Our actions—virtuous and non-virtuous, white and black—weave the patterns of our experience in samsara.

Whether we encounter pleasure or pain, or reach the heights or the depths of cyclic existence, is determined by the quality of our own conduct over countless past lifetimes.

Karma is the inevitable outflow of results from causes. It is (1) by understanding the forces of karma, (2) by purifying negativity, and (3) by bringing our conduct into accord with what is positive, that we establish a powerful spiritual compass that will serve us until we reach the very threshold of enlightenment.

An enlightened buddha has passed beyond karmic dualism to attain an infinitely positive state so radiant that even its reflection can awaken our experience of buddha nature.

We ourselves aspire to that exalted state, but the path to the absolute revelation of buddha nature requires assiduous [showing great care and perseverance] attention to karma.

As Guru Rinpoche himself said, “Though my view is as high as the sky, my discernment of correct conduct is as fine as barley flour.”

Over countless lifetimes, each sentient being weaves a karmic web so extensive that the full pattern cannot be perceived.

Many people live in dread because of unknown karmic forces, suffering all sorts of unexplained fears and phobias.

To (1) overcome bewilderment and fear, to (2) purify old karma and to (3) create desirable conditions, we must acknowledge that our situation results from our own actions.

Acknowledgment brings a certain freedom, because we no longer attribute what befalls us to forces beyond our control, to some powerful god or demon who out of wrath sends forth afflictions, or out of sublime indifference grants no respite from our suffering.

What we created, we can change.

Our karmic creations resemble a forgotten play we wrote long ago. Suddenly we find it taking place on stage and ourselves starring in the drama. We wrote the lead part and even cast the characters, and the play’s episodes of joy or sorrow unfold according to the script we created.

One after another, the scenes must be enacted, and it’s too late to change the performance. Our sole recourse is to write a different play for the future.

Karmic creation has its source in the mind, with speech and body following mind’s lead.

Mind’s dualistic delusion fosters the tendency (1) to fixate on desires, (2) to become frustrated and angry if these desires are thwarted, (3) to become proud if desires find fulfillment, (4) to become jealous if they are fulfilled for someone else.

Lost in its own projections, the mind becomes duller and less discriminating about cause and effect.

Thus, a secondary stupidity arises from fundamental ignorance of the non-dual nature of existence.

Positive actions accord with virtue—with altruism, kindness, patience, generosity, correct conduct, and so forth.

The mind and activities of a virtuous person become more refined, less self-centered, less stupid, and less apt to cause either deliberate or accidental harm.

Source: Based on Tromge, Jane. Ngondro Commentary: Instructions for the Concise Preliminary Practices of the New Treasure of Dudjom. Compiled from the teachings of H.E. Chagdud Tulku Rinpoche by Jane Tromge. Junction City, CA: Padma Publishing, 1995.