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Book: Buddhism in Five Minutes

Chapter: 18. Do Buddhists See All that Happens to One as Due to Karma?

DOI: 10.1558/equinox.40755


Buddhism does not say that everything that happens to one is due to one’s past karma. The Buddha criticized theories which saw all experiences and associated actions as due either to past karma, the diktat of a god, or pure chance. These views, according to the Buddha, imply a form of fatalism that strips one of responsibility for one’s present actions and gives one no motivation to improve what one does. So, Buddhism stresses that present action is not fixed by past action. Rather, present action can bring about liberating change in a person.

Chapter Contributors

  • Peter Harvey ( - peterharvey) 'University of Sunderland'