View Full Version : Karma: Is it for real?
Carol and Mikey
12-29-2011, 08:11 PM
Just curious on people's thoughts about the concept of Karma.
12-30-2011, 08:17 AM
I'll admit to not having a clear understanding of karma - just like I don't have a clear understanding of a lot of this stuff. Is God personal or impersonal or both...or neither? Is karma personal or impersonal or both...or neither? Again, I'm going to defer to Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh:
"When you look into a person, you see five skandhas or elements: form, feelings, perceptions, mental formations and consciousness. There is no soul, no self, outside of these five, so when the five elements go to dissolution, the karma, the actions, that you have performed in your lifetime is your continuation. What you have done and thought is still there as energy. You don't need a soul, or a self, in order to continue. You are more than just this body because the five skandhas are always producing energy. That is called karma or action. But there is no actor - you don't need an actor. Action is good enough. Mass and energy, and force and matter - they are not two separate things. They are the same."
I don't pretend to understand exactly what Thich Nhat Hanh is pointing us towards with those words.
When I read the words of a Zen Buddhist master like Thich Nhat Hanh it's important for me to ask myself: "What is he pointing me towards?" Because these teachers often do not define things literally. Zen is all about the actual experience of knowing and words are used as skillful means - the words are not the thing itself. The words are like a finger pointing at the moon, trying to get you or me to see the moon - not the finger.
Just like my dog always looks at my finger when I'm pointing to one of his toys that I want him to bring to me, I don't always have the experience of knowing when I read the words of a great teacher.
Jesus/Yeshua also taught in metaphors and parables rather than just spelling everything out for us.
12-30-2011, 08:58 AM
Karma, like anything else, is a belief, and you either subscribe to the belief or you don't. Here is my belief about karma that has served me quite well (and for which I am grateful to the gods): Each day I start my day with a clean slate; all my past karma is wiped clean.
Anyone is welcome to share my belief or not.
If you believe in the classic karma-rebirth philosophy you may be trapping yourself in an endless cycle of rebirths to balance out your karma, since we're all imperfect humans and create bad karma despite our positive intentions.
If you believe in a savior figure such as Jesus or Kwan Lin, all your karma is wiped clean at your death. Jesus, if you subscribe to the classical Christian philosophy of salvation, took on the bad karma of the entire world.
It's all a matter of beliefs, what truths you have discovered that ring true with you that make you a better person, helps you make the world around you a little better, and allows you to pass to the hereafter with a clear conscious free of guilt and fear.
That's why it's so nice to have a forum like this where people can respectfully share their beliefs. Whether people agree with the viewpoint or not, it broadens everyone's perspective.
With Lovingkindness (metta (http://www.accesstoinsight.org/lib/authors/buddharakkhita/wheel365.html#intro)),
12-30-2011, 09:57 AM
This is such a great question, dear Carol! My first impulse was going to be to ask you to pick up your pendulum and ask a real expert, but then I saw that you yourself had posted the question ;-).
To my mind, our first problem in discussing karma is that there doesn't seem to be a good English translation of the word. I have come to think of it as meaning something like "balance," so if you do something bad or negative in this lifetime you have to balance it out in another lifetime - perhaps by taking upon yourself the same kind of suffering that you inflicted on others. Speaking from the viewpoint of the afterlife evidence, this is frankly not what happens. There is no balance-scale, and no need to suffer in another lifetime for something that you did in this one. Instead, it is all about forgiving yourself. If you can forgive yourself for whatever you did, then it becomes a closed matter and you move on; but if you can't forgive yourself, then you, yourself will condemn yourself to punishment in some way - usually by spending time in the outer darkness level.
Dear GypsyBlue: Thank you for these insights! From the viewpoint of the afterlife evidence, our personalities do continue into at least the Summerland levels - physical death here simply frees us so we can escape this material level. Thinking more cosmically, through, your Master is right, based upon the afterlife evidence: there is no separate mind for each of us, and no reality that is separate from Mind; and we all are in the process of rejoining Mind within the illusion of time, having already long ago rejoined Mind outside of time. Entirely right. And when he says "Mass and energy, and force and matter - they are not two separate things. They are the same," he is speaking like a quantum physicist and an afterlife researcher, both at once! I love that you keep sharing these insights of his here, dear friend - you are bringing a new perspective that we really have been missing!
Dear Vic: I agree: the notion of karma is basically one more personal belief. If someone strongly believes that he will have to balance out this lifetime in another lifetime, then he is likely to add that to a future life-plan, whether or not there is any such cosmic law (and there doesn't seem to be one). I love that you give yourself a clean slate each morning! How wonderful that you live each day as another lifetime, another chance to apply what you have learned from all the days/lifetimes already lived. What a wonderful philosophy!
12-30-2011, 02:26 PM
This is something I wonder about too. I agree with Roberta as far as karma carrying over to various lives. But does karma exist in this life? Like if you do something bad to someone, do spirit guides try to kind of teach you a lesson? I tend to think not though, because terrible things happen to good people all the time.
12-30-2011, 02:30 PM
I don't think I believe in karma, per se. But I do believe in what you send out comes back to you. If you send out negativity, then you will attract negativity. If you expect good things, then good things will happen. I base my thoughts on my understanding of the Law of Attraction. Is that karma? I'm guess I'm not sure.
Carol and Mikey
12-30-2011, 06:21 PM
Mikey has indicated to me that karma is a concept that can exist between 2 souls. Karma = balance. (So I guess you could call it "balance". :) ) First of all, he says what is important to know, is the more loving you are, the less karma or balance issue there is. Karma is often non-loving issues. Karma is not about getting "even", it is more about finding balance in your soul growth. Karma can be over-taken by love.
Balance can be challenging if a soul acts on impulse. The "act" can be negative with the "result" harder to forgive. Karma can cause some non-loving issues to occur. Karma can be corrected if the soul chooses to be more loving. Good attracts good. Karma in Heaven is not an issue when the soul choses to be loving in their ways. Karma is a balancing act with love.
Carol and Mikey "in Spirit"
12-31-2011, 07:30 AM
Thanks to everyone. More and more I'm feeling like my goal is not so much to heal myself as to heal this world (maybe the same?), which would include every thing and every one. I may not even be a self other than the Big Self I believe is being all of us and every thing.
Most of us, especially me, are so self obsessed.
I think that's why Thich Nhat Hanh reminds us of how our actions continue in those who's lives we have touched, and the impact our lives have had on raising the consciousness and awareness of this planet. That's the energy of karma that definitely lives on and continues and which might be as important or more important than what appears to be our individual evolution.
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