The Importance Of Karma In Buddhism

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Karma was seen as a fundament concept in Asian religions. In Buddhism karma does exist but it is less relevant than in the Hindu religion as it is no longer seen as the only path to Moksha after Buddha’s first teachings. In this essay I will describe and explain karma and prove that karma isn’t the only way to moksha by referring to the four noble truths taught by Buddha and the eight fold path.
Karma is a key concept in the Buddhist religion. Karma is able to link with various concepts in the Buddhist religion. It is believed Karma has a connection with the past and future. In Buddhism Karma even has a role in cosmology. It’s believed that the universe is split into two components; the physical universe (bhajana) and the life-forms (Sattva).
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The literal meaning of the Sanskrit word is ‘action’, not all actions are linked to Karma it mostly has to do with moral actions. In Buddhism there is the belief that humans have a sense of agency and with that they determine their own fate. Some Buddhist believe that Karma is accumulated throughout various lives to the next life and some believe that karma has an immediate effect in one’s life. The former tend to believe that the accumulated karma (good and bad) determine ones physical form, social status, personality and physical appearance in the next life. They are more likely to believe in the proverb “Sow an act, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny.” (Keown, Karma and Rebirth 2000) The later would believe that every event/phala (Fruit) in one’s life would be a directly influenced by karma. If Karma is a ‘law’ what makes an action good or bad? According to Buddhists a moral action is good or bad depending on intention and choice. This is further described by the roots of motivation. Akusala (bad actions) are usually arise from greed, hatred and delusion. Kusala (good actions) arise from non-attachment, benevolence and understanding. (Keown, Karma and Rebirth 2000) Most importantly actions are considered to be good if they do not cause…show more content…
In Buddhism the six realms of rebirth determine the physical form the atman is born in and this is dependent on karma. Time in each of these realms is different and is perceived differently by every being. The lowest form of rebirth would be hell, this comes in two forms; hot hell and cold hell. In hot hell suffering would happen in the form of burning and in cold hell the suffering would happen in the form of freezing. In Buddhism hell is not permanent, one would be released after they have served their time. The fifth form of rebirth is being an animal. Being an animal in Buddhism is undesirable because animals do not have an opportunity to improve their situation or build good karma. The fourth form of rebirth is in a Ghost form. Ghosts are former humans which are unhappy spirits that have desires that are never fulfilled. The third form of rebirth would be as a Titan; a demonic warlike being with a never ending lust for power. The second form of rebirth would be as a human. This is one of the most desirable forms as humans have a conscious and free will. Humans are also able to reach nirvana/moksha in one life period/cycle. The highest form of rebirth would be as a god. There are two forms of gods; pure abodes and Deva. Pure abodes are gods that will never reborn as humans again and Devas are beings that are can be reborn
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