Sharon Stone is being sued by 1000 Chinese and a New York attorny for an offhand (?) remark that China's recent earthquake was bad karma for China's stance on Tibet.
Her comments remind me of Jerry Fallwell and Pat Robertson who blamed Katrina on liberals. They also blamed 9/11 on gays and abortionists.
Fundamentalists are quick to take selected Old Testament passages and pull from them an application to suffering, always locating it in punishment for sin.
Of course, the sin is always "someone else's sin."
Whether it be a Buddhist or a Christian thing, it's just plain foolish to speculate on the mind of God in someone else's suffering.
There is, in most of us, I suppose, a superstitious notion that if our neighbor falls on hard times, they probably deserved it, but if hard times come our way, we're "innocent victims" of fate or someone else's cruelty.
When I teach on delicate and difficult issues, I remind the student, "speak softly on the things we're not sure about, but speak boldly on things we we know. And what we know is this: God is good all the time, and all the time God is good."
I know and trust mercy, grace, kindness and love.
And if there's suffering, what good does it do speculate on it's ontological origins - like, how many angels can dance on the head of a pain - a question that once occupied the minds of the best and the brightest?
If there's suffering, offer help and consolation.
If there's hurt and pain, provide healing and support.
Where there are tears, bring solace and the money and energy to rebuild.
Let God, or the gods, determine the more subtle pieces of the cosmic puzzle.
Our job is simply to be merciful to one another.