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Kristin Hargrove

Dr. Alexander Izrailevsky

Philosophy 1000
28 July 2014
An Enlightened Assessment of the Enlightened One
I feel like everyone these days think they are Buddhist because the term Karma is thrown
around so lightly. I can count on twice the amount of hands I have heard someone say, what
goes around, comes around- Karma. Admittedly, I am one of those people who have said that
with empty meaning behind it. Buddhism is an extremely deep and complex religion that I have
barely started to understand. I feel two things come to mind for everyone when they hear the
term Buddhism, Karma and a corpulent monk with a permanent grin on his face.
The Buddha that forged the path for Buddhism went through his own tumultuous journey.
Formerly known as Siddhartha Guatama, he was born around 560 B.C. to a family of royalty.
From the beginning, his father had revelations his son would grow to be a highly respected
teacher. Siddhartha would endeavor many trials and tribulations to attain this level of
enlightened discipline. Siddhartha denounced worldly possessions in his early adult life and
practiced physical degradation like depriving the body of nourishment for extended periods of
time. Siddharthas dedication to these acts and centralized meditation achieved him to reach a
state no person had attained before. This state was called Nirvana or the Awakening. I have
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heard the term Nirvana before, but up until this point, the memorable grunge band, Nirvana from
the nineties usually came to mind. Nirvana is much more sacred than some rock band but one
cannot achieve Nirvana without Karma. (Allen, Bauman)
Karma is more than what one puts out comes back to them, there are three states of
Karma. These states of Karma correlate with the vagabondage of the physical, mortal body and
the immortal soul. Each entity embarks at the Sabija Karma or translated as the birth Karma.
According to Dr. Jonn Mumford, author of the Karma Manual, Sabija Karma is the cycle
of events that happened to you in the womb and continues to effect you after birth. (Mumford)
A quote from Heinrich Zimmers, Philosophies of India add beautifully to Dr. Jonn Mumfords
definition. Zimmer states in his text that, the seeds of destiny already stored as a result of
former lives, but which have not begun to germinate. (Zimmer) I relate to this because those
little seeds of pre-destiny are the feelings of being meant for something more beyond this mortal
life. It is deep rooted memories that are there but are only accessed by the emotions of a
humans desire to attach meaning to a greater existence. These are some of the reasons that
disprove David Humes theory that all babies are born with tabula rasa or a blank state of mind.
The second Karma a mortal experiences is the Agami Karma. This middle state of
Karma is considered the social life of Karma. The Agami Karma carries the important privilege
of mans free agency or free will. (Izrailevsky) I believe free agency is a privilege, not an
obligation. We have the right to exercise the freedom of will and make choices. How it is used is
essentially our choice, this puts the destiny of each man in his own hands. Life can be defined
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as simply as a person does good things, they create a good existence. The opposite, a person
does bad things, they create a bad existence. The Agami Karma is a reminder that although one
may choose, every action as a reaction. It calls to mind the infamous line quoted by Russel
Crowe in the epic film, Gladiator, What we do in life, echoes an eternity. This is the Karma
that is more prominently referred to as, what goes around, comes around. This is not the first
time, I have heard the term free agency. I have heard this term before in the Church of Jesus
Christ of Latter Day Saints, or Mormon religion. They believe that man is given the liberty of
freedom of choice. When I find similar themes in completely different religions, I sometimes
theorize that all religions are more or less the same religion. I feel that it was expressed,
reincarnated and presented in different forms so different cultures could grasp a small shred of
the preeminent force behind the orchestration of existence.
Where there is a beginning and a middle, there is always an end to bring things full circle.
The third stage of Karma is called Parabdhra Karma or the deathbed Karma. It is in this state of
Karma a jiva or soul is judged for their acts in the previous social life Karma.(Izrailevsky) The
saying, what goes around, comes around can be broken in to the two classifications of Agami
and Parabdhra Karma. The what goes around are the actions of a person committed during the
social existence of their life. The comes around are the reactions or the judgements of the acts
in the Parabdhra Karma. Although Christian religions have a Judgement Day, I feel their
reasoning is more finalizing than Buddhism. In Christianity, Judgement Day concludes of one
endng in the damning thorough of Hell or in front of the ethereal gates of Heaven. I interpret
Buddhism contradistinctively to Christian beliefs.
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I believe Buddhism is laden with second chances and these second chances are called
Reincarnation. According to the website,, reincarnation is the belief that the
soul, upon death of the body, comes back to earth in another body or form. (Dictionary) The
reincarnation of the soul acts as a purgatory limbo for the Buddhist religion. It is the opportunity
for a person to complete what some might call unfinished business. The concept is to not
complete a journey and the destination is heaven, it is creating heaven within ourselves.
This state of final achievement is referred to as Nirvana or the Awakening. The soul has
officially accomplished a state of spiritual bliss that it no longer needs to reincarnate. Instead, it
exists as pure, intellectual, entity. (Izrailevsky) It was not until Siddhartha reached this level of
clarity and revelation did he receive the name Buddha. Buddha is translated as the enlightened
one The Buddha taught many students and followers the path of enlightenment, or the Middle
Way. Six centuries after the death of Buddha, his biography and important teachings were
scribed in the Pali language and form the basis of the Buddhism language. (Allen, Bauman)
The Buddha became a great teacher like his father once visioned. The Buddhist religion
is also a philosophy. The combination of a religious, moral guide and philosophical approach
allow for many people to incorporate the themes of Buddhism in their life. I feel many religions
have interwoven themes that are practiced unbeknownst to the individual. The three stages of
Karma outline the journey of a immortal soul in a mortal body. There are people who practice
Buddhism that have followed the Middle Way to enlightenment. However, I believe that
Siddartha or the Buddha is the ultimate enlightened one who has truly reached the blissful state
of Nirvana. It is fortunate to have this example to establish order and structure amongst the
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Works Cited
Allen, Paul. PhD. Bauman, Jennifer. PhD. It Begins with Our Questions. Hayden
McNeil Publishing. Copyright 2013. Pg. 855

Izrailevsky, Alexander Dr. Lecture #3, The Indian Sage- Siddhartha Gantama. 29 May

Mumford, Jonn Dr. What is Karma?. Yoga Magic Pty Ltd/2003 Kailash Center for

Personal Development, Inc. Copyright 1998-2003. 28 Jul. 2014.

Reincarnation. Unabridged. Random House, Inc. 28 Jul. 2014.
Zimmer, Heinrich. Philosophies of India. Routledge & Kegan Paul LTD. Copyright
1952. 28 Jul. 2014.

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