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Karma and children

Gabs40_Gabs40_ London New

Hi , I am have question regarding children and karma.
If a child is ill either mentally or physically is this a result of karma , a result of something they did in a previous life. Could it also be a result of something the parents did in a previous life as obviously this affects them a great deal. I am finding it hard to understand karma in relation to child as they have haven't lived enough to try to prove a different way of life then they might of had previously.
If a baby dies at birth , how is that fair ??
If a child is affected by rape or beating and this then affects the child's mental health , how is that fair ?? Or how can that be explained? I am really struggling with this so any examinations would help me. Thank you.

Comments

  • BunksBunks Australia Veteran
    edited May 9

    Hi @Gabs40_. Welcome.

    Do you believe in past lives?

  • Gabs40_Gabs40_ London New

    Hi, yes I do.

  • Gabs40_Gabs40_ London New

    Federica, thank you. This is very helpful.

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Karma isn't that simple. Or that complex, depending how you look at it. Some sects of Buddhism do teach that, but that doesn't make it true. But playing devil's advocate, how would it change how you behave, or how you raise/treat your kids, if it was true? If you had some way to know that yes, someone is born into a difficult life because of something they did in a past life...then what? You still have to deal with right now, with what is in front of you. Why it happened, last life or this life, doesn't matter any more. It's easy to beat ourselves up thinking about such things, but there simply is no point.

    This is only my belief, and has nothing to do with Buddhism and is not something I have ever been taught in Buddhism. it is simply what makes the most sense to me. I believe "we" choose some aspects of our life before we are born. What reasons "we" do so, who knows. But I do think that in order to truly become enlightened and stop being reborn, our understanding of the human condition has to come from every angle there is. I think we have to play the murderer and the murdered, disabled and not, mentally ill and not, etc. It is the only thing that makes sense to me when you factor in babies who die at birth or shortly after. It just doesn't make sense to me that that is all there is for that essence/being/stream of consciousness. The reasons how that plays out, I don't think, matter terribly. But I do believe everything the human realm has to offer is a learning moment, including dying at birth or shortly after, and every other awful or fantastical thing the world has to offer. Like I said just what makes the most sense to me.

    My son is a type 1 diabetic. We don't know why as there is no genetic link. Just a fluke, most likely, where his body went haywire while he had a virus. Is it in some way possible it is related to a past life? Maybe. But whether it is or isn't doesn't make a difference. This is his experience in this life and we do what we can with it and accept the lessons it offers. After all, we all have our disabilities in life to deal with in some way or another.

    Fosdick
  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran
    edited May 12

    Please - this is just my opinion

    I want to believe that yes, the child did do something bad in a past life or have some sort of bad aura around them for whatever reason. I always have the good ol' "free will" conversation with my Catholic friends. Whenever I ask them why the world is so terrible if there is a god they say it's free will, god gave us free will. I understand that for the jackass that is hurting children but how does that child have free will. He/she didn't ask for this and can't stop it. My only explanation is that the child is suffering from something that happened sometime. Otherwise, the world just gets more sad.

    I will never be a Buddhist that forgives rapists and murders....never! that's not compassion to me...just silliness

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited May 12

    Well, opinion is all very well if it is underpinned with some kind of valid sequential thought-process.
    It's important to understand that while this conjecture may be relevant or typical of one specific school or Tradition of Buddhism, it is by no means generally accepted across the board.

    What IS accepted across the board that it IS purely and totally conjecture, and has no verifiable foundation.
    Furthermore, it is also broadly accepted that such suppositions, PoV's and determinations are a waste of time and can only lead to further embroilment in the perpetuation of Negative Kamma.

    Because 'blaming' the child's past, is not conducive to developing Compassion, but engenders blame or responsibility.

    Imagine what that does to the emotions of the parents, if they are laid open to the belief that their child is suffering as a direct consequence of something that happened in a Past Life.

    This revelation or declaration, can change a whole viewpoint, and create a dilemma.... Children have been killed through such rationale.

    Generally speaking it is more skilful to summarise by admitting "who knows?" rather than "Yes, I think so".

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator
    edited May 12

    @Tigger said:I will never be a Buddhist that forgives rapists and murders....never! that's not compassion to me...just silliness

    The Buddha forgave them... Are you saying the Buddha was silly....? O.o

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran
    edited May 12

    @federica said:
    Well, opinion is all very well if it is underpinned with some kind of valid sequential >thought-process.
    What IS accepted across the board that it IS purely and totally conjecture, and has no >verifiable foundation.
    Furthermore, it is also broadly accepted that such suppositions, PoV's and determinations are a waste of time and can only lead to further embroilment in the perpetuation of Negative Kamma.

    I respect that and that may be so but it's still my opion and I'm entitled to it. It's getting a little tiring not being able to have an opinion. Sorry you don't find my thought process as valid - I do!

    Because 'blaming' the child's past, is not conducive to developing Compassion, but engenders blame or responsibility.

    You're better than me

    Generally speaking it is more skilful to summarise by admitting "who knows?" rather than "Yes, I think so".

    Again, I respect that but it's still my opinion

  • TiggerTigger Toronto, Canada Veteran
    edited May 12

    @federica said:
    The Buddha forgave them... Are you saying the Buddha was silly....? O.o

    I wouldn't say that. Personally I havn't read any stories about Buddha being compassionate to that level of scum but I'm sure they can be found. Buddha, like yourself is better than me.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Moderator

    I would never elevate myself to any degree above anyone else. Nor put myself below anyone else, whoever they are, whatever they have done.
    Someone once loved, hugged and cradled even the most vile of people.
    And those vile people are vile because they are suffering.

    Perhaps - and it is merely my conjecture - you want to believe that yes, a child did something in a past - because you want to be able to respond to your Catholic friends with something as concrete for you, as God's will is for them.

    But saying something is God's will, is just a way of abdicating responsibility, and admitting "I don't know".

    I know the nuns at my convent would often fall back on that old chestnut, whenever a question was posed that seemed to challenge Catholic ideology.

    What's more, as good Catholic schoolgirls, we were supposed to accept that as a mote of wisdom....

    So maybe you want to believe it, because you might feel that everything has to have some solid reason for existence.

    I don't know.....

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited May 12

    Karma is NOT reward or punishment NOR is it good or bad...(Bearing in mind those things are "relative")

    Sentient Beings and non sentient beings alike are subject to cause condition effect Things are born (come into being) age decay( change) and fade away (die)....such is life...

    In sentient beings it's just this continuous self-generated cycle of causes conditions and effects

    Where one Keeps Accumulating Random Merits (or Misfortunes) Along (the way)

    We are just vibrating bundle of energy flux held together by karmic glue-and from moment to moment what we have just done, is what we will continue to do

    Bearing in mind that even the Buddha was still subject to bodily Karma causes conditions effects ageing decay and death (of physical form)

    Form is Emptiness-Emptiness is Form

    When a child is born with physical or mental deficiencies, I try not to ponder too much of the whys wheres and hows, what happened happened (no going back to try and change things in the past) ... It's more important to show them loving kindness "Metta" in the NOW (just as one should towards all sentient beings...)

    "The Past shapes The Present and The Present shapes The Future" just go with the flow of Metta... :)

    DhammaDragon
  • DhammaDragonDhammaDragon Carpe Diem switzerland Veteran

    @Gabs40_ said:
    Hi , I am have question regarding children and karma.
    If a baby dies at birth , how is that fair ??
    If a child is affected by rape or beating and this then affects the child's mental health , how is that fair ?? Or how can that be explained? I am really struggling with this so any examinations would help me. Thank you.

    The fact that Buddhsim includes the concept of Karma does not mean that it "upholds" nor "defends" Karma, nor wields it as an instrument of stigmatization of people with deficiencies.

    Trying to explain life in terms of fairness is setting out with the wrong set of questions.
    Life is not fair, and no, many incongruencies of reality cannot be explained.
    Life is what it is -impermanent, dukkha, no-self- and you have to accept it.

    No-one says you have to like it, nor understand it, so drop the questions and just be at ease with things as they are.
    There's this saying:
    "Expecting life to treat you well just because you are a good person, is like expecting a tiger not to eat you because you are vegetarian."

  • karastikarasti Breathing Minnesota Veteran

    Some things, just "happen" and aren't a direct effect of karma (at least not behind the very basic notion of cause and effect).
    Personally, I believe in everyone, and I do mean everyone, being deserving of compassion. I am certainly not always good at practicing it, but I do believe it. That in no way has nothing to do with accepting their actions though. One can practice compassion for the worst of people without condoning their acts by understanding they possess the exact same nature as Buddha himself. That is where our basis in compassion is supposed to come from.
    How can one explain a child being raped or beaten if it wasn't because they did something bad before? Because sometimes other people just do bad things to us and earn karma as a result. Not every interaction is a repaying of karmic debt in that way. Even if you choose to accept that that is how karma works, that doesn't mean every interaction is based on karmic past. Some things just happen as a result of choices people make that are not a direct result of past life karma. Sometimes, shit happens, unfortunately. Just because we can't make logical sense of "who just rapes a child!" doesn't mean it has to have a cosmic explanation in past life karma.

  • techietechie India Veteran

    There is no need to introduce karma, sin, or any other concept to understanding why anyone, including children, would suffer. Dhukka is in the very nature of life. Accept that and find peace.

    silverKeromeDhammaDragon
  • pegembarapegembara Veteran
    edited May 13

    The cause of aging, sickness and death is birth. Birth is the cause of dukkha.

    From birth as a requisite condition, then aging & death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair come into play. Such is the origination of this entire mass of stress & suffering.

    And what is birth? Whatever birth, taking birth, descent, coming-to-be, coming-forth, appearance of aggregates, & acquisition of [sense] media of the various beings in this or that group of beings, that is called birth.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/sn/sn12/sn12.002.than.html

    Wrong thoughts can cause more dukkha.

    "This is how he attends inappropriately: 'Was I in the past? Was I not in the past? What was I in the past? How was I in the past? Having been what, what was I in the past? Shall I be in the future? Shall I not be in the future? What shall I be in the future? How shall I be in the future? Having been what, what shall I be in the future?' Or else he is inwardly perplexed about the immediate present: 'Am I? Am I not? What am I? How am I? Where has this being come from? Where is it bound?'

    This is called a thicket of views, a wilderness of views, a contortion of views, a writhing of views, a fetter of views. Bound by a fetter of views, the uninstructed run-of-the-mill person is not freed from birth, aging, & death, from sorrow, lamentation, pain, distress, & despair. He is not freed, I tell you, from suffering & stress.

    http://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitaka/mn/mn.002.than.html

    But if you prefer scientific explanations, then you could say that there are genetic and environmental factors like radiation, drugs, infections that are teratogenic to the unborn human fetus.

    However that doesn't negate the fact that birth is the requisite condition. That's the "kamma" of been born.

  • paulysopaulyso usa Explorer

    my opinion,dukkha facilitate compassion,and empathy . personally,i been delt a crappy hand.for example,im fugly.is it my karma ? at this point ,in my life i don't care. i try to make best of this life.i have live long enough to know shit happens.good fortune and bad fortune ,in relative terms,happens to all of us.what has helped me is the reminder to self,bodhisatva dont deal in absolutes,from a crappy bodhisatva-want-a-be.

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