The 12 Laws Of Karma And Buddhist Philosophy

Buddhist philosophy leaves us with twelve fundamental principles to keep in mind.

Do you know the 12 laws of karma? Surely on some occasion you have heard someone say that life “is a matter of karma”, or that something good or bad has happened because of karma. The truth is that this concept so closely linked to Buddhist philosophy is closely related to the idea of ​​justice that exists through that religion. 

But it is not a model of justice that must be followed under the threat that others (people or gods) will punish us if we do not do it, but, according to the laws of karma, we must make that notion of justice part of our lives for ourselves.

Buddhism and the laws of Karma

The concept of laws of karma arises from the Buddhist philosophy, a religion that is based on a set of knowledge, habits and teachings that, through meditation and small daily gestures, allow us to build a transformation of our inner self. 

Many people argue that this philosophy makes us wiser, opens our conscience and makes us more consistent with our actions. In fact, the influence of Buddhism has had a decisive impact on great European philosophers, such as the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer, who was greatly influenced by this current of eastern thought when developing his ethics.

In search of karma

Buddhism has a particular way of understanding the existence and relationships between humans. This religion states that life is a process of constant change, a process that requires us to adapt and re-educate our mind to become stronger. This can only be achieved by being disciplined (and therefore self-controlled) and by being generous and grateful to others. In this way, we will be able to improve our mental state, achieving focus and spiritual calm.

People who practice this discipline often say that Buddhism in general and the laws of karma in particular allow them to better connect with their emotions, achieve higher levels of understanding, and be closer to happiness and well-being. Furthermore, Buddhism seeks a spiritual development based on a holistic and humanistic understanding of reality, trying to make us be careful with the way we relate to other human beings. The laws of karma are a way of expressing this philosophy of life, in which harmony between oneself and others is sought, in a series of concrete points communicable verbally.

What are the laws of karma and what do they explain to us about life?

First, let’s start by defining the concept of ‘Karma’. It is a term of dharmic origin and comes from the root kri , which means ‘to do’. Therefore, karma is a concept closely related to action, to doing. Karma is an energy that transcends us, and that is the direct effect of the actions of each individual.

There are twelve laws of karma that explain exactly how this transcendental energy works. These laws allow us to know the ultimate meaning of our existence, through the teachings and advice of Buddhist philosophy.

It should be noted that Buddhism is not a typical religion, from a Western point of view. Buddhism is a non-theistic religion , since there is no omnipotent and creator god. In Buddhism, laws come from nature, and the freedom of each human being is trusted to adhere to the advice of this philosophy, or not. In short, to act well or not so well is an individual decision and, based on these decisions that we make every day, we are equally responsible for the consequences and effects that we have carved out for ourselves.

The 12 laws of karma and their explanation

But what are these essential laws of karma that Buddhist philosophy proposes? And more importantly: how can we apply them to our lives to be a little bit happier and live a life full of love and respect for others?

We explain it to you in the following lines.

1. The essential law

Such you do, such you receive. It is the law of laws when we speak of karma. We collect what we have been sowing during our lives. This is clearly related to the principle of cause and effect: everything you do has its return. Above all, the negative things we do will be returned to us multiplied by 10.

2. Law of generativity

The mission of every human being is to be a participant in life, and that implies creation. We are an inseparable part of the world and the universe, and with them we form the same thing. Ours is the responsibility to take the good that we find in the place of the world that we inhabit, to build our own life.

3. Law of humility

Everything that we deny ends up negatively influencing us. If we only see the bad side of things and other people, we will be giving up humility, that virtue that makes us grow morally and intellectually.

4. Law of responsibility

We must accept responsibility for the things that happen to us. If bad things happen to us very often, we may be doing something wrong ourselves. This is one of the laws of karma that focuses on the direct consequences of everything we do, which can be good or bad. Every act carries its consequences, let us learn to assume them and face them.

5. Law of connection

Everything is connected. Every act, no matter how inconsequential it may seem, is connected to many other elements of the universe. As they say, the flapping of a butterfly can start a tsunami. The reality is complex and absolutely all our actions have their echo in the future.

6. Development law

We are in constant change, in a permanent flow. Whatever we do in our life, we must be aware that we are sovereign of our destiny, and for this we must evolve spiritually. If we are able to improve our mind, everything around us will also change … for the better.

7. Law of targeting

We are learning things little by little, in a sustained way. We are not able to access high levels of wisdom without having previously been in intermediate stages. We must pursue certain goals in our life, and gradually advance towards them. Effort almost always pays off.

8. Law of generosity

It is vital that we act generously and kindly to other human beings. Living in a state of mind of respect and compassion for others makes us more connected with our condition as beings that inhabit the same planet.

And it is that the laws of karma are not independent of our way of relating to others, since our actions have consequences on others, and also has an effect on our identity.

9. Law of the present

Living thinking about the past, about what could have been and what was not, is a perfect way to disrupt our present and our future. Everything that anchors us to the past must be reviewed : we must renew ourselves in order to move on and find what makes us happy.

Thus, this law of karma emphasizes not creating artificial problems by uncontrollably feeding concerns based on what took place in the past and what could happen in the future.

10. Law of change

Misfortune tends to repeat itself until we find the courage and the means to change our lives. This is achieved based on the knowledge and experiences acquired, from which we learn and improve. With them we must be able to correct our course and build new objectives.

11. Law of patience

The fruits that we collect after hard work taste better. The more dedicated we are to the tasks that occupy us, the greater the happiness will be when collecting the reward. We must manage to make patience a fundamental value in our life.

12. Law of inspiration

The more effort, energy and courage we put into our daily lives, the greater the merit of our successes. eye! You can even learn from mistakes, as we have seen in previous laws. Karma recognizes that we are individuals with the ability to create and evolve, even under circumstances that are not entirely favorable. At some point the fruits will come, and we will have traveled a path of effort and courage, in accordance with the laws of karma.

Bibliographic references:

  • Dasti, M. & Bryant, E. (2013). Free Will, Agency, and Selfhood in Indian Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Jaini, P. & Doniger, W. (1980). Karma and rebirth in classical indian traditions. Los Angeles: University of California Press.
  • Krishan, Y. (1988). The vedic origins of the doctrine of karma. South Asian Studies, 4 (1): pp. 51 – 55.
  • Lochtefeld, L. (2002). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Hinduism, Volume 2. New York: Rosen Publishing.
  • Reichenbach, BR (1988). The Law of Karma and the Principle of Causation, Philosophy East and West, 38 (4): pp. 399-410.
  • Sharma, U. (1973). Theodicy and the doctrine of karma. Man, 8 (3): pp. 347-364.

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