(Oh Inigo, you will never not be appropriate here…)
Mr. Montoya has aided me previously in explaining why the popular (mis)conception of karma as being poetic/cosmic justice is a deeply inappropriate distortion of the original concept. Well, today he will be helping me again.
A poster on a Buddhist forum I frequent (and, full disclosure, where I am now a moderator), recently asked why it’s seen as improper to view karma as retribution or punishment. The answer came almost immediately: who is doing the punishing?
Karma is not a sentient being. It has no mind, no cognitive faculty, no thoughts. It is a force of nature, like a storm. And just as the same storm that breaks a drought and revives crops can flood rivers and drive people from their homes, karma causes both joy and suffering.