- Modern Term -

Karma is a term thrown around A LOT in modern society. But it is often not understood correctly what Karma even really means. And as with all great problems of the world, the source of this tragedy are millenials.

The modern millenial will use the term "Karma" just as a hip synonym for "justice" (meaning: when you do bad thing, bad thing will happen to you) even though it is way more than that.

- Buddhist Meaning -

In traditional buddhism Karma as a concept is unseperable from the concept of rebirth. Karma actually just means "action" in Sanskrit. And refers to how our actions affect the circumstances of our rebirth.

So if you personally do not believe in rebirths, Karma does not mean anything close to justice at all. The very concept is void for you.

- Further Nuance -

Karma also has some extreme anti-materialist connotations, which make the excessive use of the word in our time even more ironic. In Buddhism there are the so called "Three Poisons", one of which is attachment. For the sake of simplicity just take it they are like cardinal sins. The interaction between Karma and attachment is easiest explained with three rules.

  • Rule 1: Life is uncontrollable. Sometimes life brings you things and sometims life takes things away from you.
  • Rule 2: When life takes something from you, you can take it back by force, creating sinful energy.
  • Rule 3: When you create sinful energy, that energy will affect your rebirth.

- Disclaimer -

My interpretation may be skewed by my own anti-materialist standpoint. But this concept in some form or another is prevalent in all major Buddhist sects.