By Charles S. Prebish, Damien Keown
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Extra resources for Buddhism - The EBook
M�ra and the Buddha were lifelong opponents because the Buddha’s teachings showed the way to liberate humanity from M�ra’s power. Despite his best efforts, M�ra was never able to do much more than cause mischief because the Buddha was too powerful. The Buddha knew, however, that even he would fall victim to M�ra one last time when he eventually faced death.
The doctrine of karma is concerned with the ethical implications of Dharma, or the Buddha’s teachings. Karma is concerned primarily with the moral dimension of those teachings and denotes primarily the consequences of moral behaviour. For Buddhism, karma is thus neither random—like luck—nor a system of rewards and punishments meted out by God. Nor is it destiny or fate: instead it is best understood as a natural—if complex—sequence of causes and effects. 360) as karma-niyama: this means that it is seen as just one aspect of the natural order, specifically as one function of the universal law of causation known as dependent origination (prat�tya-samutp�da) which will be explained in chapter three.
Perhaps the view of the world just described seems alien and strange, but the notion of the cosmos having various realms or divisions is not unfamiliar in the West. Traditional Christian teachings depict God dwelling at the summit of his creation surrounded by angels and saints, while Satan inhabits an infernal region beneath our feet. Human beings are somewhere in between, poised, so to speak, between two eternal destinies. Traditional teachings also speak of a fourth domain—purgatory—existing as a temporary abode for departed souls undergoing purification in order to be worthy to enter heaven.