Negative Karma from inaction?

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Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby Ramon1920 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 8:54 pm

I was reading a threat about an unethical employer and a post instigated a question for me, even though the post is not on the same subject exactly.

Re: Working for unethical employer

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 7:36 am
If your actions or inactions aren't causing harm then it should be fine.


Can you accrue negative karma through deciding to not act in a situation?

So say you have a dog and you decide to not feed it.
Or say you see a murder and (assuming you don't live in a corrupt district where the police are involved with murdering people for their wealthy friends) decide not to report it.
Or say you took a commitment to do a practice every day and decided not to.

Would you accrue negative karma?
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby undefineable » Sat Aug 10, 2013 9:33 pm

Ramon1920 wrote:Can you accrue negative karma through deciding to not act in a situation?

The concept of karma wouldn't make much sense to me otherwise.

For example, having to claim state benefits because you didn't do as much as you could have done to get into work is a breach of the second of the five precepts (since taxation is self-evidently legalised theft), and certainly a day-to-day breach of the second of the eight precepts (taking what is not given).

In this day and age, a fear of the immediate repercussions of would-be actions (such as feedback as to the present-life results of one's past-life karma), along with a lack of imaginative insight into what one's actions could be, constitutes a lot of negative karma on the part of those whom a more merciful age would have destroyed before they had a chance to mess up. {This is interesting as a side-note, as it suggests that less positive karma is needed to be born human in an age in which the weak are preserved as is needed in order to be born human in an age in which nature takes its course.
Ramon1920 wrote:So say you have a dog and you decide to not feed it.
Or say you see a murder and (assuming you don't live in a corrupt district where the police are involved with murdering people for their wealthy friends) decide not to report it.
Or say you took a commitment to do a practice every day and decided not to.
These examples are of situations in which no conscious 'decision' need be made - The 'self-cherishing thought', as I understand it, would likely determine those outcomes.
"Removing the barrier between this and that is the only solution" {Chogyam Trungpa - "The Lion's Roar"}
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby dyanaprajna2011 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 10:55 pm

I agree with undefineable. I can't think of any instance where the compassion of the Buddha would dictate that one remain inactive. Most situations that I'm aware of call for some kind of compassionate action on our part to have any wholesome effect. How can you help relieve another being's suffering if you're not doing anything? It doesn't make any sense, IMO.
"If you want to travel the Way of Buddhas and Zen masters, then expect nothing, seek nothing, and grasp nothing." -Dogen
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby seeker242 » Sun Aug 11, 2013 3:54 am

Would say it depends on the situation and whether or not an action could be actually be beneficial. Not feeding a dog would certainly make bad karma! The action of feeding the dog would certainly be beneficial for the dog. Now if there is another situation where the only option for acting would not be beneficial, then not acting would not make bad karma.

Now for example, if you had a real opportunity to help a jew during the holocaust, and you chose not to, that may be a cause for regret. Any action or inaction that could be a cause for regret, would be making bad karma. The Buddha said that the benefit of morality is "freedom from regret". If the non-action would be a cause for regret, then it would be making bad karma. :)
One should not kill any living being, nor cause it to be killed, nor should one incite any other to kill. Do never injure any being, whether strong or weak, in this entire universe!
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby greentara » Sun Aug 11, 2013 5:24 am

You see a row of beggars in a poor country, you give coins to some and not to others.
I look at it like this...if you're meant to give you'll give and other times not. Beating yourself up about it doesn't help.
I may have told this story before.
Years ago travelling through India we stopped at a large hotel to have a meal before our departure flight. We sat near a window and could see a disabled beggar trying to be helpful and rendering service as people got in and out of their cars. Most people flipped him a coin for effort.
We thought him worthy of all our leftover coins and rupees before we exited India ....so we piled up a heap of coins and notes to give him as we left.
Out of nowhere the skies opened up and there was a huge deluge, it rained and rained. We looked around for the beggar so we could give him the booty but all the people in the street scattered, the beggar vanished! As the poet Robbie Burns said 'the best laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley'
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby avisitor » Mon Sep 30, 2013 5:27 pm

I don't know why but I have never like the concept of Karma as taught to me.
Do good and good things will come. Do bad and you'll get your punishment.
It was explained like you steal from someone and the next time someone will steal from you.
What goes around comes around.

Monks use to go out and beg for food.
So, if a person gave a monk meat then eating the meat could cause bad Karma.
For eating the meat is like causing the demand for the animals death.
Not eating the meat would be to disregard the life the animal gave up to provide meat to eat.
But, if Buddha got meat then he could eat or not eat it and still have no resulting bad karma.
Buddha being an enlightened being ... free from Karma and the cycle of death and rebirth
The same actions but the results in Karma are very different.

So, to me Karma isn't some agency that dispenses cosmic justice.
No entanglement of souls. No benefits and no punishments.
It is simply the actions.
Are the acts ...the actions of an enlightened being?
Are the acts due to the push pull of the thoughts from the frantic mind?
Are the acts due to a calm and mindful person .. dwelling in a separate peace?

Negative Karma from inaction?
Yes, if the intentions are negative.
No, if the intentions are good.
The road to hell is paved with good intentions .... hahahaha
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby Qing Tian » Mon Sep 30, 2013 8:42 pm

The choice not to act is an act in itself.
“Not till your thoughts cease all their branching here and there, not till you abandon all thoughts of seeking for something, not till your mind is motionless as wood or stone, will you be on the right road to the Gate.”
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby disjointed » Mon Oct 07, 2013 2:51 am

Yes. You can accrue negative karma in 2 ways I can see.

1. You have an intention to remain inactive based in self cherishing (for ex: out of anger)
2. You have knowingly violated a vow by inactivity.
If there is a radical inconsistency between your statements and the position you claim to hold,
you are a sock puppet.
Make as many accounts as you want; people can identify your deception with this test.
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Re: Negative Karma from inaction?

Postby praeteritum » Tue Oct 08, 2013 12:43 pm

Qing Tian wrote:The choice not to act is an act in itself.

This here is true.

Inaction and action are the same. You need to see past the seemingly dualistic nature.
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