In Buddhism, there are five orders or processes called “Niyama” that work in the physical and mental realms. One of them is the Karma Niyama. It is an order of cause and effect that operates on the basic idea that the nature of your past and present acts determine the quality of the results. For example, desirable acts produce good results and undesirable acts produce bad results. The results are inevitable and they are not considered as a form of punishment or reward. Instead, they are a product of a natural sequence.
Karma is powerful law of nature and no one can interfere to stop or change the results it brings about. However, with the right understanding of this essential Buddhist doctrine, we realize that we are the architects of our own fate. We decide our misery and happiness. This gives us the opportunity to correct our negative karma and to have a better future.
A deeper look into Karma
• What causes inequality among mankind?
• Why is one person brought up in a luxurious lifestyle and another in poverty?
• Why is one person born intelligent while another is slow to learn?
• Why is one person good in nature while another is programmed with criminal instincts?
• Why are some born with congenital deformities or diseases?
Karma answers all these questions. Although we are born with qualities that we have acquired from our parents, we possess some traits that cannot be explained by genetics. These “strange” characteristics are a product of our karmic tendencies which we have accumulated over the course of our previous lives.
A clear example of the founder of Buddhism himself. Buddha, despite being born out of the union of the reproductive cells of his parents, was physically, morally and mentally incomparable to them and to his Royal ancestors. This is because Buddha did not belong to the Royal lineage. He was born into it but originally, he came from the lineage of Aryan Buddhas. According to the Lakkhana Sutta of Digha Nikaya, Buddha had exceptional features including 32 major marks on his body which signify admirable deeds that he accomplished in his previous lives.
The four laws of Karma
There are four fundamental laws of Karma that we need to understand to have a better grasp of the doctrine.
1. Results are identical to the cause.
2. No results are produced when there is no cause.
3. When an action is made, there is always an inevitable result.
4. Karma grows. (An action starts as an idea in our mind then it grows to an action. With repetition, this action is formed into a habit.)
How to remove previous negative Karma
We do not have to carry the burden of our previous negative karma. There are way in order to free ourselves from them.
1. Evaluate and control our present behavior.
2. Meditate and strive to always have positive thoughts as they lead to positive actions.
3. Go through a process of purification.
4. Remove all delusions by realizing our emptiness.
With this knowledge of the principle of Karma, we are given the chance to change our fate. We might have made some choices in our past that we wish we could take back but are unable to. The beautiful law of Karma tells us that there is hope for us to have a better future. Nowadays, it is often misunderstood and gives off a negative impression. However, if you try to go deeper, you will see its true beauty and realize that this law is fair and just.