Sunday, March 20, 2011

National karma

What is national karma? Is there such thing? Why are some nations more prosperous than others? Why are some countries facing more political unrest than others? Why are some countries almost always in war? Why is it that people in some countries do not have a chance to be vegetarians, their countries largely made up of sand and desert, unable to grow domestic vegetables?

National karma explains a lot of these differences and "fate" of their countries. National karma is made up of past and present karma and present decisions of everybody in the nation. Whereever you live in, you have a little of the national karma. It is actually individual karmas that are linked together, i.e. groups of people having the same karma. Let's explore the national karma of Malaysia.

Malaysia have generally very good karma. However, I feel that now we live in more and more precarious times. More so in the future. Malaysians have been living in a safe environment for many decades. Malaysia is surrounded by the Philippines and the Indonesian archipelago. These countries often shielding it from on-coming storms or tsunami, as happened in the 2004 tsunami. Malaysia is also free from volcanic eruptions and earthquakes. Malaysians only feel the tremors from earthquakes that happened in Sumatra or Jawa. Malaysian politics are also largely stable with no major political unrest since the 1969 racial riots. However the karma of Malaysians is slowly changing. There were news on small twisters happening in certain parts in Malaysia recently. It was largely unheard of in the past. Weather patterns have also changed. During Chinese new year, it is usually hot and dry. But in recent years, it was not so. And there were people saying the geological plates around Malaysia are slowly shifting, making the possibility of earthquakes happening much closer to our shores in the future. 

Also the government is now considering building a nuclear powered plant to generate future energy needs for the country. Even though I personally do not wish to have such plants in our country, I cannot deny that fossil fuel and other alternative methods to generate electricity such as using hydro, coal, oil, wind or solar energy are not viable nor is it sustainable on the long term. With the lack of suitable alternatives, it seems there is no other way than to turn to nuclear energy. But using nuclear energy comes with much risk as we can now see from what is happening now in Japan. 

So, if you combine the future possibility of earthquakes happening closer to Malaysia and the possibility of having a nuclear plant in the country, there will arise the risk of Malaysia facing a similar situation as the Japanese are now. Hence if that happens we will witness the deterioration of  the Malaysian karma. I will probably not be around anymore but the future generations will enjoy as well as suffer from decisions that are made today. 

The people then may be smarter and have a higher standard of living, with more technological advances, but I feel that they will also face new diseases and will be less healthy. The society then will be less harmonious and there may be more political unrest and turmoil. Religious intolerance will be high at that time. People will be more greedy and more selfish. According to Buddhism, how the society is depends on the karma of the people. If people are more greedy, loses temper more easily and are not able to think wisely, then their nation's karma will also change. The individual karma will affect the group karma and the group karma will affect the nation's karma. Similarly in order to change this direction that we seem to be heading now, we must cut our greed now. We must control our anger and hatred, and be more loving towards others. Be more tolerant to those we don't agree with, reduce our unwholesome actions. Also political leaders must realise that their actions and decisions do not only affect the present generation but also the future generations. Our support for our leaders in turn create national karma for everybody. That's why we must not simply support any leaders blindly. So when we choose our leaders, we must choose wisely, otherwise if our leaders commit wrong, we and probably our descendants will suffer the negative consequences for a long long time. If our leaders engage in war or oppress the people and if we support their actions, we too will have part of the karma when it ripens.

These are the only ways to change our national karma. It starts with changing our bad ways on an individual basis. And choosing our leaders carefully. There is no other way. 

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