• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

What is meant by "Karma"?

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

What is meant by "Karma"? "Just as every object has a shadow, every action has an effect." - Buddha Karma is one of the fundamental concepts in the Buddhist religion. The concept of Karma is not original to the Buddhist religion, as it was adopted by Buddha from Brahminism, which was an earlier version of Hinduism. The theory of Karma first appeared in the Upanishads, which was a revolutionary piece of literature of its time, questioning and challenging the role of humans alongside nature and trying to answer the classic questions: Why? Why are we here? What is our role in life? Doctrines were formulated to answer these questions by gurus and written in the Upanishads and the fundamental doctrines of Karma and Reincarnation are two key concepts that helps in the understanding of Buddhism as a religion. The life we live is, in accordance to the doctrines of Karma and Rebirth, the result of how we have lived. Karma literally translated means "Action." The law of cause and effect best explains Karma. It is through our actions that we live the life we lead. It is clear to see the stark differences that exist between humans. Some are poor and some are rich, some are healthy and some are constantly ill and so on. Buddhists explain that it is because of past actions or Karma that a person is constantly ill or is able to live a life of luxury. ...read more.

Middle

Some actions result in neutral Karma. Breathing, walking, talking are all actions but if you don't harm an animal while walking or speak harshly of others then this results in neutral Karma which does not affect you or anyone else. It is a widely held belief that Karma is the source of natural human talent. Someone maybe naturally good at a sport or in a topic in academic studies and it is through the karmic tendencies that have been inherited through their previous lives that result in a natural ability that emerges. One prime example is the Buddha himself.5 He inherited like everyone else the reproductive cells and genes of his mother (given the way she conceived) but his physical and mental attributes were that of accumulated Karma as he himself stated that he belonged to the Aryan Buddha lineage and not of the Royal lineage of his parents. Buddha was a creation of his own accumulated Karma from his previous lives. It is also stated that Buddha inherited 32 physical features that were a sign of his past meritorious deeds. Buddhists like to use nature as an example to explain their doctrines and concepts. Karma in association with nature can be explained using the seed, the tree and the fruit. Karma in essence is the potential seed. That seed will grow according to the choices you make regarding you actions. ...read more.

Conclusion

It is not fatalistic in the sense that god or fate predetermines everything before you are reborn but karma does determine some aspects of your life. For instance what type of family you will be born into, whether or not you will be ill or healthy, poor or rich, face constant misery or relative happiness, but that is because of our previous Karma that has not been experienced. Karma in essence is the Cause and Effect. Every action has a similar reaction. A good action results in a good reaction and vice versa. It is important to accept that the concept of Reincarnation is as normal as believing that god exists. This is where the West has trouble understanding and explaining Karma. Buddhists believe that we can control the nature of our lives. Buddhists understand that they are not able to change their past actions or the actions of others, or prevent its results, but they are in control of the way they re-act upon them. The Buddha teaches that studying the nature of our actions (before, during and after we act) can help us discern what is helpful and what is a hindrance upon the path to escape the Dukkha of birth death and rebirth. Adapting to the Noble Eightfold Path and adopting a selfless way of life can help us overcome our desires, common to our human nature. By eliminating our selfishness and becoming totally selfless we can conquer our lives by escaping rebirth and starting the Samsara all over again and achieve nirvana. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our AS and A Level Hinduism section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related AS and A Level Hinduism essays

  1. Problems that sikhs face practicing their religion in Britain today

    The 2003 discrimination act safeguards the Sikhs to carry a kirpan. Some Sikhs wear a necklace that contains charms of the kanga and kirpan so that they do not look threatening. There is a case of a girl from South Wales who was suspended from school for refusing to remove her Kara.

  2. Examine and Comment of Christian and Hindu Beliefs about Life After Death

    Moksha can be described as perfect peace and happiness, or as the soul 'losing itself in Brahman'. Brahman means God and moksha is a spiritual state of existence in which there is a union with God, 'When all desires that rest in the heart are liberated shall a mortal man

  1. How observing a visible religious activity can help you to understand the part religion ...

    While observing religious activity, such as a festival, can help us to understand the role religion plays in the life of a person or community, we must be careful not to jump to conclusions. Some festivals have deviated away from their original religious meaning.

  2. Examine the Hindu views on arranged marriages. To what extent can Hindu arranged marriages ...

    The Hindu religion, strongly intertwined in the concept of "duty," order that parents are responsible for providing their children's education and marriage. Once married, their sons take over the running of the household and provide for their parents for the rest of their lives.

  1. How Do Hindus View Suffering?

    If Brahman is then the controller of a person from the inward out, then whatever problems an individual is faced with should not really affect them. This is because it is the owner of the body, not them that has to deal with the problem, but Brahman.

  2. The Beginning Of Hinduism.

    There used to be a very good reason for the caste system. Hindus believe that everyone has a special duty, which is called dharma. This means holy law. The dharma partly depends on the caste the Hindu belongs to. For example, if you were born into the shopkeeper caste, it

  1. "It is essential for Hinduism to reform but the most important issue was the ...

    According to 1Klaus Klosterimeir Ramakrishna felt that images were also a manifestation of God. 2He particularly worshipped Kali as a divine avatar of the Mother Goddess and had many visions of her. For him the murti came to life through his dedication and sacrificial offerings.

  2. Christianity and Hinduism seem to have profoundly different views in relation to God and/or ...

    Krishna?s mission however being somewhat simpler was to rid the world of villains and produce a glimpse into the private life of God (increasing the chance of a deity-devotee relationship). Another difference being that Krishna is believed to of been incarnated many times for various different tasks.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work