In Buddhism, we believe in karma. Personally, I believe in karma particularly as a cause-and-effect relationship and no more than that. There is nothing magical about karma; it is merely about consequences of our actions.
“As a man himself sows, so he himself reaps; no man inherits the good or evil act of another man. The fruit is of the same quality as the action.”
—A quote from Mahabharata
Some believe that karma plays a role in the cycle of rebirth/reincarnation—that good deeds in the current life shall result in being reborn in one of the ‘good’ realms, or our current life is the result of our karma in the previous life (so is the case with ‘bad’ karma). There is yet scientific proof about reincarnation, but I’m keeping an open mind.
Believing in karma means taking responsibility of our actions and not blaming anyone or anything (fate, destiny, God, etc) for bad things that happen in our life. Using the same principle, it also means that we deserve all the good things that happen to us.
To be honest, I am a bit disturbed by people who always thank God/fate/destiny for their good ‘luck’ but keep blaming themselves or other people for all the misfortune. It doesn’t work that way. What we sow is what we reap. (Or at least please be consistent about anything that both you thank and you blame.)
I have been thinking about this for quite a time, and every time I tried to minimize all superstitious things that haven’t been proven scientifically in order to get a more objective insight regarding karma. In the end, I found that most of the things people see as fate/destiny are merely consequences of our actions in the past.
Let me repeat; there is nothing magical about karma.
You get a good grade because you have been studying hard for the past semester—that’s karma. You’ve got a fit body because you’ve been working out—that’s karma. You suffer from a metabolic disease because you didn’t live a healthy lifestyle—that’s karma. Your children do bad things to you because they saw you doing it to others when they were little—that’s karma.
Karma isn’t as magical as curse and spell. For example, someone might think that he/she could reach success because he/she was destined to be. What he/she forgot to mention was that he/she had been working hard because he/she was discipline and hard-working and diligent because he/she had made it his/her habit/character because it’s what his/her parents or his/her environment (or even him/herself) had taught him/her. It’s not as simple as adding and taking money from a bank account; it takes process.
“When an inner situation is not made conscious, it appears outside as fate.”
You’re happy and at peace because you always keep a positive thoughts (ignore the Pygmalion effect)—that’s karma. You’re now success because you’ve been working so hard—that’s karma. You’re healthy because you’ve been practicing a healthy lifestyle—that’s karma.
We can even take this cause-and-effect game to a larger group of people. You have a happy family because the family members always maintain a good communication and relationship between each other—that’s karma. You have a good circle of friends because you watch who you spend your time with—that’s karma. And so on. And so on.
“Watch your thoughts, they become words;
watch your words, they become actions;
watch your actions, they become habits;
watch your habits, they become character;
watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.”
—Who actually said this?
Sometimes, it’s easier to find something/someone to blame or to put the responsibility of all the things that happen in our life; good or bad, but an easy way isn’t always the best. If we are too focused on the current circumstances (the effect) without ever looking for the cause and the sequences of every actions that we did and finding that one thing causes the other, we won’t be able to learn from past mistakes. We will not find solution or a way to be a better person, a better family, a better society, a better population.
“‘We are what we think. All that we are arises with our thoughts. With our thoughts we make the world.’ The truth of this verse is timeless: it is truth whether for the past, the present or the future.”
I agree that there are scientifically-unexplainable things people still consider as ‘miracle’, but so what? Time runs fast, so is science and technology. What we know now used to be scientifically-unexplainable things to people who lived centuries ago. What we don’t know now will possibly (or certainly?) be able to be scientifically-explained in the future.
That is what we owe to our next generation. Using logic and science, it’s our job to give light to the dark places, so that the younger generation can continue what we have already started. Do not be afraid to change—do not fear the unexplainable things and give them names and therefore prevent others to solve it or make it taboo even to discuss them. Do not limit our capability to think. Be courageous to explore. Be brave to think independently. Free the minds.