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If we have no begining - then how did we first get karmic inclinations?

Hello Charles -

Thank you for letting me answer your question.

You asked a doozey of a question.

The answer I can give you is based on what I understand about Karma from the teachings I have been given.

We know for example if we have anger the karma for having that anger comes from a previous moment of anger -as the karma we experience must be similar to the cause.

So, the only answer I can give you is that we get any karmic inclination from a previous moment of the same kind of karmic inclination - And the one before that from the one before that and the one before that from the one before that, etc., back aeons and aeons without a beginning.  

So from how I understand what my teachers have taught me - there is also no beginning to karmic inclinations - there can be an ending but there is no beginning. There could not have been a beginning because one cannot have a result without a cause without a result without a cause without a result.  So there could not have been a first karmic inclination because there would have had to be a cause to produce that karmic result but there could not have been a cause to produce the first one because that cause would have had to come from somewhere that was similar to the result.

Just like there cannot be a first moment of mind because the first moment would have to come into existence dependent and as a result of the previous one or then the result is not similar to the cause which is not possible.

At least that is how I understand cause and effect and karma.

If you find an answer that makes more sense to you or you believe to be more correct, please let me know.

If you have any questions about this don't hesitate to ask.

Take care -  


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Laurie McLaughlin


I can answer questions about basic Tibetan Mahayana Buddhism and meditation especially how the Buddha's teachings can help us in day to day living.


I have been studying Mahayana Buddhism and meditation since 2001. I have lead meditation classes and retreats for over 5 years. I have lived at a Buddhist retreat center for over 4 years and am currently ordained as a novice Buddhist nun. My nun name is Gyalten Yanghchen.

I hold a BA degree in technical theatre from the University of South Florida.

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