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  1. Karma — What is Karma? — Definition of the Sanskrit Word
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Over time, various schools of Hinduism developed many different definitions of karma, some making karma appear quite deterministic, while others make room for free will and moral agency. According to Halbfass, [3]. The above six schools illustrate the diversity of views, but are not exhaustive. Each school has sub-schools in Hinduism, such as Vedanta school's nondualism and dualism sub-schools. Furthermore, there are other schools of Hinduism such as Charvaka, Lokayata the materialists who denied the theory of karma-rebirth as well as the existence of God; to this school of Hindus, the properties of things come from the nature of things.

Causality emerges from the interaction, actions and nature of things and people, determinative principles such as karma or God are unnecessary. Karma and karmaphala are fundamental concepts in Buddhism. A similar term is karmavipaka , the "maturation" [72] or "cooking" [73] of karma. Intention cetana I tell you, is kamma. How these intentional actions lead to rebirth, and how the idea of rebirth is to be reconciled with the doctrines of impermanence and no-self , [87] [note 5] is a matter of philosophical inquiry in the Buddhist traditions, for which several solutions have been proposed.

Rather, karmaphala is the outcome of a natural process of cause and effect. In Jainism , "karma" conveys a totally different meaning from that commonly understood in Hindu philosophy and western civilization. Hence the karmas are the subtle matter surrounding the consciousness of a soul. When these two components consciousness and karma interact, we experience the life we know at present. Jain texts expound that seven tattvas truths or fundamentals constitute reality.

These are: []. This emphasis on reaping the fruits only of one's own karma was not restricted to the Jainas; both Hindus and Buddhist writers have produced doctrinal materials stressing the same point. Each of the latter traditions, however, developed practices in basic contradiction to such belief. In addition to shrardha the ritual Hindu offerings by the son of deceased , we find among Hindus widespread adherence to the notion of divine intervention in ones fate, while Buddhists eventually came to propound such theories like boon-granting bodhisattvas, transfer of merit and like.

Only Jainas have been absolutely unwilling to allow such ideas to penetrate their community, despite the fact that there must have been tremendous amount of social pressure on them to do so. In Sikhism , all living beings are described as being under the influence of maya 's three qualities.

Always present together in varying mix and degrees, these three qualities of maya bind the soul to the body and to the earth plane. Above these three qualities is the eternal time. Due to the influence of three modes of Maya's nature, jivas individual beings perform activities under the control and purview of the eternal time.

These activities are called "karma". The underlying principle is that karma is the law that brings back the results of actions to the person performing them. This life is likened to a field in which our karma is the seed. We harvest exactly what we sow; no less, no more. This infallible law of karma holds everyone responsible for what the person is or is going to be. Based on the total sum of past karma, some feel close to the Pure Being in this life and others feel separated.

Like other Indian and oriental schools of thought, the Gurbani also accepts the doctrines of karma and reincarnation as the facts of nature. Interpreted as Musubi , a view of karma is recognized in Shintoism as a means of enriching, empowering and life affirming. Karma is an important concept in Taoism. Every deed is tracked by deities and spirits.

Appropriate rewards or retribution follow karma, just like a shadow follows a person. The karma doctrine of Taoism developed in three stages. In the second phase, transferability of karma ideas from Chinese Buddhism were expanded, and a transfer or inheritance of Karmic fate from ancestors to one's current life was introduced.

In the third stage of karma doctrine development, ideas of rebirth based on karma were added. One could be reborn either as another human being or another animal, according to this belief. In the third stage, additional ideas were introduced; for example, rituals, repentance and offerings at Taoist temples were encouraged as it could alleviate Karmic burden. David Ownby, a scholar of Chinese history at the University of Montreal [] , asserts that Falun Gong differs from Buddhism in its definition of the term "karma" in that it is taken not as a process of award and punishment, but as an exclusively negative term.

The Chinese term " de " or "virtue" is reserved for what might otherwise be termed "good karma" in Buddhism. Karma is understood as the source of all suffering - what Buddhism might refer to as "bad karma". Li says, "A person has done bad things over his many lifetimes, and for people this results in misfortune, or for cultivators it's karmic obstacles, so there's birth, aging, sickness, and death. This is ordinary karma. Falun Gong teaches that the spirit is locked in the cycle of rebirth, also known as samsara [] due to the accumulation of karma.

Falun Gong states that karma is the reason for suffering, and what ultimately blocks people from the truth of the universe and attaining enlightenment. At the same time, karma is also the cause of one's continued rebirth and suffering. Ownby regards the concept of karma as a cornerstone to individual moral behaviour in Falun Gong, and also readily traceable to the Christian doctrine of "one reaps what one sows".

Others say Matthew means no unbeliever will not fully reap what they sow until they are Judged by God after death in Hell. Ownby says Falun Gong is differentiated by a "system of transmigration", though, "in which each organism is the reincarnation of a previous life form, its current form having been determined by karmic calculation of the moral qualities of the previous lives lived. Li says that "Human beings all fell here from the many dimensions of the universe.

They no longer met the requirements of the Fa at their given levels in the universe, and thus had to drop down. Just as we have said before, the heavier one's mortal attachments, the further down one drops, with the descent continuing until one arrives at the state of ordinary human beings.

Those who fail to return will have no choice but to reincarnate , with this continuing until they amass a huge amount of karma and are destroyed. Ownby regards this as the basis for Falun Gong's apparent "opposition to practitioners' taking medicine when ill; they are missing an opportunity to work off karma by allowing an illness to run its course suffering depletes karma or to fight the illness through cultivation. Since Li believes that "karma is the primary factor that causes sickness in people", Penny asks: "if disease comes from karma and karma can be eradicated through cultivation of xinxing , then what good will medicine do?

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Li also states that "An everyday person needs to take medicine when he gets sick. One of the significant controversies with the karma doctrine is whether it always implies destiny, and its implications on free will. This controversy is also referred to as the moral agency problem; [] the controversy is not unique to karma doctrine, but also found in some form in monotheistic religions. The free will controversy can be outlined in three parts: [] 1 A person who kills, rapes or commits any other unjust act, can claim all his bad actions were a product of his karma: he is devoid of free will, he can not make a choice, he is an agent of karma, and he merely delivers necessary punishments his "wicked" victims deserved for their own karma in past lives.

Are crimes and unjust actions due to free will, or because of forces of karma?

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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.

Karma — What is Karma? — Definition of the Sanskrit Word

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.

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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. Such peak experiences are hypothetically devoid of any karma nirvana or moksha.

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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. If nothing happens, download GitHub Desktop and try again. If nothing happens, download Xcode and try again. If nothing happens, download the GitHub extension for Visual Studio and try again.

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