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The Essence of Karma

Updated on May 24, 2017

Understanding Karma- Hinduism and Buddhism believe that the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence decides their fate in all future existence.

Merriam-Webster defines Karma as "the force created by a person's actions that are believed in Hinduism and Buddhism to determine what that person's next life will be like. : the force created by a person's actions that some people believe causes good or bad things to happen to that"

Newton Law of Interaction states "for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction this better explains karma as understood by western civilization".

What you do comes back to you and sometimes tenfolds, however, when you have done nothing to engage in suffering yet are plagued by suffering. Does karma fully explain or is it just another useless terminology we all have used for so long to explain away our own actions. karma is a difficult concept, there are things definitely in the Universe that we cannot explain, so why conflate everyday life with useless words?

Is the belief in karma Justified

I met a seemingly kind older Gentleman who had a rather simplistic view of the Natural Law of Karma and our conversations turned to Religion and Wester beliefs as it pertains to his life. In his life, it appeared he had been blessed with an abundance of Worldly possessions, life as he experienced it had given him everything he desired and had come to expect. Married to his sweetheart for well over 55 Years, he had, had lived the dream of homeownership, been blessed with Grandchildren a business he started that had provided him with financial security for his Family. Yet in his Life much like everyone else he has experienced pain and suffering. As he explained In his unusual Southern voice, a deep throathy drawl with a hint of what some would call hillbilly with a California twist. " "In life, you must always remember, there is no such thing as friendship. "Yes the word friendship does exist, but it cannot be defined", as a deep cough wracked his thin frame I did what I do best I listened. offering him the napkin holder from my table, I encouraged him to continue. Friends he said are just " users in disguise and once they have taken everything from you that they desire, they become enemies or acquaintances". I lowered my gaze to hide a grin, this old Man will be me in about 30 Years if I live that long.

Okay getting back to the story, married for over 55 Years to a Woman he dearly loved perfect everything, that is until he re-established a friendship with an old High School buddy. "Long story short, he stole my Wife, I lost the house sold the business and retired in Florida". His punishment or his karma He had stolen his best Friends Girl in High School. That he stated is the essence of karma, on the other hand the beautiful Woman he was with age appropriate, didn't seem to mind so terribly that karma had led him her way, As he explained with a loud laugh, "we are living in sin", which landed him a playful punch from his companion (instant karma) as they held hands heading out the door.

Achieving Good Karma is Possible

"Letting go gives us freedom and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart we still cling to anything-anger, anxiety, or posession we cannot be free" -Thich Nhat Hanh

The human condition of suffering more often than necessary is self-inflicted, in reality, what we think is bad karma is self-inflicted injurious behavior dressed up to resemble other people's behavior towards us.

The universe is balanced in all things I have been privy to a life of endless good fortune, not as it relates to wealth or the acquisition of things, but in finding peace and happiness despite obstacles, like the old Man, for each of us, life has its ups and downs. Realizing that nothing will stay the same and that things we have grown accustomed to will inevitably change is in itself happiness, it's choosing to accept life and the inevitable realities. Often times we cannot understand why changes bring devastation, death, untold amount of suffering, but it does.

The idea that through great difficulties we learn survival skills, as well as building character, is really a falsehood. If a wild beast never attacks us we can still learn to be leery and cautious and co-exist peacefully we can choose to counterattack or we can deflect the attack, thereby ensuring that harm is not inflicted, or we can attack and harm is inflicted on the wild beast, however, we will also suffer for causing undue harm. The guilt of killing a living thing and not for the purpose of sustaining health is also ensuring bad karma. To be in good standing with the Universe and all living things we must fully open ourselves to the possibility of doing good every day, not in an attempt to gain favors or to receive good karma, but because it is the right thing to do. Our minds and actions must be in harmony, in essence, our actions will determine if we suffer during our rebirth.

“All this success is because of some good Kamma of the past. And whatever good Kamma I might have done, they are not eternal, their fruit is not eternal, sooner or later it will come to an end. So, I must make the best use of all this money, position, power, status that I have now for the good of others. As a householder, it is my duty to use my wealth for the maintenance of my family and those who depend on me. Whatever remains, I must use for the good of others, for the benefit of others. May more and more people get pure Dhamma! May more and more people develop wisdom! May more and more people be liberated from their suffering!”
So one generates love, compassion, and goodwill all the time. All actions—vocal, physical, and mental—are for the good of others. One plants seeds of brightness. From happiness one is running towards happiness; from brightness, one is running towards brightness". "Wisdom Awakened" D.K. Kasun Sameera Dissanayake

The most difficult reality for most is that of watching or being knowledgeable regarding the suffering of Children. Our minds cannot conceive of a newborn or a Child's suffering being the will of Karma. A Baby that has done nothing wrong except to take its first breath cannot have sown the seed of bad karma to be plagued with a terminal illness. In this Buddhism and Religion are similar.

Buddhism because of its belief in reincarnation supports a theory that when we are born we enter the World plagued with suffering because in a previous life we may have lived a life inconsistent with good karma. Our rebirth gives us the opportunity to start over to live a life free from suffering if we continue to repeat previous actions our next entrance or rebirth will reflect the suffering. As a result, we are reborn as many times as it takes to change our past mistakes and not necessarily in human form. It is further understood that in order to change our karma we must live our current life in such a way that our rebirth will be consistent with achieving nirvana.

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