The law of karma

Karma is the law of ‘moral causation’. The belief of karma was prevalent in India before the advent of Buddha, however it was Buddha who explained and formulated the doctrine in the manor in which we know it today.

According to the law of karma nothing happens to a person that he does not for some reason or another deserve. This principle of cause and effect is not only confined to the present life, but may be traced back to a past birth.

The word karma, from the Sanskrit word ‘Kri’ signifies action or deed, whether physical or mental. Karma is the sum total of our acts, both in the present life and in preceding ones. This law suggests that in this world nothing happens to a person that they do not (in some way or another) deserve.  It can be defined as the total effect of a persons actions and conduct during the successive phases of the person’s existence, regarded as determining that person’s destiny.

 

In some respects, this philosophy is empowering, as it suggests that we are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own heaven and our own hell; and therefore we are the architects of our own fate.

However, there are many terrible things that happen in the world to seemingly ‘innocent’ people. I feel it would be morally wrong and could even impact on my own karma to assume that people ‘deserve’ the negative experiences they have had. In addition I feel the principle of karma is somewhat a selfish one, rather then living life in a positive way to benefit the lives of those around you, karma suggests an element of self preservation. The principle almost has a god fearing element, suggesting that if we don’t behave karma will seek us out, enforcing positive changes only to benefit oneself.

Despite this view, I see it as advantageous to believe we are born into a state created by ourselves, yet by our own self directed efforts there is every possibility of creating new favorable environments even here and now. Not only individually but collectively. Positive actions and thoughts give us the ability to create fresh positive karma that will help create a better life, not only for ourselves but those around us.