Buddhist monk in Angkor Wat, Cambodia

A Story About Karma and Photography

Buddhist good luck string on wristDo you believe in karma?

Honestly, I don’t. If you do, feel free to attribute this story to it.

When visiting Angkor Wat last week, I made a small donation to a Buddhist monk, who tied this red string to my wrist. Legend has it that those strings are bringers of good luck.

A few days later, while in Singapore, my camera started falling apart. First the shutter button started getting stuck in the half-pressed position. Then the camera kept locking up at random times. Then the LCD died. Finally, I brought the camera to a lab to try to get the shutter button unstuck and the technician yanked it off completely, making the camera unusable.

At this point, I might have been tempted to think that the string was working in reverse, maybe because of my disbelief in its powers.

Luckily, I was with a friend who shoots Canon, but also owns a Fujifilm X-T2 just like mine and who let me use it for the time we were in Singapore. What are the chances?  So I wasn’t completely out of luck, it seems.

When I got home, I contacted Amazon, where I bought the camera from, since it was still under warranty. I was expecting them to tell me to send the camera in for repairs or replacements but, to my surprise, they told me they were going to send a courier to pick it up from my home and, once they had it in their hands, they would be reimbursing me the full price I had paid to purchase it!

That’s like having rented the camera for almost two years for free.

Finally, as Fujifilm just announced the new X-T3 that supersedes the X-T2 in their lineup and that costs less than what the X-T2 cost at the time it was released, I will be getting the new camera with the money Amazon is going to send me and I will have money to spare.

In the end, I get a brand new, updated camera and I still have some money in my pocket. Could have I been more lucky?

Now, do you believe in karma? If you do, and think my story shows the power of it, let me know in the comments. If you don’t, and think it’s all coincidence, I will appreciate your opinion too.

Buddhist monk climbing down stairs at Ta

Comments 6

  1. The Good Book says:” Throw your bread over the water and it will come back to you many fold.” This meaqns, share your blessings and you will receive them back in different ways.

  2. Every photographer’s nightmare: having a camera break up when far from home! But great to hear that good karma followed. As for the X-T3 – I have my order in. I flirted with buying the Sony A7 111 (that is greatly hyped) but I have Fuji’s beautiful lenses and decided to stay faithful!

  3. Interesting story and I recognise the monk. The problem with attributing the bonus you got from the string is not actually how the law of karma works. The easy way to think of it is cause and effect. Every single action or thought creates a karmic imprint in our minds. Once an imprint occurs it grows untilit ripens in exactly the same way an acorn grows and develops into an oak if all the right conditions are present. And just as an acorn can only ever grown into an oak tree a karmic imprint can only manifest in a similar way. In your example Ugo, that you benefited from a bad situation will have likely have been the result of a generosity previously created. Donating money to the monk, if it was done with a pure motivation I.e. to benefit someone will generate a positive karmic imprint bringing about a causes for good fortunate in the future. If you donated money to the monk with the sole intention of getting personal good luck, this is considered a selfish motivation and therefore generates a negative imprint which can only manifest as a negative effect. The Tibetan Buddhist masters teach that everything that happens to us is the result of karmic actions created in past lives, not this life time. So you will have undergone the misfortune of your camera failing due to some action in a past life from possibly mistreating someone else’s possessions but then it worked out for you in the end due to acts of kindness created in the past, maybe fixing soneones possessions for them, giving money to help someone. The red string (I’m still wearing my multi coloured from the old lady in Preah Kahn) may have been blessed and is offered as a form of generosity. So all in all karma is the law of cause and effect – good can only create good, negative can only create negative, karmic imprints grow and we can control our destiny in this a futures lives. It is a very powerful and complicated thing.

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  4. Ugo:

    Twenty years ago, I arrived in Ottawa, Canada, for work. I used to walk along the Rideau Canal with grass on both sides (pity I can’t post a picture). One day, I found a Minolta film camera on the grass. I looked around and didn’t see anybody. I talked to the police, they took my name and let me have the camera, in case someone would file a report. There was film in it and I finished using it. The pictures previously taken didn’t reveal anybody in particular.

    Three months later, already Winter, walking along the Canal again, I found the camera case in the snow, something like a kilometer away from where I had found the camera. It was the case for the same camera! Most probably, the person was walking, lost the camera and only noticed it far away. Not wanting to come back, he/she threw out the case, giving the camera for lost.

    Since then, I have been upgrading my cameras and found passion in Photography.

    If this is not Karma, then it’s just a very, very big coincidence. I would say, fate!



  5. I don’t believe in karma either but that’s great you had a ready workaround on your trip and you’ll effectively get a free camera upgrade soon!

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