My understanding is that Kamma depends on intention and as long as the three poisons aren't involved I'm "good to go".

Does this mean that if someone did something reflexively, (without much reflection), but their action caused suffering, this person's Kamma would be neutral because there was no intent to cause harm?

Does it follow that, if, sometime later, upon reflection, this person came to the realization that this action was the source of suffering (such as something unwholesome, or greedy), from then on their Kamma would be affected if they perpetrated the same act?

Is this right? Does is apply to all cases?

For example someone who chooses to be non-materialistic (in order to not be greedy) or vegetarian (for ethical reasons) but had for some time prior to this choice behaved differently. Would they have to change their behaviour after the realization, but not be affected by their prior behaviour?

  • Why meat is mentioned in the question? Are you assuming that the greed for taste is only limited to meat? Mar 16, 2018 at 3:42
  • No it was an example. If a person does something and has neutral feelingw about it his karma will then be neutral even though the act might support killing of animals etc..
    – Val
    Mar 16, 2018 at 5:36
  • According to Buddhism, the act does not support killing animals. Your question would've been legitimate, if you did not make this about vegetarianism. Mar 16, 2018 at 5:42

2 Answers 2


"Chethanaham bhikkawe kamman wadami chethaithwa , kamman karothi kayena waachaya manasa" always karma depends on the chiththa(thought). So we cannot see it from the outside. Same karma looks similler from the outside might be different according to the thoughts... so always most important thing behind karma is the thought it is based on..

  • Since OP mentioned thinking about action years later, It is worth adding to this answer that thought that come before/during and after the action will affect karma. For example you can give a gift to Sangha which is positive karma but some time later you regret it due to the amount of money it cost you as a result of greed, resulting in negative karma.
    – RRR
    Mar 19, 2018 at 7:23

Karma is the result of "Intention" x "Action"; unless either of them has a 'zero' value, then the karma will always be resulted and hence no such thing as "Good-to-go".

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