Good and Bad Karma
“The theme of this chapter is karma, a concept you may feel is rather old fashioned but it embraces a truth that is neither old nor new; karma is a Truth that is eternal. It relates to you right now.
According to Buddhism, karma is more or less synonymous with ‘action’, since karma is generated by actions. In order for action to occur, the function of will is always involved. When you think of doing something, that thought usually manifests as physical movement. At that moment, your thought and your action are permanently etched on the record of your life. What is created by the will and action is called karma.
Naturally, there is both ‘good’ karma and ‘bad’ karma since there are good actions as well as bad. However, karma is most often thought of as negative because it is closely related to the concept of reincarnation. Before you incarnate into this world, you prepare a rough plan of the life you are going to live on Earth. The more advanced the soul, the more complex and detailed the design of a life. Souls at lower spiritual levels tend to draw less sophisticated life plans. In any case, once you are born, you must inevitably experience all sorts of difficulties in this three-dimensional world. Faced with such difficulties, you may think they are the outcome of the karma of a past life. If you attribute your difficulties and their disastrous consequences – pain, sadness and anxiety – to the idea of past-life karma, then karma is naturally seen as negative.
However, there is a pitfall in this way of thinking. Consider looking back at your whole life. In fact, you cannot possibly claim that your life was constantly miserable, as if it rained the whole time. If you recall your life as an endless series of unhappy experiences one after another, this is just your way of remembering your life. Instead, look back over it carefully from an objective point of view, as if you were watching a movie. There must have been some good moments as well as the bad. Unfortunate events are frequently preceded by happy times.
Happiness and unhappiness arise in your life as the cumulative result of the various experiences you have had. Looking back on the last day of your life, it will be up to you to decide whether your life has been happy or not. If you think your life was unhappy, you will be recalling only the miserable experiences. On the other hand, if you think you lived a happy life, you will be recalling a lot of the good times, though you may have experienced bad times as well. So it is a question of which aspects of your life you focus on.
If you etch a tragic event very sharply on your soul, this memory may linger for decades. For example, you may be the victim of some natural disaster. If you were nearly buried or killed by a landslide but had a narrow escape, you might not manage to free yourself from this nightmare even twenty or thirty years later. That traumatic memory might have a powerful influence on your life. It all depends which images you etch on your soul.” From The Master Okawa’s book