what is the role of karma ?
by eva alam
I want to ask you something that is haunting me for sometime and its frustrating that i could not answer my own question . I hope you could help cause it will relief my soul .I have been watching a mentally handicapped child who is left by his parents to beg . He is also physically disabled .
Whenever I see the poor soul in the street I feel bad and sometimes I cry . My question to you : what sin that the child has done that he is born this way? What sin he has done that he has to suffer?
If for karma he is suffering then in this life he may not had done what he had done in his past life to suffer like this?
I hope you would kindly answer me cause the more I see this child , I think of this question and the more I think God is not listening to others pains.
People’s suffering is a hard thing to witness, especially when your heart is at the right place. I understand you.
There are two concepts you need to understand when it comes to Buddhism that will explain that child’s condition. One is Karma, the other is rebirth and suffering.
Let’s start with the latter. Life is suffering. This is at the very basis of Buddhist teachings. Being alive in Buddhism is not something joyful ut something to make us suffer. This doesn’t mean that death is better. Ideally, we will all be reborn in the Pure Land and be free of suffering.
While on the earth, or any others, if they exist, we suffer from birth to death. Some suffer more than others and that has to do with Karma.
Karma means deeds (you can read more about Karma here
Basically, Karma is the result of people’s actions in this or a past life. In this child’s case, he might have done bad deeds in a past life but he may also be victim of other people’s karma. For example, his mother might have had substance abuse problems when she was pregnant, or he might be the product of incest, etc.
There is no use in trying to find the cause though as a bad action cannot be erased. It is there for eternity. A good deed will not erase the consequences of a bad deed.
What is left to do? You might ask. Well, even if a person faces several impediments in the present life because of the karma from the past, embracing a positive karma in the present can lead people to live happy lives.
Now, if you go to the page I quoted earlier, you will see that there are many kinds of Karma. One is common karma. When people work together and share the same karma, like what happens in a social development effort or a disaster on the negative side, these are referred to as common karma.
I bring this up to tell you that if the child, who is innocent, after all, has help from other people, to improve his lot in life, the good Karma will be shared between that child and the people working toward his bettering.
If you want to bring God into the equation (Buddhism is ambivalent about the existence of a God) you might say that he brought this child into the world to allow people to help and love their neighbors.
Anyone else has an opinion on the subject?