Home » Features » Should We Only Let Karma Mete Out Justice?

The only thing necessary
for the triumph of evil
is for good men to do nothing.

- Popular saying (misattributed to Edmund Burke)

A lady saw a male colleague secretly and regularly siphoning company money into his personal account. As he ranked higher, she did not disclose him, fearing that he would simply deny her accusations and even make work life more difficult for her. To avoid repercussions, she could had been be an anonymous whistleblower to upper management though. However, she merely nursed resentment against him, while ranting on about the ongoing theft to her family and friends – complaining futilely to almost everyone else, other than the right persons. When encouraged to speak up, she simply says she firmly believes in the law of karma, that the evil will eventually and naturally bear the bitter fruits of their actions, and that if she reveals his crimes, she might create negative karma instead, as he has a family to look after. Unfortunately, partly due to the embezzlement, the company later collapsed!

This is a classic case of misunderstanding and thus misapplication of the workings of karma. It is true that given enough time, with the continual lack of repentance and presence of appropriate conditions, the long arm of karma is going to reach and nab the guilty guy. If so, what were the lady’s misgivings? Her big mistake was hesitation to point out his big mistakes, thus allowing their perpetuation. What is the harm in this? The apathy was as if a silent nod to let him continue stealing funds, which led to the loss of the company, along with the jobs of others in it, including hers. This is how much damage unchecked evil can lead to. When one in effect condones another’s misgivings, even by intentional inaction, it is a misgiving too. To some extent, she indirectly led to the downfall of the company, when she could had been an active and wisely operating instrument of karmic justice to save the day.

Did she have a point that disclosure might lead to his family having trouble? Well, the many others affected have families too, and a criminal who gets away scot-free is likely to become a repeat-offender, thus putting himself, more families and companies into greater harm’s way later. A little jail time as a sooner wake-up call is surely better than a longer sentence later. It is always better to deter the growth of negative karma when it is easier too, just budding. Karma created is negative only when the intention of the action is evil, based upon greed, hatred and delusion. If she addressed the issue without these three poisons, but as guided by compassion and wisdom for him, his family and the company, she would not had created any negative karma at all; but plenty of positive karma instead – from safeguarding more. Ironically, her speech motivated by spite about his misdeeds did create negative karma!

If the right way to understand karma
is to let everything take its course,
it would have been wrong
for the Buddha to teach about karma.

- Stonepeace

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9 Responses to “Should We Only Let Karma Mete Out Justice?”

  1. avatar
    Prajna Caksu December 29, 2012

    Yes, buddhists who excuse everything to the Law of Khamma is no different from the Christians, who leave everything to God. Buddha taught we are the owner of our khamma.

  2. avatar
    Sumedha Wee Ck December 29, 2012

    The issue I think is that we are quick to push everything to Karma. That to me is without wisdom. We have to make our judgement base on each merits and not just lament that Karma will mete out Justice.

    We should train our mind to be clear and sharper with wisdom and compassion.

    May the blessing of the Holy Triple Gem be with All of us and may we develop wisdom and compassion towards all Beings.

  3. avatar
    Sis Seng Wah December 29, 2012

    Thank you, Bro. Shen Shi’an!
    Read your post with much interest and it has given me some new perspectives of looking at things … Thanks again! Pls keep up your great Dhamma work!

  4. avatar
    onceavictim December 29, 2012

    There are many situations where people ponder where is justice. There are some people in positions of authority and can spin webs of tales to degrade the staff to put themselves in upper hand. Usually, they have the access to the highest level which are not accessible to most. Also, the modus operandus is to give verbal instructions without trace and using position to instill fear. They will use a direct subordinate and then create situations of confusion. Ruling by confusion and instilling fear is a method used by the unscrupulous. I too wonder how justice can take place. Especially, such a person can break the rice bowl of anyone who stands in his path. Real cases. not fictional.

  5. avatar

    Great skilfulness is needed in anonymous whistleblowing. It can be done effectively, sometimes using public shaming if some in upper mgmt is in cahoots. Real case too!

  6. avatar
    onceavictim December 30, 2012

    in the case and modus operandus I highlighted is not simply whistleblowing. It is due to absolute power corrupts. Company not run based on guidelines but upon the whims and fancy of an individual. He who has say over every department obviously triumph and can spin story to create situations to his benefit to harm those who may appear to be a threat. The incompetent will remove those that appear to be competitive threat even subordinates. So, whistleblowing is not the issue here. Do we expect the laws of nature to take its place? We always think that the good will triumph and that is assuming that you will not get removed from your job by the scheming one before justice is served. So who serves the justice?

  7. avatar

    As mentioned, how about exposing details of such corruption and using anonymous public shaming to force appropriate action?

  8. avatar

    in a similar fashion, it is important for us all to whistleblow [constructively] on the injustice in meat eating and not just leave karma to take its course…

    meat eating is plundering the Planet’s resources at an alarming rate…[not to mention the gang-rape and suffering involved in helpless animals] and if this Planet collapses, we all go with it.

  9. avatar
    Shen Shi'an January 1, 2013

    Well said! Here’s a piece inspired by you to share: http://thedailyenlightenment.com/2010/11/what-if-plants-feel-pain-too/

    :-D

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