Is there a difference in karma of giving someone $ 1 and giving someone $ 1000, or its same for anything given?


Is there a difference in karma of killing a small animal (like mosquito or small fish) and killing an big animal (like a cow or an elephant), or the karma is same for all killings ?

If there is a difference what makes the difference?

  • I know the answer for question 1. Given the receiving party and donating party is identical in both cases, giving $ 1000 is worth than $ 1. Hope someone will come with the exact source to support this.
    – PasanW
    Commented Jun 18, 2014 at 16:54

5 Answers 5


The difference will always be the mental state of the person performing the action. Giving is dependent on one's state of mind while giving; the amount is intrinsically inconsequential (though obviously a poor person will feel more strongly about giving $1000 than giving $1). As Sakka, king of the devas of Tavatimsa says in the Vimanavatthu:

"Natthi citte pasannamhi, appikā nāma dakkhiṇā;
Tathāgate vā sambuddhe, atha vā tassa sāvake"ti. (vi. va. 804);

There is not, when the mind is confident, such a thing as a small gift,
In regards to a Tathagata, fully enlightened Buddha or, furthermore, his disciples.

Giving to the Buddha is considered to be of greater merit, not because of the benefit to the Buddha, but because of the ability to inspire faith and confidence in the giver.

As for killing, the mental state involved in killing large animals is generally more intense; also the sense of the weight of the act is greater, so the mind will be more strongly affected by it. Killing virtuous people, parents, etc. is even worse, because it sets one squarely against virtue.

But there is no hard and fast rule here either; if you obsess over killing a single mosquito buzzing over you at night, you may cultivate more unwholesomeness than a single act of killing a larger animal.

Furthermore, karma isn't a single act of killing; it may be cultivated every moment; every thought concerning a moral or immoral act is karmically potent, so it's imprecise to ask if x or y is good or bad, better or worse, since karma is only a single thought moment at a time, and thus the potency depends upon the nature of the individual mind states.


Yes, there is a difference, and it is in the intent of the action. If you kill a frog out of cruelty, that's a much worse karma than when you kill a snake to protect someone.


Yes, there are.

It is not same as giving someone $1 and giving someone $1000. Similarly it is not same as killing a small animal and killing a big animal. Of course the action is the same, but the resulting emotion or the experience created in the object that is acted upon is not same. Hence, the magnitude of karma varies.

If you give a man $1 he may not feel that happy or grateful to you, but if you give him $1000 then he will feel more grateful and happy. He will feel indebted to you and this will create a stronger karmic link. For real life scenario just think which person will like to help you more, the one you gave $1 or the one you gave $1000? What makes the difference? The experience of the emotion created in their mind through your action. Hence, if you give a person $1 who is starving without food will create more positive karma than if you give $1000 to a rich person like a millionaire.

Similarly, when you kill small animals like a mosquito the resulting effect is less because the suffering they feel is less. The developed the consciousness and self identification of an animal is, the more suffering it is likely to feel at its death. For example, a mosquito will hardly think of its family and children while dying compared to a mammal animal like an elephant or a human. Since apart from physical pain mental suffering and experience of the object also matters, the more the animal feels the combined pain, the greater the karma involved will be.


Even the earthly law (as in courts) doesn't operate this literally. And the Karmic law is a whole lot wiser. It's a mistake to think of the Karmic law as a tit for tat. The intention as well as the state of the doer matters. The same action may have a different Karmic consequence based on the state of the doers.

Giving $1 to someone may be a very hard thing for a poor man to do while Giving $1,000 to someone may be a very easy thing for a rich man to do. Additionally, one may be giving with the intention of sating their ego - to feel good about oneself - while the other may be doing it due to genuine goodwill.

Many more such factors would be taken into account by the Karmic law. So, yes, there is a difference.


Karma is determined by:

  • intensity of ones own volition, and
  • mental state of the recipient (which acts like an amplifier)

Killing a insect may not be as harmful as killing a person as the insert has a lower mental state.

If you give to a pious person and non pious person then the Karma from giving to the pious person is more.

If you give a small sum with a strong volition it will give better results than giving a large sum with a weak volition.

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