Thread: Misunderstandings about Karma

  1. #1

    Misunderstandings about Karma

    This is from the Learn Religions website:


    Karma

    The word karma, like the word evil, is often used without understanding. Karma is not fate, nor is it some cosmic justice system. In Buddhism, there is no God to direct karma to reward some people and punish others. It is just cause and effect.

    Theravada scholar Walpola Rahula wrote in What the Buddha Taught,

    "Now, the Pali word kamma or the Sanskrit word karma (from the root kr to do) literally means 'action', 'doing'. But in the Buddhist theory of karma, it has a specific meaning: it means only 'volitional action', not all action. Nor does it mean the result of karma as many people wrongly and loosely use it. In Buddhist terminology karma never means its effect; its effect is known as the 'fruit' or the 'result' of karma (kamma-phala or kamma-vipaka)."

    We create karma by the intentional acts of body, speech, and mind. Only acts pure of desire, hate and delusion do not produce karma.

    Further, we are affected by the karma we create, which can seem like reward and punishment, but we are "rewarding" and "punishing" ourselves. As a Zen teacher once said, "What you do is what happens to you." Karma is not a hidden or mysterious force. Once you understand what it is, you can observe it in action for yourself.

    On the other hand, it's important to understand that karma is not the only force at work in the world, and terrible things really do happen to good people.

    For example, when a natural disaster strikes a community and causes death and destruction, someone often speculates that those harmed by the disaster suffered "bad karma," or else (a monotheist might say) God must be punishing them. This is not a skillful way to understand karma.

    In Buddhism, there is no God or supernatural agent rewarding or punishing us. Further, forces other than karma cause many harmful conditions. When something terrible strikes others, don't shrug and assume they "deserved" it. This is not what Buddhism teaches. And, ultimately we all suffer together.

    More at the link below:


    https://www.learnreligions.com/buddh...ng%20to%20God.


    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    Global Moderator Element's Avatar
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    4,386
    Quote Originally Posted by Aloka View Post
    This is from the Learn Religions website:

    Karma is not a hidden or mysterious force. Once you understand what it is, you can observe it in action for yourself.

    Any thoughts?
    In AN 3.61, it is explained:

    “Bhikkhus, there are these... sectarian tenets which, when questioned, interrogated and cross-examined by the wise, and taken to their conclusion, will eventuate in non-doing. What are these?

    Bhikkhus, I approached those ascetics and brahmins who hold such a doctrine and view as this: ‘Whatever this person experiences—whether pleasure, pain, or neither-pain-nor-pleasure—all that is caused by past deeds,’ and I said to them: ‘Is it true that you venerable ones hold such a doctrine and view?’ When I ask them this, they affirm it. Then I say to them: ‘In such a case, it is due to past deeds that you might destroy life, take what is not given, indulge in sexual activity, speak falsehood, utter divisive speech, speak harshly, indulge in idle chatter; that you might be full of longing, have a mind of ill will, and hold wrong view.’

    Those who fall back on past deeds as the essential truth have no desire to do [in the present] what should be done and to avoid doing what should not be done, nor do they make an effort in this respect. Since they do not apprehend as true and valid anything that should be done or should not be done, they are muddle-minded, they do not guard themselves, and even the personal designation ‘ascetic’ could not be legitimately applied to them. This was my first legitimate refutation of those ascetics and brahmins who hold such a doctrine and view.

    https://suttacentral.net/an3.61/en/bodhi
    The above shows kamma in Buddhism is not something mysterious and is not something that only pertains to the past but is most relevant to apply in the here & now. In other words, actions performed in the present are much more important and efficacious than either real actions or imagined actions performed in the past.

  3. #3
    Thank you, as always, for your input, Element.



  4. #4
    Forums Member Genecanuck's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2016
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    236
    Quote Originally Posted by Element View Post
    In AN 3.61, it is explained:


    The above shows kamma in Buddhism is not something mysterious and is not something that only pertains to the past but is most relevant to apply in the here & now. In other words, actions performed in the present are much more important and efficacious than either real actions or imagined actions performed in the past.
    Thank you Element. I found this to be very helpful.

    Regards,

    Gene

Los Angeles Mexico City London Colombo Kuala Lumpur Sydney
Wed, 12:21 PM Wed, 2:21 PM Wed, 8:21 PM Thu, 12:51 AM Thu, 3:21 AM Thu, 5:21 AM