It’s All About Intention

Both karma in its causal sense – producing the karmic seeds that will ripen in the future – and karma in terms of our experience of its results depend on intention.  It’s not what we do or say that matters karmically, but rather what motivates what we do or say.  And it’s not really about what others do or say to us that matter when it comes to our experience of the results of karma.  It is what we suppose […]

The Goal of a Spiritual Life

“Samsara,” says the Advaita Vedantic classic known as the Ashtavakra Gita, “is the compulsion to act” (kartavya, “something to be done”). This is a very interesting understanding of the nature of our suffering. It’s the feeling that we always have to do something to fix, improve, or escape our present situation. We are driven by the “if only” syndrome: “if only” things were different or better, then we’d be happy. But it is precisely the “if only” syndrome that keeps […]

Change the World, Change You

This is the second half of the equation that began with the previous podcast: “Change You, Change the World.” Because everything exists in interdependence (and not independently), it is also true that if we change the world, we change ourselves. But how do we do this? At one level, we change ourselves when see ourselves trying to change the world – acting, speaking, and even thinking motivated by the intention of wanting to help others and promote their welfare. Karma […]

Change You, Change the World

While in Massachusetts this summer, I had the chance to speak to a group in North Reading, most of whom were friends of Jon Weir – an incredible person and the owner of Kitty’s restaurant which he opened up to the event. The talk I gave there came straight out of a section of “Be Nobody” dealing with the fact that when we change ourselves we actually do change the world. The reasoning behind this rather startling conclusion is not […]

Discontentment and the Compulsion to Act

It’s been interesting to discover how much resistance there is to thinking of contentment as the real goal of a spiritual life. This extract from a teaching I gave in Brooklyn last month makes the case that it is precisely the need – the compulsion – we feel to always have to do something to change any given situation that defines samsara or the cycle of suffering. Samsara is defined in a classic Sanskrit text, the Ashtavakra Gita, as “nothing […]

Play the Cards

This podcast continues the discussion with the executives of the Standard Charter Bank in Singapore, the company slogan of which is “Here for Good.” The talk I gave to this group of multinationals centered on the possible connotations of that slogan. First off, “Here for Good” can refer to the common and universal desire to live the “good life” in the sense of a prosperous, comfortable, and pleasurable existence. This segment explores two more dimensions of what “Here for Good” […]

Purposeless Action

This podcast touches upon a section in my book, “Be Nobody,” that explores what it looks like to lose yourself in action. Selfless action is extolled in many religious traditions. In the Bhagavad Gita, for example, we are given instructions on “karma yoga” – action done without attention to the “fruits” of action. This is action done for its own sake and not for what you personally will get out of it. We actually have various sorts of experiences of […]

How to Protect Your Children

In this answer to a student’s question, Lama Marut addresses the question of how parents can really protect children — by teaching them karmic principles. But this requires that first we’ve convinced ourselves that karma is the correct worldview. Taken from the question and answer session held on January 8, 2012, at the “Five Freedoms Retreat” in Australia. Download the MP3 > Protect Your Children

What Will Happen In The Future?

In a question and answer session, Lama Marut speaks on the uselessness of spinning out imaginary scenarios about what might happen in the future, or of reviving unpleasant memories of the past – both of which just undermine our present happiness. Download the MP3 File Now > What Will Happen In the Future?