Why do I believe in karma?
Karma is a concept of cause and action. Karma is a term which has been widely used in Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism. Echo of karma is evident in Christianity as well in words such as redemption and confession. What the reason believe in karma is because it’s not a theoretical or abstract theory but a fact of life. You can see karma in every facet of your life.
Action Is the Cause of Misery and Happiness
Karma, in simple terms, means the result of your work. These actions may be voluntary or involuntary. For example, if you study hard you will get good grades. Conversely, if you don’t study you will fail in school. If you look at karma in this fashion, you will understand why I believe in karma. Therefore, you and only you can decide how you want to live – happily or otherwise. According to Buddhism, this is formative action. Every developmental effect is a result of our ignorance about the true nature of our existence. It leaves an impact on our consciousness. There are several formative actions simultaneously operating in your life. Each one leaves an impression on your consciousness, which make you either happy or sad, depending on the work.
From this standpoint, karma is eminently believable because the relationship between action and subsequent result is apparent.
Ignorance leads to formative action and karma
Buddhism is easy to understand. The basic tenets are simple. The central theme of this religion is that ignorance of the real nature of this life results in formative action which in turn unfolds as an effect on your life. Karma is the product of our efforts. I firmly believe in this cause and effect phenomenon called karma. How does this ignorance come about? Buddhism claims that we bring our past karma in the present life when we are conceived in the womb of our mother. In fact, our karma decides when and where we are reborn. Good karma in our present life will enable us to be born in a good family with an opportunity to further our goal of attaining nirvana or escape from the cycle of birth and death. We should also have good health, good monetary resources, and long life to achieve this. Karma, I believe is a set of actions and result rather than one single right or wrong act. We are continuously taking action which may be good or bad. Each karma or action has its independent reaction.
Birth, Decay, and Death
I not only believe in karma but can also see the result of it. Birth, aging, decay and death are facts which are not theoretical constructs but a reality of life. Buddha says that once you are born, misery and unhappiness become a part of life. Your body starts aging right from the moment of birth. There is no way you can arrest this process. Your body decays every second and eventually it stops functioning. It is termed as death. Remember that it is the body which ages with time. The mind itself only accumulates experiences. These experiences are called karma. These accumulated experiences are retained when you take on a new body after the death of the present. It is impressions on your consciousness.
The central theme of Buddhism is to escape the agonizing cycle of birth, decay, and death. The answer I believe lies in karma itself. You have to do good karma which will be carried to your next life through your consciousness. Once you have realized the true nature of this universe, you will eventually escape from birth-death cycle.
Therefore, the three constituents which result in rebirth are ignorance, formative action, and consciousness. This consciousness is the imprint left by the developmental action. In other words, rebirth is the effect of the impression carried by the consciousness. An analogy can be made where ignorance is a farmer who sows the seed of formative action. This seed is planted in your consciousness. This seed brings forth actions which I believe are our karma. The effect of the seeding or implanting of actions in our consciousness is felt not only during the present life but also carried into the next. This imprint on our consciousness is activated by craving and grasping whose outcome is a rebirth.
I believe that your karma has to be good and virtuous. You are lucky to be living in an age where there is plenty of time to contemplate your future. You are no longer constrained by hunger and other necessities of life. The time is conducive for you to do good karma. Ignorance leads to confusion which in turn results in attachment, lust, greed and other worldly desires. Your spiritual practice should such that you become aware of the true nature of existence. It will enable you to get rid of base emotions. You will feel lighter and joyful when you no longer carry the baggage of your feelings.
Three States of Mind and Karma
There are three basic states of mind which give rise to other base emotions. These are attachment, anger, and confusion. I believe that you must perform karma or deeds which will enable you to overcome these three disturbances. First, you must have a sincere desire (wish) for freedom from cyclic existence. This would free your consciousness from attachment. By becoming more loving and caring, you can avoid anger which is a grave disturbance of the mind. The confusion comes from ignorance. This state of mind leads to delusion. You start believing that the world you see is the reality. You fail to recognize the hollowness of intrinsic existence.
I believe in good karma which will remove the veil of delusion. For example, imagine that you are in a dark room, and you perceive that a snake is lying coiled in a corner. The dark room is your ignorance and in this state of mind you do not recognize that the coiled form is only a rope and not a snake. The confusion occurs because of your ignorance. We lead our entire life in ignorance. In this state, we confuse between what we perceive and the intrinsic existence.
The cause of misery in your life arises due to the misconception that the self and other matter are existent as seen by you. This is a delusion of your senses. I believe that your karma should be such that you see beyond the obvious. Once you realize that what you see is a chimera, you will automatically become free from miseries and sadness.
I believe that karma is real and impacts every moment of your life. The result of what you do in your present life can sometimes be seen in the same lifetime. If you commit murder, you will be imprisoned. But the law of karma goes beyond this lifetime. Your actions are imprinted in your consciousness and carried into your next life. If you have done positive karma, you will be born in a good family. You will have good health and a long life. Your aim should, therefore, be to do good and avoid bad karma.