Karma Is Specific – Not Reaping What Is Not Sown

Karma is specific. When my father planted his vegetable garden in the spring, he enacted the specific causes that would bring about the specific effects. Planting pea, lettuce, and onion seeds meant that he could fully expect to harvest peas, lettuce, and onions in the summer. And, year after year, this is what precisely occurred.

Likewise, a person will experience the result for which they created the cause. By contrast, a person will not experience a result for which they have not created the cause. However, this correlation is definitely not always clear.

When puzzling events develop in life, some people draw on the premise of past and future rebirths to help explain difficult situations. For example, a man is faced with having been swindled in a business deal, costing him his life’s savings. The law of karma, seen across lifetimes, could suggest the possibility that the swindled man himself had acted dishonestly in a previous time.

Since karma is specific, it is not transferable. Even if a person desired to take on other peoples’ karma, they cannot do so. Beings cannot be relieved from their negative karma by others’ wishes. Similarly, a Buddha (an enlightened being) cannot take on one’s negative karma. If enlightened beings were able to, they would have done so out of their great compassion, and all living beings would be enlightened. However, the attitude of desiring to take on others’ suffering and giving happiness, trains one to be able to do the work of a Buddha.

In sum, one does not meet with something if one has not created the karma for it to happen.