Meditation Categories 5. Causes and Effects

46. The All-Determining Qualities of Actions

Longchen Nyingtik Meditation 46

The Beginning

Take refuge and arouse bodhichitta.

The Main Part

Meditate: All pleasures and pains in samsara arise from each being’s positive and negative actions. At the mundane level, the experiences of higher realms and lower realms result from virtuous and non-virtuous actions, respectively. At the transmundane level, the three enlightened states and happiness of the shravaka, pratyekabuddha, and buddhahood are brought about by the practice of virtues that lead to liberation.


Buddhist scriptures say this about action or karma:

Like a painter, karma alone paints various things.

Like a shadow does the body, karma follows beings everywhere.

Like pleasure and pain experienced by an individual, karma never transfers from oneself onto other beings, nor will others’ karma fall onto oneself.

Like an emperor, powerful positive or negative karma makes beings rise or fall into higher or lower realms.

Like the endless space of sky, karma is extremely vast and all pervasive.

Like merchandise in the marketplace, karma is rich in quantity and variation. Like the design on brocade, karma is well defined and does not get mixed together.

Like a white lotus flower never becomes a blue utpala flower, karma doesn’t change its nature of being negative or positive.


Every action brings about its corresponding result. Thus, everything depends on karma. Happiness and suffering of this life come from the karma accumulated in previous lives, and the happiness and suffering of future lives are intimately associated with the karma created in this life. Seeing that the law of causality is infallible, resolve: I must strive to adopt virtue and abandon non-virtue.

The Ending

Dedicate all the merit of your practice to all sentient beings.


This meditation is not difficult to do. When your glory and joy flourish, realize that it is the effect of your previous good deeds; when misery, frustration, or depression overwhelms, understand that it is the effect of your previous evil deeds. Knowing all experiences are but the trajectory of your own karma, your mind will remain calm and unperturbed when confronted by the ups and downs in life.


In the world, the sole being who can see through the play of cause and effect is the Buddha. In Praise of Dependent Origination is actually a tribute to the Buddha. It says that in the absolute truth, there is no arising or cessation, yet in the relative truth, dream- and illusion-like phenomena appear through causes and conditions. And the author Je Tsongkhapa praised that only the Buddha, with his omniscient wisdom, could realize such a profound truth. Hence we must on the one hand develop faith in the infallible causality, and on the other hand realize deeply in our heart that all things in the world are the manifestation of karma.