Karma – the Cosmic Boomerang

It’s easy to define karma

Through the force of intention, we say, do and think things. All these actions produce effects. There are many shades, but basically, good actions lead to good results of a similar nature for us; and bad actions cause us to experience bad things in a similar way. Neutral actions have fairly mediocre effects. As Bob Marley said “what goes around comes around”.

Actually understanding the intricacies of which cause led to what effect is beyond ordinary understanding.
But details are unimportant.

What matters is the now

Because what’s happening for us now is an indication of the karma that we created in the past; and what we’re doing now is creating our experiences in the future.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Most people, whether they or not they are religious, believe that we should engage in virtuous actions, and avoid actions which are harmful” (GKG JP)
It just seems like common sense that what goes round comes round. (Not that common sense always is)

Geshe la tells us “we always have choice“. It’s helpful to know what karma is, and how it works; because now is really the only time that really exists for us. In relation to karma, that means every moment is another chance to turn it all around. That’s why knowing about the law of karma in relation to our lives can be so empowering.

It’s not about punishment or reward, there’s no Karma Police or Judge Dredd out there. Karma’s just “a special instance of cause and effect” ((GKG JP); one that works through our mind stream.
Just about everything is an example of cause and effect, from gravity to grass.

On one level We all know about this ~ drop a glass and it’ll most likely break. Breaking the law will probably lead to some kind of punishment. Being happy for others’ happiness brings us joy as well.

Atisha on the front cover of Joyful Path

But on a deeper level some faith, or at least an open mind is required.
Misbehaving when we’re kids can result in having disruptive children of our own. Giving when we’re younger can lead to living comfortably enough in our old age. Giving now will lead to abundance in later lives. (Just as stealing will result in us not having enough of what we want).

What has been your experience? Does whatever awareness we have of this change the way we do or think about things? Do we think it should?

It’s worth contemplating karma

Even on a mundane level, you can see the law of cause and effect in action; but are you able to see karma in action? Consider this life ~ by connecting things you did previously to experiences you’ve had later in life, a pattern can be formed. I know other Buddhists and myself can trace effects back to their causes. Keeping an open mind to it, or wishing to increase our faith – it’s an interesting thing to do (and can be very powerful).

Vide Kadampa gives some brilliant meditations on karma in his blog*

of interest:
GKG JP – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso Joyful Path of Good Fortune
(p227 & p569 in my book)
* Buddhist meditations on karma from Daily Lamrim
* Article from Luna Kadampa asking What’s karma got to do with it?
A bit more here on the karmic effects of giving in an economic crisis ~ What Would Buddha Do? 


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14 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jinxy
    May 15, 2012 @ 22:54:30

    OMG there’s an ad for an appetite supressant at the bottom of the page! that’s like we’re supressing our appetites so we dont do bad things.
    You couldn’t have planned that one better 🙂



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  4. Luna Kadampa
    May 16, 2012 @ 19:42:59

    good article.



  5. mummaz
    May 21, 2012 @ 13:37:03

    Not being of the Buddhist persuasion, karma and it`s interpretation brings to mind
    `the mills of God grind exceeding slow.` So not a lot of difference in the basics of religion



  6. Baku Kadampa
    May 21, 2012 @ 17:34:32

    Yes, I agree to a point – that the core tenets of the major religions are the same, speaks to their basic truth. In this case, an evil doer will get their comeuppance.
    Doesn’t that statement though, refer to divine retribution being slow but sure? That’s a major difference between Christianity and Buddhism. Whereas the Old Testament talks of God’s punishment; Buddhism is more about taking responsibility for our own misdeeds and their consequences.
    Does that seem like a fair analysis?



    • mummaz
      May 28, 2012 @ 13:24:26

      That does seem like a fair analysis, but I think most people would read it as –
      `If wrong doing is not acceptable, then one should take the consequenses`.



  7. Baku Kadampa
    May 28, 2012 @ 17:35:16

    Ah yes, I see what you mean. And you’re right – I think that most folk would agree to that.



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