Karma is a concept from Hinduism and Buddhism. Karma means action or result and refers to the consequences of actions or results of past actions. Karma is often used as a metaphor for human behavior, but it can also refer to any kind of consequence resulting from one’s own choices. The word karma comes from two Sanskrit words: karman (to do) + vidya (result).
The term karma was first introduced into Western philosophy by the Indian philosopher Shankara (c. 1260–1329), who believed that all living things are subject to fate, which is a force of nature.
According to Shankara, there are three kinds of fate: material destiny, moral destiny and spiritual destiny. Material destiny is determined by our birth and death; moral destiny is determined by our thoughts and deeds; and spiritual destiny is determined by the consciousness of each individual. Shankara held that everyone will eventually die, so there is no point in striving for immortality. However, if we make good decisions during life, we may avoid certain unpleasantness at death. If we have good thoughts, feelings or actions throughout our lives, then these will lead us to happiness after death.
The word kismet, which was introduced into English in about 1820, comes from the Arabic word qesmat, which means fate or destiny. In our modern world, the term is often used in the fields of psychology and sociology to denote a person’s tendency to create harmful patterns in their lives.
Karma and karmic relationships
Karma is not only used to denote a person’s destiny, but can also refer to the destiny of people in general. In this sense, it concerns the relationship between the behavior of one person and that of another.
Sometimes it is said that “what goes around comes around,” meaning that if you do something bad to someone else, then eventually someone will do something bad to you.
One of the main tenets of Buddhism is that most people struggle in samsara, which is a vicious cycle of perpetual reincarnation caused by desire or craving. This cycle can only be broken by achieving nirvana, which involves breaking free from desire and experiencing enlightenment.
In order to achieve this, Buddhists believe one must detach oneself from worldly desires and search for the greater wisdom contained within the teachings of the Buddha.
Karma and karmic relationships are popular concepts in New Age circles, and many people see them as a way of explaining why they experience similar types of problems or situations in life. For example, if a person has a problem with abusive men, then they may start to think that they must have been an abuser in a previous life and that they are now paying for their crimes.
Alternatively, they may think that they have attracted an abusive person because of the negative energy they are putting out into the universe.
Proponents of karmic relationships believe that positive actions will lead to positive results and negative actions will lead to negative results. In this way, one’s destiny is not controlled by outside forces, but rather by one’s own free will.
Sources & references used in this article:
The Relationship of the Karmic to the Nirvanic in Theravāda Buddhism by HB Aronson – The Journal of Religious Ethics, 1979 – JSTOR
Sacred matter: reflections on the relationship of karmic and natural causality in Jaina philosophy by P Flügel – Journal of Indian Philosophy, 2012 – Springer
Karmic Astrology: Past Lives, Present Loves by R Aharoni – 2007 – books.google.com
Karma, Charisma, and Community: Karmic Storytelling in by GM Roach, LC McNally, M Gordon – 2009 – Harmony
Like the Odyssey, Only Different: Olympian Omnipotence versus Karmic Adjustment in Pynchon’s Vineland by JR Ritzinger – Journal of Chinese Buddhist Studies, 2020 – chinesebuddhiststudies.org
Form and flow: the ‘karmic cycle’of copper by DP Rando – Critique: Studies in Contemporary Fiction, 2014 – Taylor & Francis
Moral reasoning in a karmic world by P Bray, A Cuénod, C Gosden, P Hommel, R Liu… – Journal of …, 2015 – Elsevier