There Is No Suffering 120

Consciously or otherwise, there are many ways people cope with the harsh realities of life. Some acquire wealth, fame or power, or dive headlong into sensuality; others choose more spiritual paths, such as believing in an ultimate, omniscient rescuer who protects and watches over them. The Heart Sutra encourages us to use our own inherent prajna to see into the illusory nature of our afflictions, and to become our own deliverers. But we are complex beings whose attachments and fundamental ignorance run deep. With our every intention, thought, word, and action, we reinforce our delusory beliefs, creating new karma and perpetuating our existence in samsara.

For Buddhists life is karma. We constantly receive and respond to the karma of our previous actions. In so doing, we create new karma, ensuring that the process, ultimately, the cycle of birth and death, continues. In our present condition, not creating karma is impossible. Though it may seem to be all out of our hands, it isn’t. After all, we create the karma in the first place—by making choices, and responding to life. Freedom to choose is a great gift that comes with great responsibilities. It means we are responsible for our own actions and life situations. We are the designers of our lives. So, it is up to us whether we create good, bad, or neutral karma. One way to create good karma is to follow and cultivate the principles of Buddhadharma, and constantly ask, “What kind of karma am I creating?”

The best that we can do in this world of karma is to live each moment mindfully and clearly: mindful of the Dharma and the welfare of others, and clear in thought, word, and action. To live fully in the present is to know how precious every moment is, and how useful and powerful our lives can be—if only we make the Dharma our living experience. Thus, the Buddhist sutras speak of the preciousness of human life.