Understanding the Law of Karma

Karma is such a common word…It’s perhaps one of the most well-known words from Buddhist vocabulary, but it’s also the most misunderstood. Generally, when you hear the word karma, what comes to mind? Most likely it’s something along the lines of “what goes around, comes around”, right? It’s common to think of karma as a cosmic form of justice, but that’s a misconception.

I’m sure you’ve noticed that good things happen to bad people and bad things happen to good people, so where is the justice? Remember: Who Knows What is Good and What is Bad? Simply stated, karma is nothing more than the law of cause and effect within a system of interdependence. EVERYTHING depends on other things.[mks_highlight color=”#eeee22″]Karma is the law of interdependence[/mks_highlight]. Rather than thinking of karma as, “if I do something good, I’ll get something good” or it’s opposite, “if I do something bad, something bad will happen to me”, it’s really a lot more simple than that. The proper thinking would be: [mks_highlight color=”#eeee22″]If I do something, something will happen.[/mks_highlight] That’s it!

[mks_pullquote align=”right” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#000000″ txt_color=”#ffffff”]Wherever there is great power…there is great responsibility – Reverend John Cumming (1854)[/mks_pullquote]

Karma means action (physical, verbal, or mental). Everything we do is constantly changing the world around us. We rarely think about it, but the reality is that a simple smile to a stranger or a middle finger to a fellow driver has effects far beyond what we can comprehend. The things we do affect things that in turn affect other things that in turn affect other things and it goes on and on. We literally have the power to change the world and we’re already constantly changing it without even noticing that we’re changing it. Karma is not about good or bad, wrong or right, it’s about simply understanding that our actions are interdependent with everything.[mks_highlight color=”#eeee22″]The proper understanding of Karma inspires us to be wiser in our actions because our actions have the incredible power to change things.[/mks_highlight]

About the Author
Noah Rasheta is a Buddhist teacher, lay minister, and author, as well as the host of the podcast Secular Buddhism. He teaches mindfulness and Buddhist philosophy online and in workshops all around the world. He works with others to make the world a better place as he studies, embodies, and teaches the fundamentals of Buddhist philosophy, integrating Buddhist teachings with modern science, humanism, and humor. He lives in Kamas, Utah, with his wife and three kids.