The effect of karma
AS A MATTER OF FACT - Sara Soliven De Guzman (The Philippine Star) - September 16, 2019 - 12:00am

There is too much evil going on in this country despite her being a predominantly Catholic nation. Many of our government officials have turned the country upside down. There are just too many bad things happening in all branches of government be it legislative, judiciary and the executive.

Those questioning the Bureau of Corrections right now are also guilty of their own crimes. How can you ever straighten up things in this country when senators, congressmen, judges and other government officials are doing their own thing – sucking the country’s coffers and abusing the system?

What’s worse is when citizens are the ones suffering. Yesterday, I got word that the Bureau of Corrections has sent out a directive that everyone released from 2014 must report back. I thought the President ordered the repatriation of those with ‘heinous crimes’ only? What will happen to those released almost 5 years ago? Mind you, many of them also live in Mindanao and the Visayas (what about their expenses)? Susmariosep! Kawawa ang mga tao ng bayan!

Granting that all ex-BuCor chiefs have done anomalies in the past, why dig up the past? Why didn’t Faeldon improve the system? Wasn’t he assigned as the Chief of the Bureau of Corrections by Duterte to cleanse the system? What happens to an official who fails to do the job? Simply removed without consequences? Sanamagan! We have seen government officials who are corrupting and who have corrupted the system in the past and where are they now? They should be inside the correctional institutes instead of hiding outside the country or playing hooky around town.

This is the reason everyone wants to work in government nowadays. You do not get punished for the crimes you commit. It is so easy for you to get away with crime  while regular citizens who work hard are often accused of crimes they haven’t even committed. Power plays big time. And those in government continue to abuse their power as they get paid to free the criminal while the innocent is jailed.

At the end of the game, the innocent looks at the effect of karma. Government officials’ unjust moves/ actions will bring them bad karma in life. The good citizen receives good karma. And I’ve seen such effect happening since time immemorial.

Please indulge me for a moment in giving the good people some respite from the many evil-doings of others so we can cultivate a more ‘peaceful mind’.  As Dalai Lama, the Tibetan monk and spiritual leader said: Some people misunderstand the concept of karma. They take the Buddha’s doctrine of the law of causality to mean that all is predetermined, that there is nothing the individual can do. This is a total misunderstanding. The very term karma or action is a term of active force, which indicates that future events are within your hands. Since action is a phenomenon that is committed by a person, a living being, it is within your own hands whether or not you engage in actions.

It’s never too late to choose to have good karma. To start, try to follow Dalai Lama’s “Instructions For Life” – 20 ways to “get good karma” (by Pamela Turner from Guided Meditation and Processes): (1) Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk; (2)When you lose, don’t lose the lesson; (3) Follow the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions; (4)Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck; (5) Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly; (6) Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship; (7) When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it; (8) Spend some time alone every day; (9) Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values; (10) Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer. 

The following ten points of Dalai Lama’s Path to goodness are: (11) Live a good, honorable life.  Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time; (12) A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life; (13) In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation.  Don’t bring up the past; (14) Share your knowledge.  It is a way to achieve immortality; (15) Be gentle with the earth; (16) Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before; (17) Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other; (18) Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it; (19) If you want others to be happy, practice compassion; (20) If you want to be happy, practice compassion.

Countless rebirths lie ahead, both good and bad. The effects of karma (actions) are inevitable, and in previous lifetimes we have accumulated negative karma which will inevitably have its fruition in this or future lives. Just as someone witnessed by police in a criminal act will eventually be caught and punished, so we too must face the consequences of faulty actions we have committed in the past, there is no way to be at ease; those actions are irreversible; we must eventually undergo their effects. – His Holiness the Dalai Lama

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I received a letter from Minister Sérgio Taam, Chargé d’Affaires of the Embassy of Brazil regarding a column I wrote on the Amazon forest fires. I welcome the additional information on the policies of Brazil on deforestation and how it has reduced deforestation by 72 percent in the last 15 years. But all these information remains to be seen with the actions of the Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro who is now under fire because of his inaction.

I must however, say that because of all the pressure the Brazilian President is getting these days from the international community, he recently called a 60-day ban on burning in Brazil. This was after French President Emmanuel Macron questioned Bolsonaro’s commitment on protecting the Amazon.

Los Angeles Times Editorial last August 27 had this to say on the fires: The reason the Amazon is burning is because Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, who followed Donald Trump’s populist, anti-establishment playbook to win election last year, wants it to. He thinks the Amazon should not be protected, and that lands reserved for indigenous peoples should not be recognized – all in the name of economic growth. That see-no-evil approach is another point Bolsonaro has in common with Trump, who has sought to make an alarming amount of public lands available for oil and gas drilling and other extractive industries, such as uranium mining – the health of the planet be damned.

At the just-concluded G-7 meeting in France, international leaders criticized Bolsonaro for his land-use and environmental policies, which include telling those who would cut the rainforest that his government would no longer stop them. So the rate of deforestation, while still far below what it had been a dozen years ago, has been increasing. The G-7 also announced more than $20 million in aid to Brazil and Bolivia for firefighting equipment – a drop in the bucket considering the need advocates say – and French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to put together an alliance to push for reforestation. Bolsonaro was not receptive; he accused the leaders of embracing colonialism by telling Brazil what to do. But there’s nothing colonial in asking a neighbor to stop lighting fires that affect the rest of us.

Anyway, let’s wait for karma to take effect on the people. It’s the yin and the yang. The good versus evil. The circle of life!

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