karma


karma
karmic, adj.
/kahr"meuh/, n.
1. Hinduism, Buddhism. action, seen as bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or in a reincarnation: in Hinduism one of the means of reaching Brahman. Cf. bhakti (def. 1), jnana.
2. Theosophy. the cosmic principle according to which each person is rewarded or punished in one incarnation according to that person's deeds in the previous incarnation.
3. fate; destiny.
4. the good or bad emanations felt to be generated by someone or something.
[1820-30; < Skt: nom., acc. sing. of karman act, deed]

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In Indian philosophy, the influence of an individual's past actions on his future lives or reincarnations.

It is based on the conviction that the present life is only one in a chain of lives (see samsara). The accumulated moral energy of a person's life determines his or her character, class status, and disposition in the next life. The process is automatic, and no interference by the gods is possible. In the course of a chain of lives, people can perfect themselves and reach the level of Brahma, or they can degrade themselves to the extent that they return to life as animals. The concept of karma, basic to Hinduism, was also incorporated into Buddhism and Jainism.

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Sanskrit  Karman (“act”) , Palī  kamma 

      in Indian philosophy, the influence of an individual's past actions on his future lives, or reincarnations. The doctrine of karma reflects the Hindu conviction that this life is but one in a chain of lives (saṃsāra (samsara)) and that it is determined by man's actions in a previous life. This is accepted as a law of nature, not open to further discussion. The moral energy of a particular act is preserved and fructifies automatically in the next life, where it shows up in one's class, nature, disposition, and character. The process is mechanical, and no interference by God is admitted, except by some of the later and more extreme theists. Thus the law of karma explains the inequalities that are observed among creatures.

      In the course of the chain of lives, an individual can perfect himself, until he reaches the eminence of the god Brahmā himself, or he can degrade himself in such an evil way that he is reborn as an animal. Not only do past acts influence the circumstances of the next life, they also determine one's happiness or unhappiness in the hereafter between lives, where he will spend a time in either one of the heavens or one of the hells until the fruits of his karma have been all but consumed and the remainder creates a new life for him.

       Buddhism and Jainism incorporated doctrines of karma as part of their common Indian legacy. The Buddhists interpret it strictly in terms of ethical cause and effect. In Jainism, karma is regarded not as a process but as a fine particulate substance that produces the universal chain of cause and effect and of birth and death.

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Universalium. 2010.

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