Can a bad kamma be cancelled out by doing a strong good kamma?

If the answer is no, at-least can we reduce the effect of that bad kamma by doing so?

If the answers are no for the above two questions, can we postpone the time which kamma gives its result by doing a strong opposite kamma?

2 Answers 2


Bad kamma once sown cannot be erased completely, but by cultivating Sila, Samadhi, Panna, the suttas say it's possible to lessen the intensity/severity of it. See the case of Ven. Angulimala in MN 86 and the Buddha's famous quote:

Bear with it, brahman! Bear with it! The fruit of the kamma that would have burned you in hell for many years, many hundreds of years, many thousands of years, you are now experiencing in the here-&-now.

Also see the Lonaphala Sutta - AN 3.99

  • 1
    i marked this answer down because the suttas say the noble path ends kamma (AN 6.63) . If kamma cannot be erased then Buddhism is completely pointless & futile and Gotama never attained Buddhahood. Nov 30, 2018 at 10:58
  • 1
    Then answer this simple question: if what you claim was true, why did Ven. Angulimala and Ven. Moggallana still experienced their bad kamma, Ven. A got beaten up quite badly, and Ven. M got killed?
    – santa100
    Nov 30, 2018 at 15:52
  • Let us continue this discussion in chat. Dec 1, 2018 at 1:19
  • I agree with Dhammadhatu: . If kamma cannot be erased then Buddhism is completely pointless & futile and Gotama never attained Buddhahood Dec 4, 2018 at 17:36

Morally, kamma is cancelled by learning evil deeds are evil deeds and thus no longer having any inclination to perform evil deeds and only inclination to perform good deeds, as follows:

But because you see your transgression as such and make amends in accordance with the Dhamma, we accept your confession. For it is a 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.

DN 2

172. He who having been heedless is heedless no more, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.

173. He, who by good deeds covers the evil he has done, illuminates this world like the moon freed from clouds.


Ultimately, kamma is cancelled by the realisation of not-self (anatta); that the doer of kamma was not a self but was ignorance, as follows:

"Master Gotama, is stress self-made?"

"Don't say that, Kassapa."

"Then is it other-made?"

"Don't say that, Kassapa."

"Then is it both self-made and other-made?"

"Don't say that, Kassapa.

SN 12.17

And what is the cessation of kamma? From the cessation of contact is the cessation of kamma; and just this noble eightfold path — right view, right resolve, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, right concentration — is the path of practice leading to the cessation of kamma

AN 6.63


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