Manja Cats, Singapore & Us

Manja Cats: Tigger, Ve Ching, Harmony & Missy (in order of adoption); Singapore: Where we are currently living; Us: Alex's British, Tarsier Girl is Singaporean.

Friday, June 09, 2006

38 cent lesson in Karma

On Monday night I bought 3litres of drinking water from the provision store in the hotel. It cost S$6.69, (and the Americans whine about US$3/gal for petrol). I was sure it was a lot cheaper than that at the expensive supermarket nearby so last night I thought I make a shopping trip there.

However on my walk home I pass a local supermarket and although it was about a 10 minute walk back to the hotel, I decided that carrying a laptop and 3litres of water from there was doable. As it turned out the same water as the hotel was only 6.6Yuan or only S$1.40!

When the cashier gave me my change from the 10 Yuan note I handed over, I just stuffed it into my pocket and off I went. However this morning when I went to put the change into my wallet, I found I’d been scammed again. What the cashier did, was instead of giving me one 1Yuan note and one 2 Yuan note as part of my change, she’d given me a 2 Jiao note. 1 Jiao is 0.1 Yuan.

Of course, at first I was really annoyed, but eventually it did dawn on me that I was more annoyed by being cheated of 38cents by a crappy little corner store struggling to survive than I was about being “cheated” of $5.30 by the hotel that is already, presumably, changing me an arm and a leg for my room.

However getting my wallet out at lunchtime reminded me of it, so as I had lunch I tried to remember what Ajhan Brahm said in his talk on injustice. In his talk he explains that there is no such thing as injustice in Buddhism. That this was just the fruition of karma created when I had cheated someone else, (also well explained in The Diamond Cutter : The Buddha on Strategies for Managing Your Business and Your Life by Geshe Michael Roach). Between them they explain karma is neither or good or bad, it is us that decides if it is "good" or "bad" based on our observation, (the Dalai Lama explains it clearly in his book The Buddha on Strategies for Managing Your Business and Your Life were he compares it to how light can behave as a particle or a wave, it depends how you observe it), or rather what we want the world to be, rather than what it is.

So, I finished my lunch happy in the knowledge that some “bad” or perhaps it’s better to say unpleasant karma had come to fruition in such a mild manner.

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