The Karma Matrix
I found this story on Karma very simple to understand. Once a king ordered his three ministers to take a bag and go to the forest and fill the bag with fruits. The first minister thought that since the king had ordered this he should collect the best fruits and fill his bag. The second minister thought that the king was too busy to look into the bag and check the fruits and hence, he collected whatever he could lay his hands on. Thus, his bag was filled with a mixture of good and rotten fruits. The third minister thought that the king would look at the bag only from outside and hence, just filled up the bag with dried leaves and stones. All the three ministers came back to the court with their respective bags. The king, without even seeing what their bags contained, just ordered that the three ministers be sent to separate jails for three months. He instructed that no food was to be given to the ministers because they had to consume whatever they had collected in their bags. The first minister could spend the three months in the jail by eating the nice fruits he had collected. The second one survived for a few days with the good fruits in the bag and then fell ill by consuming the rotten fruits he had collected. The third minister had nothing to eat and hence, could not survive. In life too we bear the consequences of our own actions. How often have we heard that, “we reap what we sow”? Some people believe that it is not just the actions of this life but also the karmas of past lives that haunt us. So, if your life is full of misfortunes it is not only because of your actions and wrong decisions of the present life, but also what wrong you may have done in your past life. I have often wondered how does one explain to oneself about one’s past life and the life of next birth? One can easily say, that if I have ill begotten wealth in this life which keeps me happy then why should I bother about its impact in the next life? One can also say that it is really unfair that one is paying the price for what one did in the past because what one does today should be more important. You can further say that there is no point in being good because your past is going to influence your present. Such questions have occurred to me as well. And, then I read Dalai Lama who says that we need to be good not only for this life’s happiness but to also mitigate past life’s misdeeds. That somehow made sense. There is also actually a matrix about what kind of good deed earns how many points of good karma. While being good should come naturally because one knows no other way of living, actually counting points keeps one focused on being good. I also believe compassion and goodness can be cultivated. If we provide an environment where there is simplicity, trust and compassion then it will provoke continuous empathy and gentle responses to situations. I think schools and educational institutions have the responsibility to provide a gentle and compassionate environment to children. It is in an environment of collaborative rather than competitive learning that children learn to live together in harmony. And harmony clocks in the best karma. Unfortunately, in our schools today, the focus is to finish portions and get our students to regurgitate information for good grades. Teaching our children how to win good karma is the farthest in our minds. What if we said that teaching children about good karma will win us good karmas? Will that then change our minds?
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