You have the power to change karma

In my previous post, I explained what is karma, how it works, and how we are responsible for everything that happens in our lives. Since we create our own karma, we have the power to change our karma as well. Before I go into how to change karma, however, I will share with you a fairy tale from Korea that simplistically illustrates how the law of karma works. This Korean tale will deepen your understanding of karma:

Green snake

Long, long ago, a boy named Upboe was traveling far up the Diamond Mountain with his father. While awaiting his father who had gone to a near-by stream for water, Upboe heard loud twittering of birds. He looked above and saw two magpies fluttering around a nest located on a pine tree. Then he saw a green snake crawling his way up to the baby magpies in the nest. Upboe picked out his father’s dagger and threw it at the snake with all his might. To his surprise, it managed to hit the snake’s head and the snake fell to the ground.

Fifteen years passed. Upboe, now a grown-up man, was traveling through the same valley when the night settled in. Fortunately, he came upon a Buddhist temple in the valley. Two Buddhist monks profusely welcomed him to the temple and provided him with a room to sleep for the night. Exhausted from the long-day’s walk, Upboe soon fell asleep.

In the middle of the night, Upboe woke up by a choking sensation and found himself coiled by two gigantic green snakes.

“We’ve been waiting for you,” hissed one of the snakes.

“Fifteen years ago, you slew our father. Our father was a 1000-year-old green snake. Had he lived one more day, he could have been metamorphosed into a dragon. But you ruined everything,” growled the other snake in an indignant voice.

However, the incident had already slipped from Upboe’s memory, so he protested vehemently, denying killing a green snake.

Upboe’s adamant denial, one of the snakes said to him, “Fine. Let Buddha prove your innocence then. If you didn’t kill our father, the bell in this temple will ring three times. If it doesn’t ring three times before dawn, it means that our father died at your hands!”

Upboe was horrified. Kneeling down on his knees, Upboe began to pray to Buddha. A few hours passed, but the temple remained completely silent. At long last, the two snakes broke the silence. “Your hour has come,” snarled the snakes. “Now it’s time to die.” While Upboe stood petrified with terror, the two snakes opened their mouths to take revenge on their father’s death.

At that moment, something miraculous happened: A reverberating sound of the bell echoed through the Buddhist temple as if it was announcing Upboe’s innocence. The snakes looked at each other in astonishment. The bell continued to ring two more times. Silently, the green snakes freed Upboe and crawled outside of the room. Letting out a sigh of relief, Upboe whipped out of the room in a flurry. As he ran past the bell, he wanted to find out who tolled the bell.

Upboe went close to the bell, but found nothing unusual. When he peered under the bell, he was astonished by what he found: There were three blood-spattered magpies with their beaks and heads completely smashed.

Reflection on the story

The law of karma and the law of cause and effect are constantly at work throughout the Universe. However, it is not apparent to us because as the above story indicates, there is a time delay between cause and effect.

Like Upboe in the story, we do not remember details of our past experiences, and as for the memories of our past lives, they already fell into complete oblivion.

For example, a person who violently abused his wife in his previous life could be subject to abuse, violence, or any other negative experience in his present life. However, since his misdeed had faded into oblivion, instead of realizing cause and effect, he may brood self-pity when he faces the consequences of his violent act.

Besides, in reality, karma works in a far more complicated manner. Unlike the story, karma actually does not work in an eye-to-eye fashion. For example, just because we killed somebody in this lifetime does not necessarily mean that we will be killed in the next lifetime. Karma is not about punishment, It is about balance. It is about healing.  

In addition to our personal karma, we are also affected by our group karmas such as the karma of our family, society, nation and race. We live in an entangled web of karma.

change karma

How to change karma

When dealing with karma, we should keep in mind that karma is malleable. Although some people confuse karma with fate, karma differs from fate in a sense that it is not preordained and thus is thoroughly changeable. Karma is an energy dynamic. It is constantly affected by our thoughts, emotions, words and actions.

When it comes to karma, we are not passive recipients, but active participants. Since we create our own karma, it is possible to change our karma with conscious efforts.

Korean Zen Buddhism teaches that we can change karma through meditation, the practice of mindfulness, the release of earthly desires, as well as through good thoughts, words, and deeds.

Knowing this, we can consciously choose positive thoughts, emotions and actions. We can try to consciously steer clear of negative thoughts and emotions. When we practice mindfulness and live in the Now, it also significantly weakens the power of karma.

In the future, I will go into details of how to practice mindfulness to change our karma and to release karmic patterns. I will also introduce visualization techniques to transmute karma and karmic patterns. But in this post, I will take another approach to how to change our karma as we know it.

Personally, I believe that one of the most powerful ways to change karma is to resort to the power of love. Love is the most powerful energy in the Universe. We can activate the power of love to heal, transmute, and change karma. We can respond to a negative situation with love.

The power of love 

See if you can practice the following:

Try to respond to a negative situation with love, knowing that every experience in your life is designed for optimal wholeness and that every experience in your life serves your higher good. 

In order to move into a different reality, you must make peace with your current reality. The more you hate your current situation, the longer you will be stuck there. 

When something unpleasant arises, respond to it with love. When you respond to a difficult situation with love, you activate the most powerful energy in the Universe, which will transform the situation into a more pleasant experience for you.

Love has the power to transmute negative energy into positive energy. It is the potent power of love that heals, neutralizes, and transforms any negative experience. Love is the most powerful energy in the Universe. If you want to change karma, why don’t you activate this powerful energy called love to change karma?

Korean Zen