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The dictionary defines karma as, “an action, seen as
bringing upon oneself inevitable results, good or bad, either in this life or
in a reincarnation.” Karma is the process of cause and effect. That implies the
belief that our present and past actions dictate the result and fate of the
rest of one’s life. Karma is accepted to be an essential idea in a range of
Vedic religions and cultures including Hinduism and Buddhism. The BIG SO WHAT
question in this essay is, how does the Hindu and Buddhist concept of karma
relate to the larger religious world view? Karma is a universal principal
that is linked to the concept of reincarnation. Hindus believe that very
action, harmful or humane, has an effect on this life and on future lives. While
Buddhists believe that karma is not just about activities, it is additionally
about perspective, desire and psychology. However, the doctrine of karma has
been lauded as a rational and morally illuminating informative reaction to the presence
of evil and apparent foul play in both religion. This paper outlines the ideas,
examines the beliefs, and highlights the similarities and differences both
Hinduism and Buddhism share in Karma. Hinduism is a vast religion. It is the “oldest” and the third
largest religion in the world. (2013). It stands for the faith and the way of
life for the people around the world. Individuals who rehearse the faith of
Hinduism participate in different rituals, utilize distinctive names and images
for the deity they worship, read diverse sacred books and hold diverse beliefs.
They believe that the individual soul of all living beings, including animals, is
loaded with an interminable soul and is a part of the creator spirit, Brahma;
first god in hindu triumvirate, who is responsible for creation, and
destruction of the world. Brahma is pure and the process of becoming pure is so
hard in Hinduism that no soul can become pure in only one lifetime. They
believe the soul is compelled to live many lives until it is pure enough to
return to Brahma because ultimately everything comes down to Brahma. Along with
Brahma, Vishnu (image 1) and Shiva (image 2) are equally important and are
powerful in Hinduism. Image 1 Vishnu is “the
pervade and maintainer of the universe.” Vishnu is known as a peaceful and
compassionate supreme lord. Vishnu is often pictured with four arms, each
holding an emblem of his divinity: the conch, wheel, mace and lotus. Each of
his divinity has a meaning. The conch is a symbol of “the origin of existence”,
the wheel represents “the cycle of the seasons”, the mace represents “the power
of knowledge”, and lotus symbolizes “purity.” 
Kramrisch, S. (2005). Like seen in the image above, he is usually
depicted with a dark complexion. One of the most important aspect of Vishnu is
that he is known for his ten avatars (incarnations).   Image 2 Shiva is a divine force of demolition. He is not a negative
destroyer; he is the quintessential destroyer. He destroys in order to
reestablish and recover living things and encourage the change. He wrecks one’s
flaws, illusions, desires and ignorance. He destroys detestable and negative
nature, impurities, wrong doings and the impacts of bad karma. Like shown in
the image above, Shiva personifies magnificence, peacefulness and steadiness.
Unlike Vishnu who is depicted as dark, Shiva is white in color. “The main
object of Shiva worship is Linga, which means “sign”. Kramrisch, S. (2005). The
Shiva Linga is considered sacred and housed in temples or houses for worship.While
Brahma is the creator, Vishnu is the preserver and Shiva is the destroyer in
Hinduism. Brahma being the most powerful one among the three, does not punish
or reward anyone because every soul creates those on their own through karma.
The idea of karma is highly believed in Hinduism because karma determines the
quality of next life through the persons good and bad deeds in this life. Buddhism
is classified as one of the largest religions in the world.  “The concept of Buddhism was created about three centuries
ago to identify what humans now know to be a Asian religious tradition that
dates back some twenty-five hundred years.” (Reynolds, D. E., & Hallisey,
C. (2015)). Buddhism is a path of practice and
spiritual growth that demonstrates the genuine idea of life. The quintessence
of Buddhism is contained in the founder: Gautama Buddha’s teaching of Four
Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path (image 3). 
Buddhism has a strong moral dimension that advocates joy and positivity
in ways that are helpful to oneself and others while at the same time exhorting
against activities that prompt one’s own afflication or the anguish of others. Which
is believed as the concept of karma in Buddhism. Just like Hindus, Buddhists
believe karma can influence this life and can carry over into the next. They
believe that karma is not a discipline or a reward from god. Those with
negative karma might be reawakened in hell while those with positive karma will
reborn in heaven. Image 3This image is of Siddhartha Gautama Buddha taken at art
museum. Buddha was the founder of Buddhism. Buddha’s journey to find truth,
spirituality and learn how to solve the problems of suffering, led him to
meditations. Over the period of time, on the verge of death due to fatigue, he
reached the state of enlightenment. While doing so, he found the four-noble
truth and the eightfold path. “The four noble truths are: 1. All existence entails suffering. 2. The cause of
suffering is desire, that is, the thirst for pleasure, prosperity, and
continued life. 3. The way to escape suffering, existence, and rebirth is to
rid one’s self of desire. and 4. To be emancipated from desire, one must follow
the eightfold path. The noble eightfold path consists of:
right understanding
right resolve
right speech
right conduct
right livelihood
right effort
right attention
right concentration” (2017)
Buddhism, overall is a religion that holds a special aspect and
urges the need for humanity to become humane again. To let go of selfish
desires, and negative intentions. It is the embodiment of serene presence in a
world that has become wrought with despair and suffering.Hinduism and Buddhism are comparable from various
perspectives. Hindus and Buddhists are extremely centered around nature, the
things around them and though they have some differences, they share the same
beliefs in reincarnation, karma and the common belief in Moksha and Nirvana;
freedom. While reincarnation states that every living thing has a soul, it is also
believed that the cycle of reincarnation proceeds until the point when one
achieves Moksha or Nirvana and is represented by the law of karma. Another comparative
concentration of both religion is peace and non-violence towards all living
things. Likewise, they both believe in the existence of several hells and
heavens or higher and lower worlds. They believe that desire is the underlying cause
of suffering and doing actions promoted by desire would lead to bondage and
more suffering but that performing actions without desiring the fruit of action
would result in freedom. Along with that, both religions also follow spiritual
practices like meditation, concentration and positive state of mind. Both
religions might differ in a way, but at the end they both share same beliefs. In conclusion, both Hinduism and Buddhism have a similar
essential conviction on a definitive objective of their religion. Through the
ideas of karma and reincarnation, both religion could clarify how life is
controlled not by others, but by one’s own actions and that those actions not
only affect a person during their lifetime, but also into the next. More than
persecution and execution, there have been additional time of peace and comprehension
between the two religions.   


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