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Question
QUESTION: I am curious what would you say if someone one claimed the principle of karma is based on a naturalistic fallacy?

ANSWER: Good afternoon Tony,

I don't really understand exactly what "naturalistic fallacy" means.  I shall take it to mean "false concept".  You are asking me what I would say to this person.  So this will be my answer to that person :

"My dear friend, I have explained what karma is, in the Buddhist context.  You have the freedom to decide whether to accept it or not.  This is not my problem.  May you have a good day."   


Justin Choo

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: a naturalistic fallacy means that you believe if something is "natural" it is morally good, like for example "because natural selection is natural we should kill weak people" is an example of a naturalistic fallacy. So what would you say to a person who claims this about karma? T

Answer
Good afternoon Tony,

The Buddhist concept of karma (or kamma in Pali) is neither morally good nor morally bad.  It is amoral or non-moral.  Take the concept of electricity, if you put your finger on a life-wire, you are dead.  If you plug in a computer cable into it, you are connected.  The electricity doesn't care what you do to it; it simply produces the effect irrespective of whether the effect is "morally good" or "morally bad".  It is nature's law of cause and effect.  Kamma is just like this interpretation.  It is a natural phenomenon. The concept of "kamma" in Buddhist context means "volitional action", action that is done on purpose with full knowledge of the doer.  It is interpreted as the universal law of cause and effect. Of course there is another general interpretation of "kamma", which simply means all "actions".  In the law of physics, every action will cause a reaction or effect.  In the Buddhist "moral" concept of kamma, it is the volitional actions that will affect one's life,and not the other non-volitional actions, such as accidents.     

No amount of time and energy spent can give a person complete understanding or acceptance, if that person is downright adamant of this concept.  As I wrote in my introduction, I am here to provide answers to all questions on Buddhism or in the Buddhist perspective. I don't expect my answers to be accepted by all who ask.  My responsibility here is to provide answers, not to convince anyone to accept them.  

Hope this helps.

Justin Choo  

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Justin Choo

Expertise

All your questions will be answered, and you may not have to agree with the answers. Such is the beauty of Buddhism. I follow the Theravada tradition, and have been studying Buddhism for more than 50 years. As I am not a Buddhist scholar, I answer in simple language, and I prefer answering general questions rather than textual.

Experience

I was brought up in the 50's as a Buddhist. For the past 50 years I have read numerous books on Buddhism and listened to numerous talks on Buddhism by well-respected and learned monks and lay teachers. I have conducted Buddhist classes for parents of Sunday School children in a Theravada Buddhist Temple. My teacher was the late Chief Reverend, The Ven. K Sri Dhammananda of The Brickfields Buddhist Mahavihara, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. You can view the relevant website in memory of my revered late teacher @ http://www.ksridhammananda.com and my blog posting at http://blackandwhite999.blogspot.com/2008/08/my-revered-teacher.html

Organizations
I am a life member of the Buddhist Missionary Society Malaysia.

Publications
YOU ARE INVITED TO VISIT MY BLOG @ http://lifeislikethat999.blogspot.com/ Published a book called "The Rainbow And The Treasure". It is a compilation of extracts from various sources to introduce Buddhism to beginners. (Currently out of print)

Education/Credentials
Bachelor of Commerce And Administration, Victoria University Of Wellington, NZ.(1974)

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