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The Role of Karma in The Mind and Actions

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At the beginning of the semester we were told to pick a specific topic to write our final paper on, the topic I chose was “What roles does Karma play in Buddhism? Who does it affect and how does it affect them in this life, the after life, and the next life?” I wanted to start this essay by defining what Karma is. Humphreys states that, “The word Karma, or in its neuter form, Karman (in Pali, Kamma), is a Sanskrit word from the root kri, meaning to do or to make. Karma is therefor doing or making. In the Buddhist tradition, Karma was referred to the actions that were driven by the intentions which lead to future consequences. These intentions are considered to be the determine factor in the kind of rebirth in samsara and the cycle of rebirth.

Karma plays a major role in the mind and actions. Dr Sandvig stated in his lecture that, “you can have mental karma by just thinking about it, not just what you are but also your thoughts”. What this means is that if someone either thinks or speaks with an evil thought that the pain that’s about to occur will follow them. If someone speaks or thinks with pure positive thoughts then happiness will follow them. Actions are another main thing that plays a role in Karma. In this semester we talked about two types of actions that go with accidental actions and intentional actions. Accidental actions does not result in karma, these are just nominal actions that really don’t have an impact with the level of karma you have to have to have a willful intent to do something beneficial or unbeneficial in the world. Intentional actions condition life in the future and ultimately rebirth, what you consciously put out there in the world good or bad has consequences as it unfolds not only in your life but the next life as well. Two more terms that we discussed over the period of this semeter is Wholesome and Unwholesome acts. Wholesome acts are actions that support positive conditions of the mind and body for the person and by the people that are affected by these actions. Both accidental and intentional actions helps unfold not only in people’s life but also in their next life time as well which is called rebirth. Intentional action conditions the life in the future and ultimately in rebirth. Good or bad rebirths aren’t simple rewards or punishments. These are just resulting effects of ones conscious character which is molded by the lives of good or bad actions that reflects on how one chooses to act and live.

Karma and rebirth should not be seen as a reward or a punishment system because actions are just actions. Buddhism believes that whatever you put out there in the world is what you will get back. 

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