Setting in Motion the Dharma Wheel 33

By the origin of suffering we mean that which is causing our life experiences in the present. Whatever we experience at this very moment is the result of karma. In its simplest sense, karma means action; therefore, karma is the result of what we have done in the past. So when we speak of karma, we are talking about causes and consequences.

The effects of karma pertain not only to this present life, which is very short, but also to countless past and future lives. So when we truly understand suffering as the result of causes laid down in previous lives, we will acquire a broader view of where we stand in relation to our experiences. We will also understand how the actions in this life will influence future suffering.

The workings of karma may not always cause obvious suffering. We can testify in our own lives to numerous occasions of happiness or good fortune. We can even feel blessed at times. However, when we are feeling blessed, when we are successful, when all things are going our way, we can become arrogant and conceited. We may think, "I worked hard to bring about my own success. I should be proud and feel good about it." Yet when things turn against us, when good fortune departs, we may start to blame others or external events for our misfortune.

This kind of mindset shows that we really do not truly understand the workings of karma. If we did our view of our situation in the world would be less myopic and would extend beyond this present life. We would see that success, blessings, and good fortune are due to the karma that has been created over immeasurable time in the past. We would understand that we are not the sole factor, but only one among many that are responsible for our good luck. We would also realize that the difficulties and tribulation in our lives are also due to actions in past lives.