This article is about The 12 Laws of Karma – Karma is a word often used in modern language but has origins in ancient times way before Eastern religions began to emerge.
It can be difficult to explain and understand, simply because the concept holds a major role in many different religions that are being practiced today.
Karma, the word, is also being used to evoke punishment, as used often in phrases as, “Keep calm and let karma do its thing,” or “Karma’s a b***h.” In contrary to such misconceptions, karma can be both good and bad.
So what is it really and why is the word often mistakenly used? Let’s take a deeper look into concept of karma.
What is Karma?
Karma is a Sanskrit word that denotes “action” or deed.
It is a concept used in many religions such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism, and Jainism.
Despite the concept being a major part of these beliefs, its central meaning remains the same among all religions.
Karma is the concept that follows cause and effect. The law of karma states that for every action, there is a corresponding effect. The concept does not start and end with action or behaviour alone, but includes thoughts and motives.
In line with these religions’ beliefs of reincarnation, karma is said to govern our future selves in the process of rebirth.
If you do good deeds in this life, your next life will have positive consequences. If you do bad deeds in this life, your next life will have negative consequences.
Karma is the effect of your actions. Since actions can either be good or bad, then karma can also be both things.
How Does Karma Work?
The concept is very simple: Do good deeds and you will be rewarded with good karma. Do bad deeds and you get bad karma. So when do you receive the karma? It may be immediately, a week after, a year, or even a thousand years after you executed the deed.
As you sow, so shall you reap, and As a man sows, so shall he reap. Prov.
Karma is a continuous process and involves the past, present, and future. Your thoughts and behavior in your past lives have an effect on your present life, and your present deeds have an effect on your future life. Behaviors, personalities, temperaments, wealth, success, and status in life are all effects of your past life.
Karma explains why bad things happen to good people. The person may have a good moral character in the present and suffer from unfortunate events, not due to his or her present actions, but because of actions that were done in a previous life.
When someone suffers from bad karma, it doesn’t mean that that’s already his fate. In Hinduism, bad karma can be offset by doing good deeds; while in Buddhism, bad karma can be offset by following certain rituals and ceremonies.
Incidentally, when someone has good karma due to good deeds in the past, it doesn’t mean he or she will have good karma all his or her life even though they practice bad deeds. Karma can be offset by present behavior.
What is the Difference Between Good and Bad Karma?
As mentioned, there are both good and bad karma. Karma is the result of an action, and therefore corresponds to both sides of the coin.
When you behave in such a way that is beneficial to your surroundings and the people around you without expecting anything in return, then you will receive good karma. Actions are not the only factors that determine whether a deed is good or bad, motives and intentions are also part of the recipe.
Take a look at this example: A man donates a good amount of money to a politician to help with his campaign in an upcoming election with the motive of expecting a huge favor once the politician is elected. Or, helping an old woman cross the street and asking her for money after. You helped, yes, but your motives were not pure.
Good deeds must accompany good intentions so you can receive good karma. However, if you perform a bad deed with good intentions, your karma will still be bad since your actions were negative.
An example would be stealing money from your employer so you can help your sister pay for her medical expenses. Your motives are good and pure, but the act is not.
Every action has an equal and opposite reaction – Karma
What is the Difference between Karma in Hinduism and Karma in Buddhism?
Both religions believe in the cycle of cause and effect of karma. Both believe that afflictions and success in this life are caused by past actions. Hinduism and Buddhism also believe that karma is a determining factor of reincarnation.
However, there is a major difference in how to transform bad karma between the two.
- In Hinduism, bad karma can be changed by doing beneficial actions, such as helping friends or family members simply for the pure intention of making their lives easier.
- In Buddhism, bad karma can be transformed when you detach yourself from the world.
Practitioners believe that sorrow is caused by attachment to things and people, and causes bad karma. It is only when you detach yourself that you receive happiness, and thus, enjoy a life free of sorrow in your next life.
The 12 Laws of Karma
There are 12 basic laws that govern karma and how to attract good karma into your life. These laws are as follows:
1. The Law of Cause and Effect
Always remember that for every action that you do, there is an equal reaction that will come back to you.
2. The Law of Creation
Life will not give you success or wealth by itself. Even though you may have been a good person in your past life, you will still have to participate in the present life to enjoy good karma. In short, you’ll still have to practice good karma.
3. The Law of Humility
One cannot change what one does not accept. You have to accept your flaws and weaknesses in order to overcome them.
4. The Law of Growth
The change will always start with you. If you want to change your bad karma, then you’d have to start changing.
5. The Law of Responsibility
You will have to take responsibility of your actions in order to change, move forward, and finally receive good karma.
6. The Law of Connection
Karma involves the past, present, and future. It is eternally connected until you reach pure good karma in your life. Therefore, good deeds and intentions do not end – it has to be a lifetime habit. All of your actions will always have a consequence.
7. The Law of Focus
One cannot receive good karma when your focus is on both good and bad deeds. You must focus on your moral values to prevent lower thoughts such as sadness and anger from occurring.
8. The Law of Giving and Hospitality
Whenever you practice good deeds, your intentions must always be pure and good and never expect anything in return.
9. The Law of Here and Now
One must get rid of unhealthy old thoughts, patterns, and behaviors to live your good karma in the present.
10. The Law of Patience and Reward
There is no deadline to karma. One must be patient and confident that it will come. This prevents us from harboring anger and grudges because you trust that good karma will come to you. It may not be tomorrow, next year, or in this lifetime, but it will come.
11. The Law of Change
In order to receive good karma, one must let go of past hurts and learn the lessons needed to be learned or else history will only repeat itself.
12. The Law of Gratitude
Gratitude will help to bring more good karma into your life. No matter how small, you should be grateful for every positive thing in your life.
There are many misconceptions about karma, how it works, and how to actually use it. Understanding is key so you may be able to live your life attracting good karma in your present and future.