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Karma Management Day 4, Part 1

2002 Kauai Innersearch Day 4, Part 1 Bodhinatha gives several examples of how we can work through our karma by helping others through their karma. He also talks about Drug Free Kauai, an audio CD that Gurudeva had the monks produce several years ago in which he took the approach of showing people the consequences of taking drugs, which comes from the 4th principle of Karma Management.

Unedited Transcript:

Karma management series the fourth and final session. I have a story. There is an e-mail that came in, I am going to read part of it. It came in a few months ago in response to our request we put out on TAKA. We were developing a series called, 'Nine principles for raising children'. You may recall reading that in 'Hinduism Today'. We were soliciting input. This is some of the input we got from one mother.

"My daughter, Nita, was trained to be a peer mediator in the fifth grade." Pretty impressive to have a ten year old as a peer mediator. "She learned to guide the students who were having conflicts through certain steps using 'I' messages to come to a resolution. An important component was that the two students had to want to resolve their differences. Many times people want to hold on to their anger or their hurt and blame others for it. I was thrilled to have this kind of training available to people at such a young age."

That fits right in to our karma management principles here, without making direct reference to it. But that process, if it is successful, involves the first three principles. To forgo retaliation - one student cannot be retaliating against the other. We have to accept responsibility, as it says here you cannot be blaming others and we have to forgive the offender which is the point of mediation, forgiving the offender. It brings together all three of the first principles quite nicely. It goes on to another subject here.

"I truly believe we live out our karma through our children and we grow and improve as they do." How many of you believe that? Have you ever thought about it? "The funny thing is that we can see ourselves in our children, yet we want them to be so much better." Anyone ever felt that way? "Somehow they are supposed to handle the problems that we face better than we did. We want them to be perfect and to overcome our imperfections."

So, how does that tie in? Well, it ties in, in the sense that we work out our own karma sometimes through helping other people work out the same karma we worked on. In this case, it is talking about children. Quite often, the challenges we faced in life and worked out either fully or partly, we face them again in our children, amazingly. We need to figure out how to advise our children to handle the same karmas that we had to handle. So, if we manage to do that successfully, what do we know? We know that karma is fully resolved, it has gone away. So, if we can help someone else with the same karma successfully, we have clearly mastered it, clearly understood the problem.

Gurudeva used to use the same example when talking about monks giving advise to family people. He would say, "You are only resolving your own karma. You think you are helping someone else. But, you are actually resolving karma. You are helping them through something that you went through once. So if you can do that successfully, you have really mastered that karma."

It broadens the principle to not only parents to children, but also teachers to student, elders to younger people, swamis to lay people. It is a very broad principle that for giving advise to others in areas in which we have encountered difficulties, we have experienced karmas, we are resolving our own karma and getting rid of it completely.

That is our first story. Our second story has to do with 'Drug Free Kauai'. A number of years ago there was a strong movement on the island to promote a drug free Kauai. There was a 'Coalition for a Drug Free Kauai' and Gurudeva was asked to help. So he delegated the project to Arumugaswami, who under Gurudeva's direction produced a CD on 'Drug Free Kauai'. It is a very interesting approach that Gurudeva took. One approach would be to take the high moral ground. "Drugs are wrong, drugs are sinful, therefore you shouldn't use drugs." That is taking the high moral ground, preaching right and wrong to people. Gurudeva didn't take that approach. He said what we want to do is show the consequences. "We are not trying to talk children out of taking drugs. We are trying to show them the consequences of their actions - this is what happens if you take certain kinds of drugs. So that, before they decided to take the drugs, they would have a good understanding of the consequence of doing so.

How did Gurudeva go about having Arumugaswami show them the consequences? Mainly with personal interviews of people, Kauaians who have ended up in jail because of taking drugs. He interviewed two or three men, two or three women and got their stories on this CD, which is a very compelling statement about the consequences. Because the consequences in all cases were disastrous. Their whole life changed, their whole life fell apart, it really went downhill. If they had a good job, they lost their job. If they had a good reputation, they lost their reputation. Some of them ended up stealing money and being caught at stealing, whereas before they were very upright people. In all cases, the marriages totally fell apart, ended up in divorce. People lost nice homes and the children ended up in a very difficult situation.

So it was very compelling testimony from these drug users, as to the consequences. Then there was one other person on the tape who was the Warden and his comment was that certain kinds of drugs, methamphetamine kinds of drugs, turn people into walking zombies. They just walk around and their brains don't work right anymore. Their brains have been physically damaged because of excessive use and they just can't think or function in a normal way. What a compelling consequence to think about.

That fits quite nicely into the fourth principle we were talking about, consider the consequences. It relates to our own actions as mature adults, you know. We can reflect. "What are the consequence of this action? What are the karmic consequences, in particular, of this action?" (And) It also shows a good way of training children. We don't want to simply blame children for doing things wrong, scold them, punish them. We want to teach them to think about the consequences. Maybe we never told them the consequences but we assumed they understand the consequences. Usually, that is the case. A child does something wrong that we don't expect, usually we forgot to explain something. But we don't want to admit that. The idea in raising children is - try always to show them the consequence of their actions in a non-emotional, non-threatening way, so they begin to think that way. When they are adults they naturally think that way first. "What are the consequences of this action? Do I want to experience those consequences or not?"