Home » Letters » Should I ‘Just’ Let My Negative Karma Ripen?

Question: Is it right to think that I should not take special care of my health, so that my negative karma can be allowed to ripen, to be depleted? 

Answer: The Buddha’s teachings are not merely about trying to deplete negative karma. They are about not creating all kinds of negative karma, proactively creating all kinds of positive karma and total purifying of the mind. Only then can there be complete liberation from all suffering, with full enlightenment.

Being sick is always an expression of negative karma (even if it is linked to physical causes). But this does not mean that we should not take care of our body, to purposely let it be sick, so as to let negative karma be expressed as sicknesses. ‘Needless’ sicknesses, if they arise, are from negative karma created by wilfully not wanting to take reasonable care of the body; not necessarily from another set of negative karma.

This is while latent negative karma can be expressed in many other non-health-related ways too — e.g. by having pain with the sudden loss of loved ones… If there are no conditions given or available for these other ways through which negative karma can ripen, they will not ripen in those ways. E.g. actively advising loved ones to live healthily will reduce the possibilities of them dying suddenly due to preventable sicknesses.

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