Flavor #5: Transforming Problems. If a great chef and a lousy cook are given the exact same ingredients and asked to prepare a meal, chances are the chef would produce a feast, while the novice would offer up a mess. Well, Mahamudra says that the circumstances of our own life are like those ingredients — what we have on our plates is the result of our own past karma; what we do with them depends on our skill as chefs.
Flavor #6: Our Personal Karma Creates our Reality. According to Mahamudra, everything that happens in our lives is the result of past karma. Over a decade ago in a monastery in Dharamsala, a group of us listened to a high lama speaking on the nature of relative reality . “Everything you experience is only the result of your past thought, speech and action,” he pronounced. “You are the only one responsible for both your happiness as well as your suffering.”
We’d all heard this numerous times before, but coming as it did from this teacher whose serene expression projected certainty, it had terrific impact. A German lady sitting under a whirring fan raised her hand. “Are you saying that every teeny weeny thing we experience is the result of our past karma?” He nodded. “Exactly right,” he said. “Even the breath of that fan on your cheek is the result of your past karma. But keep in mind that while you cannot manipulate your current experience of reality, you can create a magnificent future by learning to think, speak and act positively.”
So these are the six flavors of samsara in a nutshell.
And bizarrely enough, soon after I’d digested them, Angelica fought with me as we rode the subway back home from lower Manhattan to Brooklyn Heights. I was shocked by her ferocity, especially since I could think of nothing I had consciously done to upset her.