Chapter Six

Master Fwap Explains Karma

AT THAT POINT I WAS somewhat dazed and confused by Master Fwap’s sudden revelation that because of my past-life karma, he was going to initiate me into the secret Tantric Buddhist teachings of the Rae Chorze-Fwaz. I stalled Master Fwap while trying to decide whether or not I wanted to get involved with his Tantric Buddhist revelations.

To buy myself a little time, I asked Master Fwap if he would explain what karma was. I told him that, while I had heard the word used as slang hundreds of times before in California, I really had no idea what the word “karma” meant to a Tantric Buddhist master.

Until my conversation with Master Fwap that day, it had been my understanding that “karma” meant what you have coming to you, because of what you have done in your past. I asked Master Fwap if he would elaborate on the meaning of the word, because I was sure that my understanding of karma was probably both superficial and incorrect.

Master Fwap smiled at me for a moment and didn’t say anything. I assumed he was collecting his thoughts on the subject before speaking. Then, in a deep and dramatic tone, he informed me that I already knew the answer to my own question. He said all I had to do was to recollect it!

Master Fwap went on to explain that I had known all about karma, and many other mystical things, in my past lives. He said that all the knowledge from my previous incarnations was contained in what he referred to as my “other memory.”

Master Fwap told me that if I would simply stop all my thoughts for just a few minutes and clear my mind of distracting influences, my other memory would start functioning and I would be able to answer my own question about karma.

I quickly replied that I didn’t think I could stop my thoughts for even a few seconds at a time—let alone for a few minutes—and that I would very much appreciate it if he would serve as my “other memory” for the time being. He laughed and said he would do it for me this time, but eventually I would have to learn to retrieve things from my other memory on my own.


“KARMA IS THE WAY THAT Buddhists explain the universe,” Master Fwap began. “Buddhists understand that today, and all other days, have turned out the way they have, because of karma.

“The past leads to the present moment, and the present moment leads to the future. The interconnection of one moment with another moment, and of one action with another action, is karma.

“Karma is what happens to you today,” Master Fwap continued. “It is simply the law of cause and effect in action. What occurs to you today is an outgrowth of what happened yesterday. All moments and occurrences are caused by other moments and occurrences that preceded them, in an endless causal chain of karmic interactions that lead back indefinitely through time.”

“But Master Fwap!” I interjected. “There had to be a beginning to karma at some point! Wasn’t there a first moment somewhere in karmic time?”

“No,” he smiled. “Karma has always existed, as have you, I, and all things in this wonderful universe.”

“Master Fwap, this is deep. Let me see if I correctly understand what you are saying: I exist today the way I do, and the world exists today the way it does, because of yesterday’s karma; and yesterday existed the way it did, because of the day-before-yesterday’s karma; and the day-before-yesterday existed the way it did, because of the preceding day’s karma; and every day that has ever existed has existed the way it has, because of an endless infinity of previous karmas. Is that more or less correct, Master Fwap?”

“Exactly!” he said, nodding his neatly shaved bald head in affirmation.

“So does that mean that everything is fated, Master Fwap? If what occurs in this moment sets up the next moment, and so on forever, then there is really no such thing as free will, is there?” I asked.

“A complicated question from one who is so young,” he replied. “I will do my best to answer it for you. You see, karma is fate, it is true! If you throw a rock up into the air, it will come down and land someplace. You might say that the place that the rock lands is its karma. But then again, it was your free choice whether or not to throw the rock up into the air in the first place.

“Everything that exists in this or any other world or dimension,” he continued, “does so because of the way that things were in the previous moment. I call this the karma of the moment.

“But with free will, we can modify, to a certain extent, the chain of karma that has been set in motion by the karma of the previous moment. That is what free will really is. It is the ability to alter the sequence of karmic fate that was about to become our future!”

“So, Master Fwap,” I responded, “if I understand you correctly, you believe that we are the way we are because of how we were a moment ago. That moment leads to this moment, as this moment will lead to the next moment. I can understand that.

“But Master Fwap, if that’s true, then how can free will exist? Isn’t the choice to alter your future karma by exercising your free will now predestined by what you were thinking and feeling and by what was happening to you in the previous moment?”

Master Fwap shook his head and laughed. “All of this is perhaps a little bit more complicated than it initially appears to be,” he replied. “Let me try to describe the interaction of karma and free will to you in another way. Let us consider, as a way of trying to understand how karma works, who we are and how we got to be who we are.

“You see, my young friend,” Master Fwap continued, “karma not only means that what happens to you in the present moment is a direct outgrowth of what occurred to you in the previous moment. It also means that you are who you are right now because of who you were in the previous moment.

“Buddhists believe that you are who you are today because of who you have been in all of your past lives.

“It is the Tantric Buddhist belief that today you are the product of all the moments you have lived in your current life thus far, and also of all the moments, realizations and experiences you have had in all your past lives as well.

“The person you are today, the feelings you have, the thoughts you think and the way you see yourself, are all part of your past-life and present-life karmas.”

I must have had a puzzled look on my face because he paused and laughed. “Let me use myself as an example,” he continued. “I have always been interested in Buddhism, astrology, psychic perception, and enlightenment. I was born this way. My brothers and sisters, who grew up in the same family I did and who were exposed to the same physical and spiritual environments I was, have little or no interest in these inner matters. They are all primarily concerned with physical things that relate to their material success, such as making a living and raising a family.

“My brothers and sisters and I all had the same biological parents. We were all raised in the same way. But each of us is very different. That is our karma—who we were born as, and also who we grew up to be.

“Death is not the end of who we are,” Master Fwap said in a warm and intimate tone. “It is only a brief pause in the endless cycle of our lives.

“Each of us is a spirit that cannot die. Our spirit grows and develops traits in each incarnation that it passes through, and then collects and carries the essence of those traits into future lifetimes. In Buddhist Yoga we refer to our multilife karmic traits as ‘samskaras.’ They are the internal karmic patterns that make each of us who and what we are.

“When we are born into a new lifetime,” he continued, “our spirit doesn’t lose the samskaras that were developed in previous incarnations. At first they are usually hidden by the temporary amnesia of infancy and by the transient personality that is assumed during childhood and adolescence. But as we grow older and mature in each incarnation, we are drawn back by samskaras—multilife karmic patterns—to previous interests and pursuits. This causes each of us to become the same kind of person we were in our past lives.

“We are born into this lifetime, as the person that we were at the moment of our death in our last lifetime. Our adult personality is a mirror image of who we were in the last stage of our life in our previous incarnation.”

I could tell by the smile on Master Fwap’s face that he knew I had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. After a brief period of silence, Master Fwap tried yet another approach to enlighten me on the subject of karma.

“Try thinking of it this way,” Master Fwap began. “Children go to school in the winter. In the summer they stay at home. When they return to school the next fall they resume their education in a higher grade because of the school work and the grade they completed the previous year.

“While it is true that a child may have developed some new ideas or interests during the course of the previous school year, or over the summer, or even may have changed their views on several subjects, the essence of the child’s personality will have remained the same. Although the child is now in a new and higher grade, and may now know new things and have had many new and different experiences, the child is still the same child.

“In much the same way, whatever you have learned in your previous incarnations is retained within your ‘causal body’—your multi-lifetime body of energy that lives from one incarnation to another.

“It is your causal body that is the real you! At the end of each incarnation, it carries the knowledge and karmic patterns of that particular lifetime, in addition to the knowledge and karmic patterns of all of your other previous lifetimes, into your next incarnation.

“Death is only a summer vacation for us!” Master Fwap exclaimed. “We don’t really change or lose what we have learned or who we have been when we die, because we are our karma.

“The choices we make and the thoughts we allow ourselves to think, the emotions that we let run through our bodies and minds and the interests we pursue, these are the things that shape and define the spirit. That is what karma is really made of.”

Master Fwap paused for a moment to examine me. He arched his eyebrows slightly and then looked directly into my eyes. He must have been at least partially satisfied by what he saw there, because he smiled, bowed his head, and then said jokingly, “Buddha’s name be praised!” Then, after several minutes of silence, he resumed his discussion of karma with me.

“So, for example, in my case, in my last several dozen lifetimes I was a teacher of Buddhist enlightenment. I was enlightened, and I helped others who were interested in self-discovery to advance along the pathway to enlightenment in each of my enlightened lifetimes.

“The reason I was enlightened in my last several dozen incarnations was that many, many thousands of incarnations ago, of my own free will, I became interested in self-discovery and in the study of enlightenment. I studied meditation and learned all about the inner worlds and the higher dimensions from great Buddhist masters who knew about these matters.

“One lifetime led to another. In each lifetime, after first passing through the amnesia of infancy and childhood, the inclinations and memories from my past lives would resurface. Once this happened, I was irresistibly drawn back to the study of meditation and enlightenment. In one particular incarnation, I became enlightened, and I have regained and refined my enlightenment in every incarnation I have had since that time!

“However, in my current lifetime, on the fateful day of my twenty-ninth birthday, when I had just met my past-life master, Fwaz Shastra-Dup, outside of that little town in Tibet, I had absolutely no idea I had ever been enlightened in any of my previous incarnations.

“Naturally, Master Fwaz Shastra-Dup, who was a fully enlightened Buddhist master, saw and understood my past-life karma better than I did at the time. He explained all about karma to me in a cave that day, just as I am explaining karma to you here in this temple today.

“Master Fwaz Shastra-Dup told me that I had been enlightened in my past lives,” Master Fwap continued. “He then taught me how to use the secret and powerful meditation techniques of the Rae Chorze-Fwaz. After practicing the techniques each day for many years, coupled with my master’s spiritual guidance and auric empowerments, I was able to bring my past-life enlightenment back. Later, because it was also my karma, Master Fwaz made me his successor.

“This all happened to me in this lifetime because of the things I had learned and the choices I had made in my previous incarnations. What I have learned and done in my past lives and in this lifetime, is what I have become. This is the secret of what karma really is!”

“But Master Fwap, I still don’t understand the difference between karmic fate and free will. Wasn’t it your karma to meet your past-life master, and to regain your enlightenment, because of the fact that you had been enlightened in your previous lifetimes?”

“Yes, that is true,” he replied. “But it was through the exercise of my free will in the first place that I began the study of meditation. That, and other choices I made to follow and stay on the pathway to enlightenment, led to my first enlightened incarnation, and also to my subsequent enlightened incarnations.

“You see,” he continued, “free will exists and operates outside of causality. It is not hooked to karma.

“Free will is like a well that is on your property. You can choose to draw water from the well or not. That is up to you. The well will still be there whether or not you choose to use it.

“Free will exists within each of us,” Master Fwap stated factually. “Most people choose not to use their free will, so consequently they rarely alter their karmic patterns.

“For most individuals, each new lifetime is a mirror image of the individual’s previous incarnation,” Master Fwap explained. “But if you choose to draw from the inner well of free will, then you can make choices that are outside your current karmic patterns.

“You can alter the structure of your samskaras, and of your current and future incarnations,” Master Fwap said emphatically. “By choosing to use your free will today, you can become someone vastly different from the person you have been thus far in this life, or the persons you have been in any other lifetimes that you have ever lived!

“Advanced Buddhist Yoga is the art of altering your karmic patterns,” Master Fwap continued. “Through the practice of meditation, and with the auric empowerments and guidance of an enlightened master, you can totally change your karmic destiny.

“By practicing Buddhist Yoga, you can become happy, ecstatic and free in your current incarnation, even if you have never been that way before in any of your past lives, or thus far in your current life. Believe me, this is true! If there wasn’t a way around the samskaras, no one would ever become enlightened!

“Remember,” Master Fwap said, lifting his hands in front of his chest to emphasize what he was saying, “karma exists within causality. It is three-dimensional. Free will exists outside of causality; it is not bound by karma.

“By exercising your free will, thinking happier thoughts, making happier choices, and by learning and following the Buddhist way, you can totally change your karma forever. You can reshape your spirit and become a new and more ecstatic being.”

I asked Master Fwap why we all weren’t born knowing about our past lives. I reasoned out loud that if we all had lived before, we should simply remember our past lives from the moment that we were born, in the same way that we remember something today that we experienced yesterday.

He responded that most human beings who have been spiritually evolved in their past lives go through a stage he called “unknowing,” during which they experience a temporary state of “spiritual amnesia.” He told me that “unknowing” normally lasts from birth through adolescence.

During this phase, he explained, even a very spiritually advanced person would often act just like an average child or adolescent.

“One day,” Master Fwap said, “a person who has attained advanced levels of mind in past lives begins to remember … and spiritual knowledge and talents from past lives begin to resurface into the person’s current self.

“As the memories and awareness from past lives flood into a person’s current life,” he continued, “that person goes through profound metamorphoses, and gains a totally different personality.

“During this metamorphosis, people usually lose interest in superficial things like possessions and relationships, and instead suddenly find themselves drawn to the study of the ancient, eternal and metaphysical truths. As they enter more deeply into this phase, they become calm, happy and centered, focused on the transcendental rather than the transitory.

“When a person who has had highly evolved past lives is going through a strong past-life transit, and is pulling up other-life memory from those prior lifetimes, that person comes to know things about life, death and other dimensions that most people in our world aren’t aware of. Very often while this is happening, the person also rapidly regains and begins to employ past-life psychic powers, and to do things with them that defy description.”

AFTER ANOTHER PERIOD OF SILENCE, Master Fwap told me that most people who had been enlightened in their previous incarnations would normally begin to regain their past-life enlightenment—if they lived at sea level—at around the age of twenty-nine, when their astrological Saturn return took place. He said that living in or near sacred mountains, because of their beneficial auric influences, often made past-life returns happen even faster.