Somebody was mean to my friend
A friend was describing various ways they were being mistreated by a person. How this person had been incredibly mean to my friend. Judgements like “how rude of them” and “how terrible” arose, thinking to protect my friend. Thoughts like “I wouldn’t do that” and “I couldn’t treat somebody like that” arose, towards this person. And even more “why, if I ever met this person then I would …” and so on.
Then I stopped myself. I don’t know why that person had been so rude or mean. I don’t know what is going on in their mind and the negative emotions that they are responding to. I don’t know the karmic disposition of my friend. With all of these unknowns in mind, what would I do if I ever met this person?
Well, now I’m not so sure anymore. All I can realistically do is support my friend and be responsible for my own actions. If I ever meet this person, then saying something mean or aggressive will surely create the cause for my suffering in the future. I obviously want to avoid creating negative karma.
Karma is often described with many complex relationships between people stretching back across lifetimes. With a multitude of actions stocking a vast karmic storehouse. My future experiences of happiness and suffering reflecting that vast karmic storehouse. But from the situation described above I thought of karma in this simplistic way:
Karma is something that only I am responsible for.
I must decide how I will respond in each situation, no matter what is going on around me or inside my mind.
If I ever met this person, then maybe I would say nothing and avoid any confrontation. Or perhaps I would just say “hello” because I don’t know what is going-on in their mind and their lives.