What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Have you ever wondered what karma means? Or what is the meaning of the word karma? Karma in Sanskrit means actions or sum of actions and their effect or consequences. In Indian religions, the term specifically refers to a principle of cause and effect, often descriptively called the principle of karma, in which a person's intentions and actions (the cause) affect that person's future (the effect).

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Have you ever wondered what karma means? Or what is the meaning of the word karma? Karma in Sanskrit means actions or sum of actions and their effect or consequences. In Indian religions, the term specifically refers to a principle of cause and effect, often descriptively called the principle of karma, in which a person's intentions and actions (the cause) affect that person's future (the effect).

Good intention and good deeds contribute to good karma and happier rebirth, while bad intention and bad deeds contribute to bad karma and bad rebirth.

And what is meant by karma What is? The concept of karma is closely related to the idea of rebirth in many schools of Indian religions (especially Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism) as well as Taoism. It also affects the nature and quality of one's future life, that is, one's samsara. This concept is also accepted in Western popular culture, where events that occur after one's actions may be considered natural consequences.

  • Definition of Karma
  • What are the laws of karma?
  • Karma and causality
  • Karma and ethics
  • Rebirth
  • Karma in Hinduism
  • Karma in Buddhism
  • Eight types of karma
  • Related topics
  • Similar concepts of karma

Definition of Karma

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

The term karma refers both to our actions and by our intention and intention to perform those actions.

"Wilhelm Halbfass" explains the concept of karma by comparing it with the Sanskrit word kriya: "While kriya is activity with steps and effort in action, karma The action performed is the result of that activity, as well as the person's intention of a performed action or a planned action (described by some scholars as the actor's metaphysical residue).

A good action. , creates good karma, as K Good intention creates good karma. A bad action creates bad karma, just as a bad intention creates karma.

The difficulty in arriving at a definition of karma is due to the diversity of views among schools of Hinduism. For example, some consider karma and rebirth to be related and simultaneous and necessary, but others consider karma to be necessary but not rebirth as necessary, and some consider karma and rebirth to be an incomplete story.

Buddhism and Jainism have their separate rules of karma. Therefore, karma has not one, but many definitions and different meanings. Karma is a concept whose meaning, significance, and scope vary among the various traditions that originated in India and among the various schools within each of these traditions.

Wendy O'Flaherty claims that, in addition to Whether karma is a theory, a model, a pattern, a metaphor, or a metaphysical position is disputed.

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What are the Laws of Karma

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Karma also refers to a conceptual principle originating in India, often referred to as the descriptive form of the principle of karma, and sometimes the theory of karma or the law of karma.

In theory, karma is complex and difficult to define. Different schools of Indology derive different definitions for this concept from ancient Indian texts.

Their definition is a combination of causality that may be moral or non-moral. Moralization means that good or bad actions have consequences and rebirth.

Other Indian scholars include in this definition things that explain a person's current condition by referring to his past actions. These actions may be actions in a person's current life, or in some schools of Indian tradition, possibly actions in his past life.

Furthermore, their consequences may affect the person's current life or future life. to be In fact, the law of karma works independently of any god or any divine judgment process.

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Karma and the course of causality

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Topic Common to the theories of karma is the principle of its causality; What is the reason for karma? This relationship between karma and the principle of causality is a central motif in all schools of Hindu and Buddhist thought. One of the earliest associations of karma with causation occurs in the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad of Hinduism. For example, it is stated in ancient Hindu texts that:

  • Everyone will be treated according to what he has done.
  • Good deeds will be rewarded well. , bad deeds, bad punishment.
  • With good deeds you become pure, with bad deeds you become bad.
  • And here they say that a person is made up of desires,
  • >
  • And as his desire is, so is his will.
  • And as his will is, so is his action. This is also the case.
  • And whatever action he does, he will reap.

Karma theory in relation to causation believes: the actions done by a person affect that person and His life affects, and a person's intentions affect that person and his life.

Actions out of disinterest or unintentional actions, such as feelings of interest, have no positive or negative karmic effect. For example, in Buddhism, actions that are done, arise, or originate without bad intentions, such as greed, are considered to have no karmic effect or are considered neutral in their effect on the individual.

Another A characteristic of causality common to karmic theories is that similar actions lead to similar effects. Therefore, good karma gives a good effect to a person, while bad karma creates a bad effect.

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

This effect may be material, moral or emotional, meaning that one's karma affects both one's happiness and unhappiness. The effect of karma should not be immediate. The effect of karma can appear in one's current life and in some schools extends to future lives.

The effect or effects of karma can be described in two ways: phala and samskara. Phala (lit.: "fruit" or "result") is a visible or invisible effect that is usually immediate or ongoing in life.

In contrast, samskara in Sanskrit is an invisible effect that occurs within a person due to karma. It is produced and transforms the agent and affects his ability to be happy or unhappy in his present and future life. The theory of karma is often presented in the context of samskara.

Carl Potter (1964) and Harold Coward (1983) suggest that the principle of karma can also be understood as a principle of psychology and habit. Karma creates habits in us (Vasana) and these habits create human nature.

Karma also shapes our perception of ourselves and the world around us, and this perception affects how we experience the events of our lives. Both habits and self-perception affect the course of one's life.

Leaving bad habits is not easy: it requires conscious karmic effort. Thus, psyche and habit, according to Potter and Coward, link karma to causation in ancient Indian literature. The idea of karma can be compared to the concept of a person's "character" because both involve our evaluation of a person and are determined based on that person's habitual thinking and actions.

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Karma and morality

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

The second common theme in theories of karma is morality. This issue begins with the assumption that every action has a result that will be fruitful in this life or in the future life; Therefore, morally good actions will have positive consequences, while bad actions will have negative consequences. It is explained. Karma is not "reward and punishment" per se, but the law that creates the result.

What is Dharma and Karma? Wilhelm Halbfass (1998) notes that good karma is considered as dharma and leads to punya (merit), while bad karma is considered as adharma and leads to papya (worthlessness, sin). .

Reichenbach (1988) believes that theories of karma are a moral theory. This is because ancient Indian scholars associated actual intention and action with merit with reward, harm, and punishment.

A theory without moral premises would be a pure causal relation in which merit and reward Or the defect and punishment will be the same regardless of the person's intention. In ethics, a person's intentions, attitudes and desires are important in evaluating his actions. Where the result is unintended, the moral responsibility is less on the actor, even if the causal responsibility is the same regardless. And it also takes into account during the operation. But what is the concept of karma? The concept of karma encourages every person to pursue a moral life and also to avoid an immoral life. Therefore, the meaning and importance of karma as a building block of a moral theory.

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BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

The third common theme among the theories of karma is what is the concept of karma and reincarnation? Or what is the cycle of karma? Reincarnation or the cycle of rebirth (Samsara). Rebirth is a fundamental concept of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism.

Rebirth, or samsara, refers to the concept that all life forms go through a cycle of reincarnation, a series of births and rebirths. again Rebirth and subsequent life may be in a different realm, condition, or form. Karma theories show that the realm, condition and form depend on the quality and quantity of karma.

In schools that believe in rebirth, the soul Every living being transmigrates (recycles) after death and carries the karmic impulses from the newly completed life to another life and life of karmas. This cycle continues indefinitely, except for those who consciously break the cycle by attaining moksha. Those who break the cycle reach the realm of the gods, that is, those who do not continue the cycle.

This concept is heavily discussed in ancient Indian literature. with various schools of Indian religions that consider rebirth as a necessary or secondary or unnecessary story. Hiriyana (1949) suggests rebirth as a necessary consequence of karma; Yamunacharya (1966) states that karma is a fact, while reincarnation is a hypothesis, and Krill (1986) suggests that karma is a basic concept and rebirth is a derivative concept.

The theory of Karma and Rebirth" raises several questions, such as what is the cycle of karma? How, when and why did the cycle start in the first place? What is the relative karmic merit of one karma versus another and why and what evidence is there for rebirth.

Different schools of Hinduism recognized these problems and debated their own formulations. Some came up with theories that they considered internally consistent while other schools modified it. A few schools of Hinduism, such as the Charvakas (or Lokayatas), rejected the theory of "karma and rebirth" altogether. Buddhist schools consider the cycle of karma-rebirth as an integral part of their theories on sociology.

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Karma in Hinduism

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

The concept of karma in the school of Hinduism has developed and evolved over the centuries. The first Upanishads began with questions about how and why humans are born and what happens after death. As an answer to the second question, the primary theories in these ancient Sanskrit documents are the doctrine of the five fires, the cyclic path of the fathers, and the path of the gods beyond the cycle.

According to these ancient documents, those who perform superficial rituals And they are looking for material gain, they follow the path of their fathers and return to another life. Those who renounce these go to the forest and pursue spiritual knowledge and are claimed to ascend to the higher path of the gods. These are the ones that break the cycle and are not reborn. With the combination of epics (the precursor to the drama of the common man in Hinduism), the ideas of causality and the basic elements of the theory of karma were recounted in folk tales. For example:

As a man himself sows, he himself reaps. No one inherits the good or bad deeds of another person. The fruit is the quality of the action.


The sixth chapter of the thirteenth book of the Mahabharata begins with Yudhishthira's question to Bhishma: "Is the path of a person's life predetermined?" or human effort can shape a person's life?" Bhishma answers that the future is a function of both man's present effort, which arises from free will, and man's past actions, which determine the circumstances.

Again and again, chapters of the Mahabharata state the key principles of the theory of karma. That is: intention and action (karma) have consequences; Karma remains and does not disappear. And all positive or negative experiences in life require effort and intention. For example:

  • Happiness is due to good deeds, suffering is due to bad deeds,
  • By action, everything is gained, by inaction, we enjoy nothing. .
  • If one's action had no fruit, everything would be useless,
  • If the world worked only by fate, it would be nullified.

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Karma in Buddhism

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

In the Buddhist tradition, karma refers to actions performed with intention. An act intentionally performed through body, speech, or mind, which leads to future consequences.

How these intentional actions lead to rebirth, and how the idea of rebirth should be reconciled with the doctrines of impermanence and The lack of self-conformity is the subject of philosophical inquiry in Buddhist traditions, for which there are, of course, several solutions.

In fact, in early Buddhism, no explicit theory about rebirth and karma was presented, and the "doctrine of karma It may have been an accidental addition to early Buddhist soteriology.

In early Buddhism, rebirth was attributed to craving or ignorance. In the Buddha's teaching, the issue of karma is not completely certain, but unlike the teaching of the Jains, it includes environmental factors. It is not a rigid and mechanical process, but a flexible, fluid and dynamic one.

There is no definite linear relationship between a particular action and its results. The karmic effect of a mere action It is not determined by the action itself, but the nature of the person who performs the action and the circumstances in which it is performed are also decisive.

In fact, our Nichirenbe Buddhism teaches that transformation and change through faith and action, It changes negative karma (negative causes created in the past that lead to negative results in the present and future) into positive causes for future benefits.

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Eight Types of Karma

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

There are eight types of karma that bind the soul to samsar (cycle of birth and death):

1. Gyanavarnia (karma blocking knowledge): Like a veil that prevents the face and its features from being seen, this karma also prevents the soul from knowing the object and details of anshi. This karma prevents the soul from realizing the essential quality of its knowledge. In its absence, a soul is omniscient. There are five sub-types of Gyanvaranya Karma that prevent the five types of knowledge: Mati Gyan (sensory knowledge), Shrut Gyan (expressive knowledge), Avadi Gyan (clairvoyance), Mana Pari Gyan (telepathy), and Kval Gyan (absolute knowledge). .

2. Darshanavarniya (perception blocking karma): Like a gatekeeper prevents the king from being seen, this karma prevents the perception of something and causes hidden It can be done. This karma prevents the soul from realizing the fundamental quality of its perception. In its absence, a soul fully perceives all matter in the universe. There are 9 subtypes of this karma. Four of these prevent four types of perception. Visual perception, non-visual perception, clairvoyant perception and omniscient perception. The other five types of bondage of darshanavarnya karma cause five types of sleep that reduce consciousness: light sleep, deep sleep, sleepiness, intense sleepiness, and sleepwalking.

3. Vedanya(sensate karma): Like licking honey from a sword it tastes sweet but stings the tongue, this karma causes pleasure and pain to the soul. The bliss of the soul is constantly disturbed by external carnal experiences of pleasure and pain. In the absence of Vedanya karma, the soul experiences undisturbed bliss. There are two subtypes of this karma. Generating pleasure and pain.

4. Mahanya(Illusionary Karma): Like a bee attracted by the smell of a flower and attracted to it, this karma attracts the soul to objects it deems desirable and at the same time repels it from objects it deems undesirable. It creates the illusion in the soul that external objects can influence it. This karma blocks the essential quality of soul happiness and prevents the soul from finding pure happiness within itself.

5. Ayo(lifetime-determining karma): Like a prisoner trapped by iron chains (around the feet, hands, etc.), this karma keeps the soul trapped in a particular life (or birth). /p>

6. Naam (body-creating karma): Like a painting that creates different images and gives them different names, this karma gives souls different types of bodies. (which are classified based on different attributes). It is the Karma of Noam that determines the body of the living being into which the soul must enter. 7. Gotra (Positional Karma): Like a potter who makes short and tall pots, this karma assigns a low or high (social) position to the body and soul. It creates social inequalities and in its absence all souls are equal. There are two subtypes of gotra karma: high rank and low rank.

8. Antarai (power-obstructing karma): like a treasurer prevents Spending wealth becomes the king, this karma prevents the soul from using its inherent power for acts of charity, profit, repeated pleasure and will power. It prevents and hinders the manifestation of the inherent property of the ego, which is unlimited power. In its absence, a soul has infinite power.

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Related Topics

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Free Will and Destiny

One of the major controversies with the theory of karma is whether karma always implies fate or not, and what its implications are for free will. This conflict is also referred to as the issue of the moral factor; This controversy is not unique to the doctrine of karma, but it can be seen in monotheistic religions as well. p>1- A person who kills, rapes or does any other unjust act can claim that all his bad actions are the product of his karma: he has no free will, he cannot choose, he is the agent of karma, and he is simply It inflicts the necessary punishments on its "evil" victims for their karma in past lives. Are crimes and unjust acts caused by free will or due to our forces? The other considers the moral agent responsible and considers the loss gratuitous and thus demands justice? Or should one blame oneself for bad karma in past lives and imagine that unjust suffering is his destiny?

3- Does the doctrine of karma weaken the motivation for moral education? Because all sufferings are deserved and the result of past lives, why should we learn anything when the karma balance sheet determines the actions and sufferings of the individual from past lives? The basis of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism is different. Schools of Hinduism, such as Yoga and Advaita Vedanta, which emphasize the present life over the residual dynamic of karma that moves through past lives, allow freedom. Their argument and other three-sided schools are as follows: 1- Karma theory includes both action and the intention behind the action. Not only is one affected by past karmas, but whenever one acts with intention (good or bad) one creates new karma. If intent and action can be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, new karma can be proven and justice can proceed against this new karma. A person who kills another, rapes or does any other unjust act must be considered and judged as the moral agent of this new karma. they receive and reap, but together they are a tool for initiating, evaluating, judging, giving and conveying the consequences of karma to others.

3- Karma is a theory that explains some evils, not all of them. (eg: moral evil versus natural evil).

Other schools of Hinduism, as well as Buddhism and Jainism, which consider the cycle of rebirths as the core of their beliefs, and in which karma from past lives affects the person's present, They believe that both free will (Katana) and karma can coexist. However, their answer has not convinced all scholars.

Lack of psychological clarity

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Another issue with karma theory is that it is psychologically ambiguous. That is, if no one can know what his karma was in previous lives, and if the karma of his past lives can determine his future, then psychologically the goal of the individual is not clear what to do to shape the future and balance his karma.


Some Asian schools and religions, especially Buddhism, allow the transfer of merit and weakness of karma from one person to another. This transfer is an exchange of non-physical quality, just like the exchange of physical goods between two human beings.

The act of transferring karma, or even the possibility of it, is controversial. The transmission of karma raises questions similar to those associated with vicarious atonement and vicarious punishment.

This destroys the moral foundations of karma and separates causality and moralization in the theory of karma from its moral agent. Proponents of some Buddhist schools suggest that the concept of karmic merit transfer encourages religious forgiveness, and that such transfers are not a mechanism for transferring bad karma (i.e. badness) from one person to another.

In Hinduism, sraddha rites During the funeral, it has been named by several scholars as a ritual of transferring karmic merit, a claim disputed by others. Other schools of Hinduism, such as Yoga and Advaita Vedantic philosophy, and Jainism believe that karma cannot be transferred.

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Similar concepts of karma

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

Western culture, influenced by Christianity, has a concept similar to karma, as in the expression "from every "Give, you shall receive".


Mary Jo Maydo believes that karma is similar to "the Christian concept of sin and its effects". In the teachings of Christianity, it is also stated that you will reap what you sow (Galatians 6:7) and whoever lives by the sword will die by the sword (Matthew 26:52).

However, most scholars understand the concept of the last judgment Different from karma, they see karma as an ongoing process that occurs every day in one's life, while the Last Judgment, in contrast, is a one-time review at the end of life.


There is a concept in Judaism called midah k'neged midah in Hebrew, which is often translated as "measure for measure." This concept is used not so much in legal matters, but more in the case of divine punishment for a person's actions. David Volpe has compared this concept to karma.

Theosophy, Spiritualism, New Age

BingMag.com What is the law of karma? (a mirror to the extent of our deeds before us)

The idea of karma became popular in the western world through the activities of the Theosophical Society. In this sense, karma was the forerunner of the Law of Return or the Law of Threefold, the idea that the beneficial or harmful effects one has on the world will return to oneself. Colloquially, this can be summed up as: "Whatever you do, you do unto yourself".

Theosophists believe that karma is nothing but the law of cause and effect. which operates in the realm of human life and creates adjustment between the individual and other people whose thoughts, emotions and actions have affected them.

This article is only for education and information purposes. Be sure to consult an expert before using the recommendations in this article. For more information, read BingMag's disclaimer.

Sources: Britannica, Live Science, Isha, Tzu Chi Foundation, Wikipedia, World History

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