Kamma is a Chain Reaction

Another danger of kamma is its chain reaction.

If due to positive Kamma you get born with like minded good family, environment you get more opportunities to learn and practice good things. You build up on your good kamma. It is the same due to bad kamma you are born amongst bad folks the chances of doing down down is more…

Wonder whether I am correct in this assumption?

With Metta

Hi Indira, this is an interesting point. It seems then that it’s like an exponential process: the more the positive kamma you have done, the higher are the chances are that you’ll do more good kamma.
It’s like in science when the rate of increase of a quantity is proportional to that quantity then you have an exponential.
However I think that due to anatta one is ultimately not in control, so there is always the possibility that eventually they will start spiralling down unless they become a stream winner.

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Yes since no one is in control mind can spiral up or down. If your birth/ environment/ circumstances are good chances of hearing dhamma is more and you may get into the exit-way from this cycle.

I have heard (again I do not know whether this is Buddha words) that if you fall into the animal realm etc. the chances of being born in good realms is slim… you will spend aeons

Hi Indira,

I think what the Buddha said about this matter can be found in the Balapandita Sutta (MN 129). There’s a simile about a blind turtle swimming in the ocean that made it pretty clear for me. Coincidentally, I came across this simile yesterday, for the first time, and although I know very little about buddhist cosmology, I can already appreciate more having had a human birth (I guess only that already makes us really, really fortunate beings!).

Here goes the sutta:


Hi Fabiola… yes this time we have been really fortunate to have come across Dhamma in its purest form available today, cultivate an interest in Dhamma and cultivate a ‘desire’ to practice the path of getting out of samsara. Still as Stef mentioned unless we become stream winners the possibility to spiral down is there.

I should look if there is a sutta explanation of MN 129 by the Venerable Monks at Bodhinyana … Always benefit more when I listen to an explanation rather than reading the sutta.

With Metta

Anjali, Indira.

Good discussion. From my understanding, it takes a lot of unwholesome kamma to plunge a being into bad rebirth. As far as having good company or bad company, it really depends on the individual’s moral character. All of us have weaknesses but if we have practiced enough and developed sila, then it we will always think thrice about doing really detrimental actions. The tendency to be stupid will always be there but I strongly feel that the practice strengthens the mind to restrain us from getting into big trouble:)

Also, think 70 percent rule. You’ve been already born human and is following the Dhamma to the best of your abilities. Other than killing a Buddha or one’s own parents or raping a nun, or causing a schism, which none of us would ever do no matter how stupid we can be, I think we are pretty safe from falling into the lower realms.

Just my thoughts.



Dear Indira,

Yes, I think there is much truth to this, but as Stef says the process can quite easily be reversed. The more progress you make in this life, the greater the chances are you will continue in the same vein in your next life.

I think the escape from samsāra happens very much for this reason. When you are on the right track, you tend to continue in the same way for both internal and external reasons. You may have heard Ajahn Brahm’s (who in turn quotes Ajahn Chah) simile of the mango tree: once you are on the right track, all you have to do is sit under the mango tree and wait for the fruit to fall. It’s a chain reaction, as you say, that happens by itself. But to maximise the likelihood of the chain reaction going to completion, we need to do all we can right here, right now.

With metta.


Much Merit to the Venerable Monks and Dhamma Friends…

So Kamma (specially Kamma which influences our birth) tend to have a chain reaction. With birth we are influence by the other Niyamas too (Utu Niyama—climate etc) and Bija Niyama (laws of heredity).

A Sutta explanation by Ajahn Brahm comes to my mind… where the Buddha says if you are born with good Kamma you need to look after, nourish it just like if someone purchases a shining brase pot from the shop and if she just dump it somewhere without looking after, it will begin to rust. In the same way if you purchase a rusted pot but look after it by polishing etc. it will start to shine… It was something like that.

Sadhu Sadhu


Hi Indira, here’s a link to a talk on MN129