Compassion

  • 2017

    Understanding About Karma In Your Life

    WHAT IS KARMA?

    The definition of KARMA is stated as: "for every event that occurs, there will follow another event whose existence was caused by the first, and this second event will be pleasant or unpleasant."

    Many that have believed in rebirth have believed that it may involve working off the karmic debt of past lifetimes and therefore hardship and sufferance in the present lifetime has often been attributed to any past life karmic debt, that has been brought forward by negative actions of past life onto the present life and incarnation, thus any present life suffering might be attributed as a consequenting result of the karmic laws and be seen as karmic debt and therefore unavoidable. The karmic laws being the laws that are thought to maintain an equilibrium through action causing reaction and for every action there will be consequenting reactions, therefore positive action is thought to result in positive reaction and negative action resulting in negative reactions, either in this present time or in some later incarnation.

    It is thought that whatever karmic debt or credit we might of brought forward with us there will eventually be compensation or remonstration for both our past and present actions. For those who do positive action and have also done so in their past lifetime there will be a positive reward and for those who have done negative actions there will be debt to make amends for and possible hardship and suffering as a result of their past actions. The concept of Karma plays a very important role throughout Asia. Asian religions in general have established the famous universal moral code based upon this law, that good deeds produce good effects and bad deeds produce bad effects. However, it should be pointed out that Buddhism places additional qualifications on this code. This topic has been discussed often. The question is: "Is there any room for free will under the law of Karma?" A more penetrating question is: "Might not free will be simply subjective opinion? So-called free will is also an effect of Karma."We must remember that positive acts also produce positive Karma, and positive Karma interacts with negative Karma.

    All of Buddha's teachings aim at this one goal: that is, to identify oneself with one's basic nature. All his methods are designed to enable one to gradually come into harmony with that basic nature.
    Now, basic nature possesses all kinds of good human qualities, such as loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. All these good qualities could cause good Karma, which produces good effects. Therefore, during the process of cultivating harmony with basic nature, these good qualities will be revealed bit by bit, like an occasional ray of sunshine penetrating through a heavy cloud. These revelations are the true products of a person's free will. Because such free will creates good Karma, and because good Karma produces good effects which in turn are good Karma for the next effect, and so on, a person has the potential to become Enlightened, to recognize basic nature, and to become a Buddha.

    Let's take an example of a sequence of events. An unpleasant sensation occurs. A thought arises that the source of the unpleasantness was a person. (This thought is a delusion; any decisions based upon it will therefore be unskillful.) A thought arises that some past sensations of unpleasantness issued from this same person. (This thought is a further delusion.) This is followed by a willful decision to speak words that will produce an unpleasant sensation in that which is perceived as a person. (This decision is an act of hostility. Of all the events described so far, only this is called karma.) Words are carefully chosen in the hopes that when heard they will cause pain. The words are pronounced aloud. (This is the execution of the decision to be hostile. It may also be classed as a kind of karma, although technically it is after-karma.) There is a visual sensation of a furrowed brow and down turned mouth. The thought arises that the other person's face is frowning. The thought arises that the other person's feelings were hurt. There is a fleeting joyful feeling of success in knowing that one has scored a damaging verbal blow. Eventually (perhaps much later) there is an unpleasant sensation of regret, perhaps taking the form of a sensation of fear that the perceived enemy may retaliate, or perhaps taking the form of remorse on having acted impetuously, like an immature child, and hoping that no one will remember this childish action. (This regret or fear is the unpleasant ripening of the karma, the unskillful decision to inflict pain through words.)

    There are those who believe that we may have to experience a number of incarnations in human form, until such a time as the soul has obtained an appropriate level of enlightenment, through the process of a number of rebirths and experiences of life here on the earth. Often this has been considered to be something we have no choice in and that it may entail having rebirth here on a number of occasions in human form, (This should not be confused with the transmigration of souls, which is a different understanding that is thought to entail transmigrating from the lower species to the most evolved species here on the earth, which is human).

    This is seen to address who we are and how we conduct ourselves and those who have a more positive life are seen to be further along the pathway toward enlightenment and those who have hardship are also on this same path and are receiving the lessons that teaches negative action results in negative reaction and the lesson is that through doing positive action they will escape the consequent negative karma and instead further their own enlightenment to living within the karmic laws.

    Some except the karmic laws as an unavoidable fact of life and to prevent misfortune in a future incarnation they may choose to set about only doing positive action in this lifetime, thereby working off karmic debt of any previous life and preventing it in any future life and that by doing so it will help to bring enlightenment and the understanding necessary through several incarnations to achieve the required enlightenment and level, where it becomes possible to move on for a time into a higher level and state of existence beyond the mortal realm. This belief again has good merits and many true understandings, but I feel is not completely correct, but has good values and teaches practical and logical ways in which to live a good and practical life within its understandings.

    Good or Bad Karma Effect

    The so-called good effect or bad effect is not a judgment nor is it given as a reward or punishment by a superabundance authority such as God. The good or bad effect produced by good or bad Karma is purely and simply a natural phenomenon governed by natural laws that act automatically, with complete justice. If God has anything to do with it, then God must also act according to this natural law. This cause produces this effect. That cause produces that effect. God would not change this natural path because of his like or dislike of a particular person.

    This law of Karma, or cause and effect, is so powerful that it governs everything in the universe except, according to Buddhism, the one who is Enlightened or who recognizes basic nature. Upon Enlightenment, the round of cause and effect loses its significance, just as Samsara, or the round of birth and death, ceases with Enlightenment. Since basic nature transcends all duality and is ultimate, there is no one to receive the effect, whether it is good or bad, and no one to whom any effect can apply. This unique explanation by Buddha of the nullification of the law of Karma is very important.

    Karma is a law in Hinduism, which maintains that every act done, no matter how insignificant, will eventually return to the doer with equal impact. Good will be returned with good; evil with evil. Since Hindus believe in reincarnation, karma knows no simple birth/death boundaries. If good or evil befall you, it is because of something you did in this or a previous lifetime.

    Karma is sometimes referred to as a "moral law of cause and effect." Karma is both an encouragement to do good and to avoid evil, as well as an explanation for whatever good or evil befalls a person.

    On one level, karma serves to explain why good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people. The injustices of the world, the seeming random distribution of good and evil, are only apparent. In reality, everybody is getting what he or she deserves. Even the child brutalized by drugged adults deserves the horror. The mentally ill, the retarded, the homosexuals, and the millions of Jews killed by the Nazis deserved it for evil they must have done in the past. The slave beaten to within a breath of death deserved it, if not for what he did today, then for what he did in some previous lifetime. Likewise for the rape victim. She is just getting what she deserves. All suffering is deserved, according to the law of karma.

    Let's say someone kills someone . . . at a bank machine.... It could be two things. It could be, the person who committed the crime used their free will to do that. Or this might sound weird, but it could have been a karmic situation where that person who was murdered had to be paid back for murdering the other person in a previous incarnation.

    Karmic effect is the incomprehensible! This statement of Buddha suggests not only the complexity of karmic effects but also the difficulty of predicting when a karmic effect will mature.
    Generally speaking, however, Karma is like the action of lighting a candle. The candle will light the whole room immediately and will last until it is consumed. Similarly, Karma has the following characteristics:

    • Karma not only affects the doer but also affects others. The magnitude of the Karma determines the sphere of its effect.
    • Most Karma produces an immediate effect, which will last until it is consumed. The nature and magnitude of a karmic action determine the duration of the effect, which may remain many years, or may not even be felt until some other karmic conditions mature.
    • Karmic effects can combine and accumulate.

    The following examples however, might help you to understand these points a bit more:

    • The discovery of electricity by Benjamin Franklin and the conversion of electricity into light by Thomas Edison changed the lives of human beings tremendously, and the effect is still growing.
    • An action taken by the U.S. Congress to change the tax law will immediately affect millions of American pockets. Many Americans can see the effect in their lifetime, and it will also be felt by future generations of Americans.
    • The combined and cumulative karma of the system of slavery used by many Americans over a long period of time has produced effects, which constitute a major domestic problem in the U.S.
    • The theoretical discovery of atomic energy by Albert Einstein and the joint effort of all the participants in the Manhattan Project produced such complicated effects, good and bad, that we are probably just beginning to realize the significance of these developments.

    For the most part Hindu and Indian-based religious schools of thought, especially early ones, believed in and promoted the concept that Karma operates in a straight line, with actions from the past influencing the present, and present actions influencing the future. As a result, they saw little room for free will. A lot of that interpretation has permeated into western culture and thought, with Karma ending up being an unbending "fate" or "destiny" type of concept. However, Karma operates more closely with the Buddhist view as formulated by the Buddha, acting more or less in feedback loops, with the present moment being shaped both by past and by present actions; present actions shape not only the future but also the present. This constant opening for present input into the causal process makes free will possible.

    Effects of Karma

    How you may create karmic effects of greater magnitude.

    • One day, while walking on the street, Buddha met a beggar who was a so-called untouchable in the strict caste society of India during his time. Not only was Buddha friendly with him, but also he accepted the beggar as a disciple in his order of the Sangha. This action had an effect, which was infinitely greater than the acceptance of a prince as his disciple.
    • When the monk Bodhidharma went from India to China he was welcomed by the Emperor Liang. The emperor asked him, "What merit have I gained since I built so many temples, erected so many pagodas, made so many offerings to Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, and did numerous other virtuous deed?" Bodhidharma's reply greatly disappointed Emperor Liang. Bodhidharma said, "Your Majesty, there is none whatsoever. You have gained no merit. What you have done produces only worldly rewards, that is, good fortune, great power, or great wealth in your future lives, but you will still be wandering around in Samsara."
    • Buddha often emphasized that to study and explain to others even a few sentences of the teachings that show how to be rid of samsara creates infinitely greater merit than making tremendous offerings to as many Buddhas all over the universe as there are grains of sand in the great Ganges River.
    • Buddha also taught these principles:
    • One who makes numerous offerings to the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, helps sentient being, and does many good deeds, and yet dedicates all the merit accumulated thereby to one's own or one's relatives interest such as making more money or enjoying a longer or better present or future life produces limited effects.
    • One who does those same good deeds but dedicates all the merit to saving sentient beings from suffering in Samsara receives much greater merit than the one with selfish purposes.
    • Finally, one who does the same good deeds with no specific purpose or desire at all receives infinitely greater merit than the two cases mentioned above.

    CONCLUSION

    Karma is such a vast subject. Topics like the following could be very interesting:

    • Can good Karma and bad Karma offset each other?
    • Can Karma be erased?
    • Can the effects of bad Karma be minimized by confession or other kind of repentance?

    With the general idea of Karma explained, you may be able to find the answers to those questions.
    In conclusion, I wish to emphasize two points:

    • Good or bad Karma will inevitably produce its respective effect. Our daily doings, speech, and thoughts will affect our future. A wise person knows, therefore, how to live properly.
    • Remember that the law of Karma stops operating and you become rid of Samsara only by identifying yourself with your basic nature. How you may gradually identify yourself with basic nature, and realize that it is you, is the essence of Buddha's teaching. Do study and practice it.

    Meaning of Karma:
    Karma
    'Sow an action, reap a habit.
    Sow a habit, reap a character.
    Sow a character, reap a destiny.'

    You can read more regarding about Karma under alphabet 'K' at the following site: Meaning of Karma

    More About The Kinds Of Karma

    Here are a few other links about Karma you can refer to:

    Karma is Sanskrit for "deed."
    Karma is the law of moral causation.
    Karma and Reincarnation

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