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What is the philosophy behind karma?

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Quick Answer

In Asian religions, karma is one of the five processes that operates a person's mental and physical state, and is the belief that desirable and undesirable actions produce corresponding results. The results are part of a natural sequence and not reward or punishment for the actions.

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Full Answer

Karma is a Sanskrit word for deed, work or action and is one of the fundamental Buddhist doctrines. People in ancient India believed in karma before the Buddha; however, Buddha created the modern explanation of karma. The earliest mention of karma is in the ancient Indian text Rigveda, where the word occurs 40 times. Hinduism, Jainism, Sikhism and Taoism also have karma among their beliefs.

Karma not only affects a person's current life, but future lives as well. Samsara is the Hindu idea that all life forms experience a cycle of births and rebirths, and the rebirth may occur in a different form or location. The karma theory suggests that the quality and quantity of a person's karma dictates the form of their rebirth. The cycle continues forever, and the person carries the seeds of their karma with them to each life. A person only consciously breaks the cycle of rebirths by reaching moksha and the realm of the gods.

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