Transforming Suffering into Holy Teachings

Written by Gede Prama

In nature there is a law that keeps working. He who touches water will get wet, anyone who touches fire will be burnt. In Eastern philosophy, this law is called the law of karma. This law also causes human beings to be reborn again and again. Especially because for most common people, they were born because they still have karmic debts. Sadly, many people do not pay back their karmic debt, instead they create new karmic debts.

To help countless souls to grow, in Tantra there is an approach to transform karma into dharma (holy teachings). Every challenge and pain caused by karmic debt are processed into sacred teachings that illuminate the soul. Having a divorced parent is of course very burdening, but it will illuminate the soul’s journey later if it is used as a firm determination to take good care of the family then. Having children with special needs is of course very far from easy, but it will help the souls journey if one loves the children without any resistance. It is a deep practice of unconditional love.

And the very helpful power which can help a person perform the super-heavy task of “transforming karma of suffering into dharma” is bhakti (devotion). In Hinduism there is a story of Bima whose devotion to a Master is almost flawless. In the end, in the battle against Duryodana, Bima was saved by the Supreme Master named Shri Krishna. In Buddhism there was a story of Jetsun Milarepa who made very dangerous mistakes. Again because of his perfect devotion to a Master, Milarepa not only survived, but experienced a remarkable spiritual achievement.

On the path of sincere devotion to a Master, karma can transform into three things. First, karma will bear fruit at the right time and place. In other words, by a Master’s hand the karma of a person is moved until the person is really ready and steady. Second, a deeper bhakti makes one’s karma lesser. Suppose a person must be reborn in the realm of hell, a very deep bhakti can make a person just dream of entering hell.

The third most perfect result, bhakti makes a person fully purify from karma. But very few can pass this stage. In the story of Jetsun Milarepa, he went through bleeding obstacles. Because it was so heavy, even several times he was almost killed, several times he almost committed suicide. But the most saving power is a strong will, and a devotion to a Master who never waver.

In the story of Bima and Milarepa, both sides are marked by authenticity. Their disciples are true disciples. Their teaches were also true Masters. And in this day and age, this kind of combination is super rare. But do not give up easily, everything depends on the authenticity of someone inside. Similar to the beautiful flower that invites beautiful butterflies, someone who is authentic inside (by which read: sincere, honest, respectful) will see where their true Master is.

In the West there is a spiritual Master who can transform karma into dharma. His named is Mark Matousek. This author of best-selling books, lost his father at the age of 4 years old. For tens of years he grew like a tree without roots. Forty years later, Mark even hired a detective to find his father. This did not help either. In the midst of this despair, he was brought by his closest friend Andrew Harvey to a Master in South India named Mother Meera.

Without warning, this no longer young man cried with a lot of tears in front of the real Master. He did not dare look at the true Master’s eyes. He was just crying, crying and crying. When Mark is asked to sleep under Mother Meera’s room, there he saw in the dreamland a very beautiful Light behind the real Master. Similar to Arjuna who lost words when he saw Shri Krishna. Similar to Ananda who could not explain his admiration when he saw the beautiful body of Buddha. In the end, Mark’s devotion to the true Master is remarkable.

To make the story short, Mark Matousek can pass on what psychologist Carl Jung called the dark nights of the soul. A child whose father disappears without news, decades followed by the shadow of longing for the father figure, being restless here and there, then all this darkness can be transformed into the seed of Light. As a result, Mark Matousek’s book “Sex Death and Enlightenment” can illuminate so many souls. This is exactly what is called processing karma of sufferng into dharma.

In short, no matter what the karma of a person in the past, learn to equip yourself with true and deep devotion to the true Master, there is a possibility in which karma turns into dharma. The mistakes of the past did not make the soul dark. Instead, it makes the soul full of light.

Author: Guruji Gede Prama.
Photo Courtesy: Pinterest.
Proofread By: Kirsty Spence.

About the author

Gede Prama

Gede Prama started his spiritual journey through a dialogue with his symbolic Guru in a village at the north of Bali. The journey is then being enriched with his experiences of studying abroad, his meetings with the world greatest spiritual Gurus: His Holiness Dalai Lama, The Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh, as well as Professor Karen Armstrong; and also being deepened by his intense meditation practices.

Despite the fact that he was once a CEO of a large corporation with thousand of employees, and was traveling abroad frequently for the purpose of teaching, yet, being deeply moved by the Bali bombing incident in 2002, he then decided to leave everything and went back to his home island.
He has never leave Bali for the past few years. In fact, he rarely leaves the silence of the forest where he lives, except for the purpose of teaching at the sacred sites within Bali.

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