8 things to know about Buddhist Karma

Here’s some note about Karma from the Buddhist point of view.

1) Karma is not a reward/punishment system overseen by a supreme being.

To explain simply, Karma is a natural law of cause and effect that states that every action has its reaction. In order for the reactive result to manifest, the conditions to support the manifestation must be present. There is no being acting as a judge to reward and punish you.

2) Karma means action.

There can be good or bad Karma. In general, good actions causes good results and we say a person has good karma. Likewise for the opposite. There can be actions that are neutral.

3) Even Buddha or Gods cannot prevent the result of Karma from manifesting

In the Buddhist scriptures, there are numerous accounts of bad events taking place in Buddha’s life and also to the Gods in haven. The Buddha explained the cause of these bad events. For example, when Buddha was being slandered, he explained that in one of his early reincarnation, he had slandered a Pacceka Buddha.  However, we should note that even though the bad result manifested, the Buddha does not experience suffering

4) Karma is not fate or predestination

“If anyone says that a man or woman must reap in this life according to his present deeds, in that case there is no religious life, nor is an opportunity afforded for the entire extinction of sorrow. But if anyone says that what a man or woman reaps in this and future lives accords with his or her deeds present and past, in that case there is a religious life, and an opportunity is afforded for the entire extinction of a sorrow.” (Anguttara Nikaya)

The Buddhist doctrine of Karma is non-fatalist. We are suppose to create our own blessings and fortune. If there are bad events in life, we have to proactively create a brighter future for ourselves without hatred and without causing sufferings to others.

Not everything that we experience is caused by a karma from the past. Otherwise, there is no longer any space for variation and changes.

What we experience MAYBE a result of our past karma, how we react to them is SURE to create future Karmic results

5) The result of Karma manifest when all the supporting conditions are present

We cannot expect Karma to behave in a linear pattern or according to our expectation. For example, it is wrong to expect that actions in this life will definitely manifest a result in the current life.

6) Conditions for Karmic result to arise can be intercepted

While cause and result is sure, the manifestation of the result depends on the presence of right conditions. Thus this allows opportunity for karmic results to be deferred or hasten. An example is, planting an apple tree. Soil, moisture, sunlight, seed etc must all be right before it will sprout.

7) Earning good karma requires good motive

Good karma will cause a better future. However the potential of good action will only be maximised if our intention is pure. For example, a person doing charity with an ulterior motive to benefit himself will taint the good karma with bad mental afflictions etc

8) Karma is caused by ignorance

In short, the unenlightened mind create karma and is then trapped and embroiled in it.

 

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