I am disappointed with the pontifications about karma that pundits have recently subjected us to in the media. December's tsunami is no one's fault and blame should not be ascribed to people's or individuals, either individually or collectively. It seems uncompassionate to me to use on the victims of a natural disaster the whip of theories such as the law of karma--a profound concept that is in any case mostly misunderstood, and often misapplied.

Nor does God need to get a bad rap for it. These things happen. What we learn from it seems to me to be the main thing.

It is extremely is difficult for us to grok the complex workings either of God, if you like the theistic view, or of karma--conditioning, interdependence and causation-- if you subscribe to eastern thought. The historical teacher named Buddha himself said one would have to be omniscient to understand all the interwoven causes, circumstances and conditions at play in any single event. God's acts are also said by sages and saints to be unknowable and mysterious.

The main thing, I think, is that we learn from experience, and this helps us to wise up and to open our hearts and minds and self-centered grasping, which changes everything, at least for us and those around us. Conscious inner work and spiritual practice does transform things, and does so on many levels.

We can work for a better world from outside in as well as from inside out. We must do what we can. We can learn to both act and understand better, and we must.

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