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From: Keith (
Subject: Re: karma......
Date: October 7, 2005 at 9:11 pm PST

In Reply to: karma...... posted by Claudine on October 7, 2005 at 8:38 pm:

Well, there's karma and then there's karma. The view of karma in the popular culture is the New Age view, which is a bit different from the Buddhist view. I'll talk about the Buddhist view, since that's what I know best and what I think you'd be most interested in.

It is not helpful for a person who is in the middle of suffering to worry about where it comes from. If it's happening now, it's too late to do anything about it. Just remember that all things, even suffering, are impermanent.

What you can do is change your karma going into the future. Karma is just the consequences of your actions. Every thought you think (thinking is an action) and everything you do creates karma that you will experience in the future. So, if you think compassionate thoughts (include yourself in these) and if you do compassionate actions, you will start to experience good things. Some of the good karma may ripen quite quickly, and some may carry over into your future lives.

To appreciate karma, you have to take the long-term view, over mutiple lifetimes. Modern society encourages short-term thinking: "Well I was good yesterday, so I should experience good karma today." Well, in the Buddhist view, it doesn't work that way.

We have been around for millions of billions of lifetimes, and in some of those, each one of us has been quite horrible, just as, in some of them, each of us has been wonderful. And since those actions, whatever they were, are over and done with, the consequences are established and will happen. But we don't know when.

There is an end to suffering, including suffering experienced as a result of ripening karma. The end of suffering is enlightenment.


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