What Is Karma In Hinduism And Buddhism

Karma is generally much misunderstood, many believing karma to be a “punishment and reward system”, whereby if they do something that is perceived as being “wrong”, they will receive some sort of retribution or punishment that will be suffered in the future.

In fact the concept of karma originated in the Spiritual traditions of far eastern religions. In this blog post we will take a look at the question of what is karma in Hinduism and Buddhism.

Before discussing karma in more detail we will first take a brief look at what gives rise to karma in the first place.

The only direct origin of karma is the mind, or more specifically thoughts originating in the mind which may either remain as thoughts, or might give rise to a corresponding action which has karmic consequences.

If a thought gives rise to a corresponding physical action, it is not the physical action that gives rise to karma, but rather the thought giving rise to the intent behind that action.

For example, if a person believes they have been “wronged” by a neighbour, and accordingly decide to get revenge on that person in some potentially negative way, t is not the actual action that gives rise to the karma, but rather the thought and intent behind that action. The thought Form has Energy which is causal, while the physical action behind s not – the physical body is simply executing the instruction of mind.

Nothing whatsoever can manifest in the physical world without being preceded by a thought.

So again, what is “karma” in Hinduism and Buddhism?

The literal meaning of the word “Karma” is “action”, yet even this, in and of itself is misleading, because “action” usually implies something physical, which, as mentioned above, simply is not the case. The very word “karma” arose out of a misunderstanding as to its true origin and nature. Karma is energy.

In Hinduism and Buddhism karma is recognised as a an aspect of the Principle of Cause and Effect, and is inexorably linked to the cycle of incarnation.

Every thought, whether manifesting as an action or not, influences our unique energy field and its vibratory frequency.

Our overall energy field is therefore a combination of high and low vibrations with all levels of vibration in between. The more we think only in terms of service to others before service to self, Unconditional Love and Perfection, the higher will be the overall vibration of our energy field

This energy field is also reflected in our Aura, whereby the more evolved we are, and therefore higher our vibratory frequency, the brighter, more luminous and more vibrant will be our auric energy field, and conversely the less evolved, the darker, the duller and less vibrant will be the aura.

The cause and effects of karma do not necessarily assert themselves during the incarnation that gave rise to it. In many cases the person responsible for the karma will take the karmic energy back to the Higher Self, which then assumes responsibility for that karmic “deficit”. In these cases the Higher Self will send another personality to Earth, the objectives partly of which are to equilibrate that karma by engaging in actions, preceded by thought that will balance the original karmic energy another incarnation.

Another question that often arises, is whether the karma that needs to be balanced is balanced by exactly the same cause that gave rise to it.

The answer to this is not necessarily. Karma is pure Energy with a characteristic vibration which can be balanced by a thought and corresponding action of the same quality.

Karma can be accumulated over many Higher Self incarnations, so when a “bad” thing happens, it will not be by mere chance or due to bad luck, notions which are impossible in accordance with the law of Cause and Effect. The cause of the “bad” effect may even have originated with another incarnation.

So what is karma in Hinduism?

So what is karma in Hinduism?

According to Hindu philosophy, there are three manifestations of karma. The first is called Sanchita karma, which is caused by a past situation still awaiting its corresponding effect or reaction. This is in effect latent karma.

The next consists of past causes, including those from past lives relative to the Earth concept of time, the effects of which are still manifesting in the current, temporal lifetime. This type of karma, called Prarabdha Karma, is a manifestation of karma that shapes our current experience.

The third level of karma is known as “future karma”. This is where the causes are created in the current temporal lifetime but will manifest in the “future”, either later in the current lifetime or in a “future” lifetime.

Although this may be true from the perspective of an observer on Earth, we already know from the newsletter on the subject of incarnation, that there is no “past” or “future” incarnations, but rather only concurrent incarnations taking place in the Now.

So if all incarnations take place in the eternal moment of Now, how does “past” and “future” karma arise?

Well because a “karmic deficit” is ultimately the responsibility of the Higher Self. Higher Self, our Individuality, will direct the karmic deficit to the concurrent incarnation that is in the best position to balance and therefore neutralise it.

This gives rise to the possibility of a “karmic” debt being balanced years or even centuries before it arose relative to the temporal illusion of “time”. So karma arising in the year 2008 might be balanced in the year 1008 – a thousand years before it came about relative to the temporal perspective of Earth time.

Again, the reason for this is that from the perspective of the Higher Self that is responsible for and managing the karmic debt, where time and space do not exist, Higher Self is simply transferring the karmic debt, in the Eternal moment of Now, to the concurrent incarnation that is in the best position to process it.

This explains why an incarnation, e.g. your current incarnation, experiences a number of “bad” events that appear to arise for “no apparent reason”, people often saying “what have I done to deserve this?”

Well deserve it you did from the perspective of your Higher Self, which is our individuality, who we Are, who has simply transferred the karmic debt across time-lines relative to Earth time.

Ultimately we must think in terms of our Higher Self – our Individuality – who we Are, and not simply on the current temporal incarnation.

Each incarnation can be thought of as part of the same team, with the same objectives – ultimately to win – in this case to transcend the cycle of reincarnation so the Higher Self can move on to greater things on the path of evolution to become fully Source realised.

This is one reason that the concepts of a “bad” person and a “good” person really does not exist. There is only experience that is managed by the Higher Self who will have a mix of all types of karma to balance as our Individuality.

So a person that is highly regarded in one incarnation may be despised in another. But ultimately both are aspects of the same Higher Self – same Eternal Individuality, who the person really Is.

That said, karma can certainly be gained and balanced in within a single incarnation. This tends to be the case in highly evolved humans on Earth whose Higher Self is nearing the end of its reincarnational cycle, and where a particular incarnation is strong and sufficiently equipped and well placed to balance the karma within that same incarnation. This can also be the case with anyone when a fairly mild karmic debt is gained through wrongful thinking, that can be later balanced by a change of the thinking that gave rise to the karmic debt in the first place.

When taken in its entire context, and specifically in Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is something to be valued greatly, not as a punishment and reward system, but as an opportunity to become more perfect and therefore more Spiritually evolved, which in turn is the ultimate objective of incarnating on Earth.

So how do we avoid creating negative karmic deficit?

Simply by being mindful about how it is created in the first place, i.e. thought, which may or may not give rise to a corresponding action, and therefore always being fully conscious of our thought process, only allowing positive thought and disallowing or rejecting all negative thoughts.

While this can be accomplished fairly easily under normal circumstances, the real challenge comes in situations where you have been upset or “wronged” by someone, and the immediate response might be for example of “getting revenge” or “getting even” or of retribution in some way.

While these thoughts and emotions are understandable, the Principle of karma makes no distinctions as to how and under what circumstances the karma has originated, but only that it has.

The only solution therefore is to Unconditionally Love everyone, even those who you feel have “wronged” you, in the knowledge that ultimately revenge will not only result in karmic deficit, but also the realisation that negative thoughts and emotions can never right the wrong or make you feel better, and in the certain knowledge the person who wronged you will have created a karmic deficit of their own that their Higher Self will need to balance.

So let the Universe, in its absolute Perfection, deal with these situations in accordance with immutable Universal Principles.

Finally we must also keep in Mind that we are all One. So when we do or think something – they are both the same – that negatively affects someone else, we have in reality harmed ourselves with the same negative thought.

The same goes for those who willingly kill or torture animals – for whatever reason – it does not matter because there is no excuse – or if they are a party to these actions either directly or indirectly – or kill plant life such as trees. These are all aspects of ourselves.

It is easy to find excuses for such actions, but if you should know better you will incur karmic debt which could have been avoided with presence of Mind and understanding of the Principle of karma.

If you wish to avoid karmic debt which might affect you in this incarnation or another one, then always be mindful of your thoughts, never think in terms of revenge, always Love and forgive others unconditionally, and be mindful of the fact that as we are all aspects of the same perfect Source, God, our thoughts and actions always affect not only ourselves, but all in creation in the entire Universe.

So to avoid karmic debt always be Unconditional Love, Unconditional Forgiveness and be of Service to others before Service to Self.

And So It Is.

Scroll to Top