Karma--the Wheel of Life
Charlie Badenhop


Today, I write to you from Kathmandu, Nepal.  I am here to attend the wedding of the eldest daughter of one of my best friends.  I return to Kathmandu after a twelve year hiatus, having run a business here in the past.

Yesterday I sat with two of my Nepali friends and asked them what concept of Nepali life and culture they thought I should write about.  After a long conversation we decided on the topic of "karma."

I write about karma not as an academic, but rather as a person who worked and created a bond of friendship with numerous Nepali people while working with them for six years.

There is a strong belief in Nepali culture and other Asian cultures as well, that the effects of a person's actions determine their destiny.  This sense of "destiny" can extend to a person's next life, and to their family and associates as well.  In the West we have a similar idea when we say "As you sow, so shall you reap."  In Nepali culture one might say, "The thoughts and actions you extend out into the world, will very definitely return to you in kind.  Your karma is the accumulation of all you have thought and done in this and other lifetimes."  An important part of the Nepali belief system being that we all live many lifetimes (we reincarnate,) and that our karma carries over from past lifetimes into the present and future.

Connected to the concept of karma is the belief that the experiences in your life that you do not deal with ethically and effectively, will reoccur until such time that you learn the lessons such experiences hold for you.

It is not that an all-knowing God punishes you for wrongful or foolish acts, but rather that the energy you project out into the world has a natural boomerang effect, known as karma.  Toss a boomerang of anger, and anger is what will come back to you from others.  Toss a boomerang of love, and love will be returned. Another way we can grasp the concept of karma is to consider what happens when you call out in a loud voice when surrounded by large mountains.  Within a second or two's time, the echo of your voice reverberates all around you.  Shout out "hate" and hate will come back to you.  Shout out "God" and God will echo back.

It would appear to be common sense if one said, "If you want to harvest rice in a few months time, you had better plant rice now, and not wheat or barley."  In Nepali culture it is common sense to realize, "If you want to harvest the respect and good will of those you interact with, you had better plant the seeds of respect and good will now.  Your thoughts and actions are the seeds that determine what grows in your life, and what doesn't."

In working and living with Nepali people I have experienced a kindness that I find to be rare in the world today.  I have found a gentleness and caring that touches my soul, and inspires me to be more caring myself. In particular, I remember an event from about fifteen years ago when a Nepali friend said, "I will bear the burden of today's hardship that I might prepare myself for the blessings of the future."


Consider a troublesome relationship you are involved in now.

Think about the actions you have been considering taking; the manner in which you have been thinking about replying.

Really do take the time to consider this.


Contemplate the reply/response you are likely to get back from others, based upon your reply/response back to them.

In other words, imagine the boomerang effect your response will likely generate from others.

And how their response back to you will also tend to boomerang back on them.

How easy it can be to get caught up in cycle of negative responses, with no compassionate end in sight.

Action-Reaction, Boomerang, Echo.

The wheel of karma is turning,

And will continue to turn.

For as long as you supply the energy.

Over the course of the coming days, months, years, decades, eternity...

Imagine the echo of all your responses and actions in the world, reverberating out and back to you,

Just like they do in the relationship you are considering now.

Think of the likely consequences of all that you think and do.

Anger, retribution, fear, punishment.

Love, compassion, caring, kindness.

What is it that you truly want in the relationship you started out thinking about?

How have you been playing an active role in determining the future and destiny of this relationship?

What seeds will you need to plant now in order to harvest the relationship you desire?

What is the "right action" that you can take today, to help you begin to achieve the kind of future you desire?

Your future will be different if you act and think differently now.

How can you respond differently,

In order to truly best serve your needs,

And the needs of those you are in relationship with?

Both parties need to be served!

It is only natural.

How will you bear the burden of today's challenges, in order to best prepare yourself for the blessings of the future?

©Charlie Badenhop. All rights reserved.  www.seishindo.org


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