What is Karma?
We all are born with karma. The popular belief about it is that karma is negative but karma can be either negative or positive. According to the Dictionary of Buddhism, karma comprises negative or positive potentials in the inner, unconscious realm of life, created through our actions in the past or present. These potentials will manifest as results in our present or future when the conditions are right.
Karma is viewed not only as a way to explain the present. It accounts for our individual natures, our tendencies, the circumstances of our birth and explains the differences between all living beings and their environment.
Karma is not Fatalistic
The concept of karma in Nichiren Buddhism is not fatalistic. Karma is seen as a potential force through which you can influence your future.
You don’t know how deep the roots of a problem might be. Some roots are shallow and it won’t take a lot of time to surmount the problem. Others are much deeper and to overcome the problem might take weeks of months of effort.
There is no karma that is so bad that it cannot be transformed for the better through Buddhist practice. As a matter of fact, a major reason for the practice is so we can transform bad karma we have created in the past. In this way we can overcome negative aspects of our lives and become happy.
How is Karma Created?
Let’s say you do something on a repetitive basis. This includes ways of thinking, ways of speaking and physical actions. When you act, think or speak you create a potential which lies dormant in your life.
if you want to change your current life for the better, then you must make different causes in the present. Let’s say you never have enough money. But you also have the tendency to overspend on a regular basis. In order to change this tendency you will want to start by chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo with your goal, of being financially secure. Then you will get ideas of what you have to do do create the causes to have a secure financial future. Take action on these ideas and gradually your financial life will change for the better.
Some of these latent potentials wait and will form circumstances for your existence in the next lifetime, others will manifest in future lifetimes. Clearly it is to your interest to create the best possible actions in the present to ensure beneficial circumstances in future lifetimes. This is one way we can influence our future destiny. Chanting Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo is one of the best causes you can make, since you are making the cause for Buddhahood. You whole life will fall into balance and work well when you do this.
There is no judgment in this. Karma works very much like the natural law of gravity. We can behave in whatever way we wish, but there will always be a future, where we meet the karma we have created.
How Do You Change Karma?
Identify the issue
Let’s say you come up against a repetitive life cycle or circumstances which seem to occur over and over. Your theme song might be. “Why does this keep happening to me?” Examples might include:
- Unsuccessful relationships where you seem to pick the same kind of person, over and over
- A repetitive financial problem
- Inability to hold a job and being repeatedly let go
- A serious health problem
Let’s say an employee has trouble holding one job after another. Perhaps he is let go due to a bad temper. In this case the karma resides in the tendency to blow up rather than work something out.
The employer, who lets this person go, is just reflecting the consequences of that tendency.
The employee may not understand what the problem is, or feels justified in holding on to away of life which is detrimental to him. He may blame his past employers for his repetitive firings and not be aware of the real problem. Maybe he thinks he has financial issues when the underlying issue is his temper, which causes him to be fired, thus creating the financial problems.
You must acknowledge that there is some problem, which needs resolution.
You must realize that you have the power to change the situation. As long as you blame someone else, you have no power, as you cannot change someone other than yourself. Even though what needs to be changed might not seem clear right now, you have the power to transform any life issue.
Make a resolution that you are going to chant about the situation and continue chanting until the issue is resolved. Change can occur quickly in the case of a smaller issue but in the case of a major problem, it could take weeks or months.
You might chant to understand the problem or for a solution to the problem. An answer might come in the form of a realization. Or, as in our example, someone might give our employee feedback at work.
As you chant for clarification note anything which comes to you relating to your problem.
Once it’s clear what the problem is, something must change. For example, when our employee recognizes his temper is causing him to be fired, he can empower himself by taking responsibility to get a handle on it. When he learns to control his temper, the consequences become different. His employer won’t fire him. When you work with the law of cause and effect and change your life in some way, your environment will shift in response, since our life situations manifest from the inside out.
You Can Become Happy
By changing your destiny in this way, you can break through life problems and become happy.
Join the Conversation
Have you had an experience where you changed an issue that you would like to share?