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And this takes us to karma, which I will come back to shortly.Some religions teach that evil is a force outside ourselves which seduces us into sin.
Barbara O' Brien is a Zen Buddhist practitioner who studied at Zen Mountain Monastery.
She is the author of "Rethinking Religion" and has covered religion for The Guardian, Tricycle.org, and other outlets.
People intoxicated by their own self-righteousness or who believe in their own intrinsic moral superiority too easily give themselves permission to do terrible things to those they hate or fear.
Sorting people into separate divisions and categories is very un-Buddhist.
But in the Buddhist theory of karma, it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action.
Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it.Further, forces other than karma cause many harmful conditions. "Although kusala and akusala are sometimes translated as 'good' and 'evil,' this may be misleading.When something terrible strikes others, don't shrug and assume they "deserved" it. Things which are kusala may not always be considered good, while some things may be akusala and yet not generally considered to be evil.For this reason, a Buddhist is strongly advised not to fall into the habit of thinking of himself and others as intrinsically good or bad.Ultimately there is just action and reaction; cause and effect.Once you understand what it is, you can observe it in action for yourself.For example, when a natural disaster strikes a community and causes death and destruction, someone often speculates that those harmed by the disaster suffered "bad karma," or else (a monotheist might say) God must be punishing them. In Buddhism, there is no God or supernatural agent rewarding or punishing us.It is not that somebody up there, or the laws of the universe, or however we want to say that, is going to make it all work out.Karma and precepts are about taking responsibility for sitting on your cushion, and for expressing that in your life in whatever way you can, in whatever way may be positive.Depression, melancholy, sloth and distraction, for example, although akusala, are not usually considered to be 'evil' as we know it in English.In the same vein, some forms of kusala, such as calmness of body and mind, may not readily come into the general understanding of the English word 'good.' …"…Kusala can be rendered generally as 'intelligent, skillful, contented, beneficial, good,' or 'that which removes affliction.' Akusala is defined in the opposite way, as in 'unintelligent,' 'unskillful' and so on." Read all of this essay for deeper understanding.