Is there justice in the world?

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Is there justice in the world?

Postby odysseus » Sat Jun 09, 2012 12:54 pm

Is there justice in the world? In my understanding of karma, it is a just system/concept. But what I really ask about is about justice in the conventional sense. Can you rest assure that if something bad happened to you, the perpetrator will experience the consequences? Is it better to forgive someone and know that justice will happen anyway?

I believe that there is justice in the world, but it is not easily verified that justice is done! Will a Buddhist explain justice always and only in terms of karma?
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Seishin » Sat Jun 09, 2012 1:14 pm

In my personal opinion, I don't think justice is the same as karma.

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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Matylda » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:02 pm

odysseus wrote:Is there justice in the world? In my understanding of karma, it is a just system/concept. But what I really ask about is about justice in the conventional sense. Can you rest assure that if something bad happened to you, the perpetrator will experience the consequences? Is it better to forgive someone and know that justice will happen anyway?

I believe that there is justice in the world, but it is not easily verified that justice is done! Will a Buddhist explain justice always and only in terms of karma?



I have never encountered any Buddhist explaining justice etc. as karma... what a strange idea... If one misunderstands karma then maybe one can explain it in that way.. but justice is in hands of humans. That is already pretty bad, and hopeless. But it is the only way...
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sat Jun 09, 2012 2:09 pm

There is no such thing as justice, it is a maleable and subjective term that is used to explain everything from your favorite sports team winning to a cruel and vicious death for alleged criminals.

There is karma (action) and its outcomes. There are causes and conditions. The entire thing plays out without any reference to subjective views, naturally, like poured water running downhill.

You are solely responsible for your state of mind, forgiveness acts first to bring you peace of mind (by destroying anger, vengance, etc...) and gives the opportunity for the other to reassess their position, it gives them space to develop as well. Now whether they choose to develop is a different story.

Revenge and vengance don't rate high on the Buddhist "positive states of mind" list.
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby odysseus » Sun Jun 10, 2012 2:16 pm

I´m not looking for revenge! Revenge is only a childish way of repairing your self-esteem...

I just want to hear your thoughts on a Buddhistic kind of justice. Maybe karma is not the same as justice, but karma is just. Is it better to turn the other cheek and know that justice happens and karma will take care of the rest?
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby KeithBC » Sun Jun 10, 2012 3:45 pm

Justice is not sufficiently well-defined to answer questions like that.

Karma and its consequences happen. It is better to let them happen without getting irritated about it, because they are going to happen anyway. Whether we cal that "justice" or not is arbitrary and immaterial.

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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Jun 10, 2012 5:17 pm

odysseus wrote:I´m not looking for revenge! Revenge is only a childish way of repairing your self-esteem...

I just want to hear your thoughts on a Buddhistic kind of justice. Maybe karma is not the same as justice, but karma is just. Is it better to turn the other cheek and know that justice happens and karma will take care of the rest?
Karma is neither just nor unjust, it is just plain old karma: action and outcomes. Karma does not take care of anything, everything just is as it is due to karma. Everything, just and injust.

Turning the other cheek is a Christian metaphor, there are many accounts in the Jataka tales where the Buddha "turned the other cheek" and a couple of accounts where he just got nasty. Intention is everything. If your intention for "turning the other cheek" is to prove that you are better then "turning the other cheek" has failed miserably. If you "turn the other cheek" because you know the other person will suffer more as a consequence then "turning the other cheek" has failed miserably. etc...
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby odysseus » Thu Jun 14, 2012 5:30 pm

Well thanks, but I don`t feel any wiser about this!

If karma just "is at is is", then is there any incentive to be kinder and friendly?

What justice is there if not karmic-wise? Violence, racism, bullying and other injustices... In this context, I read a buddhist article (which I can`t find now) that basically says that those who retaliate are no better and even worse. I don´t want to retaliate, but I don´t want to be a doormat either! That`s what I thought about turning the other cheek.

Maybe I have misunderstood the concecpt of karma, but if there is no justice in the world what is the point of karma and rebirth into various suffering realms? Is the best thing to do to see injustice as another aspect of suffering and try to relieve it as best as possible and disregard doer and receiver?
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Seishin » Thu Jun 14, 2012 6:17 pm

Karma can be a tough cooie to crack, and as there's countless threads on karma already so instead I'll address this idea of being a doormat...

Buddhism is about compassion which is sometimes hard for some to swollow especially when we live in an "eye for an eye" society. Retaliation is never an option in my opinion, but neither is being a door mat. If someone does something wrong then call the authorities, be it the police, or your employer or security or whomever. Write them a strongly worded letter :tongue: , report them, speak to them... there's loads you can do. We can have compassion for someone even when they are being punished for a crime. Recently I read a story about a young man who went out drinking with his friends and drove home whilst intoxicated and killed his friends who were in the car with him. Of course he was sent to prison for his crime (and rightly so) but one of the mothers whos son had died in the crash forgave the boy and gave him a hug after he was convicted. To me, that is true compassion.

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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:04 pm

odysseus wrote:If karma just "is at is is", then is there any incentive to be kinder and friendly?
Incentive? Well the accumulation of merit and the positive causes and conditions that come about from this could be an incentive but any action based in self-centred egotism is hardly going to bring strong positive results. I am (normally) kind and friendly because there is no real reason to not be kind and friendly.
What justice is there if not karmic-wise? Violence, racism, bullying and other injustices... In this context, I read a buddhist article (which I can`t find now) that basically says that those who retaliate are no better and even worse. I don´t want to retaliate, but I don´t want to be a doormat either! That`s what I thought about turning the other cheek.
Nobody says you should become a doormat, the only thing that is of importance is: what is your motivation to act? If your motivation/intention is wholesome, go for it. If your motivation/intention is not wholesome, again you can go for it. In both cases you will bring into effect outcomes that will "match" your intention.
Maybe I have misunderstood the concecpt of karma, but if there is no justice in the world what is the point of karma and rebirth into various suffering realms?
Who said there was a point to being reborn into suffering? Liberation is the point.
Is the best thing to do to see injustice as another aspect of suffering and try to relieve it as best as possible and disregard doer and receiver?
That sounds like a valid working hypothesis to me!
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Ogyen » Thu Jun 14, 2012 8:34 pm

two cents' worth.

Justice is a construct erected out of man's sensibilities of morality. It varies tremendously culture to culture. In one culture carving the heart of your enemy out and eating it would have been a 'just' way to settle a moral dispute. In another, it is appallllllllling, you better pay some cash, get a lawyer, and have the police press charges blah blah blah.

WHAT is justice? And according to which humans?

Karma is not a construct erected out of man's sensibilities any more than the cycles of the waves in the oceans are created out of man's like or dislike of them. We delineate its process through observation, like tide watching. We develop our understanding through the principles of causality, but we don't create the causality itself. It is already there, and we are subject to the principle like the waves are subject to the tides, big or small. The wave follows the moon. The wave does not create the moon. We follow the choices we have from the karmic causality (made from the many situations and choices made - knowingly or unknowingly). Karma's not out to get anyone... just like waves.

Are waves right or wrong? Do they deserve justice when they break things? You see, it's irrelevant. Some waves destroy cities in the form of walls of tsunami, some are enjoyed as fun rides by the kids who paddle out on them in boards. What justice is there for them? Can anyone go out there and 'take it out' on the wave that destroyed their whole village? In the same way, karma is not a 'thing', or a law even, just an intricate network of causality, like a network of connections. You make decisions, those decisions have consequences, in what you chose AND did NOT choose. Not that you are to blame for everything that happens to you, because sh*t happens. You are responsible however for whatever you do with what's been done TO you. The capacity of self-awareness to change what you do WITH what's been done to you is what has defined the best of humans historically, like the Buddhas.

Are actions positive or negative? And from a Buddhist standpoint, what was the intention behind them? Some actions destroy entire lives and cities in moments, like Hiroshima and the atomic bomb, others are powerful forces of good like Gandhi's non-violence in India which led to freedom from the British rule... eventually.

Justice had nothing to do with the ebb and flow of causality, just the imposed 'right and wrong' of man on any given moral dilemma, which of course comes out of our suffering as well. Karma is the the ebb and flow of causality, whether we acknowledge or not, we are still subject the outcomes of our actions/non-actions.

I think that's why they say every drop of kindness matters.
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Jun 15, 2012 12:25 am

odysseus wrote:Is there justice in the world?
If there were, this wouldn't be Samsara. :D
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby odysseus » Mon Jun 25, 2012 8:20 pm

Ok, I feel better now...

Konchog, yes it´s called Samsara in Buddhism and it looks pretty injust! That´s why we have to work on it.

As Ogyen said, morality is relative and our human made justice will never be enough and it is an inferior concept to karma.

I still believe there is justice in the world, but when contemplating this I find that even if society´s justice may be our best way of solving disputes it will never make anybody happier. The perpetrator will be punished, but the victim will always carry on with the consequences of the crime (suffering for both of them). Justice will not make anybody feel better and in the end, it´s still just suffering.
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Adumbra » Tue Jun 26, 2012 1:04 pm

By justice, I take it that certain consequences should follow certain actions.

Life, it seems, can never be perfectly just due to random factors of chance. King Solomon said it perfectly in Ecclesiastes:
I returned, and saw under the sun,
that the race is not to the swift,
nor the battle to the strong,
neither yet bread to the wise,
nor yet riches to men of understanding,
nor yet favour to men of skill;
but time and chance happeneth to them all.

But chance aside, I see a bent towards justice in this world. Though it may not always be in the direction that humans would expect. Deeds that most peope would agree are evil are not always punished unless humans choose to impose that punishment and, even then, more crimes probably go unpunished. It has to be understood that Universe may not share the human prejudice of good versus evil, or even human ideas of 'fit' versus 'unfit'.

The idea that the world is unjust usually derives from holding false expectations. A good example: "Work hard and you will succeed." a demonstrably false maxim! It seems to me that the poorest people on the planet are often the hardest working while, generally speaking, the more money a person makes, the less they work for it. A person who works hard and then cries injustice when they fail to succeed reminds me of the computer programmer who forgets to end a subroutine with a bracket and then condemns his computer for not compiling the program correctly.

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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby uan » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:24 pm

Ogyen wrote:two cents' worth.

Justice is a construct erected out of man's sensibilities of morality. It varies tremendously culture to culture. In one culture carving the heart of your enemy out and eating it would have been a 'just' way to settle a moral dispute. In another, it is appallllllllling, you better pay some cash, get a lawyer, and have the police press charges blah blah blah.

WHAT is justice? And according to which humans?

Karma is not a construct erected out of man's sensibilities any more than the cycles of the waves in the oceans are created out of man's like or dislike of them. We delineate its process through observation, like tide watching. We develop our understanding through the principles of causality, but we don't create the causality itself. It is already there, and we are subject to the principle like the waves are subject to the tides, big or small. The wave follows the moon. The wave does not create the moon. We follow the choices we have from the karmic causality (made from the many situations and choices made - knowingly or unknowingly). Karma's not out to get anyone... just like waves.

Are waves right or wrong? Do they deserve justice when they break things? You see, it's irrelevant. Some waves destroy cities in the form of walls of tsunami, some are enjoyed as fun rides by the kids who paddle out on them in boards. What justice is there for them? Can anyone go out there and 'take it out' on the wave that destroyed their whole village? In the same way, karma is not a 'thing', or a law even, just an intricate network of causality, like a network of connections. You make decisions, those decisions have consequences, in what you chose AND did NOT choose. Not that you are to blame for everything that happens to you, because sh*t happens. You are responsible however for whatever you do with what's been done TO you. The capacity of self-awareness to change what you do WITH what's been done to you is what has defined the best of humans historically, like the Buddhas.

Are actions positive or negative? And from a Buddhist standpoint, what was the intention behind them? Some actions destroy entire lives and cities in moments, like Hiroshima and the atomic bomb, others are powerful forces of good like Gandhi's non-violence in India which led to freedom from the British rule... eventually.

Justice had nothing to do with the ebb and flow of causality, just the imposed 'right and wrong' of man on any given moral dilemma, which of course comes out of our suffering as well. Karma is the the ebb and flow of causality, whether we acknowledge or not, we are still subject the outcomes of our actions/non-actions.

I think that's why they say every drop of kindness matters.



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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby LastLegend » Tue Jun 26, 2012 2:48 pm

odysseus wrote:Can you rest assure that if something bad happened to you, the perpetrator will experience the consequences?


Not at a certain time no. But a cause will have an effect or effects given the right conditions.

Is it better to forgive someone and know that justice will happen anyway?


Causes will have effects but not at a set time.

I believe that there is justice in the world, but it is not easily verified that justice is done! Will a Buddhist explain justice always and only in terms of karma?


Karma is cause and effect. If you grow apple, you will have apples. But an apple seed needs the conditions of water, soil, sunlight, and temperature for it to grow into an apple tree then bear apple fruits.
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NAMO AMITUOFO (CHINESE)
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Re: Is there justice in the world?

Postby Nighthawk » Tue Jun 26, 2012 3:58 pm

When I first came to Buddhism I was also very confused with the workings of karma. Reading this helped me have a better understanding.
http://www.buddhanet.net/e-learning/karma.htm
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