Welcome to SPN

Register and Join the most happening forum of Sikh community & intellectuals from around the world.

Sign Up Now!

Karma

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by namjiwankaur, Jan 14, 2011.

Tags:
  1. namjiwankaur

    namjiwankaur
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 14, 2010
    Messages:
    557
    Likes Received:
    431
    According to Sikhism, which actions, deeds, thoughts, etc., would be considered to have positive and negative effects on karma? What are some actions which would be rewarded and what are some actions which would weigh negatively on a person's karma.

    Jasnoor
     
  2. Loading...

    Similar Threads Forum Date
    The idea of Karma New to Sikhism Jul 22, 2014
    Is homosexuality / transsexuality a punishment because of karma of previous lives? Sikh Youth Aug 29, 2013
    Controversial Why is the Law of Karma Rejected? Hard Talk Jan 21, 2013
    In Gurbani, is it 'Karma' or 'Actions' ??? Questions and Answers Jan 3, 2013
    Controversial Life is Easier Without Karma - a Discussion Hard Talk Aug 5, 2012

  3. findingmyway

    findingmyway
    Expand Collapse
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Aug 18, 2010
    Messages:
    1,667
    Likes Received:
    3,767
    One word; everything!
    So we should always be mindful of our behaviour, thoughts and the way we speak to others :angeldevil:
     
  4. Archived_member14

    Archived_member14
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    388
    Jasnoor ji,



    You ask about it from a Sikh perspective, but because there is much misunderstanding about the concept everywhere including amongst Buddhists, I’d expect the same with Sikhs. At best some people have only a vague and global idea about karma, which in my opinion is never good enough.

    So here is a more analytical statement bout the subject as I understand it, from a Buddhist perspective:


    One must begin by asking first of all, what is Karma, is it a mental or a physical reality?
    Ans: It must be a mental reality.


    Q: What kind of mental and which one exactly?
    Ans: Volition, a mental factor accompanying each instance of consciousness.


    Q: Are all consciousness therefore instances of Karma performing that particular function?
    Ans: No, only those which are of the nature of “cause”. Volition which accompanies instances of consciousness that are “resultants”, these are not of the nature of cause and therefore are not karma, but simply, resultants.


    Q: What distinguishes the consciousness which are cause from that which are result and what are the examples?
    Ans: Causes are states that are ‘active’ while those that are results are ‘passive’. The former are conditioned either by ignorance, greed or aversion on one hand, or non-greed, non- hatred and non-delusion on the other. The latter are without any such roots. Examples of this are the experience through the five senses such as seeing, hearing, tasting etc. Those that are active include states following immediately upon these passive / rootless experiences such that we then like, dislike and are ignorant about the real nature of the experience, or else we may have understanding (non-delusion) about it. Other examples of these active states with well-formed concepts of other beings as object are on one hand, anger, attachment, jealousy, miserliness, pride and on the other hand, kindness, compassion, generosity, moral restraint etc.


    Q: Are there degrees of karma?
    Ans: Yes, and they manifest and are expressed through three different doorways namely, body, speech and mind.


    Q: Do all instances of karma produce results?
    Ans: No, only those which have completed courses of action. These are on one hand the 10 unwholesome ones:

    Quoted from the Buddhist dictionary:

    <<3 bodily actions: killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;

    4 verbal actions: lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble;

    3 mental actions: covetousness, ill-will, evil views.

    And on the other hand the 10 wholesome ones:

    3 bodily actions: avoidance of killing, stealing, unlawful sexual intercourse;

    4 verbal actions: avoidance of lying, slandering, rude speech, foolish babble; i.e. true, conciliatory, mild, and wise speech;

    3 mental actions: unselfishness, good-will, right views.>>


    Q: Why are those which do not accompany the ten wholesome and unwholesome courses of action also considered karma?
    Ans: Because they accumulate as tendency, for example, greed accumulates and so would kindness.

    Although most instances of attachment does not cause anyone else any harm, such as when one simply likes something, go about trying to get it and finally enjoying it, this kind of self-centered activity can however grow in intensity such that later on, harm to oneself as well as to others will be done when the conditions are right.


    Q: Aside from giving result in the form of the experience through the five senses, does karma also produce other results?
    Ans: Yes, they give rise to some physical realities as well and these include the corresponding material base upon which the five sense experience arises, namely seeing must have the eye-sense and hearing, the ear-base, besides all other consciousness apart from those which arise through the five senses, must do so at what is termed the heart-base. Furthermore, birth and death are also results of karma and so are the instances of life-continuum arising throughout life.

    ------
    In conclusion, karma and its results are in truth about impersonal elements. And I hope that you will be able to see by now that so far, you have wrongly conceived of it and that your questions were in fact wrong. There is no such thing as “effects on karma”, but rather that there is karma, and there is its results. And also the idea of reward and punishment should never come into the picture since this factors in an agent apart from the actual mechanism itself and is therefore misleading.

    Jasnoor ji, this is likely more than what you asked for, most of which will in fact go over your head. I do not expect you to understand right away. But I do believe that it is important that such things are clear in anyone’s mind when they make reference to the concept of Karma, else misunderstanding will arise. So please do not at least dismiss it and seek instead some simplistic answer which imo, can have very negative consequences.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    This is pretty close to the notion that karma is about cause and effect. The idea there can be "effects on karma" is part of the modern discourse on the subject. It is a way of describing karma that really begins with the Theosophist movement in the 19th Century. And now it is deeply embedded in New Age discussions of karma, what it is, and how it works. I think that is how language, unless parsed out conceptually, leads to a blurred and confusing/misleading understanding of this issue. It is really important to delve and compare and contrast philosophies. One always has to ask "according to which belief system or religion are we defining karma?" But if one has not had to address this issue before, the question would naturally never come to mind, and adopting the ordinary usage of every day conversation becomes the norm.

    Thanks Confused ji for your detailed explanation of the Buddhist point of view.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Sikh view of karma

    findingmyway ji has given a broad definition and that is actually wise because the concept of karma is yet another that is contested within the Sikh panth, mostly as karma relates to the idea of reincarnation. Here are some thoughts from a site that I often consult

    ______________________________________________________________________________________________________

    ਕਰਮ - KARMA

    (O Lord) On account of the actions committed (Karma), we are separated from You. Please show Your Mercy,
    and unite us with Yourself, Lord. Having grown weary of wandering in the four quarters (and) ten directions
    (i.e., all sides/everywhere on earth: ਚੁਫੇਰੇ ਹਰ ਪਾਸੇ), we have come to Your Sanctuary, Lord (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 133).

    Mortals are known by their actions; this is the way it has to be. They should show goodness, and not
    be deformed by their actions; this is how they are called beautiful (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 1245).
    <><><><>

    The word Karma is derived from the Sanskrit root "kr", which means "to do". Every action is Karma; physical or mental. If the Karma or action is the "cause", it's result will be the "effect". Accordingly, from a metaphysical standpoint, Karma also means the effects of past work or actions.

    All beings are under the influence of Maya's three qualities namely Raajas (mode of passion), Taamas (mode of ignorance), and Saatav (mode of goodness). Always present together in varying mix and degrees, these three qualities of Maya bind the Soul to the body and to the earth plane. Above these three qualities is the eternal time. Due to the influence of three modes of Maya's nature, Jeeva (individual beings) perform activities under the control and purview of the eternal time. These activities are called Karma.

    The law of physics states that the action and reaction are equal and act in the opposite direction. This is a universal fact. Similarly, the law of Karma is also a universal fact. If there is a cause, there is an effect. If there is a Karma or activity (cause), there is a reaction or result (effect). This is the underlying principle. This is the law that brings back the results of one's actions to him. There is no escape from it.

    * ਜੇਵੇਹੇ ਕਰਮ ਕਮਾਵਦਾ ਤੇਵੇਹੇ ਫਲਤੇ ॥: Jevehe karma kamaavadaa tevehe phalate: One obtains fruits according to the deeds which he does (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 317).
    * ਕਿਰਤੁ ਪਇਆ ਨਹ ਮੇਟੈ ਕੋਇ ॥: Kirat payiaa na metai koi: Past actions cannot be erased (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 154).
    * ਜੇਹਾ ਬੀਜੈ ਸੋ ਲੁਣੈ ਕਰਮਾ ਸੰਦੜਾ ਖੇਤੁ ॥: Jehaa beejai so lunai karma sandrhaa khet: As the man sows so does he reap. Such is the field of actions (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 134).
    * ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੇ ਨੇੜੈ ਕੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥: Karmee aapo aapanee ke nerhai ke door: According to our actions, some are near (Akaal Purukh or God), and some are far (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 8).
    * ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥ ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Daddai dos na deyoo kisai dos krammaa aapaniaa. Jo mai keeaa so mai paaiaa dos na deejai avar janaa: Dadda (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet), I should not blame anyone else (for my suffering); I blame instead my own actions. Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I don't blame anyone else (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 433).

    This life is likened to a field (Khet) in which our Karma is the seed. We harvest exactly what we sow. No less, no more. Whatever seeds of Karma we sow, some sprout tomorrow, some the day after, others only years later. But they will sprout for sure.


    More at this link http://www.gurbani.org/articles/webart40.htm

    ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________

    Not all who reply will agree with this, but is does represent a mainstream view. On a personal note: Of all the tuks that help me understand karma in my own life it is this one: ਦਦੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੇਊ ਕਿਸੈ ਦੋਸੁ ਕਰੰਮਾ ਆਪਣਿਆ ॥ ਜੋ ਮੈ ਕੀਆ ਸੋ ਮੈ ਪਾਇਆ ਦੋਸੁ ਨ ਦੀਜੈ ਅਵਰ ਜਨਾ ॥: Daddai dos na deyoo kisai dos krammaa aapaniaa. Jo mai keeaa so mai paaiaa dos na deejai avar janaa: Dadda (a letter of the Gurmukhi alphabet), I should not blame anyone else (for my suffering); I blame instead my own actions. Whatever I did, for that I have suffered; I don't blame anyone else (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 433).


    I think that it so clearly describes how the moral or ethical path is something an individual must accept as his/her own, understand no other human being can save you, and carry on with the understanding that one's actions have consequences. And it is not easy.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  7. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
    Expand Collapse
    ੴ / Ik▫oaʼnkār
    Writer SPNer Contributor Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2010
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    5,657
    <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:punctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> <w:WrapTextWithPunct/> <w:UseAsianBreakRules/> <w:DontGrowAutofit/> <w:UseFELayout/> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]--> Jasnoor ji you have a beautiful handle (not saying because of lust or Kam, see later) and thanks for starting this thread.

    Confused ji I feel strongly but not angry (not out of Karodh though) that Sikhism has a pretty good practical approach versus Buddhism.

    I am not writing this out of greed to impress Jasnoor ji so good things are said about me ( not out of Lobh ).

    My discourse is not because of my attachment to Sikhism (not writing out of Moh) but to honestly answer a query from what I know.

    I have doubt anyone will have a better answer than mine (oh no, that is Hankar). I mean I believe most of the responses will give me something to learn and I would like to support this dialog out of learning rather than pride.

    So in a nutshell, Sikhism believes that we basically reap what we sow, in practical day to day kirat (work) and kamai (earnings). If in the execution of your daily life and actions you control the following (Five Vices),


    • Kam (lust)
    • Krodh (anger)
    • Lobh (greed)
    • Moh (attachment)
    • Hankar (pride)

    You will embellish your spirituality and goodness as you will see good versus evil all around and about you. Sikhism does believe that these Five vices are also creation of the same God that has given you the tools to manage while doing good. There is no proverbial devil and God battle in Sikhism.

    So in Sikhism Karma is not necessarily a standalone concept. It is your approach and actions with respect to yourself and everything around you both spiritually and physically. The results are short and long term in your oneness with your surroundings and God within.


    I humbly share this for dialog.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
    • Like Like x 4
  8. Gyani Jarnail Singh

    Gyani Jarnail Singh Malaysia
    Expand Collapse
    Sawa lakh se EK larraoan
    Mentor Writer SPNer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 4, 2004
    Messages:
    7,623
    Likes Received:
    14,188
    Ambarsariah Ji, Gurfateh.
    Well written Jios. Thanks.

    1. Sowing and reaping is always quoted in Karma context...we reap what we sow..not less not more..LOL...

    BUT what is reality...the Farmer SOWS just ONE SEED..that ONE SEED sprouts into a Plant/TREE that bears many many many many simialr SEEDS...FRUITS..etc..like a single mango seed becoems a tree that gives thousands of mangoes over many DECADES.

    When a Farmer sows WHEAT..he expects wheat..NOT COTTON..or Mangoes...every farmer knows THAT....but then Farid Ji does ask in Gurbani..Jatt bejeh what and expects what ??..THAT quote is applicable to us in the RELIGIOUS ACTION GROUP..certainly NOT tot he REAL FARMERS...

    2. GurBani also asks a Valid Question...which no one has ever answered...
    The Question is....WHAT KARAMS EXISTED before everything ??? When there was no earth..no life..what Karmas..and did the first man come here becasue of karams and if so what were those since he is the first creation ??

    3. What Karams did our GURUS do ? our Shaheeds do ?? Did they get..... karma da fal" ?? Guru Nanak ji in Priosn..Guru Arjun Ji on the Hot Plate..Bhai Dyala Ji in the boiling cauldron..Bhai Mati Dass ji being sawn alive...what Karman da fal ?? Past Karams ??

    All these questions came up several times in my Gurbani classes and have been answered..lets discuss..
     
    • Like Like x 3
  9. Archived_member14

    Archived_member14
    Expand Collapse
    SPNer

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2004
    Messages:
    408
    Likes Received:
    388
    Ambarsaria ji,

    :)
    Be practical! Practice!
    This is the suggestion I often get from other Buddhists. Of course in their case, it is based mainly on the belief that the Buddha taught so-called ‘meditation’ and this is what they call ‘practice’. But they also react otherwise, to my theoretical expressions and judge this as being reflection of generally not being practical. Even when I protest saying that I read little and have far less knowledge of the texts than they do, they’d still insist that I am eating the menu rather than tasting the food itself. ;-)

    At one time I would have agreed with these people, but not since after I came upon this new understanding ten years ago. Now I know the path to be about the relationship between right understanding at the level of ‘intellectual’ -> ‘practice’ -> ‘realization’. And the meaning of practice here is not how I used to and the rest of the Buddhist world continues to think as. Similarly, intellectual understanding does not refer to mere book study / knowledge as most people are liable to judge. The underline being “understanding” which manifests itself as the tendency to coming back to the present moment knowing that this is the only valid object of study, as against thinking in terms of another time, place, posture and object.

    As it is with everything else, intellectual understanding, practice (or direct understanding) and realization, refer to momentary, conditioned phenomena. The first has a ‘concept’ as object and in the beginning the understanding associated must necessarily be very weak. But it gets developed and when supported by the level which is practice or direct understanding, it grows even more. Indeed it is imperative that “practice” itself must be understood correctly at the intellectual level, otherwise one goes astray. And this is what happens everywhere.

    People jump at the idea of practice / meditation as suggested by the great many books around and the teachers at meditation centers everywhere. This is manifestation of having been really no change in their perspective after hearing the Buddha’s teachings, when in fact it should have caused their world to turn upside down so-to-speak.

    It is always *now* that any understanding is ever developed, which of course arises in my case, only a fraction of the time on any day. What I do know however, is that it is not practical to be involved in ‘practice’. ;-) In fact, it is not possible to be ‘practical’ merely by wishing and thinking to be so. After all, it is about ‘mind’ and more particularly the development of ‘wisdom’ that we are all talking about. The fact that attachment readily arises is not because we somehow will it into existence, but rather that we have an infinite accumulations for it and so it readily takes on any object. Thinking that we are in control and can determine this or that state of mind to manifest is an illusion created by yet another mental reality, namely ‘wrong understanding’. This same reality is what takes control when coming to matters of mental and moral development giving rise the illusion often, of doing the right thing and being practical. We could do well to remember at such times, that the accumulated tendency to ignorance and attachment is so great and that of wisdom so very little, that we are likely therefore to be fooling ourselves.

    So who is in fact not being practical here? I consider these Buddhists who advocate meditation as having wrong understanding, where the process include being drawn in by ideas unquestioned and untested. This makes them in fact, driven by concepts from beginning to end. Concepts which do not point to the reality of the present moment, but instead to yet other concepts about ‘self’ and ‘situations’ whereby conditioning courses of action within an illusory world.

    Now I’d like to come to this idea expressed by you which to some degree is also held by many Buddhists.

    You said:
    << So in a nutshell, Sikhism believes that we basically reap what we sow, in practical day to day kirat (work) and kamai (earnings). If in the execution of your daily life and actions you control the following (Five Vices),

    Kam (lust)
    Krodh (anger)
    Lobh (greed)
    Moh (attachment)
    Hankar (pride)>>


    So when you talk about ‘control’ and this being a condition whereby good is developed, do you also take into account the tendency to overreach? Although you are not saying that it is easy, you do however make it sound simple! Can kam, krodh, lobh, moh and hankar be approached without taking into consideration the ignorance through which these have in the past been perceived and continue to be so? Can lobh be known by means of lobh for example? Is it expected that these can be lessened without first recognized for what they are? And when understanding does arise to apprehend any of these states, could this have been a matter of willing it into existence? If something is done as a means to induce good states, does it mean that this very means is itself good, if so what induced it? And if on the other hand it is acknowledged that the means itself is not, why should something not-good then be expected to lead to good?

    One reason why any attempt to “do” / be practical when it comes to such matters is pointless, is because any state when known must have in reality arisen and already fallen away by that time. What we are left with is only “ideas” about the experience, and due to ignorance and craving we sometimes try to ‘catch’ the moment. “Chasing shadows” is how I characterize this process.

    Doings and matters of practicality exists in the illusory world of conventional reality, where agreed upon ideas are the objects of expereince. You chose to sit in front of the PC and read this message, because you decided to do so. I won’t argue with you about this as long as both of us take this to be more or less a metaphor. It enables us to continue reacting with each other and to discuss about other things. But when we come to the fact of what actually takes place on a moment to moment basis, a whole different picture manifests.

    The fact that you decided to sit in front of the computer must have been conditioned by a chain of events one after another amongst which are perceptions through sense doors, memory of prior experiences (not necessarily in recognizable form), thinking in pictures and words, desire, feelings, and many others. Like this very moment, all those moments arose and fell away beyond control. If a wholesome course of action arose at some point, this too must have been a result of prior arisings all conditioned and beyond control.

    You may if you wish, call these moments of good states as ‘practical’, but you’ll need to realize that it is not other than impersonal elements arising to perform their particular functions which has caused you to think as you do. And yes, with right understanding, our actions at the conventional level must also change for the good. But it does so not because we decided to be a better person, but regardless of what we think. In other words the understanding or misunderstanding has its effect in actions no matter whether or not we think along a certain line.

    And if all this sounds like theory / philosophy to you, it is probably because right understanding at the intellectual level has yet to arise. Or it could be that I lack the ability for exposition, not surprisingly though, since from the first sentence to this last one, ignorance, attachment and conceit have arisen much, much more as compared to any kindness, moral restraint or wisdom. ;-)
     
  10. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
    Expand Collapse
    1947-2014 (Archived)
    SPNer Supporter

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2004
    Messages:
    14,551
    Likes Received:
    19,200
    Gyani ji

    I like your approach. May I start with Guru Arjan Dev ji. Out of saatave/goodness he continued Guru Nanak's message. What was the effect? Out of Taamas/ignorance and Raajas/passion he was tricked and betrayed. Then what happened? out of Taamas/ignorance and raajas/passion he was made a martyr.

    ਕਰਮੀ ਆਪੋ ਆਪਣੀ ਕੇ ਨੇੜੈ ਕੇ ਦੂਰਿ ॥: Karmee aapo aapanee ke nerhai ke door: According to our actions, some are near (Akaal Purukh or God), and some are far (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 8).

    It is not too hypothetical to imagine what would have happened if Guru Arjan Dev ji had chosen to do otherwise? What would have happened? He had no other choice. Most important, he blamed no one for his suffering.

    ਕਰਮਾ ਉਪਰਿ ਨਿਬੜੈ ਜੇ ਲੋਚੈ ਸਭੁ ਕੋਇ ॥: Karma upper nibrai je lochai sabh koi: According to one's actions, his destiny unfolds, even though everyone wants to be so lucky (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 157).

    Because he did what he did, what was the result? We were blessed. Just my thoughts!
     
    • Like Like x 1

Share This Page