Do you just have to endure these bad effects no matter how long they may last? I feel like I'm dealing with some bad karma.

4 Answers 4


Try to make good Karma - it will help you for sure. The Buddha once gave a simile.

He said that bad karma was like salt and good karma like water. If you put some salt in a glass of water it will taste bad, but if you put the same amount of salt in a river, the taste of the water will not change, so doing good karma is a very good way to handle this situation.

Of course, one can get rid of all past karma by becoming enlighten or a Buddha, ordaining would be great, but I assumed you wanted a "quick" and "wordy" answer.

  • 3
    The simile you mentioned is in Lonaphala Sutta: The Salt Crystal
    – ChrisW
    Mar 19, 2015 at 22:14
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    Hey I don't think you can get rid of bad kamma after enlightenment.you just don't stress about it.Arahants still live through the fruits of past kamma they just don't create new ones.
    – Orion
    Mar 20, 2015 at 10:47
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    For example theres a story of Buddhas disciple Ven.Monggallana who was enlightened and mastered psychic powers and even he can't run away from past bad kamma he created which was killing his parents in a past life.Enlightenment doesn't mean you cut of all your past kamma it just means you no longer take it personally.whatever happens happens.
    – Orion
    Mar 20, 2015 at 10:54
  • That is a good point Orion. I have heard both interpretations. I tend to agree with you, but I would like to read more about it just for peace of mind :)
    – konrad01
    Mar 20, 2015 at 11:59
  • Suggest adding some relevant passages from the Lonaphala Sutta to the body of this answer.
    – Adamokkha
    Aug 2, 2015 at 23:59

The effects of karma are neither bad nor good. they just are.

It is you who give them meaning, not the karma.

It's best to understand what Karma actually is: the law of cause and effect. The Buddha taught this law explicitly.

The effects we feel in this life relate to the actions we took or didn't take in this or previous lifetimes.

That is why the Buddha teaches to look at your actions as either skillful or unskillful. Your actions are skillful in the ways they yield effects that propel you toward your outcome. The Buddha made that goal Nirvana, or the escape from suffering.

If your goal is complete and total happiness, which is what the Buddha would call a noble and worthy goal, then judge your actions as skillful based on how they keep you progressing on the path toward the goal.

Meanwhile, you'll need to deal with the effects of your unskillful actions in the past.

One great way to help this along is to meditate. Why? I don't think meditation gives you "merit points" that reduce the impact of past unskillful actions. Instead, meditation helps you train the mind in mindfulness, alertness, ardency, and discernment. Sharpening these skills helps you evaluate future actions based on skillful and unskillful.

This reduces the possibility of amplifying the effects of past negative actions, and reduces the possibility of making new unskillful actions.

This is my understanding based on my study of the Thai forest tradition -- Theravada. "merit points" is a concept I inferred while learning about the act of creating merit at temples in Thailand.


Sorry to hear that you are experiencing the results of some bad khamma. Hopefully, they will pass soon. Please read the Sankha Sutta: The Conch Trumpet, in which the Buddha gives a technique on how to diminish and even nullify the effects unskillful kamma. May you be free from suffering, may you be happy.


Do you just have to endure these bad effects no matter how long they may last?

There are things you can do such as making merit to deal with it. There are Three Bases for Merit

  1. Generosity
  2. Virtue
  3. Mental Development

Lay devotees make merit by the following ways

Giving alms (Dāna), Observing virtue (Śīla), Developing concentration (Bhāvana), Honoring others (apacayana-maya), Offering service (veyyavacca-maya), Dedicating (or transferring) merit to others (pattidana-maya), Rejoicing in other's merit. (pattanumodana-maya), Listening to Teachings (dhammassavana-maya), Instructing others in the Teachings (dhammadesana-maya), Straightening one's own views in accord with the Teachings (ditthujukamma)[6][7]

This list is according to this Merit making is useful for getting rid of bad karma.

Intention (cetana) I tell you, is kamma. Intending, one does kamma by way of body, speech, & intellect. -Nibbedhika Sutta

Intentional action to do bad will cause negative effects on oneself. Intentional action to do good will bear positive results on oneself. If you did something bad unintentionally; like stepping on an insect while you were walking; there will be no karmic potency. This; however, does not mean that you get to walk around being completely mindless. The cause of bad actions; which are done out of greed, hatred, or delusion; will cause bad effects on you. Such as killing living beings results in being reborn in a path of deprivation. If you still managed to be reborn as a human, you will be short-lived. That is mentioned in the Cula-Kammavibhanga Sutta

You must also develop virtue; which, means you abstain from unwholesome action

Mental development would be to meditate. Such as vipassana or samatha meditation.

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