What is Good Karma

By Desmond Yeoh SC

What is good karma? This is not a straight forward question. Is being born as a prince, good karma? History showed that all the children of the Great Moghul Emperor, Akbar, turned to alcohol and opium because they could not stand the stress their positions demand. They could easily indulge in these substances because they had the wealth to do so and no one dared to criticise them.

Upon Akbar’s death, Jahangir became the next emperor and he continued to indulge in intoxicants. The ministers were concerned and pitted Jahangir’s eldest son, Khusrau, against him. Jahangir managed to put down Khusrau’s rebellion but had to suffer the pain of blinding and imprisoning his eldest son whom he loved dearly.

Jahangir’s addiction enabled his wife to constantly feed him wine tainted with opium and influenced his decisions. She eventually signed orders to the empire in her own name. Her manipulations caused his children to fight against one another resulting in one of Jahangir’s son, Shah Jahan, killing all his brothers to secure his own position.

Was it good karma for Jahangir to been born as the son of an emperor? A simple craftsman may have lived a happier life compared to Jahangir.

Is fame good karma? Many of the famous stars seem to have complicated lives. Many go through multiple divorces, suffer mental breakdowns and indulge in intoxicants.

statue golden buddha sky

This question is so difficult to answer that even the Devas, the higher beings in the Buddhist tradition, had to ask the Buddha what are the highest blessings[1].

In this world of duality, nothing is clearly right or wrong; and good or bad. Understanding this, Yogis seek even to free themselves from “Good Karma” which they see as golden chains that bind them to suffering. Yogis serve others not to accumulate merits but only as part of their practice to transcend all karma.

Related Article

The Highest Blessings

[1] This is in the Maha Magalla Sutta which inspired the article ‘the Highest Blessings’.

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