Can Creating Good Karma ‘Become’ Bad Karma?

Empowering one another with compassion,
may all be motivated in doing good.
Empowering one another with wisdom,
may all be skilful in doing good.


Recently, a friend encountered a deceased bird on a pavement. Out of compassion, he stood near it to chant the name of Amituofo (Amitabha Buddha), in the hope that if the consciousness is around, this can guide it to a better rebirth. If not, he could still dedicate merits for the same cause. Two crows happened to be nearby, who cawed loudly at him, probably thinking he was about to steal their lunch or disturb their friend? For the next few days, whenever he walked by the same path, the same crows would caw angrily at him, and even tried to attack by flying near. This made him wonder if doing good could karmically lead to suffering. Is doing good always good? What he did was definitely good, to delay the birds just a little from possible scavenging, in case the bird had just died, which could lead to great pain if it was eaten with the consciousness still in the body.

Doing of good will always beget good – but it might take some time. Planting a positive karmic seed seldom leads to immediate blossoming. In the mean time, our past negative karmic seeds planted, which we might have forgotten, can ripen now, which creates the illusion that we are harvesting suffering from doing good, while the fruits from freshly sown positive karmic seeds will ripen in future when the conditions are right, even if such seeds are then forgotten. When we plant Seed A, we might harvest Fruit A a month later, on the very day we plant Seed B, which should not be mistaken as the cause of Fruit A, as it is the cause of Fruit B later. In this way, all is fair in the long run. If we look at history, there are many great heroes who sacrificed their lives while they do good to help the masses. Surely, no one sees their deaths as bad karma from doing what is worthy.

Although actions with good intentions create good karma, our intentions might be misunderstood by others. However, this does not render such good deeds as bad in effect. Being misunderstood by the crows was a fruit due to past karma as the cause, as ripened through the present action as the condition. (Perhaps, my friend wronged someone similarly in the past?) As the misunderstanding was unintentionally conditioned, it was not karmically caused by the act of kindness. Offering food to the crows with loving-kindness should dissolve any remaining animosity. Yes, there will be good results from helping the birds in time to come. Even if there is occasional doubt, most believe that doing good begets good, and that this is worth the effort, which is why there is more good than evil in the world. If not, it would had been overrun by evil and suffering already!

As causes, given conditions,
lead to corresponding effects,
the way to lessen ill effects
is to create more good causes
and to avoid any evil conditions.


Related Courses:

Understanding Amituofo Via The Amitabha Sutra (10th Run)
The Faith Factor: Treatise On Ten Doubts About Pure Land (2nd Run)
The 48 Great Vows Of Amituofo: Boundless Blessings For This Life & The Next (2nd Run)

Related Article:

The Four Assurances

Please Be Mindful Of Your Speech, Namo Amituofo!

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