What is your belief about Karma?

| April 13, 2012 | 10 Comments

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Dana Nourie

About the Author ()

Dana is Technical Director of the Secular Buddhist Association. She learned Buddhism through a DVD course on Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism, followed by a two-year course in person. She then studied Theravada Buddhism through the Insight Meditation South Bay with teacher Shaila Catherine. She has been a practitioner now for over a decade. Dana has been working in the internet industry since 1992, has held the positions of web developer, technical writer, and online community manager. She is a geek girl with a passion for science and computing.

Comments (10)

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  1. 0nothing1 says:

    We must pay for everything. And yet sometimes it can be avoided. What do you think why and in what cases cause-effect relationship can not effect on the individual?

  2. perknh says:

    Karma is essentially indifferent, Karma is not punishment or punishment for good or bad behavior. Karma is always unfolding, and is experienced individually, collectively, and even in the material world. The sun, for instance has it’s own karma, as does the plastic bottle found on the side of the road, that somebody either lost, or threw out the car as some litter. Karma is cause and affect, and we are all involved with karma all of the time. The answer, ” I believe in Karma as the interconnection of consequences from our actions.” was well-worded, and could be even expanded to include all of our actions collectively, as well as the actions within the multiverse in which we all live. Still, in practical terms, it’s okay to see and say that some karma seems better than others. Smuggling some heroin into Singapore, for instance, could certainly result into some really bad karma for the smugglers involved. Or seeing a healthy and happy young child learn a foreign language with so much ease could well be locked at as that of a child with some very good karma. The thing to keep in mind, as adults, is that karma really is an indifferent process. It is the “interconnection of consequences of action.”

  3. Doug Smith Doug says:

    Though I checked ‘no belief’, I’m somewhere between ‘no belief’ and ‘belief as the interconnection of consequences’. Certainly, our actions have consequences, and often the consequences of wrong acts are themselves painful, and right acts are beneficial. But this isn’t always the case, and anyhow it’s a substantive causal claim to say that it always is the case. (One without real evidence).

    Karma can be used as a stick to threaten Buddhists with punishment for wrong actions, just as hell can be for the Christian: if you do this, you will suffer. But that’s not the reason why we shouldn’t do bad things: out of fear of retribution. Instead, we shouldn’t do bad things simply because they are wrong and hurtful, whether or not we suffer consequences for them.

    Further, I have heard Buddhists blame victims of misfortune due to the supposed ‘bad karma’ that resulted in their supposed ‘punishment': e.g., a disabled person or crime victim being blamed for bad karma in a past life. This is deluded and hurtful.

  4. perknh says:

    I agree with Doug, the concept of karma can be manipulated all kinds of ways. Personalizing karma, using the concept of karma for victimization, is “deluded’ and can be very “hurtful”.

    Few people would disagree with the concept of cause and effect. But what are all of the causes of this and that? And what are all the effects of this and that?

    Who the hell knows!

  5. NaturalEntrust says:

    I have not voted. I think it would be unfair of me.
    But my subjective opinion is that Karma maybe be
    a Buddhist version of “Hard to Fake Sign of Commitment”

    To support that view I refer to the fact that E-Sangha
    used Karma and Rebirth as a criterium for to be part of
    that E-sangha. One where not allowed to question it ever.
    or one risked to be instantly banned.

    And does not some Buddhist say that SBA are not Buddhist
    due to SBA have a skeptical view on such claims? I may be wrong.

    I don’t even believe that there is such things as simple “cause-effect ”

    Criminal records show that a lot of Psychopaths to have made bad
    actions to hundreds of people and no retribution or effect did
    happen to them. As long as none found evidence for being lured
    the victims of the felt just happy. The climinal too had no bad effects
    out of him or her doing hundreds of bad acts through their whole life.

    So I find it more likely that Karma and Rebirth are views that
    is part of a “skilful means to get Monks and lay persons to behave
    in less selfish ways. A prescription instead of a true description
    of reality.

  6. leebert leebert says:

    Cause & effect in the context of D.O. If you want to see it with a moral dimension, fine. If you want to see it as salt in the Ganges, also good. If somebody wants to crap it up as an explanation for children dying of starvation, you can tell them them where to stick it.

  7. geparks says:

    I agree, certainly our past actions have consequences. (Consequences do appear to reach beyond a single lifetime.) The most interesting comment I ever had about karma (from a person who practiced in the zen tradition) was “Karma IS what you do to obtain enlightenment.”

    Some of the presuppositions in that statement on a path to enlightenment for me are:

    There are cause-effect relationships in our lives.
    Without feedback we would never learn (grow or ultimately become enlightened).
    It’s up to “you”. Who or whatever “you” is must assume responsibility.

  8. gschlosser@sbcglobal.net says:

    In my experience, I accept the concept of Karma because everyday in some way I find a connection in my life to something I do/did, or feel, or experience anew. It is the cold rush that crosses the back of my neck. Oops! I know that feeling, response, or reaction. I did that, I abused that person, I am responsible for my actions, causes and effects, discussion and realizations, ( my fingers won’t type) Not sure my actions go beyond this lifetime–a quaint notion. I say my actions revisit me every day, every minute and second I am alive. When I pay attention I can feel Karma in my gut and breath. Somehow, this all seems a little murky. But I do feel it, I do notice the feeling, the ideas, the thoughts. Don’t really know.

  9. merlin merlin says:

    I think Karma is a name for a mental factor that is a moment to moment reflection of the character of a person.

    It is the interface between intention and action, and reflects the tendency to act beneficially or detrimentally, and is revised to reflect the consequences of actions.

    Karma is the re-birth factor that is distributed by interaction with society, forming a ripple in the pool, the totality of which determines the culture into which a child is born.

    Merlin

  10. irvjacob irvjacob says:

    The beauty of the concept of Karma is that it works for our favor (merit) as much as creating negative complications (conditioned suffering). But remember the teaching of Nagarjuna that Karma has no essence, not fatalistic reality, we are still at choice in each moment; so how does a bank robber get his/her comeuppance? Not my problem. We have all witnessed how what we say can have immediate consequences in the emotional responses of others. Is that Karma? probably a good explanation. Clearly those who study hard and are naturally intelligent can open the doors to the future of higher education etc. What about the rest of us? Life has all these possibilities and that is what makes it interesting, or at least it can be interesting. Enlightenment is when we recognize “voidness, emptiness” and anatta, and we still find meaning in our lives and feel comfortable and interconnected. No more Existential Angst, or depression.

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