Let's say I decide to go out and shoot someone. What would be the repercussions? Is there some cosmic chalkboard that tallies up my merits and demerits? Having killed a person, do I now owe something back to the Universe? Do I have to make amends for what I've done? These are the basic ideas behind karma. Some see it as the saying “As you sow, so shall you reap”, but that doesn't quite sum up all the implications behind karma.
The idea of sin and karma are essentially the same thing. Within both belief systems, you commit “evil” acts and then you get what you “deserve”. Eastern and Western religions are far more similar than either side would like to admit. They both enforce essentially the same behavior in order to avoid sin/bad karma. Superficially, they look quite different, but the actual impact they have on people's lives and moral systems are practically the same. When I refer to karma, I'm not just speaking about Hindu ideals, but the parallel dogmas that inhabit nearly every religion in the world.
Who determines what is good karma and what is bad karma? Is there some universal judge or set of infallible laws that determine this? That's what the religions would have us believe, yet in actuality, their systems of right and wrong are found within their “holy” books. Some ancient dusty tome contains the set of rules we're supposed to follow if we want a happy life, and afterlife. “Thou shall not kill” is generally a very good guideline to follow, but has the concept of sin/karma brought any real Peace to the world? Or is it still full of conflict and war?
There's implications behind the idea of karma that people would do well to be Consicous of. One of the major ones is judgment. For us to accrue karma, something or someone must be judging our actions as right or wrong, good or bad. There's a story of a Sage who's son breaks his leg in a farming accident. The townspeople come to the Sage and say, “Wow, isn't that bad luck?” The Sage replies, “Maybe.” Then a week later the local army comes to recruit all the young men, and only the Sage's son is skipped. Again, the townspeople come and say, “Wow, what amazing luck you have.” And the Sage simply replies, “Maybe.” The Sage understands that it's foolish to judge these events. What seems like a curse today might be a blessing tomorrow. Judging anything is just going to increase the emotional turmoil in your life.
Another implication behind sin/karma is punishment. Punishment is the brother of judgment. What would be the point of judging anything as bad if some sort of consequence didn't follow? The whole concept of good and evil would fall apart if people didn't put a system of rewards and punishments behind it. So was the Sage's son being punished when he broke his leg? Or was he being rewarded since it allowed him to skip military service?
I tell you that neither is true. The only judgments that we ever truly suffer from are self-judgments. Even if you're convicted and jailed for a crime you didn't commit, there's still no good reason to curse your fate, though it may be hard for most to see. All suffering is self-imposed and judgment is what creates suffering. It's possible to release all of your judgments, it's only a dualistic belief system inside your mind. Judgment divides experience into a heaven and a hell, one desires the “good” and avoids the “bad”. Life becomes black and white. Each action is right or wrong, and I don't think it's hard to see just how much stress and worry this puts on a person. With the illusion of karma, one believes they're constantly being judged from some outside source, and this naturally leads to constant self-judgment and judgment of others.
Now, the way I've explained karma so far isn't the way everyone sees it, nor do I think it's what the word originally meant. A dualistic society has turned karma into a system of good and evil, but in reality, karma is only attachment. There's no negative or positive attachments, that would be judgment which is an attachment in and of itself. One doesn't need to do “good” acts to generate “good” karma and escape suffering. In fact this just increases one's attachments, one's karma, and invariably leads to more suffering. To move beyond suffering one simply lets go of one's attachments. One moves beyond karma altogether and this leads to truly selfless actions. One doesn't commit good deeds because they think they're gonna get some reward or punishment down the line, ones actions are their own rewards.
Sin, karma, attachment, desire, all the same thing. All distractions for being Present. Joy is found in the Present, karma keeps one stuck in the past trying to control the future. In believing attachments are real, one ignorance the Present, where True Reality occurs. You don't transcend illusion by accruing good karma, by charitable work or by fighting sin. These things all feed into the illusion that you have some debt to pay off. When you act from this mindset you're just going to build up more and more illusion. You're already forgiven for everything you're ever done and ever will do. The Universe doesn't care if you stole a candy bar as a child, God isn't interested in revenge. There's no punishment save for you punishing yourself. If you put the cause of suffering outside of yourself, you've just robbed yourself of your ability to move beyond that suffering. And it's the exact same way with putting the source of happiness outside of yourself. People use karma as an excuse for not taking responsibility for their own lives. Suffering becomes a punishment they “deserve” and have to make amends for, instead of what it really is, a very limited way to looking at the Universe. These things are as simple or as complicated as people choose to make them.
Unconditional Love From Will, Mother & Father God