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KARMA

 
One of the more well known word, though often misused, in Buddhism is karma, where karma means "action" or "doing"; whatever one does, says, or thinks is a karma. In Buddhism, the term karma is used to describe those actions which spring from mental intent or mental obsessions which bring about a fruit or result, either within the present life, or in the context of a future rebirth. Karma is the engine which drives the wheel of the cycle of uncontrolled rebirth for each being.
 

Every time a person acts there is some quality of intention at the base of the mind and it is that quality rather than the outward appearance of the action that determines the effect. If a person professes piety and virtue but nonetheless acts with greed, anger or hatred (veiled behind an outward display of well-meaning intent) then the fruit of those actions will bear testimony to the fundamental intention that lay behind them and will be a cause for future unhappiness. The Buddha spoke of wholesome actions that result in happiness, and unwholesome actions that result in unhappiness.

 
 
Karma is thus used as an ethical principle and a cosmological explanation for the world. Buddhists believe that the actions of beings determine their own future, and because of this there are no private actions: all actions have a consequence. The emphasis of karma in Buddhism is on mindful action, not on blaming someone else for whatever happens to oneself.
 
There is a further distinction between worldly, wholesome karma that leads to samsaric happiness (like birth in higher realms), and path-consciousness which leads to enlightenment and nirvana. Therefore there is samsaric good karma, which leads to worldly happiness, and then there is liberating karma—which is supremely good, as it ends suffering forever. Once one has attained liberation one does not generate any further kamma, and the corresponding states of mind are called in Pali Kiriya. Nonetheless, the Buddha advocated the practise of wholesome actions: "Refrain from unwholesome actions/Perform only wholesome ones/Purify the mind/This is the teaching of the Enlightened Ones."
 
 
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