Thursday, September 22, 2016

Karma and justice?


Our ordinary system of justice involves a vast legal system ranging from people wishing to regulate civil life, congress passing laws to reflect those wishes, policing governed by such laws, trials to determine guilt or innocence, lawyers employed to prosecute and defend, jurors reaching a verdict, judges judging, incarceration, and remediation. From beginning to end, that system can be (and often is) seriously flawed and enormously costly. Unjust laws can be passed, lawyers can be either silver-tongued orators who earn big bucks or incompetents who are over burdened and under paid, judges can be bought, jails and prisons are vastly inadequate to the task of remediation, and in the final analysis few of those convicted, sentenced and locked away are ever returned to society as reformed and productive citizens. In an ordinary way justice is often unjust.

Karma, on the other hand, is cheap, flawless, always just and operates independent of other created systems. But many people consider karma as some form of fatalism or judgment of the “gods.” Such people have been misinformed. Karma has nothing to do with such myths. It is instead simply cause and effect. The choices we make have both benefits and consequences. If I consistently make poor choices I consistently get poor results. Good choices=good results, and this has nothing to do with “spirits” (either good or bad).

A simple example illustrates the point. However, before the example I need to say something about this idea of justice, which is more times than not a legal issue. Karma is deeper than what is legal. Perhaps a better way of articulating karma is appropriateness.  If I poke you in the nose, more than likely you’ll poke me back. That’s appropriate justice. If I come to your aid in times of need, more than likely you’ll think kindly of me. That’s also appropriate justice. If I am experiencing adversity today, more than likely I can look at my past and find the beginning seed that grew into adversity. That’s insight. If I want to experience better times tomorrow I can plant good seeds today. That’s wisdom. On the other hand if I think I can enjoy a good tomorrow by planting bad seeds today, that’s ignorance. If I imagine that I can reach an enlightened state of mind while at the same time conducting my life in an unsavory manner that too is ignorant.

Adversity is appropriate justice in action. So too is the lack of adversity. In either case we get what we have initiated, whether as individuals or as civilizations. If we are experiencing adversity, more times than not it is best to accept the natural outcome of karma and stop resisting. Resistance is a futile activity that is motivated by a desire to escape justice and simply exacerbates suffering. We need to learn from our mistakes to create a better tomorrow.

Simple justice. It always works. That’s karma and it is the system that never stops. To listen to an excellent talk on karma click here.
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