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Each of us that is old enough to view the
course of his life in perspective can see that again and again his aptitudes,
his habits, his tastes or interests, his virtues or his vices, brought
about, not by plan but automatically, changes in his material or social
circumstances, in his associates, in his opportunities and so on; and that
these changes in turn, quite as much as those due to purely external causes,
contributed to shape for the better or the worse what he then became.
Huston Smith The Religions of Man
The present condition of each individual's
interior life --how happy he is, how confused or serene, how much he can
see-- is an exact product of what he has wanted and got in the past; and
equally, his present thoughts and decisions are determining his future
F. M. Cornford From Religion to Philosophy
This life, which is perpetually renewed,
is reborn out of that opposite state, called "death," in which, at the
other end of its arc, it passes again.
Charles Johnston The Upanishads (Hindu Scriptures)
According as were his works and walks in
[another] life, so he becomes. He that does righteously becomes righteous.
He that does evil becomes evil. He becomes holy through holy
works and evil through evil . . . . Man verily is formed of desire; as
his desire is, so is his will; as his will is, so he works; and whatever
work he does, in the likeness of it he grows. . .
The Panchatantra The Banana Peel
. . . a proud Brahmin --one noble in name--
came upon a banana peel in his path. He communed with himself, saying
"every man reaps in the future the fruits of all his acts. If, therefore,
I take this peel from the pathway, I shall have done a deed of merit, and
be rewarded by karma in my next life." So mused the Brahmin, and
he carefully removed the peel. For this crafty thought of self, the
proud Brahmin was born in a lower caste in his next life.
Sankaracharya Three Lectures on the Vedanta Philosophy --Max Muller
If a man feels that what, without any fault
of his own, he suffers in this life can only be the result of some of his
former acts, he will bear his sufferings with more resignation, like a
debtor who is paying off an old debt.
Hermann Keyserling Travel Diary of a Philosopher
Every action entails, according to the law
of karma, its natural and inevitable consequences; every one must bear
these for himself, no merciful Providence can remove them . . .
D. T. Suzuki Self the Unattainable
Without self there would be no individual;
without no individual there will be no responsibility. Without the
idea of responsibility morality ceases to exist . . . human community becomes
Sir Edwin Arnold The Light of Asia
The Law knows not wrath nor pardon; utter true
Its measures meet, its faultless balance weighs;
Times are as naught, tomorrow will judge,
Or after many days.
By this the slayer's knife did stab himself;
The unjust judge hath lost his own defender;
The false tongue dooms its lie; the creeping thief
And spoiler rob, to render.
. . . Painful indeed the loss of your child;
but this loss is the consequence of having, in some former life, refused
affection where affection was due.
Dalai Lama New York Times (Nov. 12, 1967)
. . . The chain of causes that will eventually
undermine it [ Chinese rule ], must already by lengthening, even if it
cannot be seen.
H. P. Blavatsky The Book of Golden Precepts
In the "Great Journey," causes sown each
hour bear each its harvest of effects, for rigid Justice rules the World.
With mighty sweep of never erring action, it brings to mortals lives of
weal or woe, the karmic progeny of all our former thoughts and deeds.
Shea and Troyer The Dabistan
The imperfectly good migrate from one body
to another, until, by the efficacy of good works and actions, they are
finally emancipated from matte and gain a higher rank.
Richard Wilhelm Reincarnation
. . . the fact is irrefutable that in one
and the same family more and less advanced souls are born. It is
karmic law undoubtedly that plays the most decisive part.
Porphyry The Enneads
. . . in the choice of lives [that individual]
is the more accurate judge who has obtained an experience of both [the
better and the worst kind of life], then he who has only experienced on
ot them . . . .
Giordano Bruno The Expulsion of the Triumphant Beast
. . . by virtue of the High Justice that
presides over all things . . . [the hero and divinity in man] must not
expect the government and administration of a better dwelling when it has
badly guided itself in the rule of another . . . . By decree of Eternal
Law, it is sanctioned that the most powerful be most powerfully compressed
and bound . . .
Henry More The Immortality of the Soul
. . . their souls did once subsist in some
other state . . . and of their own natures, they undergo several calamities
and aspirations of fortune, and sad drudgeries as a punishment inflicted,
or a disease attracted from the several obliquities of their apostasy.
Richard Wagner Letter to Hans Bulow (Sept. 27, 1858)
I cannot take my life, for the Will to accomplish
the Object of Art would draw me back into life again until I realized that
object, and so I would only be re-entering this circle of tears and misery.
Edouard Schuré Grands Initiés
There is not a word or action which has
not its echo in eternity . . . . According to esoteric doctrine, this proverb
is literally applied from one life to another.
Gina Cerminara The World Within
"How deep is this causal law!" Ananda
exclaims. "How deep it seems! . . ."
And Buddha answered, saying, "Say not so, Ananda, say not so. Deep indeed is this causal law, and deep it appears to be. But it is by not knowing, by not understanding, by not penetrating this doctrine that the world of man has become entangled like a ball of twine, unable to pass beyond the Way of Woe and the ceaseless round of rebirth."
Herbert Fingarette The Self in Transformation
The karmic law is much closer to the old Greek notion of cosmic justice, or to the notion of "poetic justice." The punishment exactly fits the crime. But poetic justice must operate within a life, if not this one, then another one. It cannot be realized if life terminates in an essentially static heaven or hell . . .
. . . we must accept responsibility for the "acts" of . . . [our] other selves, we must see these acts as ours . . . .
. . . I must assume responsibility for the acts and thoughts of those other persons as if they were I.
". . . man dies and is reborn daily and hourly in this present life." (Hindu Scripture)
. . . the widespread desire to keep on living
on earth is a powerful motive to "sin" in order to assure rebirth . . .
This view is . . . seeing the words of the doctrine rather than its meaning
as it functions in the appropriate context . . . .
Christmas Humphreys Karma and Rebirth
Acting from the highest levels in his being, man is the creating and controlling force in the Universe; acting from the lowest he is the worst enemy of himself and the One Life . . . .
. . . the habit of good deeds will purify
the mind, and prepare it for greater widening of the scope.
A better motive for right living is a wider appreciation of the Law and
its relation to the Universe as a whole [ and] the desire to assist all
life towards enlightenment . . .
H. P. Blavatsky Key to Theosophy
. . . no amount of argument based upon exoteric considerations of social morals or expediency, can turn the hearts of the rulers of nations away from selfish war and schemes of conquest.
The Secret Doctrine
Stagnation and Death is the future of all that vegetates without change. And how can there be any change for the better without proportionate suffering during the preceding stage?
Karma is a highly philosophical truth . . . which explains the origin of evil, and ennobles . . . divine immutable Justice . . . instead of degrading [Deity] . . . by making it the whimsical, cruel tyrant which we call Providence . . . .
. . . the only decree of Karma . . . is absolute Harmony in the world of matter as it is in the world of Spirit.
. . . the only palliative to the evils of life is union and harmony -- a Brotherhood IN ACTU, and altruism not simply in name. . . .
The closer the union between the mortal
reflection Man, and his [inner divine Self], the less dangerous the external
conditions and subsequent reincarnation.
William Q. Judge The Ocean of Theosophy
. . . karma brings sooner or later all those who loved each other with such a spiritual affection to incarnate once more in the same family group.
Karma is not a being but a law, the universal
law of harmony which unerringly restores all disturbance to equi-
librium . . . the ordinary materialistic conception of God . . . has caused thousands to live in fear . . . with the selfish object of obtaining reward and securing escape from his wrath . . .
Reincarnation as a doctrine applying to
the real man does not teach transmigration into kingdoms of nature below
the human . . . there is the exception of the case where men live bad lives
persistently for ages . . . [they] must wind their way upward through the
lower kingdoms to the MAN stage again.
Roshi Philip Kapleau The Wheel of Life and Death
. . . the unending cycle of birth-living-dying-death-rebirth continues unbroken, driven by the volition, instincts, and habit patterns born of craving, anger and delusion --driven by, in word, Ego. The physical body . . . is a composite or crystallization of our deluded, ego-based thoughts.