This past Sunday, Margaret led our Sangha discussion on the topics of volition (intention),  the underlying motivations for intentions, and how kharma is related to those underlying motivations.

We based this discussion on:

  1. The first 8 and a half minutes of a talk by Joseph Goldstein: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/96/talk/24781/
  2. A reading from the section “The factor of volition”, from Joseph Goldstein’s book, “Mindfulness: A Practical Guide to Awakening (pp. 186-187)
  3. The first 11 minutes of a talk by Shaila Catherine: http://dharmaseed.org/teacher/163/talk/19181/ (The rest of this talk is also thought provoking.)

We had a very interesting discussion based on this.

Here are a couple of quotes from the reading from Joseph Goldstein’s book:

“What makes volition … so important in the understanding of our lives … is that it carries the karmic force of the action. What this means is that all intentional, volitional actions, whether of body, speech, or mind, have the power to bring about results both in the present and future.”

“Intention itself is ethically neutral. It is the motivation associated with the intention behind an action that determines the particular karmic fruit of the action, whether pleasant or unpleasant. Although there can be many different motives underlying our actions, they can all be traced back to one of three wholesome or unwholesome roots; the wholesome ones are nongreed, nonhatred, and nondelusion, and the unwholesome ones are greed, hatred and delusion.”