Letters

Top Ten Frequently Asked Questions On Karma

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Question [1]: Basically, what is the law of karma?

Answer: It is the natural law that according to what we think, say and do, be it good or evil, we will experience happiness or suffering respectively.

Question [2]: How do we know karma exists?

Answer: For example, if you do good by being generous and patient, you will experience the happiness of gratitude and peace. If you do evil by stealing out of greed and scolding others harshly out of hatred, you will experience the suffering of guilt and rejection.

Question [3]: However, not all who are good seem to have happiness, while not all who are evil seem to have suffering?

Answer: If the good are not yet with happiness, it is because the karmic fruit of happiness from their good done has yet to ripen. Likewise, if the evil are not yet with suffering, it is because the karmic fruit of suffering from their evil done has yet to ripen.

Question [4]: Why are there delays in ripening of karmic fruits?

Answer: Continuing with the analogy of plants, different seeds need various supportive conditions like different amounts of soil, water, sunlight and air, to grow and bear fruits, thus ripening at different speeds.

Question [5]: But is there not ‘instant karma’ too?

Answer: Yes. For example, if you choose to drive mindlessly, an accident is almost immediate. However, many forms of karma are less immediate. For example, if you choose to eat and drink unmindfully, chronic sicknesses will manifest gradually.

Question [6]: It seems harder to believe in karma when it is not so instant in effect?

Answer: Exactly. If it is always instant, all will believe in karma immediately, and none will do evil. There will be no need to have this chat on it too. However, the evil continue to do evil because of shortsightedness, not knowing or believing there is ‘later karma’ to be cautious of, even of they do not experience instant karma.

Question [7]: But some evil people seem to get away for a long time or for life?

Answer: Well, the law of karma has long arms, that extend from past lives to this present life, and from this present life to future lives. For example, we are born the way we are due to our past karma, and will be reborn according to our present karma created. There must be some principle or reason for why we are how we are, for better or worse. This cause is karma. When the presently evil run out of past good karma created in the past, evil karmic fruits will ripen. All is fair in the long run.

Question [8]: Will all forms of karma definitely ripen, sooner or later, in the present or a future life?

Answer: Just as a seed can be supported to grow well, it can be hampered from growing well too.

Question [9]: Are there examples of karmic changes?

Answer: For example, one who has created good karma can have happiness reduced when some evil karma is created. Likewise, one who has created evil karma can have suffering reduced when some good karma is created. While this might seem ‘unfair’, such good must be done sincerely and with repentance to have actual mitigating effects. One cannot simply do some good perfunctorily for the sake of ‘cancelling out’ certain evil done. That said, those habitually sincere and repentant in everyday life are less likely to do evil in the first place.

Question [10]: Is it more sensible to believe the law of karma exists?

Answer: Definitely. If there is rational confidence in the workings of karma, we will work hard in the right direction as we know we will reap what we sow, while not wallowing in dejection when facing karmic obstacles, as our karma can change with our sincere diligence. We will also not end up doing evil that is mostly criminal in nature, thus ensuring everyone’s safety and having personal peace of mind. This is why those actively doing good are always the happiest, while those doing evil live in fear and misery, even if it is not so obvious.

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