If I get into a habit of fighting to defend "my self" is it reasonable to say that getting into a fight and getting beat up is karma?

How similar is karma to the idiom "you reap what you sow"?

  • 2
    How closely related your question in the title with question details?
    – catpnosis
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 8:39
  • They are related in that they are all an attempt to enlighten myself to the notion of karma. On the other hand you make a good point, the details do not necessarily elaborate on the title question.
    – user70
    Commented Jun 29, 2014 at 8:52

2 Answers 2


While habits are part of the workings of karma, it is not reasonable to say that what you described (habit to fight leads to beating) is Buddhist notion of karma. It may be correct other way around, though—some unwholesome karma is ripening while you exercise habit to fight.

Karma is similar to idiom "you reap what you sow" but with some added complexity. What you will reap is not need to be the same or feel the same as what you sow. In Buddhist concept of karma, unwholesome actions, when sown, will certainly reap into unwholesome fruits. What will be reaped is not mirror of what is sown, but it is consequence of what was sown. So when you sow action that should result in suffering, you will reap suffering for sure.


Kamma is a natural law. Pavlovian conditioning is men-made.

The habit to fight is, by the way, not necessarily a Pavlovian conditioning.

  • Fighting to defend one's sense of self would be would it not? Having defended the sense of self is the reward thus the behavior of fighting is strengthened.
    – user70
    Commented Jul 1, 2014 at 2:15
  • No, it's not. Pavlovian conditioning is behavioral modification. Done by linking two stimuli that have nothing to do with each other before the conditioning takes place. Think of the sound of the bell (the first neutral stimulus) and the salivating of the dog (which is a natural, automatic response). The linking of the two is the Pavlovian conditioning. If I were to condition you to fight for your sense of self every time I snap my finger or someone sneezes then we would have a Pavlovian thing going on.
    – user321
    Commented Jul 3, 2014 at 11:14

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .