The Pernicious Folly of Group Kamma

One particularly pernicious and frankly evil view/misconception of Kamma in Buddhism is this idea of “group kamma”. That you are responsible for the actions of others in the past.

I cannot speak to the other traditions, but when you read the Early Buddhist Texts(Nikayas in Pali, Agamas in Sanskrit) as far as I can tell I’ve yet to ever see one place where the Buddha speaks about anything close to group kamma.

On the contrary, the Buddha tells us quite often :
“This noble disciple reflects thus: ‘I am not the only one who is the owner of one’s kamma, the heir of one’s kamma; who has kamma as one’s origin, kamma as one’s relative, kamma as one’s resort; who will be the heir of whatever kamma, good or bad, that one does. All beings that come and go, that pass away and undergo rebirth, are owners of their kamma, heirs of their kamma; all have kamma as their origin, kamma as their relative, kamma as their resort; all will be heirs of whatever kamma, good or bad, that they do.’

we are the owners of our Kamma, we are not responsible for the actions of others, they are the owners of their own kamma.

Nor, frankly, can we blame others for our own actions , “but but everyone was doing it!” does not work with Kamma, your actions are your actions.

This false idea that a group of people, of the same country, heredity, geography, etc, all share some sort of collective Kamma has been used to great harm in the past, othering whole groups of people considered to be irredeemable simply for the crime of being born into a specific place and time.

You see this in the early texts actually, with the idea of the outcast caste, that “well, you were born an outcast, sucks to be you, grovel in the dirt”. The Buddha flips it around and tells us the real outcast is one who does bad actions, not by their birth.

It also makes no sense, since each life you are a different being, a different form of existence, there really is no carrying forward these characteristics, they won’t be of much use in your next life when your a turtle, a deva, or an alien on the other side of the universe.

This is antithetical to the Buddha’s teachings in the early texts, and is misguided. This falls along the same concept of people born with various handicaps being treated as bad people because of the bad Kamma that lead to their birth in such a condition. While this may actually be true, what the people who act in such ways fail to rememberer is this:

Every single being in their long wandering in the samsaric state has done many many good deeds, but has also done the most utterly horrible things, enough for many lifetimes in all kinds of hells. There is no one exempt there, this is why whenever you start to look down upon someone or think highly of yourself, you remember you too have done such actions, and you too have been in such a place.

Likewise there is not a country or group of people existing in the planet that hasn’t done some really bad stuff. To use a modern example, is it really ethical for a country like germany to demean and force their children of today to carry guilt for something their great great grandparents did in ww2 80 years ago?

I’m not talking about knowing your history and learning from it, I’m talking about forcing people today to feel guilt and apologize and have an impact on their sense of self worth for something people in their country or group did long ago.

I would say no, that it is quite evil, harmful, and again, antithetical to Buddha’s teachings. Of course this is nothing new, people have done this to each other for as long as people have been around, but as we are trying to progress as a species, it behooves us to not group and other people, and if we must judge, then do to so on the merits of that individuals actions, not the actions of the group they happen to have been born into.

Dhammapalooza 8pm

I was told that my announcements for Dhammapalooza making a post on this channel often take many hours to show up on peoples emails, so I’m making one early today.

Here is the link for tonight –

Upcoming Online Retreat

In about two weeks I’ll be doing an online retreat with Southern Dharma –

Topic is the Divine messengers. This is a rare event for me in that the organization does charge for the event, although they assure me that they don’t turn away people due to money issues and if the regular scholarship stuff isn’t enough you can speak to them directly –

Scholarships & Fellowships

My Goodbye to Lay Life

thanks to the wonders of facebook memories, I get to know that 7 years ago today I announced to the greater world that I was leaving to the monastery(in about 6 months) and leaving lay life behind :

So I have some news that I figured I’d share on here since everyone who would care to know can see it all at once and save me a lot of explaining. For some this news may seem out of the blue and for others not so much. Close friends and family have been aware of my desire for some time.

Long story short, I’m leaving; work, the state, lay life, etc. For the past few years I have been working on and moving towards what we in Buddhism call “renouncing”, ie becoming a monk. It is not a decision I have taken lightly, as this is nearly four years in the making.

Yes my plan is to leave what most people would consider a good job and a good life,its not something I could ever really expect anyone to understand, but I have amazing family and friends who are supportive beyond words.

So whats the deal? Well I’ve been accepted to enter into the monastery as a resident with intent to renounce. The process of becoming fully ordained as a monk will take up to two years, that is if the monastery feels I am worthy of ordaining and I still feel this decision is for me, there are no guarantees.

There are many inherent risks involved in doing something like this, but I have always trusted my gut and never let fear of the future hold me back.

The die is cast, I plan to go into the monastery somewhere around June 1st.Nothing in life is certain.. ever.. except death anyways. I know in my heart and in my gut that this life and this decision is for me, but life has it’s own plans and we also change our minds over the course of time. At this point in my life and my practice it is my sincerest wish to live the life of a monk until my dying breath, only time will tell, who knows what the future holds.


Morning Monastery Experience.. in the Mountains

Morning Monastery Experience continues into its 5th month. Monday-Friday 8:30am eastern join me for 20-30 minutes of precepts, chanting, and short Dhamma talks(Thought of the Day).
Come join our community each morning as we start the day off well with Dhamma. –

Now featuring views of the mountains and big sky 🙂


In one hour join the MaggaSekha Community on Youtube tonight for Dhammapalooza! A night of Dhamma, including : Chanting, Sutta Readings, Dhamma Talks, Guided Meditation, Q&As, and Community Discussion. Come join the MaggaSekha community for an evening of Dhamma starting 8pm.

Rambling Monk

The nomadic life continues. After four months with the wonderful Indonesian Family of NYC, I’m back in the mountains on the farm, feeling good, energized, and clear, the air out here is so different then NJ/NYC. Here for the next two months, then after that, rambling on once more.”Lord(Buddha) I was born a rambling monk, trying to share the Dhamma and doing the best I can, when it’s time for leaving I hope you understand, that I was born a rambling monk. “

Nomad Life Continues : New Location

After four months in Queens NYC with the Indonesian Family of NYC, I’ve moved on. Currently back in West Virginia at the farm stead featured in my recent article about Vassa Americana. Will be here until about the end of April before moving on again.

Current Mailing Address is : 2654 Carpers Pike, High View, Wv, 26808

Morning Monastery Experience Time Change

Since i’ve moved on from NYC and am currently on the farm once again for the next two months, a time change for MME is in order. I’m going to try to do 8:30am eastern, pushing the time forward a half hour from the past 8am time slot.

Special Evening event with Bhante Pamutto

Bhante Pamutto is doing a special event tonight for the special Puja. Four hours Dhamma with talks and meditation, 8pm-12am. Come join for as long as you like. Zoom link in Event page.

Dhammapalooza is up

Dhammapalooza in One Hour

In one hour join the MaggaSekha Community on Youtube tonight for Dhammapalooza! A night of Dhamma, including : Chanting, Sutta Readings, Dhamma Talks, Guided Meditation, Q&As, and Community Discussion. Come join the MaggaSekha community for an evening of Dhamma starting 8pm.

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