Last Fall / Karma in Buddhism

Last Fall - Karma in Buddhism

This photograph was taken during last fall at the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge.

Life is cyclic; Birth and death, night and day, the four seasons... Some of these cycles are more regular while others such as fortune and misfortune, happiness and frustration, are irregular. We represent regular cycles mathematically, yet, even the most regular cycles have irregularity within them. Such is nature.

All cycles, regular and irregular interact with or effect each other. Modern science, especially since the advent of Quantum Mechanics with its probabilistic description of nature, recognizes these irregularities and entanglements. The human mind on the other hand, idealizes forms and tends to regulate the irregularities. A circular shape on a piece of paper is perceived as a perfect circle in the mind.

This idealization extends somewhat to all aspects of our lives. Once idealized, things are easier to grasp and much easier to control. Consequently, we even begin to think that we have full control over our fortunes and misfortunes.

In an earlier post titled "What Goes Around...", I had deferred writing about the concept of Karma as I understand it to be understood in various traditions. In Buddhism, karma simply means action; everything one does, says, or thinks is karma. Buddhism avoids the strict causality (cause-and-effect) of many other thought systems by evaluating the effects of karma in three categories; Two categories of determined deeds which always produce good or bad results, and a third category where the outcomes can vary. Karma is regularly explained entangled with the Buddhist concept of rebirth, in which, consciousness is seen as a continuum that is passed from one self to another self. imho, The recognition of cyclical irregularities and finite cycles in Buddhism is somewhat more consistent with what we actually observe in nature, compared to many other systems of thought.

The elements of The Noble Eightfold Path of Buddhism, our outlook, intentions, speech, actions, livelihood, effort, mindfulness and concentration, influence our karma and the continuum of our consciousness, all while we encounter the consequences of our past karma. Trees might be even more beautiful next fall.
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