Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Action-Reaction

(For want of my own words, I give you those of another...)

     Every karmic action, as soon as it is performed, first of all affects the doer of the deed himself. This holds with as much truth for bodily and verbal deeds directed towards others as it does for volitional thoughts that do not find outward expression. To some extent we can control our own response to our actions, but we canot control the way others respond to them. Their response may turn out to be quite different from what we expect or desire. A good deed of ours might be met with ingratitude, a kind word may find a cold or even hostile reception. But though these good deeds and kind words will then be lost to the recipient, to his own disadvantage, they will not be lost to the doer. The good thoughts that inspired them will ennoble his mind, even more so if he responds to the negative reception with forgiveness and forbearance rather than anger and resentment.
     Again, an act or word meant to harm or hurt another, may not provoke him to a hostile reaction but only meet with self-possessed calmness. Then this "unaccepted present will fall back to the giver," as the Buddha once told a brahmin who had abused him. The bad deeds and words, and the thoughts motivating them, may fail to harm the other, but they will not fail to have a damaging effect on the character of the doer; and it will affect him even worse if he reacts to the unexpected response by rage or a feeling of resentful frustration. Hence the Buddha says that beings are the responsible owners of their karma, which is their inalienable property. They are the only legitimate heirs of their actions, inheriting their legacy of good or bad fruits.
-Nyanaponika Thera

6 Comments:

At 6:39 AM, Blogger Sass said...

So the end result of said kind act doesn't really matter because the person doing the deed will be feel good enough from said deed and continue the pattern?

 
At 11:42 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

Sass- "If 'manners maketh man' as someone said, then he's the hero of the day. It takes a man [or woman] to suffer ignorance and smile. Be yourself no matter what they say." --Sting

 
At 3:10 PM, Blogger Gary said...

The way I see it, virtue is it's own reward. I have done good things that weren't properly appreciated, but was still glad that I had done them.

 
At 12:26 AM, Blogger tinyhands said...

I think perception is important too. Going off the deep end with hatred and vitriol at every little perceived slight will only bring you misery, without necessarily punishing the one you think harmed you first.

 
At 11:06 PM, Blogger lucidkim said...

thanks for posting this. kim

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Oorgo said...

Absolutely. So many times have I seen someone lose their head over something and end up looking the fool.

Many times when something nice is done or said it may not be taken as such at first, but after the reciever has had a while to digest it, they come back with gratitude.

 

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