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Dharma Movie Review: Karma Ghost
Haunted By Karma's Ghosts
See the short film (4 min) here: http://billyblob.com/cartoons/karma-ghost/index.html
More details of the film below this review.
[This review makes sense only after
you have seen the film.]
Karma Ghost is a darkly
humorous story about the accumulative effects of bad karma. Don't
take this film literally, but it's an engaging alternative depiction
of karmic mechanics. Karma does not operate by Karma Ghosts of course-
it's a natural law that operates by itself, just like no one rules the
law of gravity. Here are some reflections on the film-
1. There is a scene where Pete gets "blinded"
by 2 invisible Karma Ghosts. This metophorically illustrates us being
blinded by karmic ignorance, which can propel us to create fresh bad karma.
2. The scene
where Pete steps into the doggie poo and kicks the dog represents the
interactive clashing of two beings' bad karma- where both condition
each other's suffering. Sadly, Pete furthered his bad karma by retaliating.
3. Every time
a character burns up or exhausts his specific karma, the respective Karma
Ghost takes off its karma-labelled shirt. But almost as soon as that happens,
another Karma Ghost hops on when Pete does another nasty act. Likewise,
every moment we intentionally think, say and do somthing, fresh karma
is created- for better or worse. In Pete's case, all he created were bad
karma, thus, no "Good Karma Ghost" hopped on him.
4. What Pete did throughout the film was create a string of karmic traps
for himself, accumulating into his tragic "grand finale." Are we like
him at times too?
5. Vic's review
at the end of the film on the law of karma is not exactly karmically correct.
For example, he says "Step on a cockroach and you might lose your foot."
Karma does not necessarily magnify effects- especially if good karma was
also created, which might dilute the bad effects. Vice versa can happen
too- karmic seeds can grow given the right conditions.
6. Vic says the law of karma is like Newton's
third (not first!) law of "ethics", where "for every action, there is
an equal and cmplementary response." Well, that's just a very rough analogy-
for the law of karma is much more complicated and subtle, with many unphysical
(mental) factors difficult to calculate.
7. Vic also says karmic effects can take place
in the form of mysterious accidents. This is not totally true in the sense
that there is a cause for every incident that we encounter, even though
seemingly beyond our control. Sometimes, "mysterious accidents" happen
to us due to unmindfulness in the moment, which conditions the ripening
of past karma. Without conditions, causes do not bear effect.
8. Vic also says if there is the law of karma,
there should be "precise and immediate accuracy." This would
mean Hitler shouldn't have grown up to do so much evil, for example. Well,
karma created does not always bear immediate results. As above, only when
the conditions are present in good time, do karmic causes ripen into corresponding
effects. In the mean time, these karmic seeds are latent, never gone-
though their future fruits' "bitterness" can be "sweetened" with repentance
and active creation of more good karma. In this sense, karma is very fair
For more information on the law of karma,
please see http://asp.thedailyenlightenment.com/specials/lamp/karma.asp