flowerbudh wrote:How is karma individual if there is no self? Furthermore, why don't people have the same karma if we are all interconnected?
That is a great question.
We are all interconnected, yet we are all different people.
When Buddhism says that there is no self,
it says that there is nothing final, no ultimately existing point
that can be called a self.
This means that there is no intrinsic self-arising being.
That everything one identifies as 'me' or 'mine' is the result of the coming together of many factors and conditions,
All causes lead to results.
The kinds of results one gets depends totally on the kinds of causes there are.
That is essentially the meaning of karma, in this context.
So, for example, if a group of bank robbers in a getaway car all get caught, and they all go to jail,
one can say that they all experience the same karma
because as far as that goes, they all shared the same causes. so, they all get the same results.
Individually, there may be differences among them.
As prisoners, one may adjust easily to a jail term
while another may go 'stir-crazy' and commit suicide or something.
These individual actions are also the result of previous conditions.
If an intrinsic or permanent 'self' existed,
we would have to say that it never changes
because as soon as it changes, it would be a different 'self'.
Which would contradict any notion of 'permanent'.
Thus, we can say that it is precisely because
there is no permanent thing that can be identified as a 'self'
that karma occurs.
That is hard to grasp at first, but if you think about it, you will see it makes perfect sense.
If you compare yourself to a rock,
a rock doesn't change very much, even after millions of years.
there is not any karma for a rock.
But in a few years, you are not even the same person you were born as.
Every cell of that new born baby has died and has been replaced many times over.
Our situation is one of constant, continuous transformation.
My karma and your karma is different
not because we are individuals
or because we are interconnected
but because there is, ultimately, no self
only the attachment to the experience of a self.
karma is an expression of that attachment.