Do You Believe in Karma

IS THIS KARMA? It Shoots Further Than He Dreams, John Knott 1918


I’ve had some particularly bad luck lately.  In my grumblings of life being unfair, my friends frequently refer to karma.  The theory is that because I try to do the right thing for people, things will turn out well for me.  I was raised to have my ethics guide me to do the right thing regardless of whether I will reap reward later in life.  But for those whose ethics don’t line up with mine, it is nice to imagine some sort of cosmic revenge will get them sooner or later.

It is interesting that many religions incorporate the idea of karma and how the western world had adapted this eastern philosophy.  I did a little Wikipedia research and this is what I learned about the origins of Karma.  There are four major eastern religions that incorporate the idea of karma: Buddhism, Sikhism, Hinduism and Jainism.  Here is a short summary on a couple of them.

The Hindu belief is that God is directly involved in karma.  “God does not make one suffer for no reason nor does He make one happy for no reason. God is very fair and gives you exactly what you deserve.”  (What is Karma?  This concept applies to you as a complete person over your life.  In other words, one wrong deed won’t beget one bad action against you.  If you are a good person, your life will be good and vice versa.

Jainism has a more nature based belief in Karma.  There is no divine controller when it comes to your karma.  Karma is known as karmic dirt.  This substance is made of tiny particles and is omnipresent (Acharya Umasvati, Tattvartha Sutra, Ch VIII, Sutra 24).  These tiny particles (karmas) are attracted to your soul by your thoughts and actions.  Yes, they believe your thoughts and intentions are of equal importance to actions.  If you have positive thoughts and actions, positive karmas will surround your soul.  Negative karmas will appear for negative actions or thoughts.

Our Western culture has been influenced by these philosophies.  As children, we grow up hearing the expression, “what goes around comes around”.  Even Christian religions have a sense of karma in their beliefs.  Here are some biblical passages with a karmic theme:

Galatians 6:7  Do not be deceived:  God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap

2 Corinthians 5:10  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for and what he has done in the body, whether good or evil

So, do I believe in karma?  I don’t know.  Is this recent bad luck retribution for something I did wrong?  Probably not.  Will the people causing these problems for me “pay” someday?  Probably not.  Even though it is really hard sometimes, I need to look at my blessings.  After all the hassles and stresses in the world, I have three beautiful children and a loving husband.  I have a son who runs to the door when I get home and wants to be held by me for hours.  When we sit on the couch together there is nothing but pure joy.  I have two daughters who are smart, sweet, talented and amazing people.  I suppose that’s my version of good karma.

2 Responses to “Do You Believe in Karma”

  1. Lisa says:

    Very well done! One of my favorites! You are doing great!

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