What goes around comes around. You reap what you sow. These common sayings have been around for years, but is there any truth to them?

These sayings resemble a similar concept in Eastern religions, including Hinduism and Buddhism. That concept is known as karma. Karma means “action” and it’s considered to initiate the cycle of cause and effect.

Karma includes any type of intentional action. This includes physical actions, words and even the thoughts you think. All of these things are seen as karma, whether these actions are good or bad.

The basic idea that people express when they refer to karma is that our intentional actions will have consequences. Good actions will lead to good consequences, and bad actions will lead to bad consequences. For example, you may hear people use the phrase “bad karma” to refer to the idea that one can expect negative consequences to result from bad actions.

Similar concepts exist in Western culture. The phrases “what goes around comes around” and “you reap what you sow” express the same concept that your actions have consequences.

Different religions look at karma in different ways. For example, in Hinduism, a supreme being is seen as playing the role of the dispenser of the consequences of karma. In other words, bad actions will result in the supreme being sending bad consequences your way.

In Buddhism, though, a supreme being is not involved. Instead, karma is seen as an inherent principle of the universe or a law of nature. In other words, good actions lead to good consequences naturally without any need for intervention by a supreme being or anyone else.

Over time, karma has evolved into a general concept that many people don’t associate with a specific religion. Indeed, many people see it as a psychological phenomenon that can be counted upon, like physical forces such as gravity.

So do you believe in karma? It may be impossible to prove or disprove karma, because the consequences of our actions, if there are any, might not necessarily show up in a timely manner. The more time passes, the more difficult it is to connect consequences back to their actions.

Your own personal experiences, though, have probably taught you that treating others well will lead to establishing valuable friendships and happiness. On the other hand, mistreating people often leads to hard feelings and unhappiness.

 

78 Join the Discussion

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    • That’s so COOL, Jaclyn! We’re proud of you and your classmates for being so caring and thoughtful about collecting food for the food drive! You deserved those merits and all the good karma that came your way! :-)

    • We’re not sure, Rahul! We’ll all have to visit tomorrow’s Wonder and see! Thanks for being a great Wonder Friend and visiting today’s Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  1. Hi, wonderopolis. I notice that the background is mummies and lizards. I think there is going to be a desert wonder pretty soon. Allison

    • Thanks for noticing the new Wonderopolis background, Allison! We like it when our Wonder Friends do that! We’ll all have to wait and see if we will be learning new facts from a Wonder about deserts soon! :-)

  2. Good Morning to all at Wonderopolis! This wonder really set me thinking… There are 2 karma. One is religious and the other is a rock. Karma is a really hard rock and can be found in the Bahamas, South America and Hawaii. It is a layered rock with 10-23 tiers. It is really hard to find considering that it blends in with the natural habitat. One experience I had was I had to decide whether or not to go to the hospital. I was in gymnastics and I jumped off a parallel bar and sprained my ankle. Well, everybody thought it was sprained. I needed to decide if I should go to the hospital. I knew it would be better for my foot. But I really wanted to go home. In the end, I knew I had made the right choice. We ended up at the hospital and found out it was broken. Thanks for posting this!
    -Food Allergy Girl ❤

    • Hi, Food Allergy Girl! Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge of karma and also for sharing about a time when you had to make an important decision! We’re glad you finally decided to go to the hospital and get the care for your foot that you needed! We hope you have a GREAT day! :-)

    • Hello again, Food Allergy Girl! You just missed being the first Wonder Friend to comment on today’s Wonder! We think that “fourth commenter” sounds SUPER AWESOME, too! :-)

  3. Karma is the type of religion you have and when you don’t do something that pleases your religion. You get KARMA…

    • Hi there, Megan! We really appreciate that you and your classmates visit Wonderopolis at school! We hope you will love learning here as much as we do! :-)

    • We REALLY like the phrase “starting a good chain,” Mr. P. and Mrs. Armfelt’s 3rd graders! We think we will try to start one (or LOTS) of them today by doing nice things for others. Thanks so much for sharing that with us…we like learning new things, too! :-)

    • Lots of people think it can be, Hunter! But, lots of people think karma can bring GOOD luck, too! We encourage you to re-explore today’s Wonder to learn more about why! :-)

    • That’s a WONDERful question, Slaney! People all over the world believe in karma. We think it was neat to learn that! Thanks so much for visiting today’s Wonder and for being a GREAT Wonder Friend! :-)

  4. Dear Wonderopolis,

    Wonderopolis, I did not know there where two different kinds of karma. I think it’s pretty cool. Do you ever have karma? I did. I did when I had a bad day it got me in the back.

    • We think lots of people experience karma (good and bad), McKenzie! We always try to remember to be nice and treat others the way we would like to be treated. We like to receive GOOD karma! :-)

    • That’s a really great question, Ivy! Did you know that most of the ideas for future Wonders of the Day® come from the creative minds of Wonder Friends just like YOU? It’s true! You can let us know the awesome things you WONDER about anytime by leaving us a comment or by clicking on the “nominate” link at the top of every page in Wonderopolis and answering the quick questions! It’s really fun to WONDER, and it’s really easy to let us know what kinds of ideas you have for future Wonders of the Day! :-)

    • We thought that was a really cool thing to discover, too, Selina! We appreciate you exploring today’s Wonder and letting us know something new you learned! :-)

  5. I didn’t know that karma can be everything? A lot of people don’t believe in karma. I think it’s cool that you can have karma. I like how karma is good and bad.

    • We agree that it’s interesting how karma can be good AND bad, Cheyenne! We’re glad you stopped by Wonderopolis and explored this Wonder of the Day®! :-)

  6. Karma is not real it is a myth. It was a name of religious sacred person in Ancient Rome. I learned that from my Social Studies teacher, Mrs.Stone!
    I think tomorrow’s WONDER will be about how people forget stuff!
    Keep it WONDERing
    Bryce Ms.Fluery’s Class

    • Hi, Bryce! We want to thank you for your comment today! We like learning new things, too, so we appreciate what you told us about karma (thanks to Mrs. Stone, too!)! :-)

    • We’re glad you learned about karma by exploring today’s Wonder, Jlady! It’s FUN to learn new things in Wonderopolis each day, isn’t it? :-)

  7. Hey, again, well today’s wonder was amazing. I love talking about karma because it is an amazing topic to talk about during s.s. I love you, wonderopolis!!!!!!

    • Thanks so much for saying Wonderopolis is amazing to talk about, Mrs. Wilbanks! We’re glad you like learning here…we do, too! Thanks for spreading WONDER in your social studies class! :-)

  8. Some of us believe in Karma, but others don’t. What do you think? That was a funny video. We’ll check back for a new wonder on Monday! Have a great weekend!

    • Just like you guys, some of us here in Wonderopolis believe in karma, and some of us don’t, Mr. Draper’s Class! All of us think it’s best to do the right thing and treat other people with kindness and respect, though! We hope you guys have a GREAT weekend, too! :-)

    • Hello, “Wonder!” Some people believe that both of those things can bring bad luck. Some people don’t worry about it when those things happen to them. It all depends on your personal beliefs and whether or not you are superstitious! Thanks for visiting Wonderopolis and sharing your comment with us today! :-)

  9. My teacher has a karma jar in her classroom and she has our names on Popsicle sticks and that’s how she chooses partners and it’s so cool because sometimes its like Kayla, Kline and Keeled or Luke, Liam and Larry.
    Or it’s, all girls and all boys or boy-girl-boy-girl! So cool!

    • That really DOES sound cool, Kayla! Thanks for sharing about the karma jar and the way your teacher uses it to choose classroom partners…we think that’s a really neat idea! :-)

  10. I had a fateful encounter [pokemon reference there] with karma once. I was sitting on the carpet and my foot fell asleep, so I got up as we were lining up for lunch, my ankle [the asleep one] rolled and I fell. It hurt really bad, so I had to decide whether to go to lunch or go to the nurse, so I decided to go to the nurse, and it turned out I had to leave to go to the St. Mary’s urgent care center and I had a sprained ankle! It is now healing in a splint, I am in reading class writing this message. I am glad I decided to go to the nurse!
    [p.s. did I mention that when I got up and walked, my ankle rolled and I tripped over a sitting student!?]
    YuGiOhNinja!!!!

    • YIKES, YuGiOhNinja! We’re glad you chose to go to the urgent care center to make sure your ankle was OK! We’re sorry it was sprained and we hope it feels better very soon! Thanks so much for sharing your story with everyone in Wonderopolis today! :-)

  11. Well, all I can say (and most people know this) is that karma exists… This was a great article. My class does projects on these, so it really makes me glad you guys have interesting things to write about other than the boring everyday news. :P

    Thank You Wonderopolis,
    ~MochaDog123

    • We’d like to THANK YOU for leaving us such an AMAZING comment and for letting us know that you think the Wonders of the Day are interesting, MochaDog123! Please tell your classmates that everyone here in Wonderopolis thinks ALL of you guys ROCK! :-)

    • Thanks for sharing your experience with karma, Ellen! It’s GREAT to hear about Wonder Friends like you who did nice things and then were rewarded with even MORE nice things from other people! :-)

    • That sounds like a GREAT idea for a future Wonder of the Day®, Bubble! Thanks so much for suggesting it and THANK YOU for visiting Wonderopolis! :-)

  12. I love this video so much. I could watch it over and over again. It’s so funny! Have you ever gotten karma? I don’t really think it exists.

    • Hi there, Alexander! There are LOTS of Wonder Friends who believe that karma exists, but just as many who think it doesn’t! We just try to do what’s right and treat people the way we’d like to be treated! :-)

  13. This is my favorite wonder! I watch this over and over again. I love your website! My class always checks it out every day!!

    • Your comment made our day today, Traisha! We’re super glad you and your classmates visit Wonderopolis together and learn new things with us each day! Thanks for letting us know this Wonder is your favorite…we think that ROCKS! :-)

  14. Karma is real! I would know, It has happened to me…I was mean to a girl and than I got my fingers broken!!! It is real! Never disrespect KARMA!!!!! O_o

  15. I’ve heard about Karma before. And I was interested to know more on what Karma actually was! And this wonder helped me learn it! Thank you! Alexi

    • How cool, Alexi! We’re so happy to know that you have been WONDERing and learning with us today! HOORAY for great Wonder Friends like you! Keep up the good work! :)

  16. I have had bad karma before. I was ice skating, and I found some stray ice. I made a snowball out of it, and thew it at my Dad. About two minutes later I slipped and fell and my Dad yelled “Karma!” at me!!!

    • WOW, that’s a great example of karma, Mia! :) It sounds like you and your dad experienced karma while you were skating! As they say… “What goes around comes around”! Have a great day, Mia! :)

    • We definitely think that you can control your karma, Wonder friend Auggie! You can control how you act and think. How do you try to have good karma? Thanks for WONDERing with us! :)

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Have you ever wondered…

  • What is karma?
  • Is karma a concept only in Eastern religions?
  • Do your actions have consequences?

Wonder Gallery

crystal ball_shutterstock_43657675Vimeo Video

Try It Out

Whether or not you believe in karma, it’s clear that our actions do indeed have effects on the people and the world around us. In fact, part of growing up is learning the lesson that our actions have consequences that we must learn to think before we act.

Have you ever acted without thinking? Of course you have! We all have. That’s just human nature.

Have you ever done something that had a result or an effect or a consequence that you didn’t intend? If so, write a brief story about it. What did you do? What happened as a result? What did you learn from the experience?

There are a lot of tough lessons we have to learn as we grow up. Learning to think about others and the consequences of our actions is just one of them. Thinking and writing about an experience you’ve had can help you and others learn from these experiences. If you don’t mind sharing your experience, post it on Facebook for other Wonder Friends to read. You never know when your experience might help someone else!

 

Still Wondering

In EDSITEment!’s Morality lesson, children can learn about Buddhist Jataka tales and compare and contrast them with European fables.

 

Wonder What’s Next?

Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day is going to be tough as nails!

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