So lets take all humans currently alive in the human world. They all have the karma to be reborn in this realm.

Computers exist in our world, and in some places (Not all) public libraries provide them and access to them / the internet.

Are there cases where karma would prevent someone from using a computer? Say even that one was right in front of them, would karmic forces prevent them from using it? Could karmic forces prevent them from touching it?

Like say, if you tried to give to someone that had a lot of karma from stealing in a previous life. Would it be possible? Or would events always unfold that prevent you from giving in some way or another?

What I am trying to ask is if karma can make events that seem possible conventionally (IE Hand someone a 20$ bill) be impossible in practice.

  • A lot of no good can arise out of $20, one can get drunk for example. Though past Karma may determine what happens in our life, we still have volition to decide what we do with it. Sometimes more money or power or beauty is just more rope to hang oneself with. Whereas a virtuous life can be led with none of those material things.
    – Buddho
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 3:42
  • Sure, but what if you were trying to give the 20$ to a charity. So far all the responses on this have just been crafty ways to dodge the question being asked.
    – hellyale
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 3:46
  • Are you asking if it is ok to not care about the poor or give to charity because their karma dictates them to be poor?
    – Buddho
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 6:12
  • No that is not what I am asking at all.
    – hellyale
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 6:13

2 Answers 2


Karma need not be manifested physically. A poor rebirth need not be rebirth as a poor person, a person who's despised, or one who can't access a computer. In fact, you can have someone who is filthy rich, admired by all, who is still suffering far more than someone who is penniless and hated.

That's because suffering is in the mind.

To even suggest that material "well-being" is a result of Karma is to imply that happiness is physical, which is an implicit rejection of what Buddhism teaches, that it's what's within (e.g.: desire, clinging to self) that cause suffering and not one's material circumstances.

  • Sure it might be a contrived example. But I have heard that karma does influence the physical circumstances of ones life as well as the mental. With your example of the rich man the question could be rephrased as "could karma make it impossible to be happy for a lifetime/time period"
    – hellyale
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 0:10
  • @hellyale I've heard that too, and I've been struck at how no one ever saw the blatant contradiction in that view of Karma. Don't get me wrong, I can see a scenario in which a person's material conditions AND mental conditions are such as to produce suffering (the latter being a pre-requisite for the former), but to only look at the material and judge based on that? Is it possible for Karma to make it impossible for someone to be happy for a lifetime/time period? Sure. There's nothing (that I know of) that states that Karma has to work in any particular way.
    – R. Barzell
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 1:13
  • I'm just looking at the material because it is the easiest way to ask the question.
    – hellyale
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 6:15

Karma is a complex dhamma that only Buddha saw it thru and thru.. However, Buddha taught us 6 things to know about the fundamentals of karma

For sure, Karma is not a fate. In Angulimala Sutta, a Sutta about a misguided serial killer who would have committed matricide if Buddha didn't interfere with his killing mission.

You can give $20 to someone but then you will never know if it was his good karma that let him run into you? or his good karma that you have money to share. Karma is a complex thing that is imponderable or incomprehensible, Acinteyya (Pali).

  • I guess my question has more to do if the situation of having someone in front of you, and not being able to give them the 20 because of their karma, even though they are right there and in reach.
    – hellyale
    Commented Sep 29, 2015 at 0:12

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