Thursday, March 03, 2016

Lojong 1.3: Life has consequences

As we trundle along through life, our environment and nature places demands on us. We get hungry and need food. We grow tired and need to sleep. If the weather is unpleasant, we may find ourselves wet and cold and need shelter. We want the companionship of other people, friendship, sex, love. We want to survive, to be comfortable, to feel happy.

These innate drives push us to take action: to find food, to build or find shelter, to find friends, a mate, activities and things that bring us pleasure and joy. As we pursue these things, we are confronted with choices. Should we kill an animal so we can eat its flesh or be satisfied with plants? Should we steal our friend's woman (if we can)? Should we drive the bear (or the another tribe of humans) out of the warm dry cave so we can take it for ourselves, or would that be too risky?

Throughout life, we are constantly confronted with choices, often when we don't have enough information to make a confident decision. These choices have consequences. If I eat all my food today, I may go hungry tomorrow. If I do steal my friend's woman, I may lose him as a friend. If we drive away the other tribe, they may come back next year and attack us when they're stronger and we're not expecting an attack.

Every choice we make, every action we take may have future consequences for us, for good or ill. This is the idea of cause and effect, or "karma".



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