Karma: Is it worth it?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Area' started by Karate_Man_1288, Dec 21, 2004.

  1. Karate_Man_1288

    Karate_Man_1288 New Member

    I just want to know some opinions on this subject.

    Is karma worth it? Does it even exist? Do you believe in it? To me, no, yes, and losing faith. Ever since I was around 12, I realized that if I did good things, nothing really went wrong. If I did my chores, I wouldn't get hasseled. If I got good grades, I was rewarded. If I treated people nicely, the gesture would be returned.

    But lately, I'm starting to say Screw it, it's not worth it. Let me tell you why: In school, I get good grades, I help people with their work, and I have many friends. Outside that, I help the community. I am sponsoring someone to become Catholic, I'm in the Youth Group, which helps out the less fortunate.
    And yet, other than my good health, many things go wrong. I get yelled at by my parents for the stupidest things, mainly because they are venting at us from their constant fighting. People at school are WAY to critical of the other students, and the list goes on and on. I know I have a pesimistic view of things, but is it really that hard not to? Look at the world today. Crime, murder, terrorists, reality shows, Howard Dean. All of these things plague us in today's world.

    I've returned money people drop, help other students when they drop their books in school, nice to everyone (well mosty everyone). my theory: dont be mean unless they give you a reason.

    Why do good things happen to bad people, and bad things happen to good people? That's why gold sinks, and crap floats.

    I got off track alittle, but back to my point: Is it worth it? I look forward to everyone's response.
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  2. Capt Ann

    Capt Ann Valued Member

    Does Karma exist? No, and I think the examples you list show why.

    I think you're really asking several questions, the first of which is: "Do bad things happen to good people?" Just look around you. Children go hungry at night. Some people are murdered. 'A' students get killed by drunk drivers. 'Smart' bombs still can't tell the difference between wood and stone, or flesh and bone. So, the answer to that first question is, yes, people often (not sometimes, but often) suffer through no fault of their own.

    The second question I think you're asking is: "Then what benefit is it to do what is right?" Part of the answer to that question is actually hidden inside the first question. You saw, correctly, that you often suffer from no action of your own, because of the choices and actions of those around you. Now stop and think......do you realize how often you benefit and are blessed from no action of your own, because of the choices and actions of those around you? Someone sacrificed for years to go to medical school and research to develop medicines that you take for granted. Your parents don't 'owe' you anything, yet you have food, love, clothing, and a place to stay. You benefit from the actions of firemen, policemen, the stranger that held the door open, the waitress that brought your food, and the guy who let you merge into his lane in crowded traffic.

    So, yes, you might suffer through no fault of your own, due to the actions of others, and yes, you might benefit through no merit of your own, due to the actions of others. But guess what.....that total stranger sitting next to you in class might suffer through your actions, or might be blessed through your actions, through no fault/merit of his own. Your choices affect others. You have it in your power to make life better for someone else, or help make life a living hell [/i]for someone else[/i].

    So, your actions will affect others. The choice is yours....will your actions affect others for better or worse?

    Is it worth it do to what's right? You betcha!! It makes all the difference in the world to that other person. Is it of benefit to you personally? Yes, because it determines your character: who you really are when no one will 'catch' you doing something wrong, or praise you for doing what is right. It is worth it, as long as you choose to be the kind of person willing to put others' well-being ahead of your own.
  3. Jeff

    Jeff New Member

    I'm not entirely sure what you mean by is it worth it, but I do believe in karma to some extent: as in, the stereotypical...if i'm nice to everyone, then in turn their spirits are lifted and will be nice back...
    I on't really like to look at it like that, I think of it in a biger picture...If everyone is going out of their way to not backstab people and slag people down then sure...everyone will be in better spirits. I think that that's another lame way to look at karma.

    I guess, karma is like a luck that you have some controll over. luck is good things and opportunities just coming your way. If you respect people and you are in turn respected...then people will go out of their way to help you out.

    I can't really explain karma for what I see it as...I don't try and think that I'll have to go out and do something nice for someone so my karma will get beter,because that's then being selfish in that you are only being nice for your karma. I tend not to think about it and just do things that aren't asked of me on impulse without thinking of my good karma points...lol :D

    this is hard. Believing in karma is a personal thing, it's like me and superstitions, I just dismiss them as old wifees tales, whereas some people would have to go and do allsorts of things to not get bad luck, because they genuinely believe that not doing it/ or doing it ill effect them!

    Karma is almost like a ruling thing, *do good or else your bad karma will gat you* Almost the same idea as most religions= *do good or youll go to our hell* So if karma is promoting good things...then I'd say it was worth it! like most religions, it keeps you aware that you should try and be nice to everyone...

    sorry for the long winded answer ok? and please! these are my own personal opinions, noone take anything i've just said and take offence to it! I'm hoping our two posts helped you out karate man! have fun, peace out!
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2004
  4. HearWa

    HearWa Ow, that hurt...

    Karma/retribution is one of those things religious people use to keep themselves motivated. Some are born naturally pious so they fit into the religious scene rather well. Unfortunately they have failed to understand that we all inherently have different "shapes," so we don't all fit into one box. We all have our places in life and religious feelings are no more rewarding than what we as martial artists are experiencing right now. Never let yourself feel guilty under the dogma of religious zealots. Just follow the Way. This Way is your Way.

    It is apparent you're suffering from the dogma right now.

    As for my belief in karmma, well, it's really irrelevent. Belief should never impose on the truth, and I BELIEVE :)() that religion seems logical because of what I call the mysterious four: birth, death, karma and an afterlife. Now, none of these can be proved but I'm certain every religion out there has a very elaborate story for these. But can we really know the truth behind these? I'll leave this answer up to the individual.

    I myself am partial to the belief that we are just a process running in the computer we call the universe (more of a pantheist/taoist belief). Change is the only constant. Do "we" have a web of karma following us? Who really knows?

  5. Humblebee

    Humblebee PaciFIST's evil twin

    The word Karma translated into english means action/to take action.It is another term for cause and effect which has been proven scientifically to be a real thing.So whether you believe in Karma or not when you make a cause
    it will create an effect.
    For eg if our parents are shouting at us that is they're karma/cause, the effect is that we suffer from it,however we can transform our karma for eg our parents are shouting at us that is they're karma/cause, but instead of us suffering from the effect of the shouting we can make our own cause and decide to not be affected by someone else's shouting and remain happy regardless of what someone else may be doing thus creating a ripple effect which will not only make you stronger and happier but will also have a positive effect on others around you.Dont be a victim become an inspiration.
  6. reikislapper

    reikislapper see you on the flypaper

    I have no idea you tell me :D

    Maybe that's where I'm going wrong I keep reverting back to when I was religious as I keep looking at karma from a religious point of view instead of being free , I'll have to think about that one lol.
    lisa xx
  7. HearWa

    HearWa Ow, that hurt...

    fallentao, I'm in no way wiser than anybody else... heck, I'm ninenteen. But in four years of changing religions I've decided to stop. In the end they all seemed the same. They all described the mysterious four as a base (you can either believe in these or not since they can't be proved or dis-proved) and from that point applied the logic using the previous statements on the mysterious four. Now, if you weren't thinking it'd all make perfect sense but if you dig in deep the truth stares you in the face.

    Possible exceptions to this would be some forms of Buddhism and Taoism. All in all I believe meditation, being the ultimate mind-hack, is the key to attaining happiness in this life. Furthermore I believe that's all that matters (seeking happiness in this life).

    Prayer is a way to cultivate positive aspiratation and skillful thoughts.

    Personally I'm more of a Taoist than a Buddhist right now. It has been said that they were made for two different kinds of people. I guess I'm just the second kind. :)
  8. TkdWarrior

    TkdWarrior Valued Member

    Karma is sanskrit word. pacifist got it quite right... I take this meaning and thus believe it's worth it..

    concept of karma is simple... you get what you put .... if you are putting good action you'll get good results...

  9. Tatsumaru

    Tatsumaru Your new God!

    i agree with what Capt Ann posted, you're not superman and you can't solve everyone's problems but anything you do makes a difference to someone.
  10. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    Presuming were dealing with the Buddhist conception of karma the list doesn't actually apply. Taking a Theravadin approach, Karma is a non personal force that effects everything and in particular leads to what and where you shall be reincarnated and what actions will befall you in that life. This impersonality means that people who are very good in this life or totally innocent can still suffer from the effects of bad karma accumulated in previous lives. This isn't a case of 'blaming the victim' either as in Buddhist countries although a persons suffering is regarded to have been a result of bad Karma they are not held to be personally responsible nor are they looked down upon (in fact they are more often pitied). Theravadin Buddhists also believe that you cannot effect your present Karma (which is a rather hard doctrine to accept) but only your future Karma therefore doing meritous acts will not lead to any direct benefits to you in this life but only in your next reincarnation and how much of 'you' exists in your next reincarnation is debatable.

    So my point is that although people do suffer and though it is no fault of their own actions this does not necessarily contradict the law of Karma as defined in Theravadin Buddhism. Im not so certain if the Mahayana approach is the same but I think when you come down to it, it will still involve a non-personal Karmic force... and non-personal means that you will always receive retribution for any past acts performed by any previous incarnations in your cycle of existence, it doesn't seem fair but then the world doesn't seem fair does it? And you have to remember in Buddhist terms they are viewing your existence not as one lifetime but as an endless cycle of births and deaths so even though a good person may die because of their previous bad karma they will still have worked off some of their karmic debt for the next life and thus their next incarantion will receive a better rebirth. Its a very impersonal doctrine but that doesn't mean that it is wrong.
    Last edited: Dec 24, 2004
  11. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Nice post Capt Ann!

    I think that's the crux of it. I don't think karma was ever intended to be like a bank account. You don't invest good deeds to accrue good luck later. There's a bigger picture. That bigger picture could be used to either dissuade a person from committing bad acts (you're benefitting from the good deeds of others, just as you're hampered by their bad deeds) or alleviate them of responsibility (if I'm going to be affected, both positively and negatively, by others' deeds anyway, why bother?). In the end, you do what's right because you believe it's right and that right action is its own reward.

  12. jroe52

    jroe52 Valued Member

    well if you take a class on hindu or buddhist philosophy you might learn more about karma, or pick up a book...

    anyways karma isn't this life time, its all your lifetimes.

    if you murder someone in your last lifetime and you die in your sleep at 95 and had a happy life after.... well you would be happy that karma didn't get you. however in your next life, or 500 lives from now it could.

    The same goes with good karma, if you do good deeds in this lifetime you will either not be creating bad karma (which is a good thing) or helping create yourself a better future for this lifetime and the next. it kind of creates merit points.. but don't do good things for good karma, do them for no reward.

    lastly their is non-karma <oops> that happens. it just does, we can't be responsible for everything htat happens to us. when something bad happens that doesn't mean your evil, maybe you were in your last lifetime or maybe it is badluck.

    hopefully this makes some sense... but think of karma as a credit card debt that goes with you into the next lifetime. also think of it as a lucky charm that goes with you too. karma has both the positive and negative (like yin/yang) so you will reap what you sow wiether good or for evil.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2005
  13. AZeitung

    AZeitung The power of Grayskull

    Wait, you're Catholic, and you believe in Karma? Hm. . .
  14. Capricorn

    Capricorn New Member

    I beleive in Karma, but I am not nice to people and do what I beleive is 'right' because im worried about what happens in the 'afterlife' or through reincarnation or whatever happens to your spirit when you die.

    Rather I am nice to people and do the right thing, because its makes me feel far more peacefull.

    In the past I have let resentment build up in me, ive been petty and constantly thought about ways to ge 'revenge' on people who have (or maybe just to my perception) offended/anoyed/abused my trust, in some cases what ive done has been fully justified

    such as switching off the domain of a person who decided to go to another designer without bothering to tell me - which meant I had spent several weeks continuing to work onl to see a different website (incorporating all most all my ideas) on the home page!

    But it didnt make me feel the least bit better, I felt bad for taking revenge on somebody, even though they had cost me time and money (I had other clients waiting) I simply felt bitter and anxcious all the time.

    It was that exsperience in particular that made me want to change, and I started to become a far more spiritual person.

    But that doesnt mean I let people walk all over me, if I do somthing for somone and they do somthing bad in return, I will simply never deal with them again, I wont be nasty, I wont even harbour nasty thoughts about them I simply erase them from my mind.

    But im rambling!, getting back to karma, I have found most of the time, people who have abused my trust (and other peoples) and in general are bad people, are not very happy people, they dont have many friends, and they dont get on very well in life, maybe in thier younger years they are popular for being a 'bad ass' or a bully, but in later life they are faliors, I was bullied in school and have seen a few of the people who did it, and almost all of them are failiors and do not look happy at all.

    Of course there will be exceptions, people who are nasty, and yet still become weathy, they seem to have alot of friends (who I doubt very much would be around if they where poor!) but you can also tell these people arnt happy in life, they are bitter, often obnoxcious (which the hanger onners laugh raciously at, and then talk about them in disgust afterwards) and although they may seem to have it all, its just an illusion.

    So yes I beleive in karma, I think what comes around goes around, it may not happen right away (like the people who bullied me in school for instance) but from my exsperiences in life, ive found people usually get thier 'just deserts'.

    As for me, I dont 'do' anything to people anymore if they abuse me, even if its justified, and im a far happier more peacefull person because of it, and nobody can take that away from me :)
  15. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Who? Me or the original poster?
  16. CKava

    CKava Just one more thing... Supporter

    I think he is making a general statement.

    Just to be cheeky though...

    jroe52: "lastly their is non-karma"

    In Buddhist and later Vedic philosphy there is no such thing as non-karma. Every action is a result of karma, the only thing outside of karma is nirvana and nirvana is nothing to do with events in this world. So it is wrong from a Buddhist POV to say that that act was caused by non-karma such a thing is impossible as karma is the underlying force behind every single action and consequence. When one exhausts one's karma then one leaves samsara and enters nirvana...
  17. ap Oweyn

    ap Oweyn Ret. Supporter

    Okay, if we're going to get all Hindu and wotnot... :)

    The Bhagavad Gita talks about non-attachment to the outcomes of our actions. So when the original poster questions the point of doing good deeds because there's no guarantee of good coming back around to you, the Gita would suggest that you shouldn't be performing action with a mind to the outcome anyway. You perform the action because it's a function of your role in society to perform that action. You don't do good deeds because you wish good deeds to be done for you. You do them because, as a responsible member of society, that's your duty. Your dharma.

    I know that Hindu dharma is a little more regimented than that, what with the strict caste system and wotnot. But really, if you're free to choose your own dharma, I'd hope that you'd choose the "contributing member of society" dharma rather than the "what's in it for me?" dharma.

    Confucius' Analects also mention that a gentleman should perform acts without attachment to the accolades he might receive for doing so. He does them simply because that's what gentlemen do.

  18. Humblebee

    Humblebee PaciFIST's evil twin

    lastly their is non-karma <oops> that happens. it just does, we can't be responsible for everything htat happens to us. when something bad happens that doesn't mean your evil, maybe you were in your last lifetime or maybe it is badluck.

    Karma is every thought,word or action we take,the only way non karma would exist is if we didn't think,speak or do anything.
    Also we are very much responsible for everything that happens to us even if we cant fathom it.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 14, 2005
  19. aikiwolfie

    aikiwolfie ... Supporter

    I think this is really just a simple case of someone waking up to the world and realising it's not all good. Over all I think if you are a good person and help people out where you can without expecting favours in return then things will work out nicely for you.

    Sometimes life doesn't repay you with kindness right away. You don't live in a shoe box. Like many other people here have already said. The actions of other people will effect your life as much as your actions effect there lives.

    The real question at the end of the day is what sort of person do you want to be?
  20. kiaiki

    kiaiki Valued Member

    Buddhist karma, was explained to me as follows:
    What happens in this life is due to the 'ripening' of your karma from previous lives.
    What happens in the next life will depend on karma (actions) in this life.
    I've not heard of karma ripening within the span of one lifetime.
    As we do not carry the memory etc of our deeds in the last life it seems a bit harsh to reap the rewards of them, but it does help to explain why good people suffer pain and sudden death whilst bad ones may live well.

    As others have said, being compassionate and avoiding anger, attachment and ignorance should be done to make a better world for everyone, but if you believe in karma it will help you too. This is not seen as selfish for Mahayana Buddhists as this will eventually lead to their enlightenment and the ability to help others on the path to enlightenment. In a nutshell, your good karma eventually helps everyone else.

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