Setting in Motion the Dharma Wheel 35

I will defer till later a detailed discussion of the klesas. First let us make sure we understand the origin of our suffering. We have two interrelated causes of suffering: one is karma the other is the klesas--the one rising to an effect when ripened by a multitude of vexations. Our experience in the present is not void of cause; it has its origins and is now made manifest through conditioning .Why do these two come together in the first place to cause all our suffering? To answer this question, we need to talk about intention.

Karma and Intention

With a general understanding of karma, we can now reveal another, more subtle level of karma. When we act, that action is usually accompanied by intention. According to the Buddhist sutras, karma is in fact intention in the sense of momentum that propels the effects of a particular action to ripen in the future.

There is karma-as-intention and karma-as-intention-manifested. Karma-as-intention is the workings of our mind before we engage in an action. For example it is karma-as-intention when we think of doing something good or bad, but stop short of acting on it. Karma-as-intention-manifested means that after you have a good or bad intention, you act on it. People often seem not to be clearly aware when they are doing something good or bad. They cannot even distinguish between good and bad, let alone realize they are actually doing it. But when we talk about karma-as-intention-manifested, we mean that one clearly comprehends what they are doing, whether good or bad.

How Karma Manifests