Buddhist Forum

What is Karma?

Karma is a term that has been used over the ages in every religion. Karma is a
Sanksrit term that implies “performing an action”. The theory of Karma has been
followed over centuries in India before Lord Buddha had arrived in the country.
Nevertheless, it was Lord Buddha who explained this theory in the form that we
have today.

Karma has a directly influence on the cause and effect of deeds that one performs
in his life. Good deeds lead to good Karma while bad deeds lead to bad Karma. To
learn more about Karma, you can click here.

There are people all over the world who compare themselves with others. These
people have a treasure trove of questions where they wonder why some people
are blessed with different attributes while they are not. What we must remember
is that nothing happens to us unless we deserve it. This inequality exists because
of some deed that the person would have committed either in his present or in
one of his past lives.

According to Buddhism, the inequality occurs due to Karma. It is our own doing
that decides our fate. We create our own safe havens. Perplexed by this situation,
a young truth – seeker approached Lord Buddha and questioned him why in
humanity; we could find people with long and short life spans and other such
differentiations. Lord Buddha then replied saying that, “All living beings have
actions (Karma) as their own, their inheritance, their congenital cause, their
kinsman, their refuge. It is Karma that differentiates beings into low and high
states.” There are five Niyammas that are followed in the Buddhist culture of
which the Karma Niyamma is of utmost importance. To understand more about
the Niyammas in Buddhism please click here.

The Buddhist Understanding

Karma and Karma – phala are the most important ideals of Buddhism. These
ideals tell us how the cycle of rebirth, or samsara, is tied to us. It is believed that
the Buddhist path, or the Eight Fold Path, is the way to exit samsara.
Rebirth is a process that is never ending. It works on the principle that “As you
sow, so shall you reap”. It is believed that a person who commits an action or
deed, Karma, has to face the consequences, Karma – phala (fruit of action). This
concept is beautifully explained by the Bodhisattva Ms. Pema Khandro in one of
her sermons.