Just as a positive karmic affinity
can be rendered negative unmindfully,
a negative karmic affinity
can be rendered positive mindfully.
One day, when the Buddha entered a village with his assistant Ananda, he approached a poor woman to share his teachings with her. However, the woman disliked the Buddha so much, that despite his magnificent and pleasing appearance, she could not even stand the sight of him. Wherever the Buddha went, she would turn away. When he went to her right, she would look left. When he went to her left, she would look right… Even when the Buddha used his supernormal power to levitate above to catch her attention, she looked down and refused to look up. However, when she saw Ananda, her attitude became the reversed. She was naturally drawn to him, and happily listened to the Buddha’s teachings related by him, which she found to be beneficial. This is very interesting as though Ananda almost resembled the Buddha in form, he was still not his equal, and especially not the same in compassion, wisdom and skilful means. How is this outcome possible then?
In a distant previous life, the woman once lost her child and was consumed by much grief. A spiritual practitioner passed by and enquired after her. After hearing about her misfortune, he replied somewhat ‘indifferently’, that there was no need to grieve as death is natural. As he seemed detached, his words felt cold and hurting, which gave rise to her aversion. When another practitioner came by and enquired similarly, he kindly offered his condolences, before sharing about the truth of death. The first practitioner was the Buddha-to-be and the latter Ananda-to-be. Due to these karmic affinities formed, the woman developed a ‘natural’ disdain for ‘the Buddha’ and a ‘natural’ attraction to ‘Ananda’. As such, positive and negative karmic affinities can be carried not only from one moment to the next in this life, but also from one life to the next. This is a crucial reason why we ought to be mindful of the impact of our fewest words and slightest gestures, or even the lack of them, as they can affect present and future relationships for better or worse.
For true skilful means to arise,
true compassion and wisdom must arise
to create skilful karmic affinities too.
No Giving Up