What makes my karma "mine"?
By - Kitharoidos
I wrote [this](https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/azskyw/feeding_the_ego/ei9t4u0/) earlier on the general topic, and [here's](https://www.reddit.com/r/Buddhism/comments/al7gi9/am_i_not_welcome_on_rbuddhism/efcsi8z/) another comment on the topic.
In general, I'd say, there is a sort of habit of I-making and other-making which is something that is on a level more essential than birth or death. This habit, as sentient beings, continues without ceasing. This habit basically appropriates changing things as "I" and experiences different environments as a result of karma, similar to how you might dream that you're a proud prince in a palace one night and an ornery octopus in the ocean another night, both times identifying with the 'subject' of the dream and experiencing the environment as being 'real'. In both cases, this habit of 'I-making' and 'other-making' is in place.
So from life to life, it's like there's his constant I-making habit which continues, but the actual content changes. So it's not that you're the same 'I', but the 'I' habit continues.
This is actually not ultimately real, but to the unawakened mind it continues nonetheless, and connected to this, ignorance, attachment and aversion create karma which leads to further becoming. This karma is basically a causal chain which is linked one link to the next, hence the continuity of karma.
Nice explanation :-)
This is my understanding :
You are not the same, you are never the same. There is no fixed 'you'
You are a river flowing through time, never the same from moment to moment, yet if people took a snapshot glance they would think they saw the same river.
There is a sage saying: you cannot step in the same river twice.
If you pollute a river upstream, if affects the things downstream. This is karma.
A sage said: "you cannot step into the same river twice."
A Buddhist says: "you can't step into a river at least once" :)
It is simply a continuation. It is just mind. It is in the same way that you are here now, you go to sleep, and are here tomorrow. It's all mind created. You wouldn't ask "Why is it that I'm here and can wake up tomorrow as the same person?". You are aware in this moment, you are actually aware of going to sleep, you are aware when you're dreaming, you are aware when waking up, and then you are aware when you go about the day. Now, you may forget going into to sleep, dreaming and coming out of sleep, but that doesn't mean it didn't happen to you. It was a continuous process that happened that was created by mind but you've just forgotten it.
In the same way, when you die and are reborn there is a process. You are aware of dying, then there is a process that happens that you are aware of (which I won't go into but you can look into), you are aware when you take a new form, you are aware of being in the womb, and you are aware when you are born. Now, in this moment you may not remember any of that but, like the dream/sleep process, that doesn't mean it didn't happen to you. It's just a continuation.
Every action you preform leaves an impression on your very deep seated mind, like a seed in dirt. Later, this ripens as a 'feeling' (happy/unhappy/neutral) which is the actual experience of Karma. Because we instinctively grasp at our self as actually exisiting in the way we think, we blindly preform actions. The seeds of our impure actions then sit in our subtile mind until the conditions come together for them to ripen, either in this life, or future lives.
The scary thing is that often karma is ripening, and we are also creating it in the same moment. Which is why the mind of patiences is so important. If we are experiencing unpleasant feelings and take them out on someone, not only is negative karma ripening but we are creating the cause to experience it again in the future. This is called the cycle of impure life, Samsara. Thats why we need to purify all our negative karma with virtue, especially patience.
Nothing and everything.
Imagine that you had to drive from Phoenix to St Louis. Along the way you would make choices (karma) about what route to take, where to rest and eat, where to get fuel, where to turn left or right..... Each of these shapes how and when you arrive (or do not arrive) at the destination. In this way karma does not belong to you but it shapes your present circumstances just as every choice we make continues to expand or restrict our present options.
To supplement the stronger replies here: Imagine a leaf being blown around in the wind. The wind doesn't really "belong" to the leaf, but the leaf and the wind have this relationship that's pretty clear to anyone watching. Karma is a kind of "momentum" that follows/carries us, it doesn't really "belong" to us but it undoubtedly influences and affects us but, more than that, we generate and influence it, too.
So we're very lucky in that we're not really like a leaf being blown around in the wind. We can actually *do* something about our situation.
So if you work retroactively there must have been a first life that you had before you were reincarnated the first time right?
What about where you will be reincarnated? Can someone be reincarnated onto a different planet in the universe that also has life?
The idea that it is yours
Your karma is yours because you created it. Karma is all your actions made from volition. It can only belong to you.. although its consequences may have far greater impact.
Reincarnation isn't something to strive for...