• 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...


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.


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.


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. The Beginning Of Hinduism.

    The parents sometimes think that the children will choose the wrong person to marry, which is why they have arranged marriages. If you make a good choice, you will stay together, a bad choice can cause lots of unhappiness for many people.

  2. With reference to a Hindu wedding ceremony, describe and explain the many points of ...

    So if you do not marry, all this will be lost, bad Karma will follow and you will never be released from samara, the series of births, deaths and re-births and atman will never be rejoined with Brahmin. -This is a Hindu's main goal and therefore it is essential to marry.

  1. Examine the ways in which the Bhagavad-Gita supports the life of duty and action ...

    (3, 30) `The Gita points out that renunciation is not for everyone and cannot be resorted to by one who has worldly desires. So the path of action (Karma Yoga) is meant for the worldly people to engage in action so that they can fulfil their legitimate righteously.

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

    As a result, people get married based on these factors and then get let down by one another very easily. The divorce rate in Western countries such as the U.S. has increased rapidly. "50% of American marriages end in divorce"1.

  2. What, according to scholars, were the characteristics of the Indus Valley Civilisation? Discuss the ...

    for 600 years, perhaps in their view they had created an Utopian society. But this conservatism was probably the cause of its downfall: in a changing environment the Indus people may have found it difficult to adapt, for example the reliance on agriculture so with the high floods the cities

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

    3However, Daynanda strongly opposed idolatry, as he believed that "God is omnipresent" and thus cannot have an image. According to him idols were both meaningless and distracting. The average pujari may be led to believe that the statue is God, which undermines the omnipotence of God.

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

    He is the source of all manifestations. The universes are created by Lord Brahma, the creator, maintained by Lord Vishnu, the preserver, and destroyed by Lord Shiva, the destroyer. Brahman was before creation in which he was unmanifest; this is similar to God in Christianity as he is a spirit and is incomprehensible.

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