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Who Or What "Does/Experiences" Karma ?

ShoshinShoshin No one in particularNowhere Special Veteran
edited May 2017 in Buddhism Basics

There has been quite a few threads on Karma (Sanskrit) or Kamma (Pali )... (Um I wonder what caused it ??? :wink: )


Some tend to take things quite personal and start to feel extremely uncomfortable with the idea that past karma has dealt their present day set of aggregates a crappy hand... (Also see Anatta) Oopss :blush:

So I just thought that it might be beneficial for members to give their personal take on Karma, ie, what it means to us...In doing so, it might give us each some food for thought...(Thus have I heard it's workings are quite complex)

On a personal note: ie, keeping things simple... I'm just a vibrating bundle of energy flux held together by karmic glue...What "I" do "NOW" is what "I" have always done... and will continue to do!

No doubt there are some members who pay karma no mind...which is fair enough...each to their own ....karma :winky: )



  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    I always say that we are a bundle of aggregates loosely tied up by the rope of kamma, @Shoshin.

    The notion of Kamma can be very uncomfortable when we strive to explain what simply lies beyond explanation and speculation.
    That is, what came before our birth or kamma pointlessly explained backwards.
    Constantly justifying that one's miseries are due to bad kamma is not only the perfect excuse for inaction in the present moment, but also to wield it as an instrument of stigmatization of our fellow beings.

    The most pragmatical application of kamma is by trying to explain it forwards, which after all, is the sense in which we should live our lives: dwelling in the present and sowing seeds for the future.
    What came before us and what lies before us after we pass away is none of our business.
    It is in the here and now that we should be aware of our volitional actions.
    Sow good deeds, reap good consequences.
    Respond, don't react.
    Be as kind as you can.
    Brace yourself for the strike of dukkha with an attitude of acceptance.

    Some kind of stream of consciousness is the thread that theoretically binds all the different aggregate combinations that we have endured in our manifold past lives, and which reincarnates every time.
    But this belongs in the realm of speculation.
    I am too busy trying to make sense of my life, and give my life a sense, in the here and now to give it a thought...

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Oh goodness, @shoshin, keep it simple.

    "Karma means you don't get away with anything, now.
    And it all counts".

    Just watch it. What you think, say and do.


  • FosdickFosdick in its eye are mirrored far off mountains Alaska, USA Veteran
    edited May 2017

    I've probably vented more gas in this forum on the subject of Karma than on any other topic, and my view is still in flux. I accept Karma as a force in this present life - my present situation vs my choices of the past illustrate it perfectly.

    To extend the idea to apply to past lives, that's what gives me the gas. It's an amusing - even compelling - notion to play with, but I have yet to discover any way in which it is really useful to me personally.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It's interesting that you should mention this @Fosdick ... I find the Tibetan concept of "Mind Stream" or "Stream of Consciousness" that some Western philosophers and psychologists adhere to, quite helpful spring boards(The intellect being just a spring board used to dive into experiential understanding)...

    Tibetan Buddhism Mind Stream for example

    "The notion of mind stream was further developed in Vajrayāna (tantric Buddhism), where "mind stream" (sems-rgyud) may be understood as a stream of succeeding moments,[20] within a lifetime, but also in-between lifetimes. The 14th Dalai Lama holds it to be a continuum of consciousness, extending over succeeding lifetimes, though without a self or soul"


    William James for example

    ""Consciousness, then, does not appear to itself chopped up in bits. Such words as 'chain' or 'train' do not describe it fitly as it presents itself in the first instance. It is nothing jointed; it flows. A 'river' or a 'stream' are the metaphors by which it is most naturally described. In talking of it hereafter let us call it the stream of thought, of consciousness, or of subjective life"


    "He was enormously skeptical about using introspection as a technique to understand the stream of consciousness. "The attempt at introspective analysis in these cases is in fact like seizing a spinning top to catch its motion, or trying to turn up the gas quickly enough to see how the darkness looks"

    In meditation observation may be had of the rising and departing of conscious states moment to moment (in slow motion so to speak) where the fluctuating aggregates come along for the ride, ie, like hangers on :) and at times might disrupt the flow.....

  • BuddhadragonBuddhadragon Carpe Diem Samsara Veteran

    In her book "William James and Yogacara philosophy," Miranda Shaw draws parallels between James's and Buddhism's description of self and consciousness.
    William James was of the belief that "the self is not a permanent entity or soul-substance, but rather an aggregate of processes including a momentary series of states of consciousness (James 'stream of consciousness' and Buddhism's 'cittasamtana')"

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