The Hindu and Buddhist religions both believe in karma. In the Hindu religion karma influences how you are born in your next life. You can be born in lower life forms such as an animal, plant, or insect. You could even be born into a lower caste system. It works the opposite way as well and can cause you to be reborn in a higher form even as a demigod or superhuman. Buddhists have a different take on karma. The Buddha rejected the notion of a soul but accepted some notion of rebirth. Buddha says that even though there is no soul the personalities of a being could recombine and continue from one life time to another. He uses the example of a flame going from one candle to another or the wind on blades of grass.
To understand karma first it needs to be defined. Karma can be described as a form of cause and effect. The dictionary defines karma as sum of person’s actions in one of his successive states of existence, viewed as deciding his fate for the next. In Sanskrit karma is defined as volitional action that is undertaken deliberately or knowingly. This also fits together as self-determination and a strong will power to abstain from inactivity. Karma also separates human beings from other creatures in the world. Karma is a notion that constantly proves the Newton theory of every action creates an equal and opposite reaction. Every time we do something we create a cause and in time will produce its corresponding reaction. It is the personality of the human that causes either negative or positive karma. Karma could be caused by both the physical and mental aspects of the body regardless of if it brings achievement now or in the future. Karma cannot be affected by the natural reflexes of the body. “A person is responsible for his or her own karma”(Karma and Reincarnation, 2010). In other words it is up to a person to give themselves good karma and move to a higher form in the next life or their doing for bad karma and devolving to a lower form. There are three types of karma savtik karma, rajasik karma, tamasik karma. Savtik karma is without attachment, selfless and for the benefit of others. Rajasik karma is selfish where ones focus is on ones gains to oneself. Tamasik karma is undertaken without regard to consequences and is supremely selfish and savage. The ancient yogis have assigned three categories to karma. These are sanchita, prarabdha, and kriyamana. The first category, sanchita, is the sum total of past karma yet to be resolved. Prarabdha, the second category, is the portion of sanchita being experienced in the present life. The third category, kriyamana, is the karma you are currently creating. It is important to understand that past negative karma can be altered into a smoother, easier state through the loving, heart-chakra nature, through dharma and sadhana. If you live religiously well you will create positive karma for the future and soften negative karma of the past.
“Karma operates not only individually but also in ever-enlarging circles of group karma where we participate in sum karma of multiple souls” (Karma and Reincarnation, 2010 ). So if we unconditionally love as individuals or groups we will be loved in return. The individuals and groups that act maliciously toward us create their own karmic creation. The people who affect our karma are also living through past karmic experiences and simultaneously creating future karma. Many people believe in the principle of karma but don’t apply it to their daily life or life’s peak experiences. They cry during times of personal crisis asking why God did this or asking what they did to deserve this. “While God is the creator and sustainer of the cosmic law of karma, He does not dispense individual karma”(Karma and Reincarnation, 2010). He doesn’t give one person cancer while making another person an Olympic gold medalist. “We create our own experiences”(Subhamoy, 2010). We really exercise our soul’s powers of creation. Karma is our best spiritual teacher. “We spiritually learn and grow as our actions return to us to be resolved and dissolved”(Karma and Reincarnation, 2010). There is no good or bad karma there is only self-created experience that presents for spiritual advancement. Only when karma is wisely harnessed can the mind become still enough to experience its own super conscious depths. “Karma is also misunderstood as fate”(Karma in Hinduism, 2010). Something that is predetermined and unchangeable decreed many ages ago by some external force. Karma is neither predetermined or fate. Each soul has free will and its only limit is karma.
During our multiple lifetimes on earth we experience a remarkable variety of life patterns. We exist and male and female, princesses and presidents, paupers and pirates, tribals and scientists, as murderers and healers, as atheists and eventually God-Realized sages. We take many bodies, races, religions, faiths, and philosophies on our journey to spiritual enlightenment gaining more knowledge and evolutionary experience.
Hindus believe that secretly questioning the rule of karma will put him in a group of life minded individuals in his next life where Hindu beliefs seem foreign to them. They also know that death must come naturally in its own course and tat suicide only intensifies ones karma. If they were to commit suicide then they would digress and it would take many lifetimes to get back to evolve back to where they were at which time the karmic entanglements must still be faced and resolved. Two other karmically sensitive processes are artificially means of life sustaining life in a wholly incapacitated physical body through mechanical devices, drugs or intravenous feeding; and euthanasia or “mercy killing”. There is critical timing in the death transition. The dying process can involve long suffering or be a peaceful or painful sudden death all depending on the karma involved. To keep a person on life support with the sole intent to continue the body’s biological function nullifies the natural timing of the death. This also keeps the soul tethered to the body and unable to move on. “An important lesson to learn here is that karma is conditioned by intent”(Karma and Reincarnation, 2010). When the medical staff receives a dangerously ill or injured patient and they place them on a life-support system as part of immediate life saving procedure their intent is purely healing. If there attempt fail and then the life support devices are turned off the person dies naturally and there is no karma involved because this does not constitute euthanasia. If, however, the doctors, families, or patient decide to continue life support indefinitely to prolong the biological process, then the intent carries full karmic consequences.
I think this is a very good belief and most religions believe in it in one form. “Christianity has the golden rule”(Subhamoy, 2010). Most religions have some type of karmic belief although they may not come right out and say it. Karma seems to really be about living your life in a good way. Be kind to other treat people with respect and help them. Nothing really confused me I did a lot of research on karma, however, I did learn a lot. I didn’t know the different types of karma or how the belief in karma differed from the Hindu and Buddhist religions. I found it was very logical. Everyone believes in karma in some form. People say don’t do something bad or wrong because it will come back around and get you in the end. I find it appealing because everyone wants to believe that when someone hurts you in some way that they will have something bad happen to them later on. One of my friends says that it is just a way of life some way to live with being good to everyone. He doesn’t necessarily believe that something bad will happen but just that is how you should live our life by being a good person. This is an acceptable answer to me. It helps to explain why possibly some bad things happen to someone and that they should react positively to what happened.
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