Blogography Logo
spacer

  Home  

Karma

Posted on Monday, July 29th, 2013

Dave!Somebody wrote a rant about how "karma" is a load of shit and it's being passed around Facebook like a virus. It's amusing, I guess, but the author doesn't understand karma, thus misses the point entirely.

Karma is based on a simple Buddhist principle, but can be pretty complex in concept (which is the opposite of how things usually work). So when somebody inaccurately boils karma down to "Do good and you'll receive good in return. Do bad and you'll receive bad in return"... then gets all pissed off because they think they're doing nothing but good but receiving nothing but bad... while people they perceive as "evil" are doing mostly bad stuff and yet only good things seem to happen for them. Well, yeah... it's frustrating, I know. But that's not the way actual "karma" works, and ranting otherwise is kind of silly. It's like being upset that your dishwasher can't play CDs or something*.

In any event, karma can mean different things to different people, so I suppose there's no "right answer"... but any answer people arrive at should at least be an informed one, and I'm not seeing much of that.

To me, karma is not some kind of cosmic competition where your good deeds and bad deeds are weighed against each other for points, then measured against other people's points to determine who gets to have good things happen to them. Buddhism doesn't have a deity to do the math required, so the idea of karma being some kind of "cosmic judgement" doesn't really fit.

So what is it then?

Karma is cause and effect.

      • Greet somebody with a smile, and they will probably be react with kindness.

      • Greet somebody with a punch in the face, and they will probably react very differently.

Now, those are obviously simplistic examples. Some people are assholes and all the smiles in the world aren't going to make them treat you kindly... but the principle of cause and effect being illustrated is what karma is all about. And when you look at it in those terms, that's where Buddhists find truth in the guiding philosophy behind their faith...

      • Positive actions result in happiness.

      • Negative actions result in suffering.

Note that I did not say "Positive actions result in your happiness" or "Negative actions result in your suffering"... and this is where most people who are tossing "karma" around get it wrong. They expect that their actions, positive or negative, have consequences, good or bad, that will reflect back on them... usually in some physically measurable way...

      • I don't spread gossip and I found a penny on the sidewalk! It's karma!

      • I have a positive attitude and I won a new car! It's karma!

      • I drunkenly peed on my best friend's dog and I got stung by a bee! It's karma!

I'm not saying that there's no physically measurable payoff for what you put out there... obviously there can be... but most times that's not the case at all. Perhaps your positive action pays off for you, but only mentally or spiritually. Perhaps your positive action pays off for somebody else. Perhaps your positive action won't have any immediate effect at all, and it will be years before there's any kind of payoff. Whatever. It's the fact that there is a payoff... some time, some how, some way... that defines the cause and effect of karma.

Whether that payoff is something negative or positive is up to you. Or, to be more precise, up to the intent of your actions (that's a very Buddhist thing to say).

So go out there and make good karma by doing something positive!

That way I can wallow in negativity and bitterness over the crappy day I just had and know that some kind of payoff in goodness is happening somewhere.

Which will make my day a little less bitter and crappy.

See? That's karma in action.

   

*But wouldn't it be cool if your dishwasher could play CDs? Music while you wash your soup bowls!

Tags:
Categories: DaveLife 2013Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. Dude!! Can I get my stove to play CD’s?!? (Don’t have a dishwasher!)

  2. Pay my mother, essentially, $25,500 per year in mortgage payments, water bill, etc, and get treated like shit!

    IT’S KARMA! Or not. I still don’t get it. AND WHY CAN’T THERE BE A BUDDHIST GOD OF MATH?!?!? I would worship the shit out of that deity.

    • Dave2 says:

      Like I said… the payoff for good deeds isn’t always immediate, nor is it necessarily for you. In Buddhist thinking, it’s enough to know that it’s out there.

      But, in this case, it would seem that your good karma is knowing that you did your best to take care of your mother despite it all. In my mind, that’s a pretty big spiritual payday. Perhaps if you look at it NOT as doing something kind for your mother that didn’t pay off… but instead doing something kind for yourself (knowing that you did everything you could when you KNEW you’d get no kindness in return) and it did pay off… then you’d see things differently. You’re a good person. These are the kinds of things good people do. The reward is knowing it. And, deep down, your mother knows it too.

  3. martymankins says:

    One of the best descriptions/definitions of how karma works. I admit to doing the simple acts, and something wondering why I don’t always get them in return. That one is called patience.

  4. Bo says:

    Nicely explained, Dave. I like that you distinguished between principle and concept. Well done.

    And what the hell are CDs?

Add a Comment

Blankatar!

   
I love comments! However, all comments are moderated, and won't appear until approved. Are you an abusive troll with nothing to contribute? Don't bother. Selling something? Don't bother. Spam linking? Don't bother.
PLEASE NOTE: My comment-spam protection requires JavaScript... if you have it turned off or are using a mobile device without JavaScript, commenting won't work. Sorry.




   


   


   
   
   
Your personal information is optional. Email addresses are never shown, and are only used by me if a public reply would be too personal or inappropriate here. The URL link to your web site or blog will be provided, so only fill this in if you want people to visit!



   

  Home  

spacer
Welcome:
Blogography is a place to learn and grow by exposing yourself to the mind of David Simmer II, a brilliant commentator on world events and popular culture (or so he claims).
Dave FAQ:
Frequently Asked Questions
Dave Flickr Gallery:
Dave Contact:
dave@blogography.com
Blogography Webfeeds:
Entries Feed
Comments Feed
Dave Social:
Blogography Tumblr
Blogography Instagram
Blogography on Pinterest
translate me
lost & found
Search Blogography:
thrice fiction
Thrice Fiction Magazine - March, 2011 - THE END
I'm co-founder of Thrice Fiction magazine. Come check us out!
free iphone app
Ask Dave iPhone App
Put Dave in your pocket with this FREE app for iPhone and iPod Touch. All life's answers await you with the Ask Dave app!
hard rock moment
Visit DaveCafe for my Hard Rock Cafe travel journal!
travel picto-gram
Visit my travel map to see where I have been in this world!
badgemania
Blogography Badge
Atom Syndicate Badge
Comments Syndicate Badge
Apple Safari Badge
Pirate's Booty Badge
Macintosh Badge
license
All content copyright ©2003-2017
by David Simmer II
   
Creative Commons License
This weblog is licensed under
a Creative Commons License.
ssl security
Comodo SSL