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Give us your take on Karma. How do you understand Karma and how it helps you navigate Life.

From: Jairo M.
Sent on: Wednesday, October 13, 2010 5:14 AM
I've gotten interesting replies to an old blog [DOES KARMA OFFER A 401K?] that was once up at but now has been removed, fortunately I saved it before it was taken down and I had also saved a few of its most interesting replies. Later on I will submit a few of the responses to this blog. However note that these are common folks definitions of Karma, and not the "correct" understanding of Karma according to Buddhist masters and scholars.
Here is the blog on Karma that created much discussion back in 2006:

BLOG by Xanthan

Monday, November 27, 2006

Category: Religion and Philosophy

I've written about that pesky old Karma before. A vague concept that I am still trying to wrap my mind around. At first I thought it was just the newest whim but the more I read and hear, on MySpace and off, it is something that people really believe in. Books and Blogs with prophecy about how Karma is a bitch and will even the score.

Let me get this straight, the idea of a loving creator with the unlimited capacity of forgiveness is harder to believe than this mysterious orb of invisible energy that exacts revenge on behalf of the souls that were wronged?

Oh, OK, now I get it. Instead of forgiveness, we want revenge. We want blood. Instead of being bothered with doing it ourselves, oh and fuck forgiveness by the way, we sit back and wait for Karma to take care of it for us. That has to be the laziest rage I have ever heard of.

Now that I know how Karma is supposed to work, who are the recipients of it's favors? If I chop down a tree, does Karma put me on the list? Or does it have to be an animal? If I kill a rattlesnake, is Karma striking my heel? Or is it just the cute animals, like drowning a bag of kittens?

And what about God? Can God and Karma exist in the same universe? Is Karma on the payroll or vice-versa? Does the creator get a pass? God kills the weak and innocent all the time, chalking it all up to some sort of celestial plan.

The last hurdle I had with Karma is where does it begin and end? Let's say some dude wrongs some girl. So Karma enter stage left and uses some patsy to fuck up the dude. Now, because of his wrong, does the patsy get on Karma's shit list too. If so, the patsy's getting fucked hard and dry from where I'm sitting.

Well, I've got a celestial plan of my own. I'm calling shotgun in Karma's Hummer. What else would a metaphysical power of vengeance drive anyway? I'm working for Karma, not against it. I choose to be the eternally blameless patsy.

From now on, all the bad things I do are just payback for someone that pissed Karma off, I am exempt. I mean, everybody has screwed someone over at some point right?

Like Jesus told the Pharisees when they were attempting to stone that woman in John chapter 8. "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

Good thing I wasn't in that crowd. I would have smote that broad the biggest rock I could find. Mostly just to see what would have happened. You can't buy that kind of infamy.

Then I would have explained to Jesus it was alright, I'm working for Karma, and then I'd ask him if he'd like to grab a beer? My treat of course. Get a few in him and he might drop a hint or two.

Plus, who wouldn't want to arm wrestle the Son of God?

For this email, let me copy and paste a few of the recent email replies given to the meetup groups that I have posted this blog to. They saw the post on Karma in their meetup's discussion pages and had the urge to comment as follows:

From: George V
To: buddhism-85 at
Sent: Sat, Oct 9,[masked]:40:25 GMT+00:00
Subject: Re: [buddhism-85] What's your take on Karma? How do you understand Karma? Open for discussion.

Silly boy. That the most ridiculous abstract of Karma that I have ever heard. Karma is simple. Why does everyone try to make life so difficult. Have you forgotten Buddha's teaching that life is difficult? Accept. Accept that life is difficult and you transcend that difficulty and life is not longer difficult.

Karma, simply put is as follows: What you focus on in life.....thoughts, words, deeds..... becomes your life. Good or bad. If you focus on lack, you will lack. If you focus on abundance, you will have abundance. Etc. Etc. Etc. What you put into the universe in essence comes back to you. You would not plant an apple seed and expect an orange tree! Same with life. If you live a life of hated and evil, that is what your life will be about. What you focus on, or plant in your life ........ grows. So plant love, plant abundance, plant kindness, plant understanding, plant compassion.

It is not a tit for tat!

Silly boy.

I immediately responded with:
Dear Silly Boy,
I like your answer. But why do good people suffer? Why if living simply might not be enough? Do you believe in many lives?
Thanks for your comments. Continue your practice joyfully.

Sent to buddhism-85 meetup group emails via DROID on Verizon Wireless on 10/9/2010 1:58:37 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time

Then George V responded back:


The "silly boy" was meant for you, not as my sign off name~! LOL People suffer because that's what they expect from life. Think of someone you know......who always thinks negatively. Perhaps he likes to play the victim, and hence his life always illustrates his beliefs. Perhaps he thinks he is unlucky and hence is always having bad luck. Perhaps a child is abused and hence learns that abuse is what life is about......therefore the child either becomes an abuser or continues a life where he/she is abused. The same is true of positive possibilities. I have a friend that has always believed he is lucky. And therefore he is! He racks it up in Vegas!

But you must believe. You can't just say "I'm a lucky person" once or twice and expect it to be so.

A thought repeated becomes a belief. A belief becomes an action. And an action creates your life.

Hope that helps.

Love and light,

Then Martin replied to the question with the following:

Subject: Re: [buddhism-85] What's your take on Karma? How do you understand Karma? Open for discussion.
Date: 10/9/2010 3:11:46 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: scottm52 at
Reply To: buddhism-85 at
To: buddhism-85 at


I have always looked at Karma not as revenge or retribution, but as loving instruction.


Subject: Re: [buddhism-85] What's your take on Karma? How do you understand Karma ? Open for discussion.
Date: 10/9/2010 8:15:15 P.M. Eastern Daylight Time
From: pburrows at
Reply To: buddhism-85 at
To: buddhism-85 at

People also suffer, and are lucky, without those expectations, and without those beliefs. Did that child expect to be abused? Did he attract it to himself? That's one of the beliefs I've always disliked about the new age movement.

You can believe you are rich all you want. But unless you get out there and do the work required to be rich, it isn't going to happen. And even if you do the work, it still might not happen. And if it doesn't happen, the reason it did not happen is not "because they didn't try hard enough" or "didn't believe enough." People go their grave trying to achieve these goals, how can you try harder than that?

Injustices often happen in life without an attribution of will. How you deal with those injustices defines your character.

As for Karma, Karma is simply an action, an act of will, that is performed by a person (things also happen without people.) Being mindful of karma in your daily life includes being mindful of the reactions those actions may have. For instance, by using the words "silly boy" as an action, you may have the reaction of insulting the person you are writing to, weakening your overall point. There is no magic involved, though. No divine retribution. No universal will making this happen. It is simply what happens.

Of course, where it gets complex, is the idea that everything I've said is wrong! (which is more often the case than I would like to admit.) Trying to trace this human initiated cause and effect back to the root causes of any single action is likely impossible.

Generally, morally suspect acts bring about similar results, and virtuous acts also bring about virtuous results. But this is not always the case. Nothing is 100%, and one large act could bring about consequences of all sorts.

From a Buddhist perspective, the moral character of your acts also ties into how you are reborn, and your ability to achieve nirvana... making the concept even more complex, adding in that moral character aspect and the idea of "you better do good, or else." Perhaps that abused child was simply working off some bad past karma. Without current injustices, past karma could never be met.

But I don't know. No one can know. All injustices are not karmic comeuppance. All you can do is treat them as what they seem, and handle them in the best manner you know how.

happier now that I've seen you,

Patrick Burrows

Thanks for the responses. Good stuff to consider.


Please reply and give us your take on Karma.

I will later on submit other comments on the blog that shows the variety of interpretations of Karma.

I am considering asking the American-born Tibetan monk Konchog Shenphen to do another talk on Karma to clarify the concepts.

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