- Religion and Philosophy
How To Understand Karma and Rebirth:
Karma is action and the appropriate result of action, or recompense according to the Law of Cause and Effect, which corresponds to the Law of Nature, or Truth. The Law of Cause and Effect is the truth that every cause has its effect. (Although on a subatomic level this is not always the case.)
Essentially, the concept of karma means we reap what we have sown. If we have sown good seeds, we will reap a good crop; if we sow evil seeds, we will reap the recompense. Consider this, the Law of Cause and Effect is the divine justice of the universe, a law governing all beings in all realms equally. In Luke 7:43 Jesus said, “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit.” In Matthew 7:17 -7:18, “So every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.”
There are three types of karma: Good karma—the recompense of good deeds. Evil Karma—the recompense of evil deeds. Non-Recorded Karma—no recompense, for deeds that are neither good nor bad.
The power of karma is the great enforcer of the Law of Cause and Effect. The power of karma is the ‘Long arm of the law.’ We cannot escape our karma because it is stored within our soul (in the ‘Alaya’, or ideation store), following us always. “Good is recompensed with good. Evil is recompensed with evil. And if payment is slow in coming, it is because the time has not yet arrived.”
The power of karma works through affinity. Recompense for previous deeds will come only when the conditions are mature. Some deeds are repaid immediately, while others take much longer, but in the end, all deeds are repaid according to divine justice.
Life’s happiness or bitterness is dependent upon one’s previous deeds, good or evil. The gravitation of karma is a strong force to induct the soul to the appropriate plane of existence. The supplement of karma s a weak force to supplement the details of one’s life. Karma is not limited by time or space, and is not strictly individual.
Group karma has the effect of doling out recompense to a group of people who have performed deeds as a group, or to a group of people who all have coming to them the same recompense. War, regional famine, and plagues are all examples of group karma at work.
Single karma is recompense awarded to an individual. Every being also has Previous Karma, Present Karma, and Future Karma.
Those who have performed good deeds enjoy karma of blessings. These beings will enjoy a good life. Those without an accumulation of good deeds endure karma of non-blessings. They do not enjoy a good life.
Unperturbed karma is awarded only to beings with the highest class of good deeds. These are heavenly beings. In order to reach imperturbability, one must diminish the negative seeds of karma, for as long as there are evil seeds that will mature and germinate, one will be perturbed by conditions and circumstance.
The ‘Field of Heart’ embraces a multitude of seeds; with the universal rain, they will all sprout. A Bodhisattva is always careful to avoid sowing the evil seed. Ordinary people live in ignorance and fear to receive the recompense. Once we understand the Law of Cause and Effect, we must then do our best not to accumulate any more evil deeds. By studying the truth, we gain wisdom, which in turn helps us avoid the production of new evil karma.
The lotus flower symbolizes the achievement of cultivation; it grows out of the mud without being stained—a symbol of divine perfection and purity. It rises above the water in brilliantly white, perfect symmetry. In cultivating ourselves, we must emulate the lotus. No matter how stained and murky our past, we may all rise above the suffering sea of life and death, manifesting the purity of the lotus flower.
To end rebirth forever, one must find the Way to step off the never-ending cycle of life and death. Where
did I come from? Where will I go? What is the meaning of existence? What is the meaning of my life? Reflecting upon these essential questions is a worthwhile endeavor since we can only hope to find the answers by asking the questions.
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