‘Karma’ is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘action.’
In his teaching on the second Noble Truth, the Buddha identified karma, along with the afflictions, as the causes of suffering. The laws of karma account for the ways that intentional actions give rise to moral consequences. Understanding the main principles that characterize the laws of karma is a first step towards working to eliminate the causes of suffering.
The idea of karma is common to all religions native to India but each religion explains it slightly differently. The Hindu understanding of karma is associated with fate, for example, while the Jain theory of karma applies to all actions, whether intentional or not. And although moral causation is taught in Judaism, Christianity and Islam, Buddhism is quite different because karma is linked to rebirth. The materials in this section present the view of karma that is specific to Buddhist thought.
The topics of Karma and Ethics naturally overlap so some related materials will be found in the Ethics section. Discussions of how karma in Buddhism sits with Western ethical theories are available in the Ethics section.
Detailed Subject Knowledge
Lesson Activities and Reflections
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