The Law of Karma

The law of karma is part of Buddhist teaching. The law of karma involves cause and effect.

It says that every event causes another event. The second event can be pleasant or unpleasant, depending on whether the first event was prompted by self-interested cravings or by pure motivations.

The second event can be so far separated from the first one that they don’t seem to be connected, but the connection is still there.

If our actions come from pure motivations, then the results will be positive, leading us to keep acting in positive ways.

If we are motivated by negative feelings, then the results of our actions will also be negative. And the effects of negative feelings can be cumulative. When bad things happen to us, we tend to respond negatively. This can lead to a vicious circle of negative actions and negative results.

Think of something negative that has happened to you. Then think of how you reacted to it. If you reacted negatively, did that negative reaction also affect the way you saw other things? If you reacted positively, did that positive reaction affect your outlook in positive ways?

Describe the event, your reaction, and how your reaction affected you.

The Law of Karma

In the Hindu view of the world, souls go through an endless process of death and rebirth. Our actions in this life affect the next life. This is called the law of Karma.

In a way, we can look at karma as cause and effect. Every individual action has an effect, good, neutral, or bad. If we live a life of good deeds, good things will eventually happen to us – if not in this life, then in the next one. If we are selfish and narrow-minded, then bad things will happen to us.

In this way of thinking, there are no such things as accidents or luck – either good luck or bad luck. Everything that happens is the result of some action we took either in this life or one in the past.

Think about something unexpected that happened to you recently, either good or bad. Describe the incident. Did you think it was an accident or “just luck”? Would your attitude towards the even change if you thought your own past actions bad caused it? Explain.