Ten Virtues and Ten Non-Virtues
By H. E. Tai Situpa Rinpoche
chsitupa_30m.jpg (56343 bytes) Today, at the request of the Dharma center here, I will be teaching about the basic disciplines for all the Buddhists. Which is known as the avoiding of ten non-virtues, and practicing the ten-virtual things.

What is Karma? How does it work?

In general, whether somebody is Buddhist or not, and every human beings, or animal, or any other form of life. If they do positive things, then it is positive, if they do the negative things, it is negative. So that is the general, basic law of the Karma. If human being does something bad, then it is bad.

The same things, if the animal does something good, it is good; if the animal does something bad, it is bad. So, the karma is not only relevant to human being. Karma is relevant to all sentient beings. That is basic law of karma.

Now, this way when we sometimes habitually to think that, karma is something only relevant to human being, and also good karma and bad karma is only relevant to Buddhist. Many people think that way, and which is absolutely inadequate. Because whether we are Buddhist or not, whether we are human being or not, the karma is equal. So, that is general knowledge. Now, within the context of karma, then there are several levels of the karma. And that is very much based on the knowledge and the ability to understand that particular person who performs positive or negative things. So based on that which will become different level of karma. Although action can be exactly identical, still it can be more or less of a serious karma, or positive, or negative.

I will give you an example, with some simple activity, such as stealing. If a bird steal some grain from somebody's field, it is a bad karma. A bird has bad karma by stealing. That is minimum, because the bird does not know this field belong to somebody. The bird does not know. The bird takes the seed from the field, because there is so many. And it is quite obvious that it is there. So, bird finds it so convenient to eat in the field of somebody's. So, that way, because it is stealing, it is a bad karma. The bird also creates a bad karma. But it is not same as the human beings steal from somebody's field, and the same grain from the same field, is stolen by a human being, but not a Buddhist. Buddhist knows that stealing is bad karma. But if you are not Buddhist, you don't know that is a bad karma, but you know it is no good. Because, if somebody steals your grain from your field, and you don't like it. Therefore, you know, if you steal somebody's grain from somebody's field, then they  don't like it.  So, the person who steal the grain from somebody's field  create a bad karma, that more than a bird, but not same as a Buddhist. And a Buddhist steals the same thing then that is worse. Because Buddhist knows that stealing is bad karma. So, therefore his karma will be much worse. And if that person who steals that grain from somebody's field is a monk or a nun, then that monk and that nun brake the vow. So that monk and nun will be de-robed. Because he or she stole the grain from somebody's field. So that way, that karma is the much worse than just an ordinary Buddhist. Why? Because the monk and nun have taken vow not to steal. Not to steal is one of the main vows. So, because he or she has taken the vow not to do it. By doing it, that vow is broken. So, that monk and that nun are declined, no more monk or nun. Now you see quite clearly, the same action has become worse or not so severe due to the level of knowledge and level of commitment of that person. Now you see these quite clearly, the karma is relevant to all. But the seriousness of the crime of the karma is quite specific, and very sophisticate. And ultimately, you can't really find two identical karmas, impossible. Almost same, but exactly same, you can not find. Because everything is individual, it is according to different situations, different motivations, and different attitudes, everything is different, They can not be identical.

Then, the same things are also relevant to good karma. There was one story. There was a temple in a town, and this temple was very very old. The eastside of the temple, there was some crack in the wall, very closed to the ground. The rain water can to through the ground, and eventually will destroy that temple. So, that crack was not fixed by people. Because it was too low, and people were not aware. One day, the person who lives very closed to the temple, bought a pig. And this pig, afternoon got very hot, so went to the mud, went to the muddy water, and roll in the mud. So the body was full of mud, then went to the eastside of the temple. Because, there is shade sun, is in the eastside. So, the pig was resting in the shadow side of the temple in the east on the crack. The pig didn't know there was a crack. But because the pig's body had a lot of mud, the temple's crack was slowly, day by day closed. So, temple was saved for a long time. The pig didn't know that he was fixing the temple. But because of accidental effect, then the pig created some small good karma. But if that was done by an ordinary human being, it will be more good karma. Because he or she will be doing intentionally. If it is done by a Buddhist, then that will be more good karma. Because he or she knows why this is done. You know for the enlightenment of benefit of all sentient beings etc. So, that way the benefit will be more. But even the pig who don't know anything who have no intention whatsoever. Who accidentally fixed the temple, have some good karma. So that way, bad karma also is following the law of the karma, and the good karma is also following the similar law. So, this way, there is variation in the different levels of karma. You cannot find two identical karma ultimately, precisely identical, impossible, but similar, yes. The same things with human being you know. If we look at five thousand million human beings in the world. If we look the faces of everyone, there are many people who look similar, but you can't find two person exactly, exactly same in everything, impossible. Even twin brothers, or twin sisters, who look the same, still not same. If you count the hair, you count in each one's, you really measure everything, they are not same. So, the same way, the good karma, the bad karma also cannot be one hundred percent identical.

Now, there is only one thing that is absolutely identical, absolutely. That is Buddha Nature of all sentient beings, is absolutely identical. And enlightenment of the Buddhahood of all the Buddha, and of all the sentient beings is absolutely identical. That is identical all the time, even before we are enlightened, our Buddha Nature is essence of all. And when we are enlightened far as the ultimate of the Buddha Nature, nothing is changed, still identical. But in relative, it is not identical. Because when we become enlightened, relatively, we are enlightened in different time, we are enlightened through different kinds of methods, and ways. And our activities as a Buddha, also will be different. For example, Avalokiteshvara Bodhisattva, the compassion; Manjushri, the wisdom; Maitreya., the kindness; and Vajrapani, the power. So, this way, each great Bodhisattva, each Buddha, has different manifestation, different ways to benefit sentient beings. So, that way, it is relatively not identical; but ultimately identical. So, the ultimate is the only thing that is beyond any individual differences. That is ultimate. But beside that ultimate, in relative, everything is different, everything is individual.

(To be continued)