Karma is the belief in cause and effect. If you do good things then good things will come to you. If you treat people well, then you will be treated kindly as well. If you do bad things, bad things will happen to you.
Today I have read a few stories about karma.
The first involved Momar Kaddafi of Libya. He has been a dictator of his country since 1969. Recently in the last week protests have begun in Libya. General Kaddafi had the military fire on the protesters. Not only did the military fire into the crowds with machine guns, it is rumored that bombs were dropped and mortar rounds were used. Kaddafi upped the level of aggression in the conflict to a level where he either has to quell the protesters irrevocably or be quelled. I do not believe there is any negotiating down from the current situation which has become truly terrible and surreal with Kaddafi refusing to step down, giving an hour long speech in which he said that he would rather be a martyr than relinquish power, and in which he called his people rats and denounced the citizens protesting as being on drugs.
Two Libyan fighter pilots refused to bomb the protesters. They sensibly flew to Malta to defect, taking with them the military's jets. I applaud their courageous action of flying away.
Even though the story is not new I just read that China decided in 2007 that Tibetan reincarnated lamas cannot be officially recognized without the sanction of the Chinese government. There are two prominent positions within Tibetan Buddhism where the Buddha, called a tulku, is reincarnated and has quite a bit of political power. One is the Dalai Lama who was recognized in his current incarnation in 1937. The other is the Panchen Lama. The past Panchen Lama died in 1989 and the Dalai Lama held a search within and outside of China to find the eleventh reincarnation of the Panchen Lama. A boy was identified and now he has disappeared as has the prominent abbot who helped to identify him. China has long insisted that it must have the final say over the appointment of the most senior lamas. Tibet experts said that the new regulations may also be aimed at limiting the influence of new lamas. The identification of a reincarnated tulku is a very mystical process, not one of government regulation. I wonder what will arise from this situation. How can you through government regulation identify a soul?
In Wisconsin the governor gave tax cuts to corporations and created a situation in a fragile economy where he could no longer balance his state's budget. He then decided to turn to the middle class and announce that he was reducing public employees' ability to participate in collective bargaining because this is a part of the ideological agenda for the Republican party. This was after concessions had already been given in regards to pensions and health care. Declaring that balancing the budget after this series of actions involves a "shared sacrifice" fools no one. Sharing would mean that the corporations would be asked to contribute a fair share. Not that the middle and lower classes should pick up all the expense so that the super rich can become even wealthier. Shared means shared. And now there are protests in of all places-- Wisconsin. And people must be motivated to turn out because it is cold in Wisconsin.
Tomorrow I will be as kind to others as I can.