Q: If you’re at work and all of a sudden two hours go by and you haven’t thought about any vows nor broke any of them, what should you do?
Geshe Michael: If you’re at work and busy, you can use something from the principles of free association. Like did I commit adultery in the last two hours? Come on, I was too busy, I had a business meeting and there were no girls there. On the way to work did you look at somebody that you didn’t know? Was she married or not? Did you open the newspaper and waste time looking at a girl in an ad? Something like that.
Did I protect life? No. Did I offer anyone carrot juice instead of coke in the last 24 hours? No. How about 48 hours?
Q: What if I can’t find anything specific to write for one of the vows?
Geshe Michael: If you have trouble finding something specific, free associate. I didn’t threaten any body’s life today but I yelled at so and so.
Q: What if there is nothing recent? Should I go back years?
Geshe Michael: No, try to find something specific, recent, the last 24 hours, 48 hours, or a week. If you have some really old bad ones like an abortion or something, throw that in every so often.
Q: What if I forget to do a vow or my book one day?
Geshe Michael: If you slip, you have to finish it. But don’t slip. I worked in a corporation. I had three telephones and I had 400 people working for me. I just went to the bathroom. I found out that no one ever challenged me if I went to the bathroom. I could have 12 people standing in a line outside my door and I said “I gotta poop guys.” No one ever asked me “Stay, stay!” I’ve been in huge board meetings, and millions of dollars flying around, and just got up and said I gotta go.
Q: When do you write down the vows?
Geshe Michael: I do them in the morning when I have time. I drink a cup of tea before my meditation and I try to enjoy it, and get it all loaded in the morning. I write out all the vows for the day.
Now suppose you happened to have killed your boss that day and it doesn’t come up in the six boxes. That means for 24 hours that you’re going to have that karma on your hands. Karma exponentially increases every 24 hours. The karma of killing your boss on Wednesday if you don’t write it down is the karma of killing two bosses by Thursday, and four bosses by Friday and 16 bosses by Saturday. I’m not kidding. This is the principle of how karma increases. You’ve got to write it down the same day. Add it to the best three, worst three things you did that day. Go over your day just before you go to sleep. Purify your three negatives and rejoice in your three positives. It’s very good to die with a clear conscience. If you die during your sleep it is very good to have done your book before you die.
Q: What do you do when you have finished your Six Times Book?
Geshe Michael: You might want to save them for a year or two and go back
and see how you’re doing. Sometimes you can get a lot of information 6 months later. You go back and you ask what was my mind thinking, what was I having problems with six months ago? And then you notice that you’re still having the same problem. Personally I save them.
And it’s wonderful. It’s really wonderful. You really, really change.
Just by observing yourself, you change, your mind starts to change, and then your world.