Chapter 39b: The Graph of Karma


Chapter 39b - The Graph of Karma

‘Karma’ is one of the most significant teachings in Buddhism.  In generally, it is the belief that one always gets the good and bad results of good and bad actions one committed.  Although the belief about karma is also available in some other religions and creeds, the definition of karma given by the Lord Buddha can be somewhat similar and different from others in many aspects, and this chapter of dhammonomics interprets karma only in the domain of Buddhism. 

As we extract what karma really means, we can derive a graph of karma in the form of parabolas given specific equations which are referenced by the Buddhist teachings on the ten wholesome karmic deeds and the ten unwholesome karmic deeds. 

The teaching on karmic deeds categorises good and bad deeds into three major group of three behaviours (tricariyās) namely (i) thought (ii) speech and (iii) action whereby each group is divided into karmic qualities of virtues and disvirtues. 

Given the doctrine, we can create a crossing graph of which y-axis represents the ‘intensity’ of karma motivated by (i) effort (ii) mindfulness and (iii) mental focus.  These three qualities are mental faculties or Samadhi which is an index that indicates the will in committing a karma empowered by stronger or weaker will, leading to the more or less intensity of karma as well as the more factors add up the contributing causality.  Other than this, the right wing of x-axis represents wholesomeness (kusala dharma) as long as the value of (x) is positive.  On the contrary, the left wing of x-axis represents the unwholesomeness (akusala dharma) as long as the value of (x) is negative.  Hence, the crossing point of the x and y axis where (x) and (y), both, equal to zero represents the neither wholesomeness nor unwholesomeness (abhayagata dharma).

With the equation f(y) = ax2, the three parabolas, which have their trough at (0,0), are divided into (i) parabola of mental karma or thought (ii) parabola of verbal karma or speech and (iii) parabola of physical karma or action.  The equations can be detailed as follows:


f(y) = ax2

If (x) = 0, then (y) = 0

(x) = wholesomeness

(-x) = unwholesomeness

(x = 0) = neither wholesomeness nor unwholesomeness

(a = 3) = mental deed or thought

(a = 2) = verbal deed or speech

(a = 1) = physical deed or action


Parabola of Good/Bad Mental Karma

f(y) = 3x2

where positive (x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Sharing and safeguarding + Goodwill + Righteousness)

where negative (-x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Greed + Ill-will + Unrighteousness)


Parabola of Good/Bad Verbal Karma

f(y) = 2x2

where positive (x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Truthfulness and frankness + Composure and calm + Politeness and gentleness + Thoughtfulness and carefulness)


where negative (-x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Lying and untruthfulness + Insult and sarcasm + Rudeness + Prattle)


Parabola of Good/Bad Physical Karma

f(y) = 1x2

where positive (x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Mercy and care + Trustworthiness + Honesty)


where negative (-x) = Karma committed with more or less of (Killing and harm + Fraud and cheating + Dishonesty and sexual misconduct)


With the provided functions, we can create the graphs of karma which reflect the system of noble eightfold path which is the mechanism behind karma where y-axis indicates concentration or focus of mind (samadhi), x-axis connotes the virtue and disvirtue or morality (sīla) whilst wisdom (pañña) lies within the parabola of good and bad thought where justification of righteousness is one of its contributing factors.


By Pirajak Tisuthiwongse (Pittaya Wong)

Dhammonomics Inventor & Dharma Wizard

16 to 17 September 2022


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