Karma Is Hard To Understand

Karma Is Hard To Understand October 11, 2018

Sometimes one person suffers so much that it boggles the mind. It’s very hard, probably actually impossible, to understand why one person would have to shoulder such a burden.

While I do believe in karma and perfect justice, it doesn’t feel right to say that someone deserved their fate. I think that’s a way for us to comfort ourselves. To say that person deserved it so it’s okay. And that can actually be really horrible.

I think karma is more complex than that and sometimes the things we suffer are not consequences of the actions of past lives but learning experiences we need to go through. But even that is deeply insensitive. To tell someone that they have to suffer as a learning experience…that is just incredibly obnoxious.

So I don’t know.

I found out yesterday that someone I knew died. He and I had dated a few times and though we realized we were not romantically compatible we remained friends. He was a veteran and he had lost both his legs in the war as well as having nerve damage to his hands. But he persevered and took up wheelchair racing. You would think that he had faced enough for one lifetime.

He moved to Florida and met the love of his life. They got married and had two children who are similar in ages to mine. And then he got cancer.

I watched through Facebook as he rapidly wasted away. I saw he and his wife fighting so hard to save him, trying every treatment they could, saving money to go to Europe for an experimental treatment. He got so thin that I wouldn’t have recognized him. Everytime he was well enough to go home it only lasted a few days before he was back in the hospital again.

And last month he died, leaving behind his devastated wife and two small children as well as an older child.

I don’t think I will ever understand why one person had to go through so much.

Photo by Martha Dominguez de Gouveia on Unsplash
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  • Donald Frazer

    I have often heard that the Buddha urged followers not to contemplate Karma saying “it will unhinge the mind”.

  • M Raghavan

    Karma simply means action and the result of that action. But, trying to offer an explanation on how that works is impossible. What is better is to offer compassion, a willingness to be there. Simply because it’s the human thing to do

  • Thank you for this interesting article, Ambaa. I don’t see a way to follow you. I will be writing a book about karma. But first I need to finish my book about qigong healing. I believe when we understand karma better, we can work with it to greatly improve our lives, fulfill our purpose, and move forward on our spiritual journeys much faster. I see karma as a way to move through the things we need to learn in this life. I believe we can overcome karma that we label as bad or negative (it is said that karma just is–it’s not bad or good–only we see it that way). Our karma is finely tailored to each of us help us progress. Because we have free choice, we don’t always want to do what we need to do to become better humans. But if we understand why we are being faced with issues and obstacles (or with blessings and rewards), we can take a deep breath and make decisions–even hard ones–that propel us forward. Then we won’t have to face those karmic issues again. I’ve been working with my karma in this way, and my life has improved 100%. Everything is working better for me now, and I am eternally grateful! Please let me know if you’d like to help contribute to the book or read it once it’s complete. I am in the research phase now. You can find me through discus or at perfectinnerpeace dot com. Take care!

  • Sambuddha Ghosh

    “While I do believe in karma and perfect justice, it doesn’t feel right to say that someone deserved their fate.”

    That is NOT the theory of Karma. What you understand by the word “Karma” sounds like Luke 6:31 or Matthew 7:12 with an “or else…” added after it, rather than what would be understood as Karma in our darshanas.

    Ananda Coomaraswamy, in his survey of his paternal heritage, remarked that “Buddhism” is loved in the West for being something which it is not. Western conceptions of Buddhism is a crude mimicry of Christianity – a result of Westerners trying to cope with baffling experiences in Asia by putting those experiences in a Christian mould.

    Thus, in their imaginations, the Buddha became a Social Justice Warrior like Jesus, battling the Brahmins (i.e. the Pharisees) against ritualism (“Letter of the law”; 2 Corinthians 3:6) and against the so-called “Caste System” (Cohen/Levite and the untouchable Gentile in the tale of the Good Samaritan)

    This Buddha NEVER ever existed, however, since he was Christianised and as he did not claim to be Son of God, he was deemed to be “rational” and “secular” and, hence, preferable to the weirdo Jesus.

    Thus “Western Buddhism” allows Westerners to be Christian without being Christian, to continue to be Christian by other means….

    What is true of “Western Buddhism” is doubly true of “White Hinduism”.

    Hence, we have the silly post by the author of this blog: A Christian with delusions of not being Christian aka “a Westerner”.


    Karm is Tough to understand, thats why Shri Krishn recommend Shreemad Bhagwad Geeta 18:66
    “Sarv Dharmaan Parityajya Mamekam Sharanam Vraj……..””

    which intends to say that “Surrender to the Will of me, ……”