Positive View on Karma

Generally speaking, Traditional Buddhism (Pre-Lotus teachings) regard Karma as the “property of the past”.   Nichiren teachings focus the explanation of  Karma as being the “property of the present moment”:

  1. -        “Karma is being formed at each moment in the course of life’s perpetual motion.  In the present instant also, new karma is being fashioned as it transforms karma from the past”.      (Source: Space and Eternal Life, Ikeda and Wickramasingh , page 119)

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Freedom from the past

  1. -                                        “Present effects are due to karmic causes from the past, however, future effects arise from the causes we make in the present.  It is always the present that counts.   It is what we do in the present moment that decides our future.  Our past causes do not govern our future. 

Nichiren Buddhism emphasizes that no matter what kind of karmic causes we have made in the past, through the causes that we make in the present we can achieve a brilliant future.

-         “The Buddhism of Nichiren Daishonin is the Buddhism of the True Cause, the Buddhism of the present and the future.  We do not dwell on the past.  We are always challenging ourselves from this present moment towards the future.  Because we advance in this spirit, we will never be deadlocked” Ikeda, Daily Encouragement, p.306

The importance of the present moment

  1. -                                                                        “The important moment is right now.  Our present inner resolve.  Our determination enables us to sever the bonds of karmic causality by the strength arising from within to enter the sure path of happiness” (Source: The importance of the present moment).

Taking Responsibility

-                                          “The concept of karma was not developed so that we would resign ourselves to hopeless sufferings.  By correctly understanding the notion of karma, we automatically come to recognise that we are responsible for whatever problem we face in life, and that we ourselves must strive to overcome those problems.  This recognition enables us to establish true independence” .  (Unlocking the Mystery of Birth and Death, p.71).

Eternity of Life

  1. -                           “ The state of mind with which we meet death will greatly influence the course of our lives over eternity.  If one is unconcerned by how one dies, or if one dismisses any connection between this existence and the next, there probably isn’t any need to practice the Daishonin’s Buddhism.   But the truth is that life is eternal: that our existence continues even after we die.  Moreover, during the latent stage of death before rebirth, we cannot change the essence of our lives; we cannot carry out a Buddhist practice.  Only when we are alive as human beings can we act and practice Buddhism”.  (Faith into Action, Ikeda, p.23 & 24)

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The Three Karmic Causes

  1. -                                              “Buddhism, which is founded on the Law of cause and effect, stresses the concept of karma.  This principle explains that life at each moment is subject to the cumulative effects of causes made in the past.  What we do, what we say and what we think - are all causes.   And according to Buddhism, the moment we do something, say something or think something, an effect is automatically registered in the depths of our being.  Then, as our lives meet the right circumstances, the effect becomes apparent.   Personality traits are strongly connected to our karma.  The good news is that, unlike fate, our karma can be changed by causes we make from this moment forward.  In fact, the practice of Buddhism is essentially the practice of continually changing our karma”.

Backward understanding of Karma

-                                                                   “To simply view your sufferings as ‘karma’ is backward looking.  We should have the attitude: ‘These are sufferings I took on for the sake of my mission”.(The Wisdom of the Lotus Sutra Vol.2, p208)

Reforming our Destiny

  1. -                                          “Nichiren Buddhism enables us to fundamentally reform our destiny.  When we truly base ourselves on Buddhist view of life’s eternity, we realise that the first thing to change is how we live in the present.   In Nichiren Buddhism, changes arise from the depths of our being.  Strong pure vitality abundantly wells forth.  The iron chains of destiny are cut, and our original identity the fresh and robust world of Buddhahood”.


  1. -      “ Based on the Buddhist perspective of the eternity of life, we volunteered to be born in our current life-condition and chose to encounter the problems we have.  If you can take this perspective, you should be able to over come any difficulty with joy”.


-         “ If our lives are filled with joy, then our death will also be filled with joy.  And if our deaths are filled with joy, then our next lives will also be filled with joy” . (The Hope-Filled Teachings of Nichiren Daishonin, p 60-61)

  1. -          “I believe that whether we can live a truly satisfying life to the end depends to a considerable extent on how we view death.  Sadly, many older people are anxious and fearful about death.  But as a Buddhist I find it helpful to compare the cycles of life and death to the daily rhythms of waking and sleeping.  Just as we look forward to the rest sleep brings after the efforts and exertions of the day, death can be seen as a welcome period of rest and re-energizing in preparation for a new round of active life.  And just as we enjoy the best sleep after a day in which we have done our very best, a calm and easy death can only follow a life lived to the fullest without any regrets”.

“Our life is eternal, continuing on after death.  It stretches on ahead of us infinitely into the future.  The existence we are born into in our next lifetime will be defined by our inner state of life at the time of our death. That is where the importance of Buddhist practice comes in”. (SGI Newsletter 4211)


  1. -            “ Josei Toda explained the supreme benefit of faith as follows: ‘Attaining Buddhahood means achieving the state in which we are always reborn overflowing with abundant and powerful lifeforce; we can take action to our heart’s content based on a profound sense of mission; we can achieve all our goals; and we possess good fortune that no one can destroy”.

  2. -                 “If we attain the state of Buddhahood in this lifetime, that state will forever pervade our lives.  Throughout the cycle of birth and death in each new lifetime we will be endowed with good health, wealth, and intelligence along with a supportive and comfortable environment., leading a life that overflows with good fortune.  Each of us will also possess a unique mission and be born in appropriate form to fulfill it”.  (Faith Into Action, p.23).

  3. -                   “The conviction that we will win no matter how trying the present times and definitely attain Buddhahood - this is the unshakable belief that transforms karma into mission.    Courageous faith transforms hardships into joy.  Here we find unwavering optimism of Nichiren Daishonin’s Buddhism”.  (SGI Newsletter 8319 - 13 Sep.2011)

Voluntarily accepting negative karma (through one’s birth circumstances)

  1. -  Nichiren Buddhism teaches that we have personally taken-on sufferings of our own free will in order to show the immense beneficial power of the Gohonzon.  As such, there is no problem that we cannot overcome”.  (SGI Newsletter 7800 - 22 June 2009)

  2. -  Our original essence is pure and undefiled, but we willingly take on negative karma, choosing to be born in difficult circumstances or with various physical or psychological challenges in order to give hope to others by triumphing over these difficulties.  By showing proof of the inherent power of our humanity to overcome suffering, we open the way for others to do the same. Likewise we are able to give real support to people who suffer from similar difficulties.  In each new life, we again awaken to our original vow and joyfully embrace whatever challenges it presents us”.  (Reference: Lifespan and Bodhisattva Vow)


Transforming Karma

Nichiren Teachings on Karma

How Does Karma Survive Death