Theory of Karma
'As you sow, so shall you reap' is what the Karma is. In simple word it means action or deeds of a person repay him or her. We have seen or heard so many times about Karma. Whenever bad things happen to our family we would say its all because of your bad Karma. The inequality like one person is poor while another is rich; One is beautiful while other is ugly; One is healthy while other has all kind of congenital and physical aliments. These kind of inequalities are somewhere due to Karma.
The literal Sanskrit meaning of Karma is action, or deeds. Deeds can be our thoughts and work. Theory of Karma is one of the fundamental theory in Buddhism. I believe theory of Karma is very similar to Newton's third law, where it states every action has its equal and opposite reaction. Similarly, the way we act or behave with someone in our life, we get the reaction in equal and similar way. This is what I call as Karma. Karma return your deeds. If we do good deeds then we get good things back in some or the other way but if we do wrong like hurt someone or rob someone will get the similar behavior back from someone in our life.
Concept of Karma in various religion
Karma is explained in various religion in different ways and in different theories. However the basic understanding of Karma remains the same.
Jainism view on Karma
Lets see what Jainisim think about Karma. According to Jainism, Karma is nothing but the fine invisible particles of matter. These particles are always present around us like air. Our every activity - bad or good is attracted by these fine particles(Karma). If we do good activities then it will attract good karma, and if we do bad activity will attract bad Karma. Over the period of time these Karmas are formed as layers on our soul.
In Jainism, motives count a lot to determine the strength of Karma. For instance, a person killing an animal intentionally has stronger karmic bond that killing an animal unintentionally. Here the motive of two people are different, one has killed an animal intentionally while another one unintentionally. This motive will determine the Karmic bond. Person who has done this intentional act will add very bad karma in his account than who has done it unintentionally.
According to Jain religion, there are two ways to get rid of bad karma -
1. To stop the inflow of karma.
2. To practice certain virtues like non violence, non stealing, truth, purity of body and mind, and non-possessiveness. These virtues will help to get rid of past karmas.
Law of Karma and Buddha's view
According to Buddhism, the inequality seen in mankind can be due to some cause or it is purely natural or accidental. The inequality can be due to Karma, which is the result of our own past and present action. We are the one who creates happiness and misery in our life. In other words we are the creator of our own fate. Buddhism also believes that everything happening in our life is not due to Karma.
Buddhism has explained the Karma in easier way. According to them, Karma is any kind of INTENTIONAL action which can be mental, emotional or physical action. Even intentional thought of killing someone is a Karma. Involuntary, or unintentional actions are not included in the Karma. In Buddhism, the intentional action (volition) is the most important factor in determining the Karma.
Buddhists believe that one cannot get rid of Karma, however one must keep doing good actions so that they accumulate good karma for next birth. For instance, if one person is poor while another is rich, it is all due to Karma. Poor person might have done bad deeds in past life so he has to suffer this life. But if he accepts his poverty and keep doing good deeds he will be in good karma next life. In short, Buddhists believe accept the way of your life this birth, and keep doing good deeds, your suffering will surely reduce and will gain good karma as well.
Hinduism and Karma
The concept of karma is similar to the view of Buddhism. According to Hinduism, Karma is the beneficial effects of our past good actions while harmful effects are due to past bad actions. These good and bad actions and reactions goes on throughout the rebirth cycle. Wrong or bad deeds accumulate the bad karma which attaches the person's soul to the cycle of rebirth. This ultimately leads to poor condition in the next life.
The very first word 'karma' appeared in the Hindu text, Rig Veda, however in the Upanishads, the meaning of Karma is related to the cause and effect of action. Many Hindu texts has also mentioned that the bad effects of present and past karma are wipe out by doing various activities like pilgrimages to holy places and devoting himself to godly action.
According to Hindus, if one want to enjoy good and fortunate life, one has to get rid of bad karma, and keep doing good actions so that he/she achieves better life next birth. It takes many many births to get rid of accumulated karma. and to go in the phase of Moksha.
Even though various religion interpreted the concept of Karma in different way, the deep and ultimate understanding remains the same. That is Karma is the result of your action. Good deed will yield good karma while bad deeds will make you suffer with bad karma. It is not easy to achieve the Moksha or get rid of karma, however it is in our hand to make our future better to live by doing good karma. We cannot change our past but can make the better future.
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