Learning to Untie the Karmic Knot

Ganges River, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India.

Ganges River, Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This afternoon, in preparation for my next yoga training coming up in March, I was digging deep into The Living Gita:  The Complete Bhagavad Gita.  While reading the chapter on “The Yoga of Meditation” I came across a story of two boatmen.  The story goes something like this…

Two men, while out partying one evening, decide that they want to journey down the Ganges River.  They know how to row quite well, but they do not own a boat so they decide to “borrow” someone else’s.  As they venture toward the edge of the shore, they discover a new boat lapping about in the water.  With the oars in tact, they jump in and begin their late night adventure down the Ganges River singing songs as they go.  The hours pass by and soon the sun begins to rise once again.  In the crisp light of the approaching dawn, the two see familiar faces approaching the river’s edge for an early morning bath amidst familiar buildings.  They think it strange.  How could they have rowed all the night long only to find themselves in the same town they had presumably left earlier that evening?  They had traveled half the night down the river.  Inquiring from the morning bathers how this strange thing could have happened, the people begin to laugh calling them fools for as it turned out the two boatmen had forgotten to undo the knot of the rope the boat was tied to.  They had rowed all night long, but had not actually traveled anywhere.

The author who retells this story states, “We can’t attain the goal that way.  We can’t reach the shore unless bondage is removed.”  How enlightening! This simple story shed so much insight on my Buddhist faith.  There are times when practice alone, chanting Nam-myoho-renge-kyo isn’t enough.  I realize that if I want to move forward in my life then I have to take action, study the teachings, attend activities, increase my daimoku BIG TIME, support fellow members, AND I have to change my karma.  My karma is my bondage.  It is the knot in the rope that keeps me from reaching the next shore of happiness.  In order to realize my fullest potential for the future, I have to let go of the baggage that keeps me tied down to the past.  I have to change my karma!  This is my clear path for moving forward.

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