Some people mix religion with racism

Sin, Guilt, and Forgiveness in BuddhismGood karma, bad karma

Bad karma! - Some people believe that today when they have had a bad day. If the car doesn't start, suddenly falls ill or knocks over your coffee. The word karma has made it into everyday language and even appears in the dictionary. According to Buddhist ideas, karma is the result of all actions, thoughts and feelings that leave their mark on the mind. Guilt and forgiveness as in the Abrahamic religions are not known. When Buddhists harm other people or animals, they themselves bear the karmic consequences - that is the focus. However, an ethic has developed that has compassion for all living beings as an ideal in order to reduce the suffering of all beings.

And: The spiritual karma imprints not only affect current life, but also subsequent existences. But through meditation and mind training, the karmic fetters can be recognized and overcome - Buddhists believe.

"Pure Fantasy"

Many people in Europe also believe in the law of karma as the balance of all deeds in later existences. What that means exactly often remains unclear. So do you actually have good karma because you won the lottery?

"In this respect, it has to do with me because I bought a lottery ticket. But certainly not because I did something good in the past. That's yes, then you can believe all kinds of things. That's nonsense, that is pure fantasy, people have come up with everything possible and then say, that is a divine truth or a higher truth, "says Peter Riedl from Vienna, editor of the Buddhist magazine" cause & effect ". The long-time meditation teacher and former general secretary and president of the Austrian Buddhist Religious Society criticized such statements.

"If someone has a full bank account - that says nothing"

Some people even believe that their cancer or loss of jobs was due to their bad karma. Such statements are also occasionally heard from spiritual masters, he regrets. But whether someone has a full bank account or something bad happens to them says nothing at all, says the Buddhist Peter Riedl:

"The karma thought, the causality is already one that is worth considering. Only the ethical value in it is not correct. That something happened to me because there was this or that in the past, that can be true. Now I experience friendship, because I've been friendly in the past, there is. But conversely, you can just as easily experience friendship because you've been angry in the past or had bad thoughts, then you have a friendship with other people. "

"Karma is neutral"

Riedl criticizes the simple equation that an illness is automatically the result of previous bad deeds. You can get cirrhosis of the liver if you drink too much alcohol, but the effect of karma cannot be understood as one-dimensional.

"What is not right in karma thinking - this thought out or in belief karma - from my point of view is the amalgamation with good and bad, with ethics. Karma is - if you already believe in it - a neutral process - because this has happened, that happens. "

It's about the impressions in the mind. However, the interpretations differ. A well-known teacher from the Buddhist Diamond Way, Lama Ole Nydahl, even believes that every people has a certain karma. Nydahl gives Buddhist teachings in an instructional video available on the Internet. Accordingly, the Buddha teaches, "how it goes to us as a people, as a family, as an individual, as a world in general, as a species and so on - everything is cause and effect. Everything arises from what we have thought and said. Everything we do, think and say, sow seeds in the outside world, which come back with pleasure or inedible and that sows impressions in our own memory consciousness, which are then later experienced as happiness or suffering. "

Ideology or teaching?

The Dane explains in detail what doctrine of karma means:

"I know that it is not easy to understand when one talks about huge sufferings, like the many, the 50 million dead Russians who Stalin killed or the six million Jews in the Second and Third Reich, or the 1.5 Millions of Cambodians at Pol Pot or the many killed under Khomeini and tortured and so on, and the Catholic Hutus, the Tutsis who kill themselves and all that ... If you look at all of this, it can be difficult, I can do that understand that this should be cause and effect. But you have no other option. ... Well, there is probably no other explanation than that we cause things ourselves. "

How exactly karma works is something Buddhists can certainly argue about.

"But to claim that a people is responsible if they are attacked or destroyed by neighboring people because they have accumulated a corresponding karma, has nothing to do with Buddhist teaching, but a lot with ideology," says Peter Riedl.

"Clearly Racist Ideas"

Among other things, because of his statement on karma and Shoah, Nydahl is in the criticism, his supporters defend him against the accusation of spreading right-wing extremist thoughts. Peter Riedl does not want to comment on this at all. He only says generally that he thinks the idea of ​​linking karma and a people absurd and even dangerous:

"Someone believes they can fathom the world with a belief. I have to say: It is not only politically incorrect, it is made up nonsense, how does it come about. There is no one who can prove that ... right-wing extremist and racist ideas are clearly propagated and then these ideas are assigned to be a religious truth. It just doesn't work that way. "

The Buddha refused boxes

In fact, the karma idea can also be used to justify existing social and political conditions. In India, the idea of ​​the law of karma in connection with the cycle of rebirth certainly cemented the social division into castes. The priestly caste stood at the top with their privileges, they were great beneficiaries of this faith. The Buddha had already recognized this 2500 years ago, there were no castes in his monasteries and his community. And Buddha also rejected the Brahmins' sacrificial system as useless. But the karma idea was used in his teaching.

In Europe, on the other hand, it is difficult to deal with the karma idea. All the old Buddhist schools have further developed their theories about the karma working, there is little doubt about the reality of this working system.

"Hidden Truth"

"In Buddhism itself, karma is considered a hidden truth," says the Tibetologist Jan-Ulrich Sobisch from the Ruhr University in Bochum. How exactly karma works requires a long Buddhist training of the mind. The Dalai Lama would once have said in the same way:

"The doctrine of emptiness - that is one of the highest philosophical trainings - that is relatively accessible, but karma, that is a hidden truth that is only accessible to the Buddha."

As a Buddhist, however, you don't necessarily have to believe in karma, says Sobisch. That is secondary. But if it helps to lead an ethical life, at least that is helpful.

"Actually, the way in Buddhism is very, very long before you can even see karma. Until then you have to pretend there is karma all the time. That is not something that is obvious, that is obvious."