The Law of Attraction ‘Vs’ Karma?

Question: Do you have any articles on karma and law of attraction?

Answer: Here is a ‘reverse’ article on it: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/thedailyenlightenment-realisation/message/329 (‘The Secret’ of the Law of Resistance).

Question: Someone I know believes that his ill health is due to bad karma and have been praying and chanting a lot to get rid of this bad karma. What do you think?

Answer: Bad karma is not always in terms of an untraceable force. E.g. bad health can be caused by bad lifestyle habits now, which create and perpetuate the bad karma of bad health. Beyond praying and chanting, it is good to look into the possible need to change bad habits too, if they exist. Also, one can do more good deeds to create good karma to dilute bad karma — e.g. practise animal liberation, go vegetarian, do charity work…

Question: He also believes that positive thoughts attracts positive energy from the universe and he should keep in mind that his health will get better and better by the law of attraction.

Answer: Actually, there are many versions of what the so-called law of attaction is, and criticism on whether it works or not. The most popular version of the law of attraction, that what you think you will get is not exactly true, according to Buddhism. Because the thought of something in terms of intention is just a seed. There are conditions needed for the seed to grow, for fruits (results) to bear. For example, millions of people  think and even dream of striking lottery all their lives, but they never win – because they lack the karmic conditions of generosity done in the past to nurture the seed of wealth to grow and manifest this way. Likewise, every ill person who craved to live on indefinitely eventually died when it is karmically time to go.

Question: He is afraid that if he gets better with the law of attraction, he does not deserve it and other bad things will follow. How can I help him with this thought?

Answer: Whatever one experiences in the moment, one always deserves in the moment – because the law of karma is always at work perfectly. This does not mean one who is sick should not seek cure, but that in the midst of seeking a cure, whatever one experiences in the moment is karmic in nature, never due to luck or chance. It is impossible to recover and not karmically deserve it at the same time. As such, his worry of karma being messed up and claiming ‘vengeance’ will never happen.

Question: I’ve search the net for some insights and found that there are many school of thoughts, which made me very confused.

Answer: The idea of the law of attraction working just by constantly thinking of something is a big mistake, as you can see above. Cause + Conditions = Effect. Conditions are crucial and this includes diligent efforts in various appropriate forms.


  • How Karma works and ripen, we cannot understand. However, is there a link that more and more strong bad karma of previous lifetime will ripen now, as you practise and progress spiritually in the Dharma?

  • From https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/zeph/conversations/messages/1095 :

    *Crouching Elephants, Hidden Monkeys: Can Increased Spiritual Practice Hasten Ripening of Negative Karma?*

    There is a popular misunderstanding that increased spiritual practices, such as chanting and meditation, can hasten the ripening of negative karma – especially when done “in excess”. Some further misunderstand this to think that it can even create more negative karma. Both of these ideas are misconceptions. Let us investigate how this is so.

    Proper chanting and meditation with the right motivation and understanding have many uplifting effects – for both the practitioner and the ones the practice is dedicated to. Some of these effects include increased mindfulness, calmness, clarity, loving-kindness and wisdom. Note that none of these effects are negative in any way. In fact, these practices create positive karma, sometimes with much instant effect. How then can they hasten the ripening of negative karma? The reverse is true instead – they hasten the ripening of positive karma, while creating fresh positive karma.

    Is there such thing as a practice “in excess”? Every “ritualised” or formalised practice should be done in moderation – though different practitioners have varying standards as to what is moderate, as dependent on their aspirations and capacities. The definition of “in excess” already means too much; “too much” is then indeed too much. Perhaps, one might be practising chanting to the extent of forgetting one’’s daily duties and household responsibilities, while neglecting communication with family and friends, while forgetting to take care of one’s health… This is surely unhealthy and in excess – and creates negative karma, with much instant effect. We need to remember that spiritual practice includes fulfilling our worldly roles too.

    Sometimes, we hear cases of “ultra-sensitive” Buddhists who chant certain scriptures and feel the presence of unseen beings. This need not be a definitely good or bad phenomenon. The presence of beings can mean they are eager to hear the Dharma from you, or to partake in the merits shared. Generosity in doing so creates positive karma and strengthens karmic affinity. However, if the person chanting feels overwhelmed by the self-imposed pressure to chant, or feels uneasy at the presence of these beings, it is probably better to resume those specific practices when more ready.

    That said, it is important to note that not many have the special encounters as above. Similarly, just because there are pedestrian traffic accidents does not mean we should not be pedestrians at all. With the right intention of chanting, one is naturally protected by the truth of the Dharma of what is chanted. Millions of fellow Buddhists, monks and nuns do chanting daily, and never experience any negative effects. In fact, they keep up or even increase their practice when they readily experience the positive effects.

    For some practitioners, it might seem that some obstacles in life seem to pop up when one becomes serious about spiritual practice. This is usually related to karma in a couple of ways. Firstly, one is not accustomed to the practice. Thus, when one tries to practise, one might feel uneasy or unconfident. But practice makes perfect. Not practising, we do not become significantly better anyway. Secondly, one might encounter other non-practice related obstacles – such as sickness. This might be one’s negative karma ripening when one aspires to create positive karma by practice. This is probably no “coincidence”, but part of the interplay of the dynamics of karma. The more obstacles there are, the more should one persevere – to create more positive karma to dilute the effects of negative karma.

    At this point, one might think – what is the point of spiritual practice if it can seem to “invite” obstacles. There are at least three good reasons not to give up. Firstly, if one does not actively creates positive karma to overwhelm negative karma, the negative karma will always be there anyway. Secondly, not creating positive karma now is at the risk of the fuller force of our negative karma overwhelming us anytime. As an analogy, you do not know when a landslide (representing fruition of future negative karma) might submerge your house (representing present positive karma). Thirdly, as we have to cut across thorny obstacles to reach True Happiness anyway, we might as well do it now – since more thorns might grow when we create more negative karma unmindfully.

    Sometimes, there are crouching elephants and hidden monkeys in our practice. Due to the nature of our already present negative karma and defilements, obstacles are naturally “set” along the course of practice. The process of spiritual cultivation can be seen as a courageous quest through a thick forest, where obstructing “elephants” and distracting “monkeys” might pounce upon us. These elephants stand for huge obstacles that block our practice, making it more challenging. For example, one might be ostracised and thus discouraged by those who do not understand our practice. The monkeys stand for our fickle “monkey mind”, that entertains doubts and other digressions. As mentioned, these “demons” are manifestations of our already present negative karma and defilements. Proper spiritual practice does not create new inner “demons”, but recognises and conquers present ones.

    When we overcome our spiritual obstacles, we become spiritually stronger in compassion and wisdom. This is the purpose of all spiritual practice – to always become better – till we become perfect. Of course, if one encounters obstacles which are seriously disturbing, one should always seek the advice of one’s spiritual teachers. We also need to note that anyone who tells us that spiritual practice is unimportant, should not be increased, and can be delayed, is almost definitely not a spiritual teacher in the first place. This is because spiritual practice should permeate our entire lives. Life is simply too short to procrastinate spiritual cultivation, without which, we can never taste the fruit of True Happiness.

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.