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What is Karma in Tibetan Buddhism?

August 8, 2023

Sanskrit’s word for action is karma. Karma has a significant role in Buddhism. Karma is not just cause and effect or consequence, as is commonly believed. It essentially refers to the action that every living thing takes at every time. This then starts a series of events in which every action has an impact. 

There are certain actions that produce results right now and others that produce results much later (perhaps years or even lifetimes later). According to Buddhism, doing good deeds and having good thoughts results in positive Karma, or good action that will pay out in the future. The favourable mentality that results from the good deeds will impact the doer’s present and future life.

Rebirth and reincarnation are concepts shared by Buddhists. Tibetan Buddhism holds an especially fervent belief in this. According to popular belief, creatures are born in several realms of life, such as the animal, human, divine, and ghost realms, depending on their karma from previous lives. 

If you create poor karma, you will reincarnate in a low dimension appropriate to your acts up until the point at which you have fully experienced those repercussions. 

Instead, if you create positive karma, you will be born into a world where you will have a good life until the rewards of your deed are consumed. Until they reach enlightenment, after which they will no longer experience rebirth, beings take successive births in various realms of existence according to their karma.

On the other hand, the idea of reincarnation is a little different. In Tibetan Buddhism, a reincarnate is referred to as a Tulku. Although reincarnation is a type of rebirth, there is a key distinction between the two. Rebirth is an unavoidable process brought on by one’s karma. On the other hand, reincarnation is a deliberate process, independent of

Karma, in which the Tulku chooses to reincarnate. Where and when the Tulku chooses to reincarnate is up to him.

The Dalai Lama, Karmapa, Panchen Lama, and other well-known Tulkus are some examples of notable Tulkus who have chosen to reincarnate. This is thought to occur as a result of the Tulku’s compassion and supplication. Reincarnation is meant to serve as a means of guiding all sentient creatures towards enlightenment. In order to help other beings, the Tulku delays his or her own enlightenment by returning. 

Read More: ‘Pakistan is an Attraction for Korean Buddhist Pilgrims’

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