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Karma (/ ? k ??r m ? /; Sanskrit: ????, IPA: (); Pali: kamma) means action, work, or deed. The term also refers to the spiritual principle of cause and effect, often descriptively called the principle of karma, wherein intent and actions of an individual (cause) influence the future of that individual (effect): good intent and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier. Karma definition, action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. See more.
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A Buddhist Master’s Simple Explanation of Karma
The Pali term Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma. It covers all that is included in the phrase "thought, word and deed". Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. Jun 26, · “The word “karma” means “action,” not “fate.” In Buddhism, karma is an energy created by willful action, through thoughts, words and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every lovesdatme.com’s common to think of “my karma” as something you did in your last life that seals your fate in. Rebirth in Buddhism refers to the teaching that the actions of a person lead to a new existence after death, in an endless cycle called sa?sara. This cycle is considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and lovesdatme.com cycle stops only if liberation is achieved by insight and the extinguishing of craving. Rebirth is one of the foundational doctrines of Buddhism, along with karma, nirvana and.
Karma is the law of moral causation. The theory of Karma is a fundamental doctrine in Buddhism. This belief was prevalent in India before the advent of the Buddha. Nevertheless, it was the Buddha who explained and formulated this doctrine in the complete form in which we have it today. What is the cause of the inequality that exists among mankind? Why should one person be brought up in the lap of luxury, endowed with fine mental, moral and physical qualities, and another in absolute poverty, steeped in misery?
Why should one person be a mental prodigy, and another an idiot? Why should one person be born with saintly characteristics and another with criminal tendencies? Why should some be linguistic, artistic, mathematically inclined, or musical from the very cradle?
Why should others be congenitally blind, deaf, or deformed? Why should some be blessed, and others cursed from their births? Either this inequality of mankind has a cause, or it is purely accidental. No sensible person would think of attributing this unevenness, this inequality, and this diversity to blind chance or pure accident. In this world nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or other deserve.
Usually, men of ordinary intellect cannot comprehend the actual reason or reasons. The definite invisible cause or causes of the visible effect is not necessarily confined to the present life, they may be traced to a proximate or remote past birth. According to Buddhism, this inequality is due not only to heredity, environment, "nature and nurture", but also to Karma. In other words, it is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings.
We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate. Perplexed by the seemingly inexplicable, apparent disparity that existed among humanity, a young truth-seeker approached the Buddha and questioned him regarding this intricate problem of inequality:.
It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high states. He then explained the cause of such differences in accordance with the law of cause and effect.
Certainly we are born with hereditary characteristics. At the same time we possess certain innate abilities that science cannot adequately account for. To our parents we are indebted for the gross sperm and ovum that form the nucleus of this so-called being. They remain dormant within each parent until this potential germinal compound is vitalised by the karmic energy needed for the production of the foetus.
Karma is therefore the indispensable conceptive cause of this being. The accumulated karmic tendencies, inherited in the course of previous lives, at times play a far greater role than the hereditary parental cells and genes in the formation of both physical and mental characteristics. The Buddha, for instance, inherited, like every other person, the reproductive cells and genes from his parents. But physically, morally and intellectually there was none comparable to him in his long line of Royal ancestors.
He was certainly a superman, an extraordinary creation of his own Karma. According to the Lakkhana Sutta of Digha Nikaya, the Buddha inherited exceptional features, such as the 32 major marks, as the result of his past meritorious deeds. The ethical reason for acquiring each physical feature is clearly explained in the Sutta.
Dealing with this problem of variation, the Atthasalini, being a commentary on the Abhidharma, states:. Depending on the difference in Karma appears the difference in the individual features of beings as beautiful and ugly, high-born or low born, well-built or deformed. Depending on the difference in Karma appears the difference in worldly conditions of beings, such as gain and loss, and disgrace, blame and praise, happiness and misery.
Thus, from a Buddhist point of view, our present mental, moral intellectual and temperamental differences are, for the most part, due to our own actions and tendencies, both past and present. Although Buddhism attributes this variation to Karma, as being the chief cause among a variety, it does not, however, assert that everything is due to Karma. The law of Karma, important as it is, is only one of the twenty-four conditions described in Buddhist Philosophy.
Refuting the erroneous view that "whatsoever fortune or misfortune experienced is all due to some previous action", the Buddha said:. Thus, for those who fall back on the former deeds as the essential reason, there is neither the desire to do, nor effort to do, nor necessity to do this deed, or abstain from this deed.
It was this important text, which states the belief that all physical circumstances and mental attitudes spring solely from past Karma that Buddha contradicted. If the present life is totally conditioned or wholly controlled by our past actions, then certainly Karma is tantamount to fatalism or determinism or predestination.
If this were true, free will would be an absurdity. Life would be purely mechanistic, not much different from a machine. The only difference lies in the two words God and Karma. One could easily be substituted for the other, because the ultimate operation of both forces would be identical. Such a fatalistic doctrine is not the Buddhist law of Karma. According to Buddhism, there are five orders or processes niyama which operate in the physical and mental realms.
They are: Utu Niyama - physical inorganic order, e. The unerring order of seasons, characteristic seasonal changes and events, causes of winds and rains, nature of heat, etc. Bija Niyama - order of germs and seeds physical organic order , e. The scientific theory of cells and genes and the physical similarity of twins may be ascribed to this order. Karma Niyama - order of act and result, e. As surely as water seeks its own level so does Karma, given opportunity, produce its inevitable result, not in the form of a reward or punishment but as an innate sequence.
This sequence of deed and effect is as natural and necessary as the way of the sun and the moon. Dhamma Niyama - order of the norm, e. Gravitation and other similar laws of nature. The natural reason for being good and so forth, may be included in this group.
Citta Niyama - order or mind or psychic law, e. Every mental or physical phenomenon could be explained by these all-embracing five orders or processes which are laws in themselves. Karma as such is only one of these five orders. Like all other natural laws they demand no lawgiver. Of these five, the physical inorganic order and the order of the norm are more or less mechanistic, though they can be controlled to some extent by human ingenuity and the power of mind.
For example, fire normally burns, and extreme cold freezes, but man has walked scatheless over fire and meditated naked on Himalayan snows; horticulturists have worked marvels with flowers and fruits; Yogis have performed levitation. Psychic law is equally mechanistic, but Buddhist training aims at control of mind, which is possible by right understanding and skilful volition.
Karma law operates quite automatically and, when the Karma is powerful, man cannot interfere with its inexorable result though he may desire to do so; but here also right understanding and skilful volition can accomplish much and mould the future. The Buddhist aims at the final destruction of all Karma. What is Karma? The Pali term Karma literally means action or doing. Any kind of intentional action whether mental, verbal, or physical, is regarded as Karma.
It covers all that is included in the phrase "thought, word and deed". Generally speaking, all good and bad action constitutes Karma. In its ultimate sense Karma means all moral and immoral volition. Involuntary, unintentional or unconscious actions, though technically deeds, do not constitute Karma, because volition, the most important factor in determining Karma, is absent. Having willed one acts by body, speech, and thought.
Every volitional action of individuals, save those of Buddhas and Arahants, is called Karma. The exception made in their case is because they are delivered from both good and evil; they have eradicated ignorance and craving, the roots of Karma. This does not mean that the Buddha and Arahantas are passive. They are tirelessly active in working for the real well being and happiness of all. Their deeds ordinarily accepted as good or moral, lack creative power as regards themselves.
Karma does not necessarily mean past actions. It embraces both past and present deeds. Hence in one sense, we are the result of what we were; we will be the result of what we are. In another sense, it should be added, we are not totally the result of what we were; we will not absolutely be the result of what we are.
The present is no doubt the offspring of the past and is the present of the future, but the present is not always a true index of either the past or the future; so complex is the working of Karma. It is this doctrine of Karma that the mother teaches her child when she says "Be good and you will be happy and we will love you; but if you are bad, you will be unhappy and we will not love you. Karma and Vipaka. Karma is action, and Vipaka, fruit or result, is its reaction. Just as every object is accompanied by a shadow, even so every volitional activity is inevitably accompanied by its due effect.
Strictly speaking, both Karma and Vipaka pertain to the mind. As Karma is mental so Vipaka is mental of the mind. It is experienced as happiness, bliss, unhappiness or misery, according to the nature of the Karma seed. As we sow, we reap somewhere and sometime, in his life or in a future birth.
What we reap today is what we have sown either in the present or in the past. The Samyutta Nikaya states:.