What does Buddhism say about karma?

In Buddhism, karma comes from Sanskrit: “action, work”) drives saṃsāra – the infinite pattern of agony and rebirth for every being. Good, skilfull deeds (Pāli: kusala) and evil, unskilful deeds (Pāli: akusala) produce “seeds” in the unconscious receptacle (ālaya) that mature later either in this life or perhaps in a subsequent rebirth. The presence of karma is a core belief in Buddhism, as with every significant Indian religion, it suggests neither fatalism nor that precisely what occurs to a person is caused by karma.

A central element of the Buddhist theory of karma is that intent (cetanā) matters, and it is essential to bring about a consequence or phala “fruit” or vipāka “result.” However, good or bad karma accumulates no matter if there is no physical action, and merely having evil or good thoughts produces karmic seeds; thus, activities of body, speech or mind all lead to karmic seeds. When looking at the Buddhist traditions, life aspects affected by the law of karma in the past and current births of a being through them as a type of rebirth, the world of rebirth, social class, character and leading circumstances of a lifetime. It functions just like the laws of physics, without external intervention, on every being in every six realms of existence, and this includes human beings and gods.

A notable aspect of the karma theory in Buddhism is merit transfer. A person accumulates merit not only through intentions and decent living but also, can gain merit from others by exchanging products or services, such for example through dāna (charity to monks or nuns). Further, a person can transfer a person’s good karma to living nearest and dearest and ancestors.

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