Karma and Samsara



Karma and Samsara:  two basic concepts that inform the notions of dharma and moksha.


1.     Karma: law of cause and effect by which one reaps what one sows.

a.     “karma” means “works,” “deeds”

b.     All actions, particularly moral actions, have predictable effects – each person is responsible for every action he or she performs; every action will influence one’s future

c.      One’s present conditions, character, circumstances are all the result of past actions

d.     Textual and popular understandings of karma

2.     Samsara: as the cycle of rebirth / as the flux and flow of creation

a.     The cycle of birth and rebirth

b.     One’s present life = one of a long chain of lives, countless lives in human and non-human forms (including existence as deities)

c.      Hierarchical order of all species in existence, such as caste

d.     Samsara as the fluid and changing universe