this, Adam had recently started doing community work. When I heard of the accident, I was shocked. I later learnt that the accident was bound to happen, but because of the blessing and his recent spiritual work, he had "diverted" the negative karma of the accident from being fatal to his life.

As for what I understand about rebirth and our last thoughts, if we are grasping and attached to something when we die, it can lead us to a lesser rebirth. However, I do know that my understanding is rather shallow. I believe that there are practises which only one's Teacher can teach for us to control our rebirth. It is very high tantric practices.

I hope that I have not made it more confusing for you... It has made me think more...   

dsiluvu

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I always hear the following two conflicting (?) view points about what determines the form of our next rebirth, cam someone please enlighten me?

(1) what realms/forms we are going to be in our next rebirth depends on our karma and what we practice
(2) our next rebirth depends on our last thought (if we are attached to someone, we think of this person at the last moment of conciousness, we are most likely to be born as his/her dog!!)


Hi Tammy,

From what I have learnt... it is actually both the above that you mentioned that will affect your next rebirth. The very last thought you have at the time of death is actually a trigger point that opens up your accumulated karma that you have been collecting.

So for example in this life if I was very attached to food and a lazy person in this life and at the point of death I could not stop thinking about how thirsty or hungry I am...I could open up the seeds of an animal and take a rebirth as an animal. The severity of what type of animal, where and in what conditions also depends of the karma I have created. Let's say if I was not kind to animals in this life and I don't like animals. I could take rebirth as an animal that will be hunted or abused, basically I will experience the very same things I did to animals when I am being reborn as an animal! Basically I will be on the receiving end. Hence the saying goes you sow what you reap and cause resembles the effects.

Another example is that if you are very attached to a person and at the time of death you keep thinking or worry about that person, you could end up either a) be reborn as a spirit  or  b) be reborn close to that person... you could that person's child or I suppose dog... basically you reborn close to that person. That is why in Dharma they say that everyone was once your mother!

Hence at the point of death it is important that our mind is focused on what your Guru has advice and the practices He has given you. So if we do have a spiritual guide, we must cherish this fortune of ours, for our Guru will have a road map drawn out for us to become better, we just have to follow it.

Big Uncle

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I always hear the following two conflicting (?) view points about what determines the form of our next rebirth, cam someone please enlighten me?

(1) what realms/forms we are going to be in our next rebirth depends on our karma and what we practice
(2) our next rebirth depends on our last thought (if we are attached to someone, we think of this person at the last moment of conciousness, we are most likely to be born as his/her dog!!)


Dear Tammy,

1 & 2 are interdependently linked. You must understand that each of our thoughts arise due to causes and conditions brought about by experiences and past actions. Hence, the sum of all our actions will culminate with the last thoughts just before death. In other words, it is really karma that will determine our next rebirth and not just a random thought just before we died. If we want to be prepared for death, we have to practice the Dharma, transform out minds, have Guru devotion and good samaya, rely on a powerful Dharma Protector like Dorje Shugden together with upholding our sadhanas to our Yidams. We can give up on our partners, husbands, wives, children, business and so forth but we cannot give up on our Dharma practice as this 'stability' will be crucial at the hour we need it the most.

vajrastorm

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Yes, both Karma and Our Last Thoughts(or state of mind at point of death, which is also linked to Karma) together, determine where we will be reborn.

The Law of Karma is also the Law of Cause and Effect. Positive actions of body, speech and mind create the cause for happy or fortunate experiences and negative actions create the cause for unhappy experiences and suffering.

Our deluded minds are full of mental afflictions which have been habituated in us over innumerable lifetimes.These propel us towards negative actions all the time.Our actions are constantly and continuously prompted by the three poisons of anger/hatred, desirous attachment and ignorance (that leads us to self grasping.). Thus, unless we practice Dharma and mind transformation and  work on these habituated mental afflictions and delusions, we are going to continue engaging in negative actions and reap more negative karma.And at point of death our habituated negative state of mind  will present itself, trigger off a negative Throwing Action's imprint  which will throw us into a rebirth in the lower realms of suffering.

Not only that, the negative actions will manifest as negative Completing Actions at point of death. A negative Completion Action at point of death will result in an experience of great suffering in our  rebirth. Say, for example, that a positive Throwing Action at point of death results in our attaining a human rebirth. But let's say that unfortunately a negative Completing Action manifests at point of death. This will result in our being born in a place where we will experience great suffering, like Somalia.


According to Pabongka Rinpoche in the Lamrim (Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand), we have accumulated an overwhelmingly great amount of negative karma as compared to the relative small amount of positive karma that we have collected. Thus our mind-stream which carries imprints of actions of innumerable previous lifetimes carry much more negative ones than positive ones. So at point of death, there is the greatest likelihood that the imprint of a negative Throwing Action (and the imprint of a negative Completing Action) will be triggered off.

Thus it is imperative that we practice the Dharma via Moral Discipline , Mind Transformation , Guru Devotion, Self-Purification and Accumulation of Merits. THrough Guru Devotion, through carrying out all our Spiritual Guide's instructions to us(he is the assassin of our ego, the root cause of our collecting negative karma and consequent suffering and rebirth in unfortunate realms), we will be able to attain full liberation from suffering and from samsara. We will be be able to attain full Buddhahood. Once we attain Full Buddhahood, we will be beyond Karma and uncontrolled rebirths. 

Damian.D

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I was taught this a different way.. no need to be technical about it.


What is karma but the result of action.

Actions are determined by thoughts which can be either positive neutral or negative / resulting in positive, neutral or negative results (or karmas)

What determines the thought behind the action is the motivation.

What determines whether the motivation is positive or negative is whether it is to benefit others or to benefit ourselves.

Benefiting others will create either karma, merit or both.

Benefiting ourselves will only create karma which can be either positive, neutral or negative.




How does all this work at the time of death?

Well a practitioner of Buddhism will realise that at the moment of death what is required to take a good rebirth is both karma and merits gained from a lifetime of habituated practice.

Whereas someone who doesn't practise Buddhism will need to rely on their karma also created by a lifetime of habituated practice.

Rebirth is the result of cause at the time of death.
Look at your own life and its habituations...
these will be the cause for your Rebirth at the time of death.

Look at the many different beings in our world, animals, humans, no need to go into that which is unseen.
The dominant traits of these beings were the cause for them to have the results we see today.
Or... look at the dominant habituations of your friends and family... what cause do you think they are creating, what result do you think will be the outcome?


kurava

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Both karma and last thought are interlinked.

During our life time when we are fit and healthy, we can't control our thought even for one second. I seriously doubt if  we can control our last thought  when we are weak in body and mind on our death beds.

One of the types of effects from causes created is effect similar to cause i.e. our habituations. Therefore if we have strong habituation of attachment or hatred , without engaging in spiritual practice to transform / change our habit; it is almost certain that our last thought will be that of either attachment or hatred.

With dharma , we intellectually know what we should abandon and acquire but left on our own , our practice always lack power and produce no results.
Out of his great compassion, the Guru constantly reminds, "scolds"  and encourages us to abandon all our bad habits while at the same time strive towards virtues.

If we were fortunate to have a qualified Guru , our last thought  should focus on our Guru because he's the embodiment of all things virtuous.

If we don't have a qualified Guru but have on our own been doing practices of any Yidam or Protector, then we should focus on  the Yidam or Protector as our last thought.

WoselTenzin

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Both karma and last thought are interlinked.

During our life time when we are fit and healthy, we can't control our thought even for one second. I seriously doubt if  we can control our last thought  when we are weak in body and mind on our death beds.

One of the types of effects from causes created is effect similar to cause i.e. our habituations. Therefore if we have strong habituation of attachment or hatred , without engaging in spiritual practice to transform / change our habit; it is almost certain that our last thought will be that of either attachment or hatred.

With dharma , we intellectually know what we should abandon and acquire but left on our own , our practice always lack power and produce no results.
Out of his great compassion, the Guru constantly reminds, "scolds"  and encourages us to abandon all our bad habits while at the same time strive towards virtues.

If we were fortunate to have a qualified Guru , our last thought  should focus on our Guru because he's the embodiment of all things virtuous.

If we don't have a qualified Guru but have on our own been doing practices of any Yidam or Protector, then we should focus on  the Yidam or Protector as our last thought.

Well explained Kurava.  In fact, all spiritual practices are geared towards handling our moment of truth which is our death.  The reason why we even study Dharma and apply it to practice is so that we can rehabituate our negative propensities to positive and virtuous ones.

Like what Kurava has just said, if at the time we are fit and healthy we can hardly control our minds, there is no way for sure we can direct our thoughts to what we want it to be when we are weak and dying at our death bed.  What will prevail at this time will simply be our habitual thoughts.  If our habitual thoughts are mostly negative, that's exactly what's going to pervade our mind at that time. Positive last thoughts are a result of a virtuous practice during our life time.

Hence, our last thought that will determine our next rebirth is largely dependent on our habits and what we practise throughout our life.

KhedrubGyatso

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I agree with Kaurava's comments which are very meaningful and useful. There are generally 3 broad categories of repercussions from one's actions.

1. Ripened effects
2. Effects similar to the cause
a) tendencies   b) experiences
3. Environmental effects

The habituations are due to one's karmic tendencies which are effects similar to the cause - category  2(a). This will manifest more during death as our gross senses dissolve into our subtle minds in the same way when a seemingly perfect gentleman can become shamefully discourteous when they drink too much and begin to lose control of  their gross senses.
Karmic seeds planted in our past are the substantial cause for everything to happen while last thoughts and other objects in ou rpresent life are the supportive or environmental conditions which trigger those seeds. Virtuous seeds = happy results.




dondrup

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I always hear the following two conflicting (?) view points about what determines the form of our next rebirth, cam someone please enlighten me?

(1) what realms/forms we are going to be in our next rebirth depends on our karma and what we practice
(2) our next rebirth depends on our last thought (if we are attached to someone, we think of this person at the last moment of conciousness, we are most likely to be born as his/her dog!!)


Buddha taught the Twelve Dependent-related Links that explains the process of our existence in samsara.  The Twelve Dependent-related links are: ignorance, compositional actions, consciousness, name and form, six sources, contact, feeling, craving, grasping, existence, birth, ageing and death.

We can use dependent-related existence to answer your questions.  Dependent-related existence is a mental action or intention that has the power immediately to produce the next rebirth.  Whereas dependent-related composition action is the distant cause of samsaric rebirth, dependent-related existence is the close cause. It is not definite that a compositional action will ripen since it is possible to purify a non-virtuous action or destroy the potentiality of a virtuous action, but it is definite that dependent-related existence will produce its results.

Dependent-related existence can be either virtuous or non-virtuous even though it is always induced by the delusions of craving and grasping.  For example, if after generating grasping, a dying person performs a virtuous mental action e.g. going for refuge to Buddha, this will ensure that virtuous potentialities are activated.  When this happens it is definite that the dying person will take rebirth in the higher realms.  By contrast, if a dying person develops grasping and this induces a non-virtuous mental action e.g. harmful thought or wrong view, this will ensure that non-virtuous potentialities are activated.  When this happens it is definite that the dying person will take rebirth in the lower realms.

Hence it is important to maintain virtuous thoughts at the moment of death.  To be able to do that we have to start now to train our mind to be virtuous at all times.  Also we need to purify as much as we can all the negative karma within our mind. We need also to accumulate lots of merits now so that at the moment of death, we will have gahered all the necessary good causes and conditions for a smooth and good rebirth.

Reena Searl

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Quote
[1 & 2 are interdependently linked. You must understand that each of our thoughts arise due to causes and conditions brought about by experiences and past actions. Hence, the sum of all our actions will culminate with the last thoughts just before death. In other words, it is really karma that will determine our next rebirth and not just a random thought just before we died. If we want to be prepared for death, we have to practice the Dharma, transform out minds, have Guru devotion and good samaya, rely on a powerful Dharma Protector like Dorje Shugden together with upholding our sadhanas to our Yidams. We can give up on our partners, husbands, wives, children, business and so forth but we cannot give up on our Dharma practice as this 'stability' will be crucial at the hour we need it the most./quote]

Thank you Big Uncle for the above teaching, i will take this as very precious and always remind myself to be prepared for death, to practice dharma and transform my mind.




samayakeeper

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I agree with the explanations given by Kurava, Vajrastorm, Big Uncle, dsiluvu, etc. What is vital is that we must start to train our mind now before it is too late. Well, how often do we say "I will do dharma when I am retired", "I have business commitments, my family and staff depend on me. I will learn dharma and do some volunteer work when I made my first million", etc. The thing is Death does not always give us prior warning.

Aurore

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Re: What is more influantial to our next rebirth? Karma or our last thoughts?
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2011, 10:34:33 PM »
Both! Our last thought and karma.

What I was told ...
If we are constantly miserly, we create the karma to be reborn as a spirit.
If our last thought we are constantly worried about security, bills, car, money, etc, we could also be reborn into a wealthy family which will enable us to collect more negative karma or be reborn poverty stricken.

At the end of the day wherever we will be reborn to, it's to another state where we will be collecting more negative karma to continue on that particular attachment unless we are free from the 6 realms.

dorjedakini

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Re: What is more influantial to our next rebirth? Karma or our last thoughts?
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2011, 01:26:00 PM »
Mainly our last thought.

If whole life we have been chasing for relationship, money, business for ourselves, very less good karma and merits created. At the time of death, even we think of our Guru and Protector, but due to our life times of habitual action, we will be affected by our negative thought and karma.

When we die our senses started to dissolve, we are not familiar with it as we never meditate, we starts to have fear and worry, our untamed mind cannot focus, so if we do not practice Dharma, do our daily prayer, how are we going to be sure that we can still think of our Guru or Protector when we die? Therefore we should not give up our spiritual practices.

But i heard cases that some people who practice Dorje Shugden strong, when their relative who never practice Dharma, because of their samaya with their Lama and Protector, their relatives got a good rebirth. It shows that Dorje Shugden is so powerful and suitable for this era.

pgdharma

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Re: What is more influantial to our next rebirth? Karma or our last thoughts?
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2011, 04:11:00 PM »
 It is very important to maintain and have virtuous thoughts at the time of death. But how focus can we be at the time of death? Are we willing to train ourselves now to let go of our lifetimes and lifetimes of habituation of attachments, laziness and procrastination? If yes, we may have a chance of a good last thought and good karma ripening at the time of death for us to take a better rebirth. If not, then we will just have to flow with the wind of karma.

If we have the good karma to meet a Guru, but we have this habituation of always resisting what our Guru tell us to do now, even at death if our Guru wants to guide us to a better rebirth, due to our habituation of resisting, we will not listen and follow his guidance. So it is better to start cutting out the attachments and resistance now before it's too late.

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