The purpose of acknowledging the law of karma is instructive, not punitive.
April 15, 2018
Whether we assign blame to others or ourselves, the negative emotion that accompanies blame is unskillful. Blame entails not only assigning responsibility for an unwelcome consequence, but also imputing malice or evil intent to the one performing the act.
The law of karma, as taught by the Buddha Shakyamuni, lies beyond all concepts of human morality, right and wrong, good and evil. It is merely the understanding that causes produce effects. Gravity does not intend for us to fall and hurt ourselves when we trip; fire does not intend to cause us pain when our skin is burned by a flame.
When water comes in contact with a surface, that surface becomes wet. We do not blame the water for making the surface wet –that is its nature. Similarly, when our wrong views (ignorance of the nature of self and all phenomena) and afflicted emotions (attachment, aversion, and indifference) lead us to act in unskillful ways, there is no question of guilt and blame.
The purpose of acknowledging the law of karma is instructive, not punitive. When we understand that there is a relationship of cause and effect between our actions and the consequences we experience, we are liberated from victimhood. We are no longer subject to a random universe where evil befalls us without rhyme or reason. We are free to make our own way.
We do not study the law of karma to learn the specific reasons ‘why’ something happens. That exercise is futile. We understand the law of karma in order to make the determination to place positive, skillful causes in the continuum of our experience from here onwards.
The law of karma, of cause and effect, is not meant to lead us to recrimination, guilt, and blame. On the contrary, it is the acceptance of our capacity to be free from suffering and the causes of suffering, and embrace happiness and the causes of happiness.
“People get into a heavy-duty sin and guilt trip, feeling that if things are going wrong, that means that they did something bad and they are being punished. That’s not the idea at all. The idea of karma is that you continually get the teachings that you need to open your heart. To the degree that you didn’t understand in the past how to stop protecting your soft spot, how to stop armoring your heart, you’re given this gift of teachings in the form of your life, to give you everything you need to open further.”
Source: Not Anywhere | Great Middle Way
Jan 5, 2018
Not in the sky, nor in the ocean depths,
nor in a mountain cave, nor anywhere,
can one be free from the harm one has caused.
Once a king ordered his three ministers to take a bag and go to the forest and fill up the bag with fruits.
The first minister thought that since the king has ordered for collection of fruits, he must collect the best of the fruits in the bag.
The second minister thought that since the king is a very busy person, he may not look very thoroughly into the bag what has been collected and hence he collected whatever he could lay his hands. Thus his bag was filled up with a mixture of good and rotten fruits.
The third minister thought that the king would see only externally how big the bag is and hence he just filled up the bag with all dried leaves and dust.
All the three ministers came back to the court with their respective bags, having executed the order of collecting the fruits.
The King, without even seeing what their bags contained, just ordered that now the three ministers must be sent to separate jails for three months, where they will not be provided with any food and they were only allowed to carry the respective bags wherein they had collected the fruits.
The first minister could spend the three months in the jail by eating the very nice fruits he had collected.
The second one could survive for some time with the good fruits in the bag and later he developed diseases by eating the rotten fruits he had collected.
The Third minister had nothing to eat and hence could not survive.
Moral of the story:
From the above story we understand that we have to undergo the consequences of our own activities.
“You will be suffering your own reactions after your karmas, any single karma you perform, you have to suffer for it. Good and bad, everything, you have to have this reaction. No doubt about it.
In Mahabharata, Anushasana Parva, it is said
yathaa dhenu sahasreshu / vatso gachhati maataram
yat ca krtam karma / kartaaram api gachhati
“Amongst thousands of cows, the calf finds its own mother cow. Similarly the results of our past karma (deeds) when fully ripened, will find us without fail.”