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The doctrine of Karma is a spiritual doctrine based on the theory of cause and effect. Although Karma does not exactly fit the definition of supernatural phenomenon it is a spiritual doctrine based on the philosophy that God is not responsible for the happiness or failure of an individual, rather, we as individuals are solely responsible for the consequences of our own behavior. The concept of Karma has two major interpretations; the most common approaches are to the idea of reincarnation, particularly in the West where the idea has almost no existence. In the East, people believe in reincarnation and hold a fatalistic idea of Karma. I favor neither westerner nor easterner extremist approaches to Karma Doctrine. I on the other hand favor only the basic concept of the Karma, since it has gradually inspired me to become a better person. It has motivated me to neglect the satisfaction of my enlarging ego and instead it has encouraged me to take responsibility for my actions; hoping that with this attitude, I might one day achieve peace of body and mind.
The West shows almost no interest in the law of Karma. This is due to its strong links to reincarnation. Most westerners refuse to believe in the transmigration of souls. Believing that you could be a human being in one life and an animal in the succeeding life, is a basic idea of reincarnation that some of us refuse to accept. For example, the act of swatting a fly could be perceived as killing a person, perhaps your mother in a past life. I myself have a hard time believing in such occurrence. If in fact westerners show interest in reincarnation, it is only with a skeptical curiosity of knowing who they were in previous lives. In the west, no serious research is done on the subject. As stated in the short story The Politics of Being Mortal, "…the arrogance of Western science seeking to master rather to work with nature."(Making Contact, pg. 618). Western society refuses to attempt a true understanding of the spiritual and mystical forces in the soul and in nature. The influence of Christianity in the Western Hemisphere has left us with the belief that God chooses to punish or reward your actions in life and perhaps in heaven or hell. "Christianity which holds the soul works out its rewards or punishments in a single lifetime. The closest mentioning of Karma is in the biblical scripture: \'…for whatever a man sowest, that shall he reap.\' (Gal. 6:7)" www.sconline.com.
The non-religious western believe that we are in full control of our own destiny, which we are to some extent, but that there is no greater law governing our life is not, in my opinion, entirely true. Good and bad Karma must not be regarded as a reward or punishment, but just simply as a consequence of your actions.
The East is a devoted believer in reincarnation and consequently in the Law of Karma. In the east as well as in the west, Karma is viewed with extreme viewpoints. They believe that their status in this life is a consequence of their actions in a previous life. Drastically differing from the west, easterners humbly accept their destiny and believe it cannot be changed. Unlike westerners, fatalistic eastern people are not really curious to find out what they were in the past life. The eastern society believes that the reason for having an unhappy and miserable life is due to The Law of Karma. That is, they have no doubt that they deserve the misery they are in now because of the terrible person they once were in their preceding existence. It is within their beliefs that if they accept their punishment calmly and try to be good in this lifetime that they will be rewarded with higher status next time around. In my opinion, the acceptance of the Law of Karma on that basis is too extreme and even pathetic.
The Orient\'s extremist viewpoint of Karma is clearly reflected in their failure of democracy and social happiness. Both the western and eastern perspective on the principle of Karma is too extreme. The western society is too unconcerned in respect to reincarnation. Westerners also approach the doctrine of Karma in a cynic
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Reincarnation, Shabda, Spirituality, Indian philosophy, Karma, Soul, Sin, Karma in Jainism, Types of Karma
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