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.
“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.
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*
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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