What Is Karma?

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That said, our internal attitudes—whether conscious or unconscious—do affect our external experience. From a yogic perspective, most of us carry memories of being wounded or of suffering harm or injustice in the past. We also carry samskaras from having wounded or caused hurt to others. These samskaras, which are buried in the unconscious, can make us more susceptible to being victims or victimizers in the present.

The good news is that the more we bring our fears and buried tendencies to consciousness through our yoga practices and other tools for personal growth, the better chance we have of changing these attitudes and deep-seated beliefs. Changing our attitudes is the first step toward changing our behavior, which will eventually have an effect on the circumstances of our lives.

I find that sometimes it can be freeing to assume that some of my difficult circumstances are the result of past actions.

A Buddhist Master’s Simple Explanation of Karma

In fact, one yogic perspective says that when you have an accident or experience a loss, you should look upon it as a clearing of some negative past karma. I first learned about this concept 25 years ago when I was traveling in India and my shoes had been stolen from outside the doors of a temple.

When I complained to my Indian companion, he said, "Instead of being upset, be grateful. Think, 'One less piece of negative karma! You don't have to go so far as to be grateful for a negative event, but recognizing that an unpleasant event could be resolving an old karma can make you feel less like a victim. Looking at a negative event in your life from a karmic perspective doesn't mean that you should assume you are being punished.

Nor should it keep you from trying to change an unjust situation or from recognizing that other players in the situation are responsible for their own actions. But understanding that a situation has past karmic roots can help you accept something that might otherwise cause you to act in ways that create more negative karma. Answer: In one sense, everyone who comes into your life is someone you have karma with. But a truly karmic relationship is one in which you have a powerful, almost fated sense of connection with another person. You may feel you know the other person well—even if you've just met.

You know you're in a karmic relationship when you feel obligated toward someone or inexplicably drawn to them, when a person has a powerful influence in your life, or when you try to extract yourself from a relationship and find you can't. When it comes to romance, sudden and swift infatuation can be a signal that a karmic relationship is at play. More often than not, the falling-in-love feeling is the hook that puts you in place for the karma to work out. Several years down the road, when the in-love feeling has worn off, you may wonder how you got into this situation with your partner.

The answer is, you had something to work out together. From a yogic point of view, karma is the magnet that brings people together and the glue that holds them there. Another sign of a karmic relationship is a natural feeling of obligation. Sometimes you feel as if you owe something to the other person. At other times, you feel that the person is obligated to you. One of the old definitions of the word karma is "debt.

For example, a student of mine named Jenny tells me that for years she felt compelled to help out her younger sister Lisa—including lending her money and letting Lisa stay with her for months at a time. Then, at a certain point, Lisa said to her, "I think you've done enough for me, and I really appreciate your generosity. From now on, I want to be the one who takes you out to dinner.

Now she wanted to re-create the relationship on equal terms. If a relationship feels karmic to you—whether it's a relationship with a parent, a child, a partner, a boss—try to understand the underlying dynamic at play. In the sisters' situation, Lisa realized that her feeling of helplessness had been fed by Jenny's need to feel powerful and helpful.

But Lisa also recognized that if the two of them were going to have a genuinely adult relationship, they were going to have to change these tendencies. If, like Lisa and Jenny, you recognize that the underlying dynamic in a particular relationship has some negative aspects, you can start making choices that let you break the old cycle. Begin by setting a strong intention to make a shift in your thinking or behavior, and then figure out what steps you can take to start to implement that shift.

Question: I have a problem making money, no matter what I do. I've been told that this is the result of negative "money karma. Answer: From a yogic point of view, each of us carries inner impressions or samskaras of past thoughts and actions that were unskillful or unconscious. These samskaras can create patterns in the field of our consciousness, which are then mirrored back to us through our external circumstances.

That is what we usually mean when we talk about negative karma in any area of life. Changing negative karma involves working with both your attitudes and your behavior. Yogic teachings suggest that you begin by behaving as ethically as possible because ethical behavior aligns you with the positive forces in the cosmos. From a practical point of view, it's important to acquire the skills you need in the area where you're experiencing negativity. In your case, you could study helpful skills such as budgeting, financial planning, and job training.

Then, rather than beating yourself up for any financial mishaps that arise, why not simply remind yourself that you're learning how to handle a part of life that's been difficult for you? Instead of thinking, "Oh no, I have negative money karma! It's also important to look carefully at the internal factors at play. For example, you may want to do some inquiry into your beliefs and attitudes about money, and you might also work on letting go of any myths or self-defeating assumptions.

Answer: Your mental and emotional habits and tendencies—your samskaras, in other words—determine how you interact with others and how you react to the events of your life. The more you can clean away or change your samskaras, the easier it is to change your behavior. Yoga and meditation practice can be powerful tools to help you change these inner tendencies, which are the root of karmic patterns. In yoga, the operative principle for changing karma is called tapas, which literally means "heat" or "friction.


These deep patterns often surface as repetitive thoughts such as, "I can't succeed," "I'm alone in the world," or "It's unfair. These new, healthy samskaras have a powerful influence on our moods and on the way we interact with the world. Meditation can open you up to the level of your being known as the true Self—the pure awareness that is intrinsically joyful and free.

When you connect with your Self in meditation, that recognition gives you a different perspective on yourself that, over time, will help you stop identifying with your limiting ideas and negative habit-ual patterns. As many meditators can attest, this sometimes can lead to deep and spontaneous changes in your thinking patterns, your relationships, and even the course of your life. At the same time, changing your karma includes changing the way you live your day-to-day life. That's often a matter of making small, incremental choices to shift out of patterns that may be keeping old karmas in place.

For example, a student of mine named Kelly, who comes from a judgmental family, has always had trouble maintaining close friendships. A few years ago, she began to wonder why she often felt lonely. When she reflected on it, she recognized that her relationship problems were somehow connected to her lifelong habit of gossiping, so she decided to deliberately curb it. After restraining herself from gossiping for a year, Kelly began to notice that more of her old friends were calling her. People in her life were nicer to her.

Even her yoga teacher was paying more attention to her in class. She realized that by actively choosing to correct a negative karmic pattern of speaking harshly, she had effected a major change in her ability to attract friends and maintain close relationships with them. This story illustrates one of karma's primary themes: Your actions count.

Are crimes and unjust actions due to free will, or because of forces of karma? Or, should one blame oneself for bad karma over past lives, and assume that the unjust suffering is fate? The explanations and replies to the above free will problem vary by the specific school of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism. The schools of Hinduism, such as Yoga and Advaita Vedanta, that have emphasized current life over the dynamics of karma residue moving across past lives, allow free will.

Not only is one affected by past karma, one creates new karma whenever one acts with intent - good or bad. If intent and act can be proven beyond reasonable doubt, new karma can be proven, and the process of justice can proceed against this new karma. The actor who kills, rapes or commits any other unjust act, must be considered as the moral agent for this new karma, and tried.

Another issue with the theory of karma is that it is psychologically indeterminate, suggests Obeyesekere. If something goes wrong — such as sickness or failure at work — the individual is unclear if karma from past lives was the cause, or the sickness was caused by curable infection and the failure was caused by something correctable. This psychological indeterminacy problem is also not unique to the theory of karma; it is found in every religion adopting the premise that God has a plan, or in some way influences human events. As with the karma-and-free-will problem above, schools that insist on primacy of rebirths face the most controversy.

Their answers to the psychological indeterminacy issue are the same as those for addressing the free will problem. Some schools of Asian religions, particularly Popular Theravada Buddhism, allow transfer of karma merit and demerit from one person to another. This transfer is an exchange of non-physical quality just like an exchange of physical goods between two human beings. The practice of karma transfer, or even its possibility, is controversial. It defeats the ethical foundations, and dissociates the causality and ethicization in the theory of karma from the moral agent.

Proponents of some Buddhist schools suggest that the concept of karma merit transfer encourages religious giving, and such transfers are not a mechanism to transfer bad karma i. In Hinduism, Sraddha rites during funerals have been labelled as karma merit transfer ceremonies by a few scholars, a claim disputed by others.

There has been an ongoing debate about karma theory and how it answers the problem of evil and related problem of theodicy. The problem of evil is a significant question debated in monotheistic religions with two beliefs: [] 1 There is one God who is absolutely good and compassionate omnibenevolent , and 2 That one God knows absolutely everything omniscient and is all powerful omnipotent.

The problem of evil is then stated in formulations such as, "why does the omnibenevolent, omniscient and omnipotent God allow any evil and suffering to exist in the world? Other scholars [] suggest that nontheistic Indian religious traditions do not assume an omnibenevolent creator, and some [] theistic schools do not define or characterize their God s as monotheistic Western religions do and the deities have colorful, complex personalities; the Indian deities are personal and cosmic facilitators, and in some schools conceptualized like Plato's Demiurge.

Some theistic Indian religions, such as Sikhism, suggest evil and suffering are a human phenomenon and arises from the karma of individuals. Those schools of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism that rely on karma-rebirth theory have been critiqued for their theological explanation of suffering in children by birth, as the result of his or her sins in a past life. Western culture , influenced by Christianity, [5] holds a notion similar to karma, as demonstrated in the phrase " what goes around comes around ".

Mary Jo Meadow suggests karma is akin to "Christian notions of sin and its effects. There is a concept in Judaism called in Hebrew midah k'neged midah , which literally translates to "value against value," but carries the same connotation as the English phrase "measure for measure. David Wolpe compared midah k'neged midah to karma. Jung once opined on unresolved emotions and the synchronicity of karma;. When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate. Popular methods for negating cognitive dissonance include meditation , metacognition , counselling , psychoanalysis , etc.

This results in better emotional hygiene and reduced karmic impacts.

Karma Meaning | Karma Definition |What is Karma | What Does Karma Mean

Such peak experiences are hypothetically devoid of any karma nirvana or moksha. The idea of karma was popularized in the Western world through the work of the Theosophical Society. In this conception, karma was a precursor to the Neopagan law of return or Threefold Law, the idea that the beneficial or harmful effects one has on the world will return to oneself. Colloquially this may be summed up as 'what goes around comes around. The Theosophist I. Taimni wrote, "Karma is nothing but the Law of Cause and Effect operating in the realm of human life and bringing about adjustments between an individual and other individuals whom he has affected by his thoughts, emotions and actions.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article is about the Indian religious concept. For other uses, see Karma disambiguation. Karma symbols such as endless knot above are common cultural motifs in Asia. Endless knots symbolize interlinking of cause and effect, a Karmic cycle that continues eternally.

The endless knot is visible in the center of the prayer wheel. Main article: Karma in Hinduism. Main article: Karma in Buddhism. Main article: Karma in Jainism. This article or section possibly contains synthesis of material which does not verifiably mention or relate to the main topic. Relevant discussion may be found on the talk page.

January Learn how and when to remove this template message. Further information: Poetic justice and Mills of God. Spirituality portal. For example, Peter Harvey translates the quote as follows: "It is will cetana , O monks, that I call karma; having willed, one acts through body, speech, and mind.

The problem is aggravated when the trace remains latent over a long period, perhaps over a period of many existences. The crucial problem presented to all schools of Buddhist philosophy was where the trace is stored and how it can remain in the ever-changing stream of phenomena which build up the individual and what the nature of this trace is. The results of kamma "kamma" is the Pali spelling for the word "karma" experienced at any one point in time come not only from past kamma, but also from present kamma.

This means that, although there are general patterns relating habitual acts to corresponding results [MN ], there is no set one-for-one, tit-for-tat, relationship between a particular action and its results. Instead, the results are determined by the context of the act, both in terms of actions that preceded or followed it [MN ] and in terms one's state of mind at the time of acting or experiencing the result [AN ].

This explains why the Buddha says in AN that the results of kamma are imponderable. Only a person who has developed the mental range of a Buddha—another imponderable itself—would be able to trace the intricacies of the kammic network. The basic premise of kamma is simple—that skillful intentions lead to favorable results, and unskillful ones to unfavorable results—but the process by which those results work themselves out is so intricate that it cannot be fully mapped. We can compare this with the Mandelbrot set , a mathematical set generated by a simple equation, but whose graph is so complex that it will probably never be completely explored.

We do not believe in a creator but in the causes and conditions that create certain circumstances that then come to fruition. This is called karma. It has nothing to do with judgement; there is no one keeping track of our karma and sending us up above or down below. Karma is simply the wholeness of a cause, or first action, and its effect, or fruition, which then becomes another cause.

In fact, one karmic cause can have many fruitions, all of which can cause thousands more creations. Just as a handful of seed can ripen into a full field of grain, a small amount of karma can generate limitless effects. The Manual of Life — Karma. Parvesh singla. Retrieved 4 June It also lists various types of habits - such as good sattva , passion rajas and indifferent tamas - while explaining karma. South Asian Studies. Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. The Indo-aryans have borrowed the theory of re-birth after coming in contact with the aboriginal inhabitants of India.

Karma definition: Most people are wrong about the meaning

Certainly Jainism and non-vedics [.. These concepts were certainly circulating amongst sramanas, and Jainism and Buddhism developed specific and sophisticated ideas about the process of transmigration. It is very possible that the karmas and reincarnation entered the mainstream brahaminical thought from the sramana or the renouncer traditions.

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Karma and Rebirth in Classical Indian Traditions. University of California Press. Wendy Doniger ed. READ more. What is Self Realization? Until you realize who you really are, everything proves to be wrong and incorrect. Pujya Dadashri Founder Pujya niruma Predecessor Pujya deepakbhai Present TV Programs.

Satsang Schedule. Upcoming Event. Read More. Home Home books-media books-media spiritual articles spiritual articles definition and theory of karma definition and theory of karma. Some have referred to karma meaning an echo of the past and also say it creates the future. Karma A brief video in which Pujya Niruma explains the unique science of how karma our actions of entire life is bound.

Would you be surprised if you learned that…? The reason for continuing in the cycle of birth and death is Karma. The experiences of pain and pleasure are the results of Karma that has been charged or collected in the past life.

Karma definition: Most people are wrong about the meaning

One negative deed does NOT get offset by another positive deed; both will deliver their results individually. After attaining the knowledge of Self , you can be engaged in normal activities, stay in a blissful state, not bind any karma meaning, you will attain full enlightenment eventually. One attains final liberation moksha only when all Karmas are destroyed. Revered Dadashri, through very simple language, gives us the following key understandings on the theory of Karma:.

What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?
What Is Karma? What Is Karma?

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