Will and Karma


Will and Karma

Excerpts from Teachings given in Bhutan
by Achariya Doug Duncan, March 2008.

Karma is cetana, meaning will or decision. It takes an incredible act of will to transcend karmic conditioning. You have the freedom in any moment to choose the transcendent understanding. Because the weight to go the conditioned route is very powerful, the training or [practice] is to bring you to a point where your free will can actually be exercised.

Choices and decisions that you make in this incarnation, in this moment, today, are going to influence choices and decisions tomorrow, which are going to influence the choices and decisions of next month, next year, next decade – this is karma propelling itself. And so we’re arguing that the only rational, logical, sane decision to make is Buddha Nature in this moment, because you’re conditioning Buddha Nature in all the future moments.

Don’t compare yourself to anybody, including the teacher. Do your work. Stop comparing, just do what you’re doing. See it through. If there’s a beginning, middle and end, see it through. Whether it’s washing a dish or emptying a garbage bucket. See it through, do it as best you can with as clear, calm and awake a mind as you can. Be ruthless with negativities that interfere with that.

The tendency for conditioned beings is to be much too patient with unwholesomeness, and critical or suspicious of wholesomeness. Recognize the unwholesome for the unwholesome. Cut it off. Recognize the wholesome for the wholesome. Support it. Its really simple. Just do what’s in front of you, simple. Natural, ordinary day to day mind is Buddha Mind.


Watch for the self referencing, watch for the critique, fault finding with other people. You’ve got to have the heart of joyous love towards the person before you can critique them. If you
don’t have it, shut up, cos you’re probably wrong , even if you’re right. You might be right, but its coming from the wrong place so they won’t hear it anyway. As Westerners your critique is stronger than your Manjushri, your discriminating intelligence. Once your Manjushri is stronger than your critique then you can say well, maybe this is helpful for this being.

Open communication with another person doesn’t mean they will always agree with you, that they’re always going to say yes. Open communication means that if you’re going to speak your truth you have to be willing to hear theirs. Conversely if you’re willing to hear their truth then you have to be able to speak yours. You should be saying to each other “give me your best truth and I’ll give you my best truth”. Then you won’t just be entertaining each other until bedtime…

About Doug Sensei

Achariya Doug Duncan is a meditation teacher born in Canada and known for his energetic, insightful, humorous, and highly practical approach to teaching Dharma. His principal teacher was Ven. Namgyal Rinpoche, the Canadian born lama who was recognized as an awakened being by the leaders of all four major schools of Tibetan Buddhism, including His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Doug ‘Sensei’, as his Japan students call him, is Clear Sky’s Resident Teacher, principle teacher for Dharma Japan sangha and numerous students in many countries.

From the Naked Alaya May 2008 Issue 2