Sanskrit word meaning "action". Through the force of intention, we perform actions ("make causes") with our body, speech and mind, and all of these actions produce effects. The effect of virtuous actions is happiness and the effect of negative actions is suffering.
Karma is a concept encountered in several Eastern religions, although having different meanings. Teachings about karma explain that our past actions affect us, either positively or negatively, and that our present actions will affect us in the future. Buddhism uses an agricultural metaphor to explain how sowing good or bad deeds will result in good or bad fruit (phala; or vipaka, meaning ripening).
The law of universal action which states that we reap according to what we sow. It is the means whereby a soul gathers experience through its journey of existence.
N (Action, deed). Collection of deeds resulting from positive and negative actions.
Each of us is free to exercise an influence on his/her own fate according to the quality of the actions he/she does commit. However, the law of kamma is completely uncontrollable. It governs all the acts that each one does commit. It does explain that nothing which happens is left to chance. Everything that constitutes the living conditions of a being, his abilities, his disabilities, his physical and mental constitution, his pleasures and his torments, are nothing else than the consequence of his own former actions.
action or cause which is created or recreated by habitual impulse, volitions, or natural energies. In popular usage, it often includes the sense of the result or effect of the action, although the proper term for this is vipaka. (In Sanskrit: karma).
See Four Kinds of Kamma
Sanskrit; literally, "action"; universal law of cause and effect which governs rebirth and the world of samsara.
(wholesome or unwholesome) action; s. karma.
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'action', correctly speaking denotes the wholesome and unwholesome volitions (kusala- and akusala-cetanā) and their concomitant mental factors, causing rebirth and shaping the destiny of beings.
These karmical volitions (kamma cetanā) become manifest as wholesome or unwholesome actions by
- body (kāya-kamma)
- speech (vacī-kamma)
- mind (mano-kamma)
Thus the Buddhist term 'karma' by no means signifies the result of actions, and quite certainly not the fate of man, or perhaps even of whole nations (the so-called wholesale or mass-karma), misconceptions which, through the influence of theosophy, have become widely spread in the West.
"Volition (cetanā), o monks, is what I call action (cetanāham bhikkhave kammam vadāmi), for through volition one performs the action by body, speech or mind. . There is karma (action), o monks, that ripens in hell.... Karma that ripens in the animal world.. Karma that ripens in the world of men.... Karma that ripens in the heavenly world.... Threefold, however, is the fruit of karma: ripening during the life-time (dittha-dhamma-vedanīya-kamma), ripening in the next birth (upapajja-vedanīya-kamma), ripening in later births (aparāpariya-vedanīya kamma) ...." (A.VI.63).
The 3 conditions or roots (mūla) of unwholesome karma (actions) are greed, hatred, delusion (lobha, dosa, moha); those of wholesome karma are: unselfishness (alobha), hatelessness (adosa = mettā, good-will), undeludedness (amoha = paññā, knowledge) .
"Greed, o monks, is a condition for the arising of karma; hatred is a condition for the arising of karma; delusion is a condition for the arising of karma ...." (A.III.109).
"The unwholesome actions are of 3 kinds, conditioned by greed, or hate, or delusion.
"Killing ... stealing ... unlawful sexual intercourse ... lying ... slandering ... rude speech ... foolish babble, if practised, carried on, and frequently cultivated, leads to rebirth in hell, or amongst the animals, or amongst the ghosts" (A. III, 40). "He who kills and is cruel goes either to hell or, if reborn as man, will be short-lived. He who torments others will be afflicted with disease. The angry one will look ugly, the envious one will be without influence, the stingy one will be poor, the stubborn one will be of low descent, the indolent one will be without knowledge. In the contrary case, man will be reborn in heaven or reborn as man, he will be long-lived, possessed of beauty, influence, noble descent and knowledge" (cf. M. 135).
For the above 10-fold wholesome and unwholesome course of action, see kamma-patha. For the 5 heinous crimes with immediate result, s. ānantarika-kamma.
"Owners of their karma are the beings, heirs of their karma, their karma is their womb from which they are born, their karma is their friend, their refuge. Whatever karma they perform, good or bad, thereof they will be the heirs" (M. 135).
With regard to the time of the taking place of the karma-result (vipāka), one distinguishes, as mentioned above, 3 kinds of karma:
- 1. karma ripening during the life-time (dittha-dhamma-vedanīya kamma);
- 2. karma ripening in the next birth (upapajja-vedanīya-kamma);
- 3. karma ripening in later births (aparāpariya-vedanīya-kamma).
The first two kinds of karma may be without karma-result (vipāka), if the circumstances required for the taking place of the karma-result are missing, or if, through the preponderance of counteractive karma and their being too weak, they are unable to produce any result. In this case they are called ahosi-kamma, lit. 'karma that has been', in other words, ineffectual karma.
The third type of karma, however, which bears fruit in later lives, will, whenever and wherever there is an opportunity, be productive of karma-result. Before its result has ripened, it will never become ineffective as long as the life-process is kept going by craving and ignorance.
According to the Com., e.g. Vis.M. XIX, the 1st of the 7 karmical impulsive-moments (kamma javana; s. javana) is considered as 'karma ripening during the life-time', the 7th moment as 'karma ripening in the next birth', the remaining 5 moments as 'karma ripening in later births'.
With regard to their functions one distinguishes:
- 1. regenerative (or productive) karma (janaka-kamma),
- 2. supportive (or consolidating) karma (upatthambhaka-kamma),
- 3. counteractive (suppressive or frustrating) karma (upapīlaka-kamma),
- 4. destructive (or supplanting) karma (upaghātaka- or upacchedaka-kamma).
(1) produces the 5 groups of existence (corporeality, feeling, perception, mental formations, consciousness) at rebirth as well as during life-continuity.
- (2) does not produce karma-results but is only able to maintain the already produced karma-results.
- (3) counteracts or suppresses the karma-results.
- (4) destroys the influence of a weaker karma and effects only its own result.
With regard to the priority of their result one distinguishes:
- 1. weighty karma (garuka-kamma),
- 2. habitual karma (ācinnaka- or bahula-kamma),
- 3. death-proximate karma (maranāsanna-kamma),
- 4. stored-up karma (katattā-kamma).
(1, 2) The weighty (garuka) and the habitual (bahula) wholesome or unwholesome karma are ripening earlier than the light and rarely performed karma. (3) The death-proximate (maranāsanna) karma - i.e. the wholesome or unwholesome volition present immediately before death, which often may be the reflex of some previously performed good or evil action (kamma), or of a sign of it (kamma-nimitta), or of a sign of the future existence (gati-nimitta) - produces rebirth. (4) In the absence of any of these three actions at the moment before death, the stored-up (katattā) karma will produce rebirth.
A real, and in the ultimate sense true, understanding of Buddhist karma doctrine is possible only through a deep insight into the impersonality (s. anattā) and conditionality (s. paticcasamuppāda, paccaya) of all phenomena of existence. "Everywhere, in all the forms of existence ... such a one is beholding merely mental and physical phenomena kept going by their being bound up through causes and effects.
"No doer does he see behind the deeds, no recipient apart from the karma-fruit. And with full insight he clearly understands that the wise ones are using merely conventional terms when, with regard to the taking place of any action, they speak of a doer, or when they speak of a receiver of the karma-results at their arising. Therefore the ancient masters have said:'No doer of the deeds is found, No one who ever reaps their fruits; Empty phenomena roll on: This view alone is right and true. 'And whilst the deeds and their results Roll on, based on conditions all, There no beginning can be seen, Just as it is with seed and tree.' " (Vis.M. XIX)
Karma (kamma-paccaya) is one of the 24 conditions (paccaya) (App.: Kamma).
- Karma and Rebirth, by Nyanatiloka (WHEEL 9);
- Survival and Karma in Buddhist Perspective, by K.N. Jayatilleke (WHEEL 141/143);
- Kamma and its Fruit (WHEEL 221/224).
literally 'action'; but tends to be used to mean the law of Karma and Vipaka 'action and results'. The Buddhist meaning is not quite the same as the Hindu.
Karma Skt., lit. “deed” (Pali, kamma). Universal law of cause and effect, which according to the Buddhist view takes effect in the following way: “The deed (karma) produces a fruit under certain circumstances; when it is ripe, then it falls upon the one responsible. For a deed to produce its fruit, it must be morally good [kushala] or bad [akushala] and be conditioned by a volitional impulse, in that it leaves a trace in the psyche of the doer, leading his destiny in the direction determined by the effect of the deed. Since the time of ripening generally exceeds a lifespan, the effect of actions is necessarily one or more rebirths, which together constitute the cycle of existence (samsāra)” (trans. from German ed. of Die Religionen Indiens, vol. 3, A. Bareau, 1964, 41).
The effect of an action, which can be of the nature of body, speech, or mind, is not primarily determined by the act itself but rather particularly by the intention of the action. It is the intention of actions that cause a karmic effect to arise. When a deed cannot be carried out but the intention toward it exists, this alone produces an effect. Only a deed that is free from desire, hate, and delusion is without karmic effect. In this connection it should be noted that good deeds also bring “rewards,” engendering karma and thus renewed rebirth. In order to liberate oneself from the cycle of rebirth, one must refrain from both “good” and “bad” deeds.
"Karma" or "action" is understood as a mental, verbal (energetical) or physical deed, and "vipâka" its fruit, result or reaction, accompanying every action like a shadow following its object. The seed is "karma", the fruit arising from it is "vipâka". In general, "karma" refers to actions, their effects and the potentialities left in the mind from the moment of the completion of the action to the moment they ripen and their results are experienced.
The role that kamma plays in the Awakening is empowering. It means that what each of us does, says, and thinks does matter.
The Sanskrit term meaning "action." It refers to a concept in which the results of one's actions accumulate over one's life. Upon death, an individual's karma-this store of the results of actions-determines whether one is reborn in a higher or lower status.
("action" or "deed"). Impact of previous deeds (usually in former lives) on one's current circumstances.
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Karma (कर्म): A Sanskrit term that comprises the entire cycle of cause and effect.
Karma (activity): The karmas (activities) like guṇas (qualities) have no separate existence, they belong to the substances (according to the Vaisheshika school). But while a quality is a permanent feature of a substance, an activity is a transient one. Ākāśa (ether), kāla (time), dik (space) and ātman (self), though substances, are devoid of karma (activity).
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weighty karma; s. karma.
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habitual karma; s. karma.
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upapīlaka-kamma; s. karma.
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'suppressive kamma'; s. karma.
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'ineffective karma'; s. karma.
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