On the Subject of Karma A disciple and Master are walking along a narrow path in the shady hills. Student: Master, in the Dharma, how is Karma manifested? Master: What do you mean little one? Karma is everywhere. Student: Well, I mean, what happens if you do something that affects the Karma of someone. For example, you stop someone from killing, or you teach something that benefits a lot of people. Master: This is a very difficult subject. Karma is a basic law of action and re-action. When a ball strikes a wall, it bounces back and leaves some energy where it struck. And in the same sense, doing good and doing bad leaves you with Karma that will come back to you. Student: What do you mean come back? Master: Well, when you throw a ball out, you exerted energy to give the ball momentum to leave your hands. That energy came from you. So something has to replenish the energy that you lost. In this simple sense, you would eat to get back energy to the muscles that were used to fling the ball. But the law of Karma deals with actions that affect others. If you send out Karma, a replacement Karma must come back to fulfill the energy you gave out. Student: I see. But how does it come back exactly anyways? If for example I stop someone from arguing or killing each other. How does it affect me? Master: This is very complicated. But be assured, everything is resolved in the end. As a simple example. Suppose you send out Karma that prevented a conflict (killing, arguing, etc). If you had never sent out that Karma, the killing and arguing would have happened as it should. But because you intervened, the karma that was supposed to be the driving force of the killing and arguing got dispersed, and will come back to you (the person that originated the Karma that stopped it). Student: That is scary. Does that mean I will end up killing and arguing with other people? Master: Not really. But you may be placed in a situation that offers you the opportunity to see in their eyes the reasoning behind the conflict. And you will be offered the opportunity to proceed with the killing and arguing (to fullfill the original Karma), or take your own advice (the advice you gave that stopped the conflict in the first place). If you took your own advice, then good Karma will come to replace that you took on from them. Similar to how you stopped them from having the conflict in the first place. If you DO kill or argue (in this simple case), then the original Karma is fullfilled, as the original conflict gets passed on, but in this case from your end. Student: Wow, so you should take your own advice when you give them out. Master: Yes, that is why they say "Do not judge, lest ye shall be judged". If you totally understand a situation and can really help out, then do so. But if you condemn a person for doing something in a certain situation, then you better be sure that what he did was wrong, because you may be put in a similar situation to be judged. Student: I see. But what about good Karma? In the original example, what happened to the good Karma that was gaven to the people who were in conflict? Master: This is why it is so complicated, and you should not worry about Karma in your daily lives. Just do good, and everything will take care of itself. In the original example, the Karma that they receive will be passed on, as they have this extra good Karma they have to give out. In the example, the person who gave out the Karma (if he or she didn't pass on the conflict), will end up receiving good Karma in return in another form. This is why they say, "what goes around, comes around" (good or bad). Student: Isn't it possible to hold in Karma all the time? Master: Yes, you can. But because you do, Karma will come to you to replace those that you hold. It is important that the person who decides to do the work of Buddha must be able to judge wisely and have good self discipline, because if he decides to spread good Karma, he must be able to withstand the Karma coming back to him. (Hold in the bad to replace it with the good). Student: But why do some masters shun any activity in the world? Master: Precisely the point. Some masters are reluctant to participate in the world because they know their actions can cause great Karma. Some masters become like a mirror to light. Karma (good and bad) passes through him (or gets reflected) to others around him. They are not affected by people's actions, thus are not affected by Karma directly. They go through the world like whispers of the wind, but you will notice them because of their mirror like qualities. Some masters take on the world's suffering, and this takes great self-control and discipline. This is why most masters have said they experienced hell and back before reaching their current state. Their values had to withstand the test of time and the Karma of others. Someone with a wrong set of values will end up creating more bad Karma for others and himself. Some masters exist simply to try to spread good when appropriate, as Karma is a very difficult thing to judge. Student: So what kind of master are you? The Master smiles.
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