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This page is provided in the hope that it may help you. If it does not please just ignore.



This is a very brief introduction to Karma as it is understood in Tibetan Buddhism. A thorough understanding of what is meant by the term Karma is way more complex than it may at first appear and requires years of dedicated study. All errors on this page and any misconceptions caused thereof are the sole responsibility of the author who begs forgiveness for her shortcomings.


The word Karma has its origins in Sanscrit and means action or doings. In Western culture it is nowadays mostly used to describe a kind of bank account where good and evil deeds are collected.


Karma is closely related to Cause and Effect, Rebirth, Suffering and Interdependence.


Every action has a cause (or causes) and results in an effect (or several effects). The result or effect can be good, evil or neutral. If the result is good then our Karma improves. If the result is bad our Karma deteriorates. Karma heavily influences our destiny in this life as well as in coming lifes. In the long run bad Karma results in lower rebirth, good Karma helps to get a good or higher rebirth. In the short run (this life) bad Karma can manifest as obstacles.

What is Good and what is Bad?

There is a lot of relative truth in "Good" and "Bad" which makes it very hard to decide whether an action will result in good or bad Karma. As a simple guideline any action that reduces suffering will produce good Karma and any action that causes suffering will result in bad Karma. Any action that does not affect other sentient beings positively or aversely will probably be neutral. Bad Karma is caused by killing, thievery, deceit, speaking harsh words (with the intention of hurting someone), and so on. It is farily easy to tell that these actions are bad.

Things quickly become complex when we come into the real world. A simple example: Is stealing food from somebody rich (who may not even notice the thievery) and giving the food to someone poor (who may otherwise starve to death) good or bad? In our totally interdependent and often highly disconnected world it is sometimes totally impossible to tell whether the result of one of our actions will be good or bad.


Beware that actions and their results are not to be seen as mathematically linear relations. An evil deed creates a seedling. This seedling eventually meets conditions which make it germinate and grow. Eventually the result will manifest in its full form - the effect. The time elapsing between the action and the effect of that action may vary between immediate and eons (that means many, many lifetimes). In general the longer an action does not show effect makes the result grow in dimension. This means that a very small evil deed may cause enourmous negative effects later on. The same is true for good deeds which may result in very positive effects.


Another important aspect of every action is the intention with which it is committed. Intentionally killing a sentient being will create immeasurably more bad Karma than causing a death by accident. This is also true vice versa: A good action will produce a lot more good Karma if it was committed intentionally.


Ignoring the fact of Karma unfortunately does not acquit from the effects of one's actions. And now that you have read through this page there anyway is no way out anymore, obviously. You now know that your actions will have an effect and that they will influence your life and the lives of all the ones around you now and in future.