Buddhism, Karma, Zen Buddhism

Buddhism, Karma and The Law of Attraction

At first glance, the Law of Attraction, often associated with New Age philosophy, might seem like a stranger in the Zen Buddhist realm. But, as we peel back the layers, we find that this modern concept is not a foreigner but a long-lost cousin of the ancient Buddhist principle of Karma. Yes, you read that right. The Law of Attraction, in its essence, is the karmic teachings we’re well acquainted with – the idea that our thoughts, intentions, and actions profoundly impact our life’s narrative.

Let’s approach this with an open mind and curiosity as we read. In this article, I will explore how the Law of Attraction aligns with the principles of Karma. We’ll delve into their similarities and uncover how this age-old wisdom is repackaged in the contemporary rhetoric of manifestation and attraction. This exploration is not just about understanding these concepts in isolation but appreciating how they converge to offer us a holistic guide to living a life of balance, purpose, and fulfillment.

What Is the Law of Attraction?

The Law of Attraction is a captivating concept that revolves around the power of our thoughts and emotions in shaping our reality. Rooted in the principle of ‘like attracts like’, it asserts that positive thoughts bring positive experiences, while negative thoughts attract negative outcomes. 

This law suggests that by focusing our mental energies on specific goals, desires, or outcomes, we can draw these experiences into our lives.

This concept finds its roots in various ancient spiritual traditions, where the idea that one’s internal state can influence external reality has long been considered a fundamental truth. In these traditions, the mind is seen as a powerful tool capable of influencing one’s personal world and experiences.

The Law of Attraction gained prominence with the New Age movement in the modern era, evolving into a widely embraced belief system. It holds that each individual has the power to manifest their destiny through focused thought and emotional alignment. According to this belief, our conscious and subconscious thoughts directly influence our lives, attracting circumstances that resonate with our inner state.

The practice of the Law of Attraction involves several key elements: clarity in what one desires, visualization of these desires as if they are already reality, and maintaining a positive emotional and mental attitude to ‘attract’ these desires. 

Proponents of this law believe that by aligning one’s thoughts and emotions with one’s goals, the universe responds by manifesting these desires in reality.

Central to this belief is the idea of unlimited potential and empowerment. It encourages individuals to envision their best lives and strive towards making that vision a reality. It’s seen as a tool for personal transformation, empowering people to take charge of their lives by consciously directing their thoughts and emotions.

How to Apply the Law of Attraction?

Here are a few ways how the Law of Attraction can be applied in various aspects of life, demonstrating its versatility and transformative potential.

  • Personal Growth: Enhancing self-awareness, improving confidence, and fostering a growth mindset.
  • Wealth Creation: Attracting financial success, developing an abundance mindset, and achieving financial goals.
  • Health Improvement: Fostering positive health habits, supporting recovery and healing, and maintaining physical and mental well-being.
  • Relationship Fulfillment: Building strong, meaningful relationships, attracting positive connections, and resolving interpersonal conflicts.
  • Career Advancement: Attracting new career opportunities, excelling in professional endeavors, and achieving work-related goals.
  • Educational Achievement: Enhancing focus and learning abilities, achieving academic success, and pursuing lifelong learning.
  • Emotional Well-Being: Cultivating emotional balance, reducing stress, and enhancing overall happiness.
  • Creative Expression: Unlocking creativity, inspiring artistic endeavors, and fostering innovative thinking.

How Does Zen Buddhism Understands Karma?

In both Buddhism and Zen Buddhism, Karma is a foundational concept, but it’s understood in a nuanced way. Unlike the popular notion of Karma as a simple cause-and-effect or a system of cosmic reward and punishment, Zen Buddhism views Karma in terms of intention and mindfulness.

In Zen, Karma is deeply intertwined with the mind’s workings. It’s not just about actions but the intentions behind those actions. Every thought, word, and deed stems from the mind; thus, every mental action has potential consequences. Zen teaches that Karma is created not only by our physical actions but also by our thoughts and words.

Mindfulness and awareness are crucial in understanding and transforming Karma in Zen practice. By being mindful of our thoughts and actions, we become aware of the karmic patterns we create. Zen emphasizes the importance of being present in the moment, observing our mind, and understanding the roots of our actions. This self-awareness allows practitioners to break free from negative karmic cycles and create positive ones.

Another key aspect of Karma in Zen Buddhism is the concept of non-attachment. This doesn’t mean disengagement from the world. Still, it is an understanding that attachment to outcomes, desires, or specific paths can create suffering. By practicing non-attachment, Zen Buddhists aim to act with pure intention, free from the desire for a particular outcome, thereby creating more positive Karma.

Zen Buddhism also views Karma in the context of interconnectedness. It teaches that all beings are interconnected; thus, one’s actions can have far-reaching effects on others and the world. This perspective encourages a compassionate and ethical approach to life, recognizing that our actions can contribute to a larger web of life.

Zen Buddhism’s understanding of Karma is a complex interplay of intention, mindfulness, non-attachment, and interconnectedness. It’s not just a moral cause-and-effect law but a path to deeper understanding and transformation of oneself and one’s relationship with the world.

Similarities Between Karma and the Law of Attraction

The exploration of the Law of Attraction and Karma reveals more than just parallel concepts; it uncovers a profound intertwining of two philosophies that may very well be different expressions of the same universal truth. This connection is not a mere philosophical curiosity but a profound insight into how ancient wisdom and modern thought converge in explaining the fundamental workings of life and the universe.

When we delve deeper into these concepts, the similarities are striking and suggest that the Law of Attraction is a contemporary interpretation of the ancient law of Karma. Both philosophies speak to the power of intentionality. 

In the Law of Attraction, intention is the mechanism through which thoughts are transformed into reality. Similarly, in the concept of Karma, the intention is the seed that, when sown, determines the quality and nature of the fruit it bears – our future experiences.

This is not just about the superficial alignment of two philosophical ideas; it’s about recognizing a universal principle that transcends cultures and eras. The idea that our inner world – our deepest intentions, thoughts, and desires – holds the key to the reality we experience is a powerful testimony to the interconnectedness of all things and the malleability of our personal and collective destinies.

Key Similarities

Here are key similarities between the Law of Attraction and the concept of Karma that are noteworthy.

  • The Power of Thought and Intention: Both the Law of Attraction and Karma emphasize the significant role of one’s thoughts and intentions.
  • Manifestation and Consequences: They teach that focusing on certain thoughts or goals can bring them into reality.
  • Personal Responsibility and Ethical Living: Both philosophies encourage personal responsibility for one’s life.
  • Transformation and Change: They offer pathways to personal transformation through understanding and applying these principles.

Thus, the Law of Attraction and Karma are similar and reflections of a universal law that governs our existence. This perspective invites us to use these principles for personal gain and to approach life with a deeper sense of responsibility, mindfulness, and connectedness to the world around us.

Don’t Fall Into the Trap of Excessive Desires

In pursuing understanding and applying the Law of Attraction, it is crucial to approach it with the wisdom and balance that Zen Buddhism teaches, especially regarding desires. While the Law of Attraction empowers us to manifest our thoughts and desires into reality, Zen Buddhism offers a profound counterpoint: the importance of not becoming trapped by these very desires.

Zen Buddhism teaches that the root of suffering lies in our attachments and desires. The more we crave and cling to specific outcomes, the more we open ourselves to disappointment and discontent. This is not to say that having goals or aspirations is problematic, but rather, it is the attachment to these desires and their outcomes that can lead to suffering.

Here, the intersection of the Law of Attraction and Zen Buddhism offers a valuable lesson: use the power of attraction wisely and mindfully. It is essential to understand that while we can attract positive experiences and changes into our lives, the relentless pursuit of desires without mindfulness can lead us astray from true contentment and inner peace.

Considerations for Balanced Desires

While harnessing the Law of Attraction, navigating our desires with mindfulness and balance is important. Zen Buddhism offers valuable insights into managing our aspirations in a way that brings harmony and true fulfillment rather than unending cravings.

Below are key considerations to help maintain this balance, ensuring that our desires lead us to external achievements, inner peace, and genuine happiness.

  1. Mindful Manifestation: Practice manifesting desires with a sense of detachment. Focus on the joy and fulfillment of the present journey rather than solely on the end goal.
  2. Contentment in the Present: Cultivate a sense of contentment and gratitude for what you currently have. This does not mean abandoning ambition but finding balance and appreciating the present moment.
  3. Ethical Intentions: Align your desires with ethical intentions and the greater good. Desire, when directed towards positive and altruistic outcomes, can be a force for good.
  4. Understanding Impermanence: Recognize the impermanent nature of life and desires. This understanding can help you stay attached to specific outcomes and embrace the natural flow of life.
  5. Self-Reflection and Growth: Use desires as a tool for self-reflection and personal growth. They should lead to a deeper understanding of oneself and one’s place in the world, not just material gains.

While embracing the Law of Attraction, it is wise to also embrace the Zen Buddhist perspective on desires. This balanced approach encourages the manifestation of desires and a deeper understanding of their nature and impact on our lives. It teaches us to use our desires not as an end but as a path to greater self-awareness, ethical living, and true fulfillment.


In exploring the deep connection between Buddhism, Karma, and the Law of Attraction, we are reminded of a profound truth: these concepts are not separate entities but different expressions of the same fundamental principle. 

However, it’s crucial to approach this journey with balance, incorporating the mindful teachings of Zen Buddhism to ensure that our aspirations enhance, rather than hinder, our quest for true happiness and fulfillment.

Understanding the Law of Attraction as a modern expression of the ancient wisdom of Karma offers a holistic path. It teaches us that while we can shape our realities through our intentions, we also bear the responsibility to do so with ethical intentions, mindfulness, and an appreciation for the impermanent nature of life and desires. 

As you reflect on the insights I shared in this article, I invite you to embrace this unified principle daily. Let it guide your thoughts, intentions, and actions. May this understanding empower you to create a life of balance, fulfillment, and profound inner peace.