For example if I have lied to my parents and can the bad kamma be deleted when I apologize to them?

What is the difference between the bad kamma that are committed to parents and ordinary people?


Apologizing is good Karma that has a mitigating(not delete) effect on the bad Karma you had committed: ex:

Bad Karma committed against parents are highly potent compared to ordinary beings. Ex: Killing parents makes birth(next life) in hell inescapable and you will have to face the consequences in the subsequent lives until you end Samsara.

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    The case of Devadatta is not an instance where his bad Karma got neutralized. He went to Avīci despite taking refuge in triple gem. But Ajatashatru, even though he committed patricide which is an Avīci bound karma, he ended up in a Paduma hell. It is said that this dilution was caused by his good karma in sponsoring the First Buddhist council. – Sajeewa Welendagoda Apr 5 '16 at 13:48
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    Not neutralized, but mitigated! Because of that he will become a Pacceka Buddha once he escapes from Avici. That reduces much of the Pravutti Pivaka he would've faced otherwise – Sankha Kulathantille Apr 5 '16 at 14:03
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    Yes he will become a Pcceka Buddha named Sattissara. But he torments for one eon in Avici. – Sajeewa Welendagoda Apr 5 '16 at 15:00
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    The point is he would suffer much more if not for that last act of goodness. – Sankha Kulathantille Apr 5 '16 at 15:02

For example if i have lied to my parents and can the bad kamma be deleted when i apologize to them?

You can neutralise Karma when the result is felt [Sañcetanika Sutta] or by diluting the result of karma through counteracting [karma Loṇa,phala Sutta].

What is the difference between the bad kamma that are committed to parents and ordinary people?

Karma committed to parents are give more worst results than ordinary people. If you do something to a compassionate person the results are more weighty than an ordinary person. Likewise if you do something to your parents the repercussions are much more.


Karma theory is age-old in Hindu society where Buddha was born. Any action born out of desire is karma and a self-less, natural action is a-karma. In Buddhism it is good kamma and bad kamma. There is no difference between your parents and others as far as Dhamma is concerned. If you hurt anyone there is bound to be repercussion. But parents are given special status because they are hurt more than strangers. For example if you show disrespect to a stranger he might or might not get hurt. He might think that you are a nut-case. But your parents will get hurt badly and there will be huge repercussions.

Repentance and apologies have no effect on your accumulated bad kamma. Once accumulated they will run their cycle no matter what. It is not mathematics. By your logic you can hurt people again and again and do away with it by apologies. Isn't it absurd? Only thing that can be done is not to indulge in selfish actions full of desires. You can reach a point where abstaining from bad kamma free you from re-birth so there is an end to your miseries. Yes even after Nirvana, effects of bad kamma will still be there and will lead to decay of your body and bodily senses. Nirvana is simply unachievable by balancing out bad kamma with good kamma but only through negation of bad kamma. Negation of bad kamma is only through meditation. When you indulge in good kamma it is also meditation. Sitting silently is also meditation. There is only one key - meditation and nothing else.

  • Having said that I must add sufferings can be minimized. For example if you have anger management issues if you change your lifestyle, meditate regularly then anger inside you will be subside. Even when anger arises you will not be consumed by it. Your anger will simply not go away. Even after enlightenment anger will be around. But the anger will not result in an action. That is the reason some people doubt an enlightened person when he/she gets angry or show emotions. Enlightened people can show emotions but they will never hurt anybody. – Shashank Khare Apr 7 '16 at 8:45

"Karma theory is age-old in Hindu society where Buddha was born."

Karma theory was not age old when Buddha was born, it was his specific discovery, you can see in the records that during the time of the Buddha, people have various theories about working of the world including: God Brahma determining everything so it doesn't matter what you do as long as you have faith and obey God (quite similar to Christianity), to requiring the performance the Vedic rituals exactly as prescribed including animal sacrifices, to nihilism - whatever you do doesn't matter you are gonna die anyway. Many of these thinking are still present today. It is Hinduism that changed dramatically by adopting many of the teachings of Buddhism so that many modern people believe that Buddha did not teach anything new because many of his teachings have already been incorporated into Hinduism.

Specifically during his enlightenment he confirms that actions matter, and specifically what is behind the action, the mind - the thoughts and emotions of that action is the leading cause of the effect of karma.

"Repentance and apologies have no effect on your accumulated bad kamma."

Wrong, while karma - your action cannot be erased the effect can always be lessen by changing yourself. Karma does not imply one to one result, but a cause is always impacted by other conditions (secondary causes) to bear the necessary results. The act of repentance is one such conditions to ease the effect of karma, even though the original cause is not erased.

In Chinese Buddhism, the act of repentance is one of the most important part of Buddhist practice. This is reflected too all the way from Indian teachings through the sutras. Even the Vinaya requires monks to confess their offenses to the community as part of this practice.

Further more, good karma does not erase nor balance bad karma, good karma interacts with bad karma, just like the existence of one plant does not eliminate another plant, but they both interacts so bad karma can reduce/change the positive impact of your good karma, and good karma can reduce/change the negative impact of your good karma. None the less both of these causes still exist.

To give a practical example: It will be much worse for the outcome of a conflict if you refuse to apologize your wrongs. While if you have done a lot of good things, having done something blatantly unethical will cause people to reduce their trust in you no matter your contributions formerly.


No, nothing can delete results of actions. They will rippe anyway. But to know that and to straighten you mind will makes it not so painful. The idea that apologize would make things undone is merely advertised in Almighty-god-believes.


I look at apologizing like confession. Buddha clearly taught that confession eradicates karma. How much karma is another question. A simple apology probably does not eradicate much. Better to recite a confession. Better still through meditation.


Apologizing certainly deletes bad results (vipaka) of bad kamma (actions) because it establishes the mind on the right path.

In the Samaññaphala Sutta, it is said the confession of a man who killed his father was:

"...cause of growth in the Dhamma & Discipline of the noble ones when, seeing a transgression as such, one makes amends in accordance with the Dhamma and exercises restraint in the future."


There are multiple approaches to answer this question. Two very different answers might both be correct.

Apologizing is it's own karma that can be good or bad depending on the intentions behind the apology.

One couldn't ease past bad karma because conditions in the past no longer exist.

Apologizing with good intentions will ease the future results (vipaka) of the bad karma that is being apologised for.

NOTE: Basically, karma means "action" and vipaka means "result"


Everything it depends. Buddhist know exactly what is karma and its result. It is not like in the court in front of the jury, plea guilty or not or what will be the punishment, or trying to dodge with excuses. Everything done with good or bad intention carry its karma. And if one did it towards which types of person who is laymen or Arya. Also it is important in which way you apologize to this person one insulted through which person. But good karma goes far beyond bad one and it depends how good and how bad. Some examples as stone sink under water but kept on the boat big enough to keep it cannot sink. So not to do the bad karma is the very first thing. If one did it, apologize directly to that person, if that person is no more, apologize through an Arya(Triple gems) and to get the big boat, practice insight meditation earnestly.

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