Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion

2020 Edition
| Editors: David A. Leeming


  • Paul LarsonEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-24348-7_373

Karma is a core doctrine to Indian spirituality and has a similar meaning in both Hindu and Buddhist thought. It represents the idea of universal justice, the belief that in the end, good will be rewarded and wrong doing punished. Karma is an impersonal force operating to meet out consequences of actions. It is in contrast to the views of the Western Abrahamic religions (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) where a personal God judges individual souls at the end of time and assigns rewards or punishments according to one’s deeds in life. Karma is automatic and not a judgment of one’s conduct but merely a consequence arising out of action. It is often spoken of as the law of return, that whatever you put out toward others in conduct will come back eventually. Unlike the Western monotheism which posits only one life for each individual, in Eastern traditions the individual has an entire series of lifetimes in which to improve their spiritual and ethical development. The wheel of existence...

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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Chicago School of Professional PsychologyChicagoUSA