Can you explain the concept of Karma?

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  1. Jeff Berndt profile image87
    Jeff Berndtposted 8 years ago

    Can you explain the concept of Karma?

    A lot of Westerners think they know what Karma means (that when you do something good, good things happen to you, and when you do something bad, bad things happen to you, to balance your life out), but really, that's not what it means. If you can explain Karma so that someone who hasn't grown up with the concept can understand it, it might make a good hub.

  2. CBartelmey profile image80
    CBartelmeyposted 8 years ago

    Having read before that Karma works in a manner where it knows not the value we have assigned to right and wrong, and acts instead on intentions and consequences, that was always something that I had questioned, as certainly there is a difference between right and wrong, and how that didn’t carry over had been a puzzle that I could never quite piece together.  But in my determination to be forever analytical, I do now believe that the universe knows not what we would consider a ‘right’ action from a ‘wrong’ action, and only knows an action as it relates to its consequences.

    Karma knows outcomes and reacts to outcomes.  If a person moves forward with an action believing that it is utterly and completely the ‘right’ thing to do, but if that ‘right’ thing has the consequences of wronging someone else, then the final outcome of that move is ultimately an adverse consequence that will in turn roll back around to its creator.  It does make the concept a bit more involved than simply just acting because you believe you are doing the right thing, and then expecting to be rewarded with good consequences. 

    I am several days new to HubPages, but this was actually a topic that I had written down as one to possibly explore here, so I am glad that I ran across your post.

  3. IdeaMan1 profile image60
    IdeaMan1posted 8 years ago

    Sort of isomorphic to what CBartelmey said, "karma" can describe both the net outcome of all one's choices and the energies created by choices to come, whether in "this life" or due to some other situation (For example, some suggest that we choose our parents before incarnation, and if that's the case, then we also effectively chose the environment into which we would be born.).  The whole "right/wrong" issue represents some types of polarized thinking, and this will color one's own views of karma.  I like to think of karma as both a description of state and a more general description of a process of how action turns into effects, but that's only based on my limited study of this philosophical principle.

  4. Jewels profile image83
    Jewelsposted 8 years ago

    Karma is really complicated.  As has been mentioned by both IdeaMan1 and CBartelmey, cause and effect, right and wrong, intentions and consequences.  It requires a discerning knowledge and most likely a university degree in Rhyme and Reason.  Right and Wrong - by who's standards and are the consequences of a good intention satisfactory to the giver and receiver; both or neither.  You're right Jeff, it would make a great hub.  And who is the judge that balances the negative and positive karma ledger?

    1. IdeaMan1 profile image60
      IdeaMan1posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      As of yet, I haven't seen a real "necessary and sufficient" definition of "right," "wrong," "good," or "evil," so until something comes along that holds in all contexts, I tend to consider their particular polarities as meaningless.

    2. lone77star profile image82
      lone77starposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      IdeaMan1, of course we have relative "right" and "wrong" which self (ego) considers. What is right for the hunter is not right for the duck. But we also have absolute right -- spiritual awakening -- or, wrong -- turning toward darkness (ego).

    3. IdeaMan1 profile image60
      IdeaMan1posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      lone77star, your descriptions don't hold in all contexts, and thus the terms hold no meaning.  "Right" as utilized in the examples you give describes "expected behavior."  As to "absolute right," that points to an idea that may prove unnecessary. ...

    4. Jewels profile image83
      Jewelsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Spiritual awakening also has levels and consequences and it is within the awakening process where much karma is lost/gained - mainly because there is more sense of awareness. Unfortunately - aware at what level and to what.

    5. IdeaMan1 profile image60
      IdeaMan1posted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I think what I'm challenging, really, is the need for a "signed value" in terms of karma over a more nuanced, multidimensional vector construct when it comes to cause and effect.  Restricting karma to one dimension fits parsimony, but it seems naive.

    6. Jewels profile image83
      Jewelsposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      I agree that it doesn't feel one dimensional.  I've known spiritual masters who balk at bringing down a rational explanation to the complexities they see in karma.  Perhaps the concept could be explained, but how many would understand it.

    7. CBartelmey profile image80
      CBartelmeyposted 8 years agoin reply to this

      Jewels, your response I really enjoyed and it prompted me to more thoroughly explain my answer.  I posted a Hub called 'Karma Unfolded' and in it I quoted a part of your response.  Thank you for the inspiration.

  5. lawrence2012 profile image58
    lawrence2012posted 8 years ago

    Karma is like a system of points.  If you do a bunch of good things, your points will accumulate in the positive and you will gain positive rewards until they are brought back down to zero.  If on the other hand, you do a bunch of bad things, you will accumulate a bunch of negative points.  If you already have a bunch of positive points saved up, these negative points will slowly eat away at them until they are into the negative.  If at some point you are in the negative, watch out!  You will have a lot of bad things coming your way until you have balanced your debt back to zero.

  6. lone77star profile image82
    lone77starposted 8 years ago

    There is no good or bad karma, in the human sense. It's all "good" in the spiritual sense. It's all opportunity to awaken.

    This universe is an action-reaction, continuity machine. Everything is filled with dichotomy. When ego judges something as important, it impresses on that vector a dichotomy. If you steal something you feel is important for your survival, then you have the other side of that dichotomy unfulfilled. You have already created that unfulfilled theft from yourself. Jesus described this as living by the sword leading to dying by the sword. Reaping what you sow.

    Numbers 14:18 in the Judeo-Christian Bible also touches on karma as well as reincarnation, stating that the sins of the fathers are visited on the children 3 and 4 generations afterward, and that God is slow to "anger."

    The beauty of this is that the hardened heart of the criminal may never seek God. But 3 or 4 generations later, when the criminal has lived out their life, died and born again, they grow up to an age where they will appreciate the boomerang they themselves had thrown 3-4 generations earlier. And then they wonder, "Why, oh why, God, is this happening to me?" Now, the former criminal's heart is open. Some are not softened so easily, though.

  7. bhargvi sharma profile image40
    bhargvi sharmaposted 8 years ago

    karma is a belief that all your actions whether they are right or wrong in this life will pay you sooner or later & may affect all your future lives.

  8. ram_m profile image68
    ram_mposted 8 years ago

    To look upon Karma as the balance sheet of the soul's positive and negative actions would convey only a partial picture. It conjures up a situtation of relentless cycle of birth and death with no scope of redemption. Unless the soul succeeds in diminishing its negative action, it is condemned to a never ending cycle of births and deaths. This 'static dynamism' reflects the state of a condemend soul. As the soul is by nature  blemishless what we have is a continuum wherein the soul evolves from a totally impure state to absolute purity by experiencing and overcoming adversity in every cycle of life. This explains the reason why people undergo suffering in life. Here redemption is possible only through your action and not through external mediation.

  9. hulah cagen profile image60
    hulah cagenposted 7 years ago

    Overall the term karma  would mean " cause and effect". For every action there is a reaction, loosely speaking. But the best explanation I have found is on this:  which explains 'The Truth about Karma and Reincarnation' and gives one ancient wisdom and new information on the concepts of karma and reincarnation, along with  techniques for resolving emotional pain from past karmic events. Hope that helps.

  10. profile image50
    seethroughposted 7 years ago

    To the logical and analytical minded - karma is prejuidice or predetermined impression which has coloured ones mind - positive or negative. It is through this colour we react. Since the reaction is coloured it leads to a chain reaction. To nullify the effect of 'karma' one needs to convert impressions on ones mind into just information and to function every moment from a 'zero-base'.

  11. Shivani Gala profile image76
    Shivani Galaposted 6 years ago

    1. Your action doesn't bind karma, your REACTION does.
    2. Positive reaction with give rise to positive karma and negative one to negative.
    3. Doing good karma doesn't reduce your points of bad karma, it only increases points of good.
    4. When you have no good or bad left, that's when you have achieved Zen/Buddha-hood/Jain-hood.


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