Karma is a Sanskrit word that roughly is translated to action. It is a core concept in some Eastern religions, Hinduism and eventually Buddhism. When speaking of karma, as you probably know, is the Buddhist belief that the sum total of good and bad you have done in this world will follow you through this life. The Buddhist also believe this occurs for in your next life through the process of reincarnation or rebirth. This is in which a person is born in a new or nonhuman body after death. The effect of the actions in your previous life can have an impact on your current life. Even more when a person’s karmic sum will decide the form he or she takes in the next life.
Faithful gather in golden temples to pray to Buddha statutes and offer money and food to different gods to get rid of misfortunes and attract good luck. In Thailand there are besides temples also many beautiful things that come from the perspective of karma, such as the Thai spirit houses, this are the little ornate houses found outside of each building that are there to district off bad spirits and karma. The Thai people believe that there is ghosts’ and mystic energy everywhere and can make your life miserable and sad or the opposite rich and happy. Every building, shop and old three has his own house. Often it is also decorated with flowers and surrounded with bowls of fruit and glasses which is filled with red liquid.
The Thai concept of good karma tends to lean towards good karma by having ancient rituals considered virtuous and holy. In Thailand they are still celebrating the Royal Plough Ceremony near the grand Palace each year in Bangkok hoping on a good harvest. Mostly Thai people rarely fail to observe a major Buddhist holiday, even when they don’t practice much Buddhism in their daily life. This has caused an important cultural shift in Thailand since places as Phuket, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and so many other provinces become full of shopping malls and pubs. That is when many people begun to focus less on observing the guidelines of Buddhism and shifted towards trying to generate good karma through ritual, or perhaps by making merit by giving gifts to monks.
The Buddhist monks go out of their temples on their bare feet to collect food every morning. The Thai Buddhist also call this ‘’make merit’’ it is offering food and gifts to monks in the morning. Actually, this is one of the best ways to improve your karma.The meaning is to provide a virtuous gift onto the community and creating a good karma side effect. Buddha himself said that when with a pure heart you give another person with a pure heart a gift, that is the greatest form of a human gifts. The good will that creates will come back to us many times later.
There are in total 12 laws of karma, when you create good karma in your life you will increase the likelihood for good things to happen. The 12 laws of karma are as following:
- The great law, this comes for many people as the meaning of karma, if you do good you receive good.
- The law of attraction, this law is all about creating. If you want something to happen, you need to start making it happen.
- The law of humility, before something can change in your life you first need to accept what currently exists.
- The law of growth, this one is about expansion mainly within yourself. This can be done by reading self-help and spiritual books.
- The law of responsibility, you need to take ownership for everything what happens in your life.
- The law of connection, this states that everything and everyone is connected in some way.
- The law of force, is saying that you cannot do more multiple things at one time but need to focus your energy on one thing.
- The law of giving and hospitality, this law is all about selflessness by giving to others and practicing what you preach.
- The law of here and now, is what the law is already saying and that is to be present in the moment.
- The law of change, is when you are experiencing a situation over and over again. This is the way of the universe to learn you a lesson.
- The law of patience and reward, can be translated to ‘hard work pays off’ keep being consistent. This law is about doing the work and not giving up on your dreams. Even when things are getting hard and you do not see any progress.
- The law of significance and inspiration, is that we all have value to give. Everyone has their own unique gift and this needs to be shared with the whole world and make a positive impact. Whether you release it or not, but these laws are playing a role in your life constantly.
So, Buddhists in Thailand believe in karma and that everything you have done in life will follow you in this life and in the next one. Many people follow this approach of live and give to the monks to receive good karma. In total there are 12 laws of karma which will lead to the likelihood of good things to happen. Eventually, the Thai people are observing less on the guidelines of the Buddhist and are focussing more on giving a merit or through a ritual.
By Barbara Saric & Majbritt Timmermans
Castro, J. (2013, November 22). What is karma? Livescience.
Ellison, J. (2017, July 2). All About Buddhism: Karma comes around again.
Estrada, J. (2019, December 18). There Are 12 Laws of Karma at Play in Your Life, Whether You Realize It or Not. Wellandgood.