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Monday, November 2, 2009

Not karma alone - InnerVoice

P.P. Wangchuk

Most of us, perhaps, take the law of karma as the sole cause for our condition/fate now and hereafter.
Buddhism rejects this belief.
Karma in Buddhist philosophy is but one of the five factors that shape and determine one's fate.

The other four factors known as niyamas or orders are: utu niyama, bijia niyama, dhamma niyama and sitta niyama. They relate to the physical, natural and psychic phenomena.
These niyamas are directly governed by seasonal, organic, mental and psychic phenomena.

It is not to suggest that karma is just like any other of the five factors. The Buddhist `Compendium of Philosophy' says karma is the main basic order that influences one's life. The other four orders are mere accidental phenomena that happen by chance.

The point here is to ask if karma has anything to do with your being a victim of natural phenomenon? There is no clear explanation on this, but one understands that karma does help even in unnatural circumstances.
That is why I prefer to call it the "overruling order."

That is why Buddhism makes it clear that karma has nothing to do with fatalism or the doctrine of predestination. The argument is that not all that happens in one's life is because of one's past karma. It is also made clear that one can "reverse" one's fate with good intentions and good karma in this very life.

This is of special significance to those with bad karma and would like to "reshape" their lives for the better. The understanding is that one's karma works in various ways: there are karmas that bear fruit right in the present lifetime. And then there are karmas that "pay you dividends" in the next life or even in successive lives.

But it is important to remember that on its own, karma cannot do much. For karma to produce its best results, one needs good circumstances and factors. At times, when these auxiliary causes are missing, then one's karma, like a seed without soil and water, will remain dormant and helpless.


innervoice@hindustantimes.com

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