The debate about “free will has been going on for centuries. Is everything in our lives predetermined, or do we have a chance to choose our destiny? Several times in our life, the following questions might come to mind? Does free will exist? Could it be manipulated by something else? I’d like to separate this into two things: what is happening to us now and what will happen to us in the future.
To answer these questions, we need to understand the meaning of “Karma .” In Buddhism, Karma means intentional actions which will lead to consequences. The universal law of cause and effect that describes how karma works is called the law of karma. It says, “What goes around comes around.” Considering the law of karma, everything we do will lead to consequences in the near or distant future.
Doing Karmas is like planting seeds for our actions. If you plant a seed, that seed will grow into a tree, giving you fruits in the future. We reap what we sow. If we do good karma, we plant a positive karmic seed and can enjoy its fruits in the future. On the other hand, if a rough and tough time knocks at our door without prior notice, or let’s say we are experiencing such a difficult time in our life, this could be considered as past negative karma that we planted a while ago without imagine it would become a strong tree that gives an enormous impact on life.
It takes time for a karmic tree to grow and impact our lives. So, what is really affecting our life at the moment? The answer is a collection of our past karma. Karmic seeds we planted a while ago have become strong tree that substantially affects our lives. The past karma affected is much stronger than the present one. Karmas that we produced recently, they are still a sapling. They are having impacts on our lives as well but are much weaker.
That’s why we sometimes feel like we’ve lost control over our lives. So, the answer is YES. What is affecting our lives is predetermined by our past Karmas.
In the second part, “Is everything going to happen to our lives in the future predetermined”? The answer is NO. Whatever we are doing right now will have consequences in the future. So if we keep doing good things, we will enjoy the fruits in the future. To put it this way, we can be the designer of our own future. We can change our destiny. It’s in our hands.
We must remember, “What is happening to us now and what will happen to us in the future are different,” and begin to mindfully watch out for our present actions. We are all free to make our own choices or decisions, whether good or bad, but we are not free from the consequences of those choices.
You can’t buy good karma, but you can plant many positive karmic seeds today. Exercise more and have healthy food if you want to be healthier. Spend your time reading, talking to wise people, solve your problems if you want to be more innovative. Be kind and generous to people if you want to be surrounded by good friends. Meditate if you want to be less worried and more mindful. This is our lives; our deeds become our destiny.
“We can be the designer of our future. We can change our own destiny. It’s in our hands.”
- Monk John