Karma & Responsibility


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Many modern Pagans espouse the "Law of Three" without knowing where it comes from. In this presentation, the concepts of karma and personal responsibility will be explored. Attendees will learn where the ideas f karma come from, and how they are interpreted (or misinterpreted) in modern Paganism.

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  • Karma & Responsibility

    1. 1. Karma & Responsibility Cliff Landis http://clifflandis.net
    2. 2. http://flickr.com/photos/althouse/461498973/
    3. 3. Karma: Definition <ul><li>From the Sanskrit कर्म ( karman ) meaning Action / Deed / Work </li></ul><ul><li>Later, included the results of those actions. </li></ul><ul><li>Evolved to include the universal response to those actions </li></ul><ul><li>(“Karma” from International Encyclopedia of Ethics) </li></ul>
    4. 4. Factors <ul><li>Time </li></ul><ul><li>Origin </li></ul><ul><li>Amount </li></ul><ul><li>Type </li></ul><ul><li>Reactive vs. Proactive </li></ul><ul><li>Intent </li></ul><ul><li>Intercession </li></ul><ul><li>Transferability </li></ul>
    5. 5. Time Actions in this life affect this life only Actions in this life determine next life http://flickr.com/photos/piratescott/481831149/ http://flickr.com/photos/travelinlibrarian/2410172422/
    6. 6. Origin http://flickr.com/photos/coolkarni/2459484792/ http://flickr.com/photos/toptechwriter/522395769/ Divine vs. Natural Law
    7. 7. Return Amount Why 3? http://flickr.com/photos/raphb/795945796/
    8. 8. Return Type http://flickr.com/photos/raphb/795945796/ http://flickr.com/photos/villes/1036963896/ http://flickr.com/photos/splityarn/2089021595/ ?
    9. 9. Reactive vs. Proactive http://flickr.com/photos/dan4th/483909925/ http://flickr.com/photos/minifig/244491886/
    10. 10. Intent http://flickr.com/photos/skampy/2317141091/
    11. 11. Intercession? http://flickr.com/photos/needtothinkharder/1502251321/
    12. 12. http://flickr.com/photos/fortphoto/434414965/ Transferability?
    13. 13. Different Religions’ Views
    14. 14. Hinduism http://flickr.com/photos/dey/95307240/ <ul><li>This life affects the next life </li></ul><ul><li>Forgiveness from Varuna  Universal Law </li></ul><ul><li>Automatic -- you determine your own fate </li></ul><ul><li>Your duty to fulfill your role, no matter how distasteful. </li></ul><ul><li>Goal of escape from the cycle of rebirth </li></ul><ul><li>Escape possible through enlightenment, work, love & devotion, meditation, etc. </li></ul>(“Karma” from International Encyclopedia of Ethics)
    15. 15. Buddhism http://flickr.com/photos/bezoire/63205317/ <ul><li>No permanent soul, but “a flame passing from one candle to the next” </li></ul><ul><li>Karma may or may not follow you from one life to the next </li></ul><ul><li>Karma is affected by: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Intention </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Actions (and speech) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Effects of the actions </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Karma can be changed by good deeds or intercession by someone else (such as by a Buddha or a monk). </li></ul>(“Karma” from International Encyclopedia of Ethics)
    16. 16. Jainism <ul><li>Unintentional harm still brings karma (hence strict behavioral and dietary limits). </li></ul><ul><li>Release from rebirth possible by “working off” old karma without acquiring new karma. </li></ul>(“Karma” from International Encyclopedia of Ethics)
    17. 17. Roman/Greek Paganism http://flickr.com/photos/44124324682@N01/2294464138/ <ul><li>Fortuna (Fate) </li></ul><ul><li>Nemesis (Retribution / Revenge) </li></ul><ul><li>Invidia (Greek counterpart to Nemesis) </li></ul><ul><li>Nemesis-Fortuna </li></ul>
    18. 18. Norse Paganism http://flickr.com/photos/teresa-stanton/2446792155/ <ul><li>Three Norns guard Yggdrasil </li></ul><ul><li>Many other norns arrive at a person’s birth, bringing both good and ill fate to them. </li></ul>
    19. 19. Wicca / Pagan Witchcraft http://flickr.com/photos/sharman/131534499/ <ul><li>Rule/Law of Three </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Gardener’s High Magic’s Aid (1949) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buckland’s I Live With a Witch (1968) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Thompson’s Rede of the Wiccae (1975) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Many other variants of reciprocation ethics. </li></ul><ul><li>Various interpretations of “harm none” </li></ul>
    20. 20. Justice? http://flickr.com/photos/hj_barraza/155885475/
    21. 21. What Works, What Doesn’t?
    22. 22. Responsibility <ul><li>If Karma follows you across lives, you are responsible (to blame) for your poverty/illness/bad luck. </li></ul><ul><li>This belief perpetuates social injustice. </li></ul>http://flickr.com/photos/mmj171188/228853651/
    23. 23. The Law of Attraction <ul><li>Again, people are to blame, but now because they don’t think positively. </li></ul><ul><li>Think happy thoughts and all the badness will go away? </li></ul>http://flickr.com/photos/devnull/78202647/
    24. 24. Optimism <ul><li>However, if you’re naturally optimistic, you might think positively about what randomly happens in your life. </li></ul><ul><li>Long wait in the Dr.’s office? Now I can read that book! </li></ul><ul><li>Newton’s 1 st Law. </li></ul>http://flickr.com/photos/bugbunnybambam/2237297708/
    25. 25. Law? http://flickr.com/photos/48745248@N00/225249268/ <ul><li>It’s only a natural law if it occurs at all places and times. </li></ul><ul><li>Some bad people get away with no punishment. </li></ul><ul><li>Therefore, unless Karma follows you through lives, it cannot be a law. </li></ul>
    26. 26. It is beyond our control? http://flickr.com/photos/practicalowl/438759156/ <ul><li>Proactive vs. Reactive </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can we be the “hand of Karma?” </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Intent? </li></ul><ul><li>Can others intercede for us? </li></ul><ul><li>Can we transfer our Karma to other people or things? </li></ul>
    27. 27. So Now What?!?
    28. 28. Ethics of Reciprocity <ul><li>Rule of Three </li></ul><ul><li>Karma </li></ul><ul><li>Golden Rule </li></ul>http://flickr.com/photos/jackace/565857899/
    29. 29. Other Ethics <ul><li>Virtue Ethics </li></ul><ul><li>Feminist Ethic of Care </li></ul>
    30. 30. Cliff’s Personal Ethics? http://flickr.com/photos/undercover_surrealist/2405424212/ <ul><li>I could have been born into different circumstances </li></ul><ul><li>Bad things happen both by chance , and because of my actions </li></ul><ul><li>I can make choices </li></ul><ul><li>I can think before I act </li></ul>
    31. 31. http://flickr.com/photos/desiitaly/2193724466/ Please, Think
    32. 32. Please, Act Responsibly http://flickr.com/photos/ninjapoodles/1781605101/
    33. 33. http://flickr.com/photos/oberazzi/318947873/