Dealing with Past Karma

Garden Floral BeautyIn understanding past karma, we may feel weighed down or overwhelmed when we reflect on the mountain of negative past karma we have inevitably enacted (without even considering past lives!).

The question arises: Is a person bound to reap all that he or she has sown, in just proportion? Quoting the Buddha, Ven Mahasi Sayadaw gives the following answer:

If anyone says that a man or woman must reap in this life according to his present deeds, in that case there is no religious life, nor is an opportunity afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow. But if anyone says that what a man or woman reaps in this and future lives accords with his or her deeds present and past, in that case there is a religious life, and an opportunity is afforded for the entire extinction of a sorrow (Anguttara Nikaya). [Source: Ven Mahasi Sayadaw, Basic Buddhism: The Theory of Karma. Available from Accessed on December 16, 2012.]

         Sayadaw adds the following comment: “Although it is stated in the Dhammapada that ‘not in the sky, nor in mid-ocean, or entering a mountain cave is found that place on earth where one may escape from (the consequences of) an evil deed’, yet one is not bound to pay all the past arrears of one’s karma. If such were the case emancipation would be impossibility.”

Fortunately, a method exists for dealing with past kamma: purification. . .

Source: Excerpted from Insights into Karma: The Law of Cause and Effect by Alexander Peck.

This topic is further developed in PART 4: PAST KARMA of the book under the following headings:

  • Good and Bad News
  • Discovering Our Karmic Issues
  • Clearing Accumulated Karma
  • Healing Our Karma
  • Changing Our Karma
  • Purifying Negative Karma
  • Letting Karma Burn Out
  • No Longer Blaming Others
  • Urgency of Purification
  • Pitfalls of Purification
  • Further Strategies
  • A Story of Purification
  • Prayers and Affirmations
  • Purification in a Nutshell

For a PDF copy of the above book, click