Is It Really ‘Very Bad (Or Good) Karma’?

Whether something that happens to you
is truly good or bad for you
depends on how you perceive the experience.


We often hear the utterance of the dreaded exclaimation, ‘Very bad karma!’ Sometimes, this is remarked in response to one’s own current misfortune, or when one realised one had just done something terrible. The first case labels the reason for one’s suffering. The second case anticipates suffering to come. Other times, the phrase is used upon others, in twin parallel ways… The third case is to label others’ situations to be the result of their negative karma bearing fruit. The fourth case is saying that they are creating negative karma there and then, which will ripen in the future. While the usage of the expression might be valid in all four cases in a straightfoward manner, they might also be invalid at times, as we shall see below.

For the first case, the very instant one truly sees one’s misfortune to be karmic, and accepts it graciously, while making the best of the circumstances to make amends, one’s karma is already not as bad as before, as there is now repentance. In this sense, even though it is bad karma at play, it is not ‘very bad karma’, but ‘less bad karma’! For the second case, similarly, once one really comprehends the horror of what just done, and takes remedial action to make up for one’s fault, it is not ‘very bad karma’ in the utmost sense, that might ripen, but ‘less bad karma’. This is so as sincere recognition of one’s mistakes that leads to turning over a new leaf creates some mitigating positive karma. For both cases, there is hope yet!

For the third case, even when others seem to be going through a bad patch, if they have been doing much good recently, their distress is already diluted in effect. In this sense, even though it is still bad karma bearing fruit, it is, relatively speaking, no longer ‘very bad karma’. For the fourth case, as long as we cannot read others’ minds to know their exact motivations for having done what they did, and are uncertain of the effects of their actions in the long run, who are we to say they are definitely creating ‘very bad karma’? For both cases, proclaiming unfounded judgements ironically creates bad karma for oneself! Why not create good karma by helping, through urging them to create more good karma instead? (The four cases above apply in a reverse manner for ‘Very good karma!’ too!)

Karmic seeds of good and evil lead respectively to relatively sweeter and more bitter fruits of joy and suffering, while the doing of further good or evil depends on how the tastes of sweetness and bitterness are perceived and interpreted – with wisdom or delusion. As some experiencing good karma unfortunately abuse it to do evil, while some experiencing bad karma are inspired to do good instead, karmic effects are ultimately empty of any fixed characteristics of good and evil. If karmic effects have fixed characteristics, those with good karma will always be good and never do any evil, while those with bad karma will always be evil and never do any good. This is not so as all who are still far from enlightenment are not always good or evil.

If how you perceive your experience
motivates you to be more good or evil,
it is correspondingly truly good or bad for you.


Related Articles:

Just Like That
How Some Might (Mis)Understand Karma
If It’s Your Karma to be Helped Somehow, Why Should I Help You?
Is There Fixed & Inescapable Karma?
Do We Simply Wait Out Our Bad Karma?
Same Old Same Old? What’s New?
Does Karma Go In Endless Loops?

1 Comment

  • Yes, when life deals you a lemon, you should make a lemonade out of it. There are alot of people who came out of adversity stronger and better than ever before.

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