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Negotiating Karma

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Payment in the Work

In an Egyptian myth, Anubis, the Lord of Karma, said that when we die, the heart and soul arrive in the Temple of Karma, of Anubis, the chief judge of Karma. In Egyptian mythology, there is this golden scale. On each of the pans something is placed. On one there is a feather, the feather of truth. And on the other side of the pan, the deceased person's heart is placed. If the weight of that persons heart exceeds the weight of the feather, then the person goes into the Underworld - to Hell, in other words. So one's heart had to be lighter than the feather.

There are many things we can learn from that; but, for today;s talk, what we're really interested in is the heart. Perhaps you have seen the huge Egyptian Hall we have here with its Egyptian stairs; going down you have Egyptian paintings. And to your left, when you're going down, you will see the whole scene of the Lords of Karma.

To illustrate this a little more, there is another anecdote, a very interesting Buddhist anecdote. It is about an old beggar woman. Her name translated into English means "Relying on Joy".

During Buddha's lifetime, there was this old beggar woman. She loved Buddha very dearly, but she was very poor. She had no money. She had to beg for food. She had to beg for coins to buy herself one meal for the day, much less two or three meals for the day. In any case, she saw how kings, princes, princesses, queens, rich merchants and all kinds of people in all walks of life traveled from very far to go visit Buddha and his disciples to make donations, to make offerings, to Buddha and his disciples.

She saw how they would bring lamps and candles, and so forth, in honor of Buddha and his disciples. And she wanted very badly to do something a little similar for them. So she went around all day, that day, begging around, but not for money that she would use for food. She was willing to starve that day if she could only get enough money to buy oil, enough oil for a lamp to go and light there in the temple in Buddha's honor, in offering to Buddha.

Well, after all day of begging, she managed to get herself a small coin - not enough to buy the oil she wanted, much less the lamp. But one merchant took pity on her, because he realized how noble she was and what she intended to do. And so, he gave her the lamp and the oil, and she was so happy.

She was so happy that she went to the temple and put it at the feet of Buddha, and she wished. She said, "I have nothing to offer but this tiny lamp. But through this offering, in the future,may I be blessed with the lamp of wisdom. May I free all human beings from their darkness. May I purify all their defilements, or imperfections and lead them to Enlightenment." And then she left.

If you have ever been to the Orient, like Japan, or China, or Hong Kong, or any temple in those parts of the world, I think you have an idea what happens there. People bring dozens, hundreds of lamps, statues, etc., to the temples as offerings.

In any case, you also have all these candles that are lit at these temples. And, obviously, this is a very ancient custom. It has been happening for thousands of years.

And so here, then, she did this. She got this lamp as an offering to Buddha. And the next day,a monk came into the temple to extinguish the lamps. He managed to extinguish all of them, but no matter how hard he tried, he could not extinguish that one lamp that was donated, or brought in, as an offering by this lady.

And so he tried pouring water on it, and the lamp would not be extinguished. He then took an old roll and began to beat the wick of this lamp, and the lamp still would not be extinguished.

And the Buddha said, "Do you want to extinguish that lamp? You cannot, even if you poured all the waters of all the rivers of the world on this one lamp. You would never be able to extinguish this one lamp, because it was offered from the heart, with a lot of love, with a lot of sincerity, and nothing can extinguish this lamp. "

And Buddha there predicted that in a future lifetime, this woman, this beggar, would become an Enlightened Buddha. All because of this one action she performed.

So please realize that what matters is the heart. That is what really matters. Realize that an offering of someone who has nothing to eat, who will take his last quarter that took a lot of effort to get, to give to help Humanity, can be worth more than a thousand dollars given by somebody whose got a very good job, or maybe who does not have a very good job, but who has an extra thousand dollars to give away. You see that?

Because it comes from a very special place, and that is what really matters - where it is coming from. So really, once again, in this work if we want to advance, it is very important that we learn how to work.

Excerpt from a 7 week course
given at the Gnostic Center in 1996

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