3.1. Before going any further into what this new equipment has to be and how to get there, it seems important to me to specify what large-scale karma can be. Later (e.g. paragraph 3.3 resp. chapter 4), I will give some explanation on karma in a general sense. Here, in the case of large-scale karma one may consider, firstly, the karma of the earth as a whole (gaia), the karma of continents, oceans, etc. As well as the karma of all kinds of specific forms of life, including vegetation, environment, climate, powers of nature, rivers, mountains, woods, deserts, minerals, etc. This especially regards the way in which mankind manages and mismanages these forms of life. By means of science, technology, robbery. Large-scale karma also includes the karma of mankind as a whole, and parts of mankind in the sense of the so-called developed versus undeveloped parts, the so-called rich versus the poor, the so-called white versus the black, specific ethnic populations, tribes, nations, countries, cities, villages, etc.

3.2. There is also karma related to the positions of men and women in society. The positions of the young and the elderly as well. There is the karma of forms of government, specific religions, specific images of deities, sampradaya’s (sects), ashrams, monasteries, churches, temples, houses. There is even the karma of classes of objects, specific objects as well. Again, especially considered in the way we handle, manage or mismanage these. Culture in all its other appearances is subject to karma as well. At the same time, culture constitutes the life-material each one of us has to interact with - as chances for our development as well as limitations. As there is the karma of teaching and education, social institutions like marriage, family, parenthood, rituals, sanskara’s (rites of passage), sacraments, specific professions, specific sciences and arts, healthcare (physic as well as mental), specific forms of that care, etc. One may even think in terms of the karma of specific feelings, forms of expression, ways of treating the human body, mind and intellect, human relationships, work and leisure time. It is said again: especially in the context of human usage or abuse. And in the context of giving meaning to life.

3.3. It is not my intention to give a complete and correct summary, or even in some kind of justified order, of everything that might constitute large-scale karma. Starting with micro, going to meso, to macro, including the many different scales inbetween. Stipulating moreover that everything that is happening, even on micro-scale, does have effects on all these different scale-levels. No, my intention is to state how much of the pain of the world we witness nowadays is related to the supra-individual. To what I, as I said before, call large-scale karma. This can be called “karma” since all of these phenomenon's arise from preceding causes. Moreover, we understand such phenomenon's as karma since by themselves they cause new phenomenon's. Which process continues in an endless chain, in endless interferent clustered chains. Why this type of karma can be called “large-scale” I think is evident. I clarified that before. Nevertheless I repeat that. Since the pain of the world and our witnessing of that pain are part of large-scale karma. We do not witness one or two horrific situations of seriously injured fellow men. No, we see a permanent stream of hundreds, no, thousands strongly traumatised fellow men. Not only now and then, not only in one place or the other, but simultaneously from everywhere in the world. Showed in the most heartbreaking detail. Whether caused by natural disaster, large-scale accidents, acts of war, other forms of violence by men - be it physical, be it psychological - or by whatever else. Apart from what is happening million fold by depriving basic preconditions for life, such as safety, water, food, housing, hygiene, health care, etc.

3.4. But let me state first: our pain of being witness to the pain of the world means nothing if compared to the almost unbearable pain of those actually involved. They are the ones confronted with pain, suffering, physical and emotional burdens that by far surpass what people in their lifetimes generally have to bear, and are able to bear. Also the many direct witnesses, as relatives, friends, neighbours, etc. In a related sense, the same goes for all those aid workers, who provide help in fact. Heroes they are since actually giving help to the seriously traumatised in fact means traumatising oneself on a voluntary basis (5). And, in a more widely related sense, I point to the encouragingly large and varied group of supporters for awakening consciousness, for development and co-operation, fund raising etc. We have to honour all of them. How then could we, as virtual witnesses, complain about our witnessing of pain? About confused feelings? About our, what I call “witnessing-pain”.

3.5. Therefore I don’t complain. I don’t. Nevertheless, I take my pain and confusion, my witnessing-pain, serious. I dare to do so now - after having paid tribute to the victims, their relatives, the direct witnesses, the aid workers and their supporters. Now I dare to stipulate that our being witnesses of all of this surpasses our human ability to bear that. Our heart, so it seems to me, is originally equipped only for witnessing and offering concrete help in case of suffering on a more moderate scale. On the scale of family and neighbourhood. On local scale, regional scale... However, it has to be admitted: during our human history the scale on which pain, suffering, injustice did occur, and did become manifest as well, did constantly increase. The same with the “sad-sad-effectiveness” of the instruments of violence and the use of the own bodies and lives by the ones handling these instruments.

3.6. So the question whether our compassion has grown sufficiently is highly important, since the scale on which the pain of the world is obvious nowadays has passed a critical limit, it seems to me. Even to such an extent that we can speak of a new quality in which it is demonstrated. As with steam compared to water. In water, one drowns if unable to swim. And swimming can be learnt. It does not require a special body or equipment. In a constant stream of hot steam one burns or suffocates. Unless one can hold one’s breath or is otherwise equipped to stand it. This can be compared with what happens with our hearts: they are too small, insufficiently equipped, for the permanent confrontation with this new quality, which I called, by lack of a suitable expression as steam compared to water, in short: “the pain of the world”. Our heart is not trained or sufficiently equipped for standing its witnessing-pain. Once more: giving worldwide merciful response is beyond our capacity too.


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