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Question: Some claim great Bodhisattvas do not intervene to help those with ripening negative karma. However, we know that all Bodhisattvas vow to help all beings. How should this ‘contradiction’ be understood?

Answer: Great Bodhisattvas will always do their best to help all beings. Those who do nothing to help when they can are not Bodhisattvas. Some might not help, only when they know enough help has been offered already.

They might not intervene when they know suffering cannot be prevented or mitigated due to beings’ very strong negative karma, who also lack positive karma to be ‘help-able’. Yet, they will do their best to urge changes in their karma.

Bodhisattvas sometimes demonstrate the futility of helping by trying to intervene, to teach on the frightening power of strong karma, as cautionary real-life case studies.

For example, the Buddha himself (who is a perfect ‘Bodhisattva’) thrice attempted to prevent massacre of the Sakyans due to their strong collective negative karma, even though unable to prevent most from being killed.

When the Buddha teaches us about impending suffering due to wayward ways, this warns us in advance. In this sense, it is early intervention already — in the hope that those wise heed and share the Dharma before it is too late.

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