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The below write-up was extracted from "How To Live Without Fear And Worry" written by Venerable Dr. K. Sri Dhammananda Maha Nayaka Thero. This book is distributed free by Singapore Buddhist Meditation Centre.

You Make Your Destiny

Man is not a mere pawn on a chessboard of universal forces over which he has no control. His destiny is something entirely self-created and self-earned, whether it is for good or for evil. Man creates his own destiny by his own thoughts, words and deeds, and he gets back from life sooner or later what he himself has given to life. From the consequences of his deeds there is no escape. Hence, man himself is the builder of his own life, the creator of his fate, now and in the future.

The law of karma which shapes the outcome of one's destiny has no sense of retribution. There is no motive of punishment in that great universal force. Nature is impartial. It cannot be flattered nor does it grant special favours upon request. When suitable conditions arise, the deeds which we have planted will bear results. Therefore, in the face of calamities, no good is gained by crying out against the heavens. We must learn to understand the nature of worldly conditions which are marked with uncertainty and bear the seemingly 'unjust' suffering with a calm mind.

The effect of karma on one's destiny will not be unchanging. Therefore, the concept of eternal suffering or everlasting heavenly bliss is alien to Buddhism. All states of being in the cycle of birth and death (Samsara) are impermanent. Only when one is freed from relative existence in Samsara and has attained Nibbana can eternal bliss be realized.

The process of cultivating spiritual maturity encompasses self-training and moral discipline, mental purification, and leading a righteous way of life, filled with loving-kindness, harmony and selfless service. Various religions give different interpretations of how salvation from suffering is possible. In the case of Buddhism, a person can be liberated by living in accordance with the universal moral laws and by purifying his mind. He can thereby shape his own destiny without becoming over-dependent on forces external to himself.

As human beings, we must not waste our human existence by grieving over the past or passing our time in idleness and heedlessness. This way we will only squander away the opportunity to realize the real purpose of our life and retard our progress towards complete liberation from suffering. We must strongly bear this in mind, and do good while life lasts. By wasting our time, not only will we mislead others, but we also miss the golden opportunity to achieve something in our valuable human life.

"There is nothing like destiny other than the effect of our previous efforts. Our previous efforts are called our destiny ... Our achievements are determined by our efforts. Our effort is therefore our destiny ... Our previous and present efforts, in case they are in contrary directions, are like two rams fighting against each other. The more powerful of the two always overthrowing the other ... Whether they are the past or present efforts, it is the stronger ones that determine our destiny. In either case, it is man's own effort which determines his destiny by virtue of its strength ... Man determines his own destiny by his own thought. He can make those things also happen which were not destined to happen. Only those things happen in this world which he creates through his own free efforts and not others ... One should therefore overcome one's unfavourable destiny (the effect of one's past effort) by the greater effort in the present. There is nothing in this world which cannot be achieved by men through the right sorts of effort."

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